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

26. AN ASS AND AN UNGRATEFUL MASTER (Perry 532)

A Poor Ass, that what with Age, Labour, and hard Burdens, was now worn out to the Stumps in the Service of an unmerciful Master, had the ill Hap one day to make a false Step, and fall down under his Load; his Driver runs up to him immediately, and beats him almost to death for’t. This (says the Ass to himself) is according to the Course of the ungrateful World. One casual Slip is enough to weigh down the faithful and affectionate Service of a long Life.
THE MORAL OF THE TWO FABLES ABOVE. The Reward of Affection and Fidelity must be the Work of another World: Not but that the Conscience of well-doing is a Comfort that may pass for a Recompence even in this; in despite of Ingratitude and Injustice.


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.