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

124. A FAWN AND A STAG (Perry 351)

A Fawn was reasoning the Matter with a Stag, why he should run away from the Dogs still; for, says he, you are bigger and stronger than they. If you have a Mind to stand, y’are better arm’d; and then y’are fleeter if you run for’t. I can’t imagine what should make you so fearful of a Company of pitiful Curs. Nay, says the Stag, ‘tis all true what you say, and ‘tis no more than I say to my self many Times; and yet whatever the Matter is, let me take up what Resolution I please, when I hear the Hounds once, I cannot but betake myself to my Heels.
THE MORAL. ‘Tis one thing to know what we ought to do, and another thing to execute it; and to bring up our Practice to our Philosophy: He that is naturally a Coward, is not to be made Valiant by Counsel.

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.