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Aesop's Fables: Sir Roger L'Estrange (1692)

116. A CAT AND MICE (Perry 511)

There was a House mightily troubled with Mice, and a notable Cat there was, that time after time had pick’d up so many of ‘em, that they agreed among themselves to keep above in the Ceiling; for they found that upon the plain Floor there was no Living for ’em. This spoiled Puss’s Sport, unless she could find a way to trepan them again: So she leapt up to a Pin that was driven into the Wall, and there hung like a Pole-Cat in a Warren, to amuse them. The Mice took notice of it, and one wiser than the rest stretched out his Neck to learn the Truth of the Matter, and so soon as ever he found how ‘twas. Ah, says he, you may hang there till your Heart akes; for if you were but a Dish-Clout, as you are a counterfeiting Devil of a Cat, here’s not a Creature will come near ye.
THE MORAL. Let no Man lay himself at the Mercy of a known Enemy under any Shew or Pretence whatsoever; for if he forfeits his Discretion, even though he should happen to save his Carcase and his Fortune.


L'Estrange originally published his version of the fables in 1692. There is a very nice illustrated edition in the Children's Classics series by Knopf: Sir Roger L'Estrange. Aesop - Fables which is available at amazon.com.