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


A Countryman happn’d in a hard Winter to spy a Snake under a Hedge, that was half frozen to Death. The Man was good-natur’d, and took it up, and kept it in his Bosom, till Warmth brought it to Life again; and so soon as ever it was in condition to do mischief, it bit the very Man that sav’d the Life on’t. Ah thou ungrateful Wretch! Says he, Is that venomous Ill-Nature of thine to be satisfy’d with nothing less that the Ruin of thy Preserver?
THE MORAL There are some Men like some Snakes; ‘Tis natural to them to be doing mischief; and the greater the Benefit on the one side, the more implacable the Malice on the other.

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.