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

30. A FOX AND A STORK (Perry 426)

There was a great Friendship once betwixt a Fox and a Stork, and the former would needs invite the other to a Treat. They had several Soups served up in broad Dishes and Plates, and so the Fox fell to lapping himself, and bade his Guest welcom to what was before him. The Stork found he was put upon, but set so good a face however upon his Entertainment, that his Friend by all means must take a Supper with him that Night, in Revenge. The Fox made several Excuses upon the Matter of Trouble and Expence, but the Stork in fine, would not be said nay, so that at last, he promised him to come. The Collation was served up in Glasses with long narrow Necks, and the best of everything that was to be had. Come (says the Stork to his Friend) pray be as free as if you were at home, and so fell to’t very savourily himself. The Fox quickly found this to be a Trick, tho’ he could not but allow of the Contrivance as well as the Justice of the Revenge. For such a Glass of Sweet-Meats to the one, was just as much to the purpose as a Plate of Porridge to the other.
THE MORAL. ‘Tis allowable in all the Liberties of Conversation to give a Man a Rowland for his Oliver, and to pay him in his own Coin, as we say; provided always that we keep within the Compass of Honour and good Manners.


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.