[Page ij] ¶ Here begynneth the book of the subtyl historyes and Fables of Esope

FIrst begynneth the lyf of Esope with alle his fortune how he was subtyll / wyse / and borne in Grece / not ferre fro Troye the graunt in a Towue named Amoneo / whiche was a nonge other dyfformed and euylle shapen / For he had a grete hede / large vysage / longe Iowes / sharp eyen / a short necke / corbe backed / grete bely / grete legges / and large feet / And yet that whiche was werse he was dombe / and coude not speke / but not withstondyng al this he had a grete wytte & was gretely Ingenyous / subtyll in cauyllacions / And Io­ [...] wordez


¶ This historye conteyneth / How he excused hym of that was Imposed to hym / that he shold haue eten the fygges of his lord

[Page] ANd for as moche as his lord to whome he was bounde supposed that he was not prouffytable / he sente hym to laboure in the Feldes / and to dyke and delue in the erthe / ¶ And on a day as his lord came in one of his Feldes / one of his labourers gadred Fygges / And pre­sented them to his Lord / sayenge / My lord take these Fygges as for the firste fruyte of this felde / And the lord receyued them Ioyously / & delyuerd them to his seruaunt named Agatopus / chargyng hym to kepe them / tyl he that day retourned fro his bayne / ¶ And hit happed that Esope comyng from his labour / de­maunded his dyner lyke as he was acustomed / And Agato­pus whiche kepte the figges ete of them / & sayd to one of his felawes / yf I doubted not / and fered my maystre / I wold ete alle these fygges / And his felawe sayd / yf thou wylt late me ete with the / I shalle fynde a subtylyte that we shall haue no blame ne harme therfore / And how may that be sayd A­gatopus / to whom his felawe sayd / whan my lord shall come home / we shalle saye to hym / that Esope hath eten them / And by cause he can not speke / he shalle not conne excuse hym / and so therfore he shal be wel beten / & herupon they went & ete the fygges bitwene them bothe / sayeng this vylayne shal be well beten / And the lord / whiche came out of the bayne / commaun­ded to brynge to hym his fygges / & Agatopus sayd to hym / Syre whan Esope came fro his labour fro the feld / he fonde the Celer open / and went in without rayson / and hath eten al the fygges / ¶ And whanne the lord herd this / he was moche angry / & sayd calle to me Esope / to whom he sayd / thou counter­fayt chorle / how is this happed / that thou hast not be aferd to ete my fygges / wherof he was aferd / in beholdyng them that had accused hym / & the lord commaunded to despoylle & take of his clothes for to haue beten hym / & he kneled doune at his lor­des feet / & by signes by cause he coude not speke prayd his lord to gyue hym space to excuse hym / And his lord graunted it to hym / And anon after he tooke a vessel ful of hote water / whi che was on the fyre / & poured the hote water in to a bacyn / and [Page iij] dranke therof / & anon after he putte his fyngre in his mouth & cast out that which was in his stomak / which was only water / for that day he had tasted nothyng but water / & he praid that his accusers myght sembably drynke of that water as he had done / And soo they dyde / And they held theyr hond to fore theyr mouthe / By cause they shold haue no vomyte / but by cause the water was hote / and their stomake resolued by the water / they vomyted oute the water and alle the fygges to gydre / And the lord seynge that / sayde to them / why haue ye lyed to me / ageynst this Esope that can not speke / ¶ And thenne he commaunded to despoylle them / and to bete them openly / sayenge / who someuer dothe or sayth wronge of other / shal be punysshed with the same payne that is due therfore / ¶ And these thynges sene and experymented / Esope retour­ned to his labour / And as he laboured in the felde / there cam a preest named ysydys / whiche wente toward the Cyte / & had lost his way / And he seynge Esope / prayd hym that he wold enseygne hym the ryght way for to go in to the Cyte / ¶ And Esope receyued hym ioyously / And made hym to sytte vnder a fygge tree / And sette to fore hym brede / Herbes / fygges and dates / and prayd hym to ete / and drewe water oute of a pyt and gaf hym to drynke / And whanne he had well eten / he tooke hym by the honde / and sette hym in the ryght wey for to go to the Cyte / after whiche thynges done / the preest lyft vp his handes to heuen / makynge his prayers for Esope / of who­me he had receyued so good a refresshynge /

¶ This History maketh mencyon how the goddesse of hospitalite gaf speche of his tonge to esope / & how he was sold

THenne Esope retourned to his labour / ¶ And after whanne he had wel laboured / for teschewe the grete hete of the sonne after his vsage / he went in to the sha dowe for to reste / and slepte vnder a tree / ¶ And thenne the goddesse of hospitalite appyered to hym / and gaf to hym sa­pyence and abylyte / And also she gaf to hym the yefte of spe che for to speke dyuerse fables and Inuencions / as to hym which was ryȝt deuout to hospitalite / & after when esope was awaked / he began to say to hym self / I haue not only slept ne swetely rested but also I haue had a fair dreme / & without ony [Page]


empessament I speke / and alle that I see I calle by theyre propre names / as an hors / an asse / an oxe / a charyot / and to al other thynges / I can to eueryche gyue his name / For I haue receyued sodenly the grace of this knowlege / for the grete pyte that I haue had on them that lacke hospytalyte / For he that dothe well ought to haue good hope in god / and he shall haue good reward therfore / And therfore I shall not labou­re the losse / than I dyd to fore / ¶ And thus whanne he be­ganne to laboure came he that had the charge of the felde and the ouersyght / And anone beganne to bete one of the labourers greuously / wherof Esope was gretely displeasyd / And sayd to hym in this manere / what betest thou hym for nought / and euery houre thou comest and betest vs withoute cause / thow sleest vs / and dost nought thy self / But certaynly I shalle shewe to my lord alle this matere / lyke as thou shall wee knowe / ¶ And whan the procurour herd hym callyd by his owne name zenas. he merueylled that Esope spake / & thought in hym self / I shalle goo to fore my lord / to thende that thys foule vylayne complayne not on me / and that my lord depose me not of my procuracion / ¶ And he took his mulet / and rode in to the Cyte / and came to his lord and sayde ¶ My lord [Page iiij] I salewe yow ryght humbly / And the Lord loked on hym / and sayd to hym / why comest thou so effrayed and troubled / And zenas sayd to hym / that now in the felde is happed a thynge monstruous / And what is that sayd the lord / haue the trees brought forth theyr fruyte to fore theyre tyme / or haue the bestes brought forth theyr fruyte ageynst na ture / And zenas answerd hym / Nay my lord / but this croked chorle / this counterfayted Esope thy seruaunt begynneth to spe ke clerely / And wel sayd the lord / that me semeth is a thyng monstruous / ye forsothe sayd zenae / ¶ And thenne sayd the lord / We see al daye / many men whanne they ben angry conne not speke / but whanne they be in pees conne wel speke / and profferr [...] thynges / ¶ And thenne zenas sayd / My lord he canne speke aboue al other men / And hath sayd to me thyn­ges contumelyouse / blasphemyes / and vylonyes of the / and of alle the goddes / ¶ And thenne his lord was angry / and wrothe toward hym / And sayd / zenas / goo thou to the feld And what thou wylt do with hym / hyhe or lowe / doo hit / or selle hym / or gyue hym / or lose hym / For I gyue hym to the / And thenne zenas took this yefte by wrytynge / and came in to the felde / and sayd to Esope / Now thow arte myn / and in my puyssaunce / For my lord hath gyuen the to me / And by cause thow arte a grete langager / and an euyllr chorle / I shalle selle the vtterly / And thenne of fortune hit happed that a Marchaunt that had bought seruauntes came in to that feld for to bye beestes for to bere oueralle his marchaundyse to E­phese / the whiche mette with zenas / And he sale Wed hym / and demaunded of hym / yf he had ony bestes to selle / And zenas ansuerd that for nothynge / he shold fynde no bestes to selle / but I haue a seruaunt whiche is not fayr / but he is of good age / And demaunded of hym yf he wold bye hym / And the Marchaunt sayd / I wold fyrste sene hym / ¶ And thenne zenas called Esope / and shewed hym to the Marchaunt / ¶ And whanne the Marchaunt sawe hym so dyfformed / and soo foule sayd in this manere / Fro whens is this Tupyn co­men / and this trompette of Tragetenus / This is a fayre mar­chaundyse / For yf he had not a wys / I wold wene / that hit were a botell full of wynd / ye be well occupyed to brynge me [Page] hydre to shewe me this fayre personage / I had supposed thou woldest haue sold to me somme fayre seruaunt honeste / and playsaunt / And thenne the marchaunt retourned on his way And Esope folowed hym / and sayd to the Marchaunt / Aby­de a lytell here / And the Marchaūt sayd / lette me not vylayn For thou mayst haue no prouffyte of me / For yf I bought the I shold be callyd the Marchaunt of folyes / and of wyne thynges And thenne Esope sayd to hym / Wherfor thenne arte thou come hyder And the Marchaunt ansuerd for to bye some thynge that is fayre / but thow arte foule / ouer lothely / and countrefayted / I haue not for to do with suche Marchaundyse And thenne Esope sayd yf thow wylt bye me thou shalt lose nothynge / And the Marchaunt demaunded / wherof mayst thou doo to me ony prouffyte / And Esope sayd / ben ther not in thy hows lytel children / ne in thy towne / that crye and ren ne / bye me / and thow shalt do wysely and shalt be theyr mai ster / for they shalle drede and fere me lyke a fals vysage / And thenne the Marchaunt smyled for the wordes of Esope / And retorned to Zenas / and axed of hym / how he wold selle this fayre Marchaūdyse / And thenne zenas sayd to hym / gyue me thyrtty pound / or thre half pens / For I wote well / no man wylle bye hym / And thenne the Marchaunt payd for hym to zenas as moche / as he was wel content / ¶ And thenne E­sope wente with his newe mayster vnto his toune / ¶ And as he entryd in to his hows / he hadde two chyldren lyenge in the lappe of theyr moder / ¶ Thenne Esope sayd to the Marchaūt Now shalt thow haue experyence of that I haue promysed / For syth these two lytel children haue sene me / they haue ben all seylle and aferd / ¶ And thēne the Marchaunt lawhyng bidde hym to entre / and seeynge the felawes fayr & playsaunt salewed them / sayenge I salewe yow my fayr felawes / And whanne they sawe Esope / they sayden all / we shalle anone ha­ue a fayr personage / what wyll oure Mayster doo / for to bye suche a man so foule and difformed / And theyr lord ansuerd to them / by cause I haue foūden no bestes for to helpe yow / ther fore I haue bought thys galaūd for to helpe yow to bere my caryage / And therfore departe emonge yow the fardels for to bere / And thenne Esope sayd to them / O good felawes / ye see [Page v] wel / that I am leest & feblest / I pray yow to gyue to me the lyghtest burthen / And his felawes sayd to hym / by cause / thou mayst not doo / bere nothynge / To whome Esope sayd / by cause ye do alle the laboure It is not syttynge / that I only shold be ydle and vnprouffitable to my lord


¶ This historye maketh mencion / how Esope demaunded the lyghtest burthen / but to theyr semyng he took the heuyest / whi­che was atte last the lyghtest / and so begyled his felawes

THenne his felaws said to hym / chese whiche thow wyl bere And Esope beholdyng all the burthene the fardels sacks / and panyers / And took a panyer full of brede / For whiche two of the berers were redy for to haue borne / and sa­yd / now take me this panyer here / And thenne they sayd / he was the most foole of them / by cause he asked the lyghtest / and chese the heuyest / And soo he tooke the panyer of brede / and wente forthe to fore alle his felawes / whiche whanne his fela­wes beheld and sawe / they all sa [...]den that theyr mayster had not lost his money / For he was strong and myght bere yet an [Page] heuyer burthen / And thus they mocqued hym / ¶ And alwey Esope was at the lodgynge to fore his felawes / And whan they were aryued at their lodgynge / theyr mayster made them to reste / And commaunded Esope to brynge forth brede for to ete / & so he took brede out of his panyer / that his panyer was half empty / And thenne whanne they had eten / [...]he of them took his burthen / And Esope bare lasse than he dyd / And cam to his lodgynge to fore his felawes / And at souper he gaf to them so moche brede / that his panyer was al wyde and empty And on the morne in this wyse he took his panyer / and went to fore his felaws so ferre that they knewe hym not a ryght / so that one demaunded / who is he / that goth so ferre to fore ve / And another sayd / It is the cou [...]d and counterfayted [...]se / whiche by his subtylyte hath deceyued ve / that [...]re the burthens not consumed by the waye / but he hath wyded hys burthen / And is more wyly than we be / And thenne after they came to Ephese / And the marchaunt ladde his marchaū ­dyse to the market / and also his seruauntes for to selle / whiche were named Gramaticus / Sal [...]s and Esope / And a Mar­chaunt sayd to hym / yt thow wylt selle thy seruauntes at a resonable [...] / th [...] is a philosopher named Exanctus / to whom mo [...] ▪ pe [...] goo to lerne at a place called Somnon / lede thy seruaunts thyder / And that philosopher wylle bye them / and the mayster and owner of them dyd do well awye Grama­ticus and Saltis with newe Rowe / and ladde them thyder for to selle / but by cause Esope was foule and lothely / he was clad with [...] / and was sette bytwene the other two / whiche were fayr / playsaunt / and welfarynge men / But alle they that beheld Esope were abasshed by cause of his deformy­te / sayenge / fro whens cometh this monstre / or who hath brouȝt hym hyder to mocque vs / And by cause that they so wondred on Esope / Esope loked al ouerthwartly on them boldly /

¶ This historye conteyned the second sale of Esope /

[Page vj]


Exanctus the philosopher departed oute of his hows / & wente to the market / and as he wen [...] to and fro tho­rugh the market / he sawe these two yonge men / And Esope standynge bytwene them / And he merueylled of the Inprudence of the Marchaunt that so had sorted them / and approchynge to one of them / sayd to hym in this manere / of what countre art thou / And he ansuerd I am of Capadoce / ¶ And Exantus demaunded sayenge / what canst thow doo / And he ansuerd I can doo alle thynge that thou wylt / whi­che ansuer whanne Esope herd / he lowhe shewynge his grete teethe / ¶ And alle the scolers that were with Exantus behol­dynge Esope so sore lawhynge / and in lawhynge shewed his grete treth / them semed / they sawe a monstre / and not a man / And sayd to theyr felawes that this grete paunsart hath gre­te teeth / ¶ And they asked what they had sene / And they sayd that he so sore laughed and shewed his teeth / ¶ And they sayd / he lawhed not / but that he was a cold on his teeth And one demaunded hym / why he laughed callynge hym gen tyl galaunt / And he sayd to hym / what hast thou to doo ther with cokyn / goo walke on the gybet / And the scoler departed all ashamed and folowed his mayster / ¶ And thenne Ex­antus [Page] demaunded the prys of Saltis / And the marchaunt sayd that he shold paye for hym a thousand pens / And Ex­antus estemynge the prys ouer dere / retorned to that other fe­lawe / and sayd to hym / of whens arte thou / And he sayd I am borne of lydye / and Exantus asked of hym / what canste thou doo / and he ansuerd / al that thou wenest / whiche whanne Esope herd / he lawhed thēne more than he dyd to fore / ¶ And thus whanne the scolyers sawe hym lawhe / they sayden / thys felawe lawhyth for al thynge / ¶ Thenne the Marchannt as­ked / what shalle cost me gramaticus / and the Marchaunt sa­yd thre thousand scutes / whiche Exantus thought to dere / & wence his way / ¶ Thenne the scolyers sayd to theyr mayster Exantus / Mayster / these seruauntes please the not / yes sayd Exantus / they please me well / but it is ordeyned in our Cyte that no seruaunt may be bought at so hyhe a prys vpon a grete payne ¶ And one of the scolyers sayde / sythe they that be [...] fayr may not be bought / bye hym that is so fowle and so dis­formed / and truly he shalle doo to the somme seruyse / and the [...]ys that he shall be sold fore / we oure self shall paye / ¶ And thenne Exantus sayd to them / yf I shold bye this felawe / that is so fowle and lothely / my wyf shold not be wel plea­sed / For she is so precious and so delycious / that she may not suffre to be seruyd with suche a counterfayted seruaunt / And the scolers sayd / Mayster thou hast many thynges / of whiche thy wyf shall not gaynsay ne medle / ¶ And Exantus then̄e sayde / late vs thenne demaunde hym what he can do / l [...]st for faulte of askynge we lose onre money / And tourned hym to Esope / and sayd / god saue the yong man / And Esope sayd to hym in this manere / I praye the greue me not / ¶ And Ex­antus sayd to hym / I salewe the / And Esope sayde / so doo I the / ¶ And Exantus sayd / leue these molestes / and ansuer to this that I shalle demaunde / And he asked what arte thow / And Esope ansuerd / I am of flesshe and bone / And Exantus sayd / I demaunde the not that / but where were thou engendrid And Esope ansuerd / in the wombe of my moder / And Ex­antus sayd / yet I aske the not that neyther / But I aske of the / In what place thow were borne / And Esope sayd / My moder neuer told / ne assured me / whether she was delyuerd of [Page vij] me in her chambre or in the halle / and Exantus sayd / I praye the telle me what thou canst doo / And Esope sayd / no thynge And he sayd / how nothynge / And Esope sayd by canse my felawes that ben here haue sayd that they wylle do al thynge / thenne haue they lefte to me nothynge for to doo / thenne the scolyers were moche abasshed / and had grete merueylle / sa­yenge that he had ansuerd by dyuyne sapyence / For there is none that may be founden that can do al thynge / And therfore he lawhed / ¶ And Exantus sayde / I praye the / telle me / yf thou wylt that I bye the / And Esope sayd / that is in the / no man shalle enforce the therto / Neuertheles / yf thou wylt bye me / opene thy purse / and telle thy money / and make the bar­gayne / Thenne the scolyers sayd / by alle the goddes / this fe­lawe surmounteth our maystre / And Exantus sayd to hym in this maner / yf I bye the / wylt thou flee aweye / To whome Esope ansuerd / yf I wylle flee awey / I counceylle the bye me not / And Exantus sayd / thou saist wel / but thou arte ouer lothely and dyfformed / to whome Esope sayd / me ouȝte not beholde only the face of a body / but al only thentendement of the courage / ¶ And thenne Exantus demaunded of the Marchaunt / what shalle I paye for this Esope / And the mar chaunt sayd to hym / thou arte a folysshe Marchaunt for to le­ue these goodly and fayr seruauntes / and wylt take hym / that nothynge can doo / take one of these two / and lete this bossute goo / ¶ And Exantus sayd / I requyre the / telle me what I shalle paye / And the marchaunt sayd lx pens / And the scolyers told oute the money to the marchaunt / And thus by this bargeyne Esope was seruaunt to Exantus / ¶ And whanne the Banquers receyued the money of this sale / they demaunded curyously who were the byar and the sellar / And thenne Exantus and the Marchaunt composed and accorded bytwene them / that he had not be sold for so moche money / And thenne Esope seyd to the bancquers / certaynly this is he that hath bought me / and this is he that hath sold me / which thynge they wylle denye / wherfore I afferme / and seye that I am fre / Thenne the banker lawhed of this cauyllacion / & went & receyued the prys of exantus of as moch as he had bouȝt esope



¶ This Historye conteyneth how Exantus brought esope home to his wyf

THenne whan euery man was departed / Esope folo­wed Exantus homeward to his hows / And whan he came to fore his hows / he sayd to Esope / Abyde here a whyle to fore the gate / tyll I goo in for to preyse the to thy lady and maystresse my wyf / well sayd Esope / And Exan­tus entryd in to his hows / and sayd to his wyf / Dame ye shalle nomore haue cause to be at debute with me / For ye haue desyred longe to gete yow a fayre seruaunt / wherfore now I haue bought one / that is so wyse and so playsaunt that thow neuer sawest none so fayr / ¶ And whan two Damoyselles seruauntes herd hym saye so / wenynge that it had ben trouth they beganne to stryue to gyder / and that one beganne to saye to that other / My lord hath sought for me a fayr husbond / And that other sayd / I haue this nyght dremed / that I was maryed / And thus as these seruaunts spake / his wyf sayde / My lord where is the fayr felawe / the whiche ye preyse so moche / I pray yow that I may see hym / And Exantus sa yd / he is to fore the yate / And his wyf sayde / I pray yow brynge hym in / And thus as the yong wymmen had debate [Page viij] for hym / one of them thought in her self / I shalle be the fyrste that shalle see hym / And yf I maye / he shalle be my husbond And so as she yssued oute of the hows she sayd / where is this fayr yongman / that I so moche desyre to see / And thenne Esope sayd to her / what demaundest thou / I am he / boo here / ¶ And whanne she sawe Esope / she was for fere al abasshed and troublod / and sayd to hym / arte thou the fayr pecok whe­re is thy taylle / And Esope sayd to her / yf thou haue nede of a taylle / thou shalt not faylle of one / ¶ And thêne as he wold haue gone in / the seruaunt sayd to hym / Come not here with­in / For alle they that shalle see the / shalle flee away / ¶ And after she wente in to her felawes / and told what he was / And that other whanne she came oute and sawe hym so dys­formed / sayd / beware thou payllard that thou touche me not / that the deuylle to [...] the / And thenne whanne Esope en­tryd in to the hows / anone he presentyd hym to the lady / and whanne the lady sawe hym / anone she torned her vysage / and sayd to Exantus / For a seruaunt / thou hast brought me a monstre / throwe and caste hym oute / ¶ And Exantus sayd to her / My wyf thou oughtest now to be glad and Ioyons / by cause I haue brought to the so fayr and so Ioyous a ser­uaunt / And she sayd to Exantus / I wote wel thou louest me not / For thou [...] to haue another wyf / And vy cause thou durst not telle it me / thou hast brought this grete payl­lart / to thende that I shalle go fro the / And I wylle no len­ger abyde / vy cause thou knowest wel / that I may not suffre hym / And therfore delyuer to me my dowayr / and I shalle anone goo my waye / ¶ And thenne Exantus sayd to Esope whan we were on the way thou spackest largely / and now thou sayst nought / ¶ And Esope sayd to hym / by cause thy wyf is so malycious put her in pryson / ¶ And Exantus thē ­ne sayd to hym / hold thy pees / thou shalt be beten / Seest thow not / that I loue her more than my self / ¶ Thenne sayd E­sope / I pray the / that thow loue her wel / And he sayd / wher­fore not / And Esope smote his foote on the pament / and cryed with a lowde voys. herke ye a grete myracle /



THis philosopher Exautus is ouercomon of a woman And he torned to his lady / and sayd to her / Madame I praye the / take not myn wordes in euyll / thou wol dest haue a seruaunt that were yonge / wel fourmed / wel ara­yed stronge and ryche / for to serue the at the wyne / and bere the to thy bedde / that can rubbe and clawe thy feet / and no [...] suche a foul and so disfourmed a seruaunt as I am / For by cause of suche a mygnot / thou woldest sette nought by thy hus bond / And therfore Erupis that philosopher had his mouthe of gold / whiche neuer lyed / he sayd that there were many pe­ryls and tormentes in the see and other grete Ryuers / And also pouerte is a grete chagre and dyffycyle to be borne / And also ther ben other grete daungers and peryls Infynyte / but ther is no werse daunger ne perylle / than is a f [...] woman / And therfore Madame I praye the / that thou take nomore a fayr seruaūt ne playsaunt for to serue the / to thende / that thow dishonoure not thy lord and husbond / ¶ And she thenne sa­yd to Esope / Auoyde thou payllart / whiche arte not only dis­formed of [...]ody / but also of thy wordes / whanne thou sayst so by me / but I shalle wel paye the / For I shalle go my waye / ¶ Thenne sayd Exantus to Esope / ne seest thou not how thou [Page ix] hast angryd my wyf / See that thou appease her / And Esope said / It is not a lyght thyng tappease the yre of a woman / but it is a greuous thynge Exanctus sayd to Esope / Speke no more / For I haue bought the for to make pees / and not for to make debate ne warre

¶ This Historye conteyneth how Exantus brought Esope in a gardyn


EXantus bad Esope take a panere / and folowe hym in to a gardyn / & exantus said to the gardyner / gyue to vs of thyn herbes / & the gardyner cutte of herbes & de­lyuerd to Esope / & he took them / & exantus payd for them / & whan they wold haue gone / the gardyner sayd to Exantus / Maystre I pray the that thou tarye here a whyle / wel sayd exantus / aske what thou wyll / And the gardyner demaunded of hym Mayster what is the cause / that the herbes that ben not laboured growe faster and sonner / than they that ben cu­ryously laboured / & to this question ansuerd Exantus / that that cam by some prouydence / by whiche the thynges ben brou­ght forth / And whan esope herd this ansuere / he began to lawhe And Exantus sayd to hym / thou payllard lawhest thou me to skeen & mockest me / & esope ansuerd & said I mocke you not [Page] but hym that hath lerned the thy philosophye / what solucion hast thow made / what is that cometh of dyuyne prouydence / a child of the kechyn shold haue made as good an answere / & Exantus sayd thenne / Esope make thou thenne a better solu­cion / & Esope ansuerd to hym / yf thou commaunde I shal glad ly / & Exantus said to the gardyner / it apperteyneth not to hym that hath for to Iuge thynges dyffycyle / to Iuge rude thynges & [...] / but I haue a seruaunt here whiche shal enforme & gyue the solucion of thy question yf thou wylt praye hym to gyue to the the solucion / And the gardyner sayd / can this vy layne payllard that is soo gretely dysformed ansuere to thys question / henne the gardyner sayd to Esope / hast thow know leche of suche thynges / And Esope sayd ye more than alle the men of the world / For thow demaundest wherfore the herbes that ben not laboured growe sonner than they that ben sowen and laboured / And Esope sa d vnderstond wel to myn ansue re / For as a woman that hath ben a wedowe hath had chil­dren by her fyrst husbond that is deed / And after [...] rema­ryed to another man / whiche hath [...]de children of an other wyf to fore / and to the children of her fyrste husbond she is moder / And to the other children she is but s [...]oder / And [...]s [...]her is a dyfference bitwene her owne children & the chil dren of that other woman / For her children she hath nourys­shed [...]sybly / and the other ste [...]children oftymes in angre & wrathe / Ryght so in this maner [...]s of the erthe / For she is mo der of the herbes that growe withoute to be laboured sowen o [...] s [...] / and is but stepmoder to the herbes that growen by la­boure and force / And thenne the gardyner sayd to hym / thow hast delyuerd me of a grete payne and studye / And therfore I pra [...]e the of the herbes that ben in my gar­dyne thou take thy playsyr and wyll at al tymes and a [...] oft [...] thow wylt

¶ This Historye folowynge maketh mencion how Esope b [...]re the present
[Page x]


ON a tyme whan the scolyers had ben in the audytoyre with Exantus / one of the scolers arayed precious me­tes for the souper / And whanne they were at souper / they tooke of the most best metes & put them in a plater / & ex­antus sayd to Esope / go bere this to her that loueth me best / and Esope thought in hym self / now is hit tyme to auenge me of my maystresse / & whan he cam home in to the halle he said to his maystresse / Madame / beware that ye ete not of this mete / And his lady said / I wote wel / that thou arte alwey a grete fole And Esope sayd to her / Exantus hath not commaunded me to gyue it to the / but to her that loueth hym best / Thenne esope pre sented the plater to a lytel hound / whiche was alwaye in the hows / sayenge to the hound my lord hath sente to the this me­te whiche is precious / & the wyf of Exantus wente in to her chambre / & began to wepe / & after Esope returned to exantus / & he asked how his loue ferd / & he said ryght wel my lord / & al the mete that I haue sette to fore her / she hath eten it / & exantus [Page] said / what said she / & he said my lord she sayth no thyng / but she desyreth sore for to see the / After this whan they had wel eten & dronken / they had many questions to gydre / And one asked whan mortal men shal haue most to do / And Esope saide that shall be at the day of Iugement whan men shall ryse / & the sco lers herynge that ansuere / beganne to lawhe sayenge this vy­layne is ful of ansuers / & one of the scolers demaūded / maister wherfor is it that whan the sheep goth to his dethe ward he so loweth his mayster / & saith not a worde / & whan the swyne is brought to be slayne / he ne dothe but crye & braye / And Esope ansuerd them / by cause it is acustomed for to mylke the shep & to shere / & he weneth that he shalle be molken & shorn / & therfor he fereth not to folowe ne come / But by cause the swyne is not acustomed to be molken ne to be shorne / but to be laten blood & l [...]se his lyf / therfore he is aferd & dredeth whan he is taken / & al the scolors said / it was trouthe / [...]o this man is wyse & hath sayd wel / & eche man aroos & wente home to his hows / Thus thenne whan Exantus wa [...] returned in to his hows / he entrid in [...] his chambre / & fonde his wyf sore wenyng / And he said to her / My swete loue / how is it with yow / & kyssed her / & she turned the back to hym / & said late me allone / I haue not to do with the / I wylle go out of this hows / thou louest better thyn hound than me / to whome thou hast sent the precious mete / And by cause he knewe nothyng herof / he demaunded her what mete hath Esope brought to the / & she said none at all / & exan­tus sayd am I dronke / I haue sente to the by Esope a plater ful of precious mete / & she seyd / not to me but to thy houn [...] / [...]henne he called Esope / & demaunded hym / to whom he had gy­uen the mete that I delyuerd to the / & he said to her that loueth the most lyke as thou commaundest me / And Exantus sayd to his wyf / vnderstandest thou not what he sayth / I vnderstond hym wel said she / but he gaf to me nothyng / but gaf it to thyn hound / & Exantus torned hym to Esope / & said to hym / thow grete hede to whome hast thou borne the mete that I delyuerd to the / And Esope ansuerd to her that loueth the best / And Ex­antus demaūded who is she / And Esope callyd the lytel hoūd & s [...]d this is she here / for the loue of thy wyf is ryght nought for if she be a lytel angry / incōtynent she reprocheth the & sayth [Page xj] vylonye to the that louest her / And wylle anone saye / I goo fro the / and leue thy hows / And yf this hound go fro the / calle her ageyne / and she cometh to the anone makynge to the chere / And therfore thou oughtest to saye to thy wyf / and not to her that loueth the best / ¶ Thenne Exātus sayd to his wyf thou seest that this felawe is a raylar and an Inuentar of wordes / And therfore haue pacyence / For I shalle fynde cau­se to auenge the and bete hym / And she sayd / doo what thow wylt / For I shalle neuer more haue to doo with hym / and of ter that take thyn hound / For I goo my way / And without sayenge Fare wel / she wente home to her frendes / And by [...] se Exantus was angry and sorowfull for her departynge / E­sope sayd to hym / Now seest thow wel / that thy wyf that is gone loueth the not / but this lytel hound abydeth with the / And by cause Exantus was al heuy for the departyng of his wyf / he dyd do pray her to retourne / but the more that she was prayd / so moche more was she obstynate / For the more a man prayeth a woman / the more dothe she the contrarye /

¶ This historye maketh mencion / how Esope made his lady to come home ageyye


[Page] ANd by cause Exantus was angry for the departynge of his wyf / Esope said to his maister / he not angry / for without prayenge I shalle anone make her to reto [...] ­ne and come home ageyne / And after Esope wente to the mar­ket / and bought capons and poullay [...] / And as he bare them passynge by the hows / wher [...] his maystresse was / It happed / that one of the seruauntes of the hows cam out / & Esope dema­unded hym / haue ye sentt no thynge to the weddynge of my lord / do what weddyng sayd the seruaunt / vnto the weddynge of Exantus sayd Esope / For to morne he shalle wedde a newe wyf / And anone the seruaunt wente in to the hows / and s [...] yd to Exantus wyf / Madame ther ben newe tydyuges / And what ben they sayd she / Exantus shalle haue a newe wyf / & be maryed / And forthwith incontynent she departed / & came home to the hows of Exantus cryenge / Now know [...] I well the trouthe / And wherfore thou madest this grete paystart to angre me / by cause thou woldest take another wyf / but I shall kepe the wel ther fro / As longe as I shalle lyue shalle ne­uer woman come here in / exantus be thou sure / ¶ Thenne was Exantus glad / and wel ioyous for to haue ageyne his wyf And coude Esope grete thanke /

¶ This Historye conteyneth how Esope arayed tongues


[Page xij] ANd a lytel whyle after Exantus bad his scolers to dyne with hym / And sayd to Esope / goo anone to the market / & bye for vs the best mete / that thou shalt fyn de / And Esope wente to the market / he thought in hym self / Now shall I shewe / that I am no fole but wyse / And when Esope came to the market / he bought the tongues of swyne and oxen / And dyghted them with vynegre / and sette them on the table / And the scolers sayd to Exantus / thy dyner is ful of philosophye / And this Exantus sayd to Esope / bryng vs other mete / and Esope brought forth moo tongues arayed in another manere / that is to wete with garleck and oynyons / And the scolers sayd Maystre these tongues ben wel dressid For that one dyfferensyth fro the other / And exantus badde esope to brynge other mete / And esope brought yet forth ton­gues / Thenne were the scolyers angry / and sayde / wylt thow alwey gyue vs tongues. And exantus al angry in his coura­ge / said to esope / what other mete hast thou ordeyned for vs / And esope said / forsothe none other / And exantus said to eso pe / Ha grete hede / sayd I not to the / that thou sholdest bye the best mete that thou coudest fynde / So haue I doo sayd Eso­pe / And I thanke god that here is a philosopher / I wold fayne knowe of the / what is better than the tongue / For For certaynly al arte / al doctryne and philosophye ben notyfy­ed by the tongue / Item for to gyue salewes / bye / selle / and to doo syte men / Alle these thynges ben done by the tongue / the men ben preysed ther by / And the grettest partye of the lyf of mortal men is in the tongue / And thus ther is no thyng better than a good tongue / ne no thynge more swete / ne better of sauonr / ne more prouffitable to mortal men / ¶ Thenne sayd the Scolyers to Exantus / thou hast wronge to angre the thus / For Esope hath sayd ryght wel / ¶ And after alle these wordes they aryse fro the table / ¶ And on the morne after Exantus wold in excusynge hym self / of theyr lytel seruyse desyred them to come ageyne at souper / And they shold haue other seruyse / ¶ And Exantus sayd to Esope in the presence of them that were there / goo in to the markette / And bye the werst mete that thou canst fynde / For al my fren­des here shall soupe with me / and Esope without troublyng of [Page] hym self wente to the bocherye / And bought ageyne tongues / And dyghted them / as he dyd to fore / ¶ And whanne they came to souper / he serued them with tongues as he dyd the day to fore / And the scolers sayd / we ben comen ageyn to tongues And by cause the scolers were not pleased / Exantus seyd to Esope / thou grete hede / sayd I not to the / that thou sholdest bye the werst mete that thou coudest fynde / so haue I done sayd Eso­pe / what is werse or more stynkynge than the euylle tongue / by the tongue men ben perysshed / by the tongue they come in to pouerte / by the tongue the Cytees ben destroyed / by the tongue cometh moche harme / ¶ Thenne sayd one of them that satte at the table / Exantus / yf thou sette thy purpos to this foole / he shalle brynge the out of thy wytte / For he sheweth wel by his forme to be shrewysshe / For lyke as he is disformed of his bo­dy / so is he of his courage / And Esope sayd to hym / thow arte ryght euylle / For thou settest and makest stryf bytwene the mayster and the seruaunt / And wenest to be more curyous than other / And Exantus for to haue cause to bete Esope said [...]a grete hede / by cause thou callest the philosopher curyous / go gete me a man / that setteth ne retcheth by no thynge / that is to saye that is not curyous /


[Page xiij] ESope departed / and wente out of the place / beholdyng here and there / yf he coude fynde ony man / that retchid of no thynge / he took hede / and sawe a man / a grete vy layne / syttyng vpon a block shakynge and waggyng his leg ges / To whome Esope sayd / My lord prayeth the to come dy­ne with hym / who anone arose withoute sayenge of ony word and entryd in to the hows with Esope / And not sayeng god kepe you satte hym at the table / And Exantus sayd to Esope What man is this / And Esope sayd to hym / A man that ret­cheth of no thynge / ¶ Thenne Exantus sayd to his wyf secre­tely / to thende that we maye auenge vs on Esope / and bete hym wel / Fayre loue doo that I shalle bydde yow / ¶ Thenne he sayd a lowde with an hyhe voys / Dame put water in a ba­cyn / and wesshe this pylgryms feet / For he thoughte the vy­layne wold not haue suffred it / but haue fled for shame / And than shold he haue cause to haue beten Esope / ¶ Thenne the lady took water / and putte it in a bacyn / and beganne to wasshe the vylayns feet / ¶ And how wel / that he wyst that she was the lady / yet he thought / this lord wyll doo me worship / and suffred her to wasshe his feet without sayeng of ony word / And Exantus sayd to his wyf / Dame gyue hym drynke / And the vylayne sayd to hym self / It is well reason / that I drynke fyrst / And took the pyece / and dranke as moche as he myght / And Exantus tooke a plater wyth fysshe / and sette it to fore hym / And the vylayne beganne to ete / ¶ And Exantus seyd to the cook / this fysshe is not wel arayed / ¶ Thenne Exantus commaunded to strype the Cook and bete hym wel / And the vylayne sayd to hym self / thys fysshe is wel dyght / and the Cook is beten withoute cause / but I retche not / soo I may fylle my bely / And I shalle al wey ete / and saye nothyng / ¶ And Exantus sayd to the ba­ker / brynge hyder the tarte / Incontynent as the tarte was sette on the table / And the vylayne brake it in pyeces / and wyth­oute ony wordes he beganne to ete therof / And Exantus be­holdyng hym how he ete / called the baker / and sayd this tarte is euyll baken and hath no sauour / And the baker sayd / yf I made it / it is wel dressyd / And yf it be none of myne / the blame is not in me / but in thy wyf / ¶ And Exantus sayd [...] [Page] he alwey loked / and byheld yf he voyded hit with his fylthe or ordu [...] / whan he had purged his bely / ¶ And euer after men loken whan they haue purged theyre belyes / what they Wyde / but thou oughtest not to doubte therof / For thou hast n [...] wytte to los [...] / ne scyence / For to a folysshe demaunde / belongeth a folysshe answere / ¶ And on the morne nexte folowynge as Exantus was sette at the table with alle his frendes / holdyng a pyece ful of wyn in his hand shoste for fere of the questions that men asked of hym / And Esope sayd to hym / My mays­ter Dyonysyus sayth that the good wyn hath thre vertues / The fyrst is Wluptucsyte / The second is gladnesse / and the thyrd is that it maketh men foolys and oute of theyr wyttes wherfore I praye the / l [...]te vs drynke Ioyously and make good chere / And by cause Exantus was as thenne almoste dronke / For he hadde wel dronken sayd to Esope / hold thy pe­es / For thou art counceyller of helle / And Esope sayd to hym ageyne / kepe the wel / For yf thou fynde me in helle / I shalle auenge me on thy self

ANd thenne one of the scosyers sayd / seyng / that ex­antus had dronke ynough / and was charged of ouer moche wyn / sayd to hym / My mayster I aske of the / yf a man myght drynke alle the see / wherfore not sayd Exan tus / I my self shalle drynke it wel / Thenne sayd ageyne the scolyer / And yf thou drynke it not / what wylt thou lese / and Exantus sayd my hows / I am content sayd the scoler / and ageynst hit I shalle leye an honderd crownes / And the pacti­on [...] and bargayne thus bytwene them made gaf for gaige or pledge eche of them two theyr signets of gold / and thenne wente home / ¶ And on the morne as Exantus was rysen vp oute of his bedde / and sawe that he had not his rynge on his fyngre / he sayd to Esope / knowest thou not where my rynge is I wote not sayd Esope / but wel I me remembre and knowe for certayne / that this daye we shall be put oute of this hows And why sayd Exantus / Esope sayd to hym / Remembryst thou not the b [...]rgeyne and paction that thou yesterday at euen made / And what be they sayd Exantus / Thou arte bound to drynke oute al the see / and for gage and pledge hast thow lefte thyn rynge of gold / ¶ And whanne exantus herd these [Page xv] wordes he was sore abasshed / and sayd / In what maner shal I drynke oute alle the see / this may not be / for hit is Impos­syble / wherfore Esope I pray the to counceylle me / yf it plea­seth to the / so that I may Wynquysshe / or els to br [...]ke and sette that bargayn and paction at nought / And Esope sayd to hym thou shalt not Wynquysshe / but parauenture I shalle make / that thou shalt wel breke the paction / And the manere of hit said Esope is this / that whanne thyn aduersarye shalle requy re the to doo and fulfylle thy promesse / thou shalt charge and commaunde to thy seruauntes / that they brynge a table / and al suche other thynges that ben necessary to it vpon the Ryuage of the see / and make the botelers and seruaunts to abyde the­re with the / And before alle the companye thou shalt make a pyece to be wasshen and fylled full of the water of the S [...]e / and shall take it in thy hand / and praye that the paction may be declared before alle the felauship & saye that thou wylt as­seure the promesse as wel before drynke as after / And then­ne thus shalt thou saye to alle the felauship / My lordes of Sa mye ye knowe how yesterday at euen / I made promesse to dryn ke alle the water of the see / but also ye wote wel / how many grete flood [...]s and Ryuers come and falle in to the See / wher­fore I demaunde and aske as rayson is that myn aduersary kepe and hold the Ryuers and floodes / that they entre not in to the see / And thenne I shal drynke al the see / And soo the paction shall be broken and vndone

¶ This historye conteyneth how Exantus excused hym from his promesse by the counceylle of Esope

EXantus thenne knowynge / that the Counceylle of Esope was wel good / he was full gladde / ¶ His Aduersary thenne came before the Cytezeyns of the Cyte te telle and signefye the pactyon and prayed the Iuge that Exantus shold doo that / whiche he hadde promysed to doo / ¶ And Exantus commaunded to alle his seruaun­tes that they sholde bere his bedde / his table / and alle [Page]


other thynges that were necessary to hym vpon the Ryuage of the see / And thenne before alle the company he made a pye [...] to be wassh [...]n and fylled it full of the water of the see / the whiche he tooke in his hand / and sayd to his aduersary / Ex­pose we now / and telle our paction and bargayn / ¶ Exan­tus thenne torned hym toward the felauship / and sayd / My lordes of Sampe / ye wote wel how many floodes and ryuers entre and come in to the see / And yf myn Aduersary wylle [...]pe and hold them stylle / soo that they entre no more in to the see / I shal drynke al the water of the see / And alle they that were there beganne thenne to saye / Exantus sayth wel / And thenne the Scoler aduersary to Exantus sayd / My mayster thou hast Wynquysshed me / wherfore I pray the that oure bar gayne maye be broken / And Exantus sayd I am content / ¶ And whanne Exantus was tourned ageyne to his hous Eso [...]e dyd praye hym sayenge thus / My mayster by cause I haue serued and holpen the wel in thyn nede / lete me go f [...] at my lyberte

[Page xvj]


EXanctus thenne cursed hym / sayeng / grete, hede yet shalt thou not escape free [...]e go fro me / goo thou see & behold before the yate / yf thou canst aspye two crowes to gyder / And thenne thou come ageyne to telle it me / For the syght of two crowes / one nyghe the other is good fortune / but the syght of one allone is euylle fortune / And as Esope yssued oute of the hows / he sawe two crowes vpon a tree / wherfore de soone tourned ageyne / and told it to his Mays­ter / But as Exantus departed oute of the hows the one fle­we awey / Thenne sayd he / grete hede / grete bely / where ben the two crowes that thou sawest / And Esope sayd thus to hym / As I wente to fetche the / the one flewgh awey / And Exan­tus sayd / croked back and euylle shapen / it is euer thus thy manere to mocque me / but thus shalle not thow be quyte / and commaunded to vndoo his clothes and to bete hym / And as men be [...] hym / Exantus was called to his dysner / And then­ne Esope sayd / Allas / how moche myserable I am / For I ha ue sene two crowes to gyder / & am bete / And Exantus whiche sawe but one is called to the dely [...]es / And ther is none / to whome the byrdes ben so contrarye as they are to me / ¶ And whan exantus herd hym / he was moche merueilled of the grete [Page] subtylyte of his wytte / and commaunded them that bete hym / that they shold ce [...]se / And within a lytel whyle after Exan­tus sayd to Esope / goo thou / and dresse vs good metes for our dyner / For alle these lordes shalle dyne with me / And eso pe wente to the market / & bought alle that he wold bye / And whan it was al redy / he brought the metes in to the halle / where he found his maystresse lyenge vpon a bedde slepynge / he awaked her and sayd / Madame yf it please yow / ye shal ta ke hede to this mete that the dogges or cattes ete it not / For I must go in to the kechyn ageyn / And she ansuerd to hym go thou where thou wylt / for my buttokes haue eyen / ¶ And whan Esope had dressyd and made redy al the other metes / he brought them in to the halle / and found his maystresse whi che slepte stylle vpon her bedde h [...]r buttockes toward the table And by cause she had sayd that h [...]r buttokes had eyen / Esope wente and took vp her clothes / so that men myght see her [...] [...] / And thus he lefte h [...]r slepynge /

¶ This Historye conteyneth how Exantus found his wyf a [...] discouered /


[Page xvij] ANd as Exantus with hym his scolers perceyued & sa we his wyf slepynge / her buttoks al bare & naked / by grete vergoyne and shame tourned his face toward Esope / and sayd / knaue / what is this / And Esope sayd / My lord / as I dyd put the mete vpon the table / I prayd my lady that she wold kepe it fro the dogges / And she ansuerd me that her buttoks had eyen / And by cause I founde her slepynge / I discouered her so / to thende / that her buttoks myght the better see and loke aboute / And thenne Exantus said vnto hym / Ha shrewed seruaunt ofte thou hast payd me of suche lesynges / what thynge werse mayst thou doo to me / but to mocke thus my wyf and me also / Neuertheles for the loue and sake of these lordes thou shalt not now be bete / but the tyme shal come that I shall make the deye of an euylle dethe / ¶ And within a whyle after Exantus sayd to Esope / kepe and loke well / that no fooles ydeots entre in to my hows / but only the orato­urs and philosophres / Esope thenne wente / and sette hym be­syde the yate / And as one of the philesophres came to haue on tryd in to the hows / Esope beganne to groygne / and sayd to hym / come in thou dogge / And the philosopher wenynge / that he had mocqued hym / al wrothe and angry wente fro thens / And thus dyd many other / But at the last came there one / whiche was subtyle ynough / to whome Esope dyd / as he hadde done to the other / ¶ And he that was wyse ansuerd hym swetely / And thenne Esope lete hym goo / and entre in to the hows / ¶ And anone he wente ageyne to his lord And sayd to hym / No philosopher is come to the yate / but this one / wherfore Exantus wend that alle the other hadde moc­qued with hym / and was wrothe and angry /

And on the morne as they mette with Exantus / they sa­yd to hym thus / Exantus well thou mocquest vs yesterdaye / For he that kepte thy yate castyng on vs ashrewed loke dyd calle vs dogges / For the whiche thynge Exantus was trou­bled and more angry and wrothe than to fore he was /

And anone he called Esope / and sayd to hym / goo thow Crokedbacked / Counterfaytte / and fals Chorle / they whome thou sholdest haue receyued with worship and greete [Page] honour / thou hast vitupered and mocked / Esope ansuerd to hym / thou hast charged and commaunded me that none I shold lete entre in to thy hows / but wyse and sage philosophres And Exantus sayd to hym / Ha fals face and croked / ben not these wyse and sage / Nay said Esope / For whanne I said that they shold entre / they entryd not / but lyke fooles went ageyne theyr way withoute spekynge of ony word / but thys allone ansuerd wysely / And therfore I repute and hold hym as sage / and they as fooles / For a fool is he that lyghtely ta keth ony word in angre / And thenne alle the sages and phi losophres that were there approuued the ansuere of Esope trew and good / & moche they were merueylled of the grete wyse­dome / whiche was in hym

¶ This history maketh mencyon how Esope found a tresour And how Exantus made hym to be put in pryson /


ANd within a lytel whyle after / as exantus was with Esope / beholdynge the greete sepulcres or Tombes / [Page xviij] and the Epytaphes of the auncyent folke / ¶ And Esope whiche perceyued an arche / whiche was nyghe of a columpne vnto the whiche men wente vp to it by foure steppes he wente thyder / and sawe somme lettres withoute consonaunce or vn­derstandynge / sauf only by poyntes intytuled after the maner and forme of these lettres whiche ben latyn lettres / A / B / D O / ct / H / c / H / Esope called his mayster and sayd to hym / My lord what bytokenen these lettres / Exantus loked and be held them wel / And a long whyle he thought what they syg­nefyed / And by cause he coude not vnderstonde the signyficaci­on of them / he sayd to Esope / telle me what these lettres sig­nefyen / And Esope said to hym / My lord yf I shewe the here a fayr tresour / what reward shalle I receyue of the / Exantus his mayster sayd to hym / haue thou a good courage / For I shalle gyue to the fredome and lyberte and the half of this tresour / And anone Esope wente doune the four steppes / and so depe he delued at the foote of the columpne / that he found the tresour the whiche anone he gaf to his lord and sayd to hym / My lord I praye the that now thou wylt doo to me as thou hast promysed me / & Exantus sayd to hym / or euer thou haue lyberte and fredome / thou must lerne and teche me how thow wost and knowest this scyence / for more I repute & sette by the scyence & hold it to gretter merueylle / than to haue the tresour / Esope said thenne to hym / he that fyrst put here this tresour as philosophye denoteth and specyfyeth it by the [...] the whiche ben here wreton in latyn / Ascende gradus istos qua tuor fodias / et inuenies thesaurum auri / ¶ And after Exantus told hym / Syth thou arte soo subtyl / thow shalte not yet haue no lyberte / ¶ And Esope sayd to hym Loke wel what thou doost / For this Tresoure apperteyneth to the kynge / And Exantus asked of hym and sayd / How knowest thow hit / By the lettres whiche signyfyen to vs / that thow gyue and take to the kynge Dyonysyus the Tre­sour whiche thou hast found / ¶ And whanne Ex­antus herd hym saye that the tresour whiche they had so foū ­de / was apperteynynge to the kynge Dyonysices / he sayde thus to Esope / Take the halfe of alle this Tresoure / and [Page] and lete no man knowe of it / ¶ Esope thenne sayd to hym / thou gyuest it me nought / but he that put and delued it here / gyueth it to me / And Exantus sayd / how knowest thow hit ¶ And Esope ansuerd to hym / For the lett [...] folowynge she­wen and signyfyen hit / that is to wete / E / D / Q / I / T / A / the whiche lettres signefyen this latyn / Euntes dimitte quem in­uenistis thesaurum auri / And thenne sayd Exantus / goo we home / and there shalle we departe it /

¶ This Historye maketh mency on how Esope was delyuerd oute of pryson / And how Exantus promysed to hym that he shold gyue hym fredome and lyberte


ANd as Exantus was tourned ageyne in to his howe fro the place where as esope had foūd the tresour in the tresour before seid he merueiled of the wysedom yt was in [Page xix] Esope / but for the lyberte and fredome whiche he demaunded he was woothe and angry / And dredyng the tongue of Esope made hym to be put fast in pryson / And Esope said to hym / This is a fayr promesse of a philosopher / thou knowest well / how thow promysest to me lyberte / And in stede of fredome & lyberte I am put in pryson / And as Exantus herd hym soo speke he reuoked and [...]unged his sentence / & made hym to be delyuerd / ¶ And after he sayd to Esope / yf thou wylt be putte to thy lyberte / hold thy tongue in peas / and accuse me nomore / And Esope sayd / do what pleaseth the / For wylt thou or not thou shalt put me to my lyberte / ¶ That same tyme be felle a merueyllous dede within the Cyte of Samye / For as men playd there the comyn and publyk playes / as yet at this tyme is custome to doo in many good Cytees / An Egle soden ly flewhe thorugh all the communyte of the peple / and toke & [...]ure awey with hym the rynge and the Seal of hym that so­ueraynly had the myght & puyssaunce of al the Cyte / And lete it falle in to the pytte of a man whiche was in lyberte / For the whiche dede and token alle the peple of Samye was grete­ly meruaylled / And thenne arose a grete rumour thorugh the Cyte among the peple / For moche they were doubtuous of som persecucion / & wyst not what that thyng myght signefye / wher fore they were in grete doubte and in grete henynesse / And ther for Incontynent they came toward Exantus / as to hym whi­che they held for the moost sage and wyse man of all the cy­te of Samye / and demaunded of hym what this meruaylle sygnyfyed / and also what thynge myght befalle therof / Ex­antus was ygnoraunt / & knewe not the signyfycacion of this merueyll / wherfore he demaunded of the peple tyme & space for to gyue herupon an ansuere / Exantus thenne was in grete he­uynesse and dolour by cause he wyst not what he shold saye / ne ansuere to the peple / And Esope whiche sawe hym so heuy / and ful of sorowe / demaunded of hym and sayd / why arte thou soo heuy in thy courage / leue sorowe / and take with the Ioye and gladnesse / gyue to me the charge for to ansuere to the Samyens / And to morne thou shalt saye to them suche wordes / My lordes of Samye / I am no dynyn ne Interpre­tour of the merueyllous thynges which ben to come / Netheles [Page] I haue a seruaunt in my hows / whiche as he sayth can telle suche thynges / yf it please yow I shalle make hym come befo re yow / And thēne yf by my coūceyll I satisfye alle the felau ship / thou shalt therfore receyue & haue worship glorye & prouf fyt / And yf I can not satisfye them / thou shalt be delyuerd of grete Infamye and shame / And I shalle be rebuked & put to grete shame / Thenne Exantus hauynge his trust in the wordes of Esope wente on the morowe in to the grete place of Samye / and assembled there the peple of the Cyte and went vp on hyghe where as the Iuge was acustomed to sytte / and that whiche he had lerned of his seruaunt Esope / he declared there byfore the Samyens / the whiche thynges by hym reherced and sayd / / prayd hym that he wold make his seruaunt to come thyder before them / Esope came anone thyder / And as he was before all the company / alle the peple of the Samyens loked and byheld hym with grete merueyll / by cause he was so co [...]fayted and crosted of body / and sayd / loke here [...]s a fayre persone able to be a sewre dyuyn / and wente & moc­ked with hym / ¶ And Esope beynge thenne on the hyghest party of asse the place / began to make a token or signe wyth his hand vnto the peple of the Samyens / to thende / that they shold holde theyr peas and kepe scylence amonge them / And sayd do them in this manere / My lordes for what cause lawghe yow & scorne me of my fygure & forme / & knowe ye not that men must not loke in the face of a mā to see & byhold of what fygure or forme that he is of / but only to knowe his wysedom Also men ought not to loke and take hede to the vessel / but to suche thyng as is within the vessel / For ofte a fowle vessel is full of good wyn / And thenne whan the Samyens herd the­se wordes / they sayd to Esope / Yf thou canst gyue vs good counceylle for the welthe of alle the comyn peple / we al praye the that thou wylt doo it anone / And thenne Esope hauynge confydence and trust in his wysedome and scyence / sayd thus / Nature or kynd of the whiche cometh all good / hath this daye set & put debute or stryf bitwene the lord & the seruaunt / for he that shall wynquysshe shal not be paid ne rewarded after his desserte / for yf the lord gete the victorye I that am his serua­unt shal haue no lyberte / as ryȝt requyreth / but I shal be bete [Page xx] and cursed / & also emprysoned / wherfor yf ye wil / that I gyue yow good enseygnemēt of that that ye demaūde & aske I requy re you that ye do make me free & be put ageyn in to my lyberte to thende that with trust & good cōfydence I may speke to you And I promyt & enseure yow that I shal shewe vnto yow the sygnyfycacion and vnderstandynge of this angry or signe / & thenne they al with an egal wys sayde / he axeth thyng resona­ble & Iuste / wherfor exātus shal make hym to be free as reson is / the whiche thyng exantus reffused to doo / And the lord of the auctoryte publyke sayd vnto hym / Exantus yf thou wyl [...] not obeye to the peple by the vertue of myn auctoryte / I shal take hym out of thy seruytude & shal humble thy self in the tem ple of Iunoys

¶ This historye folowyng maketh mencyon / hou esope was restitued into his lyberte


ANd by cause that exantus was requyred & prayd by al his good frendes that he shold restore & put esope in to lyberte / he said to Esope / hou be hit that it is not by my good wyl I gyue the lyberte / And anon he thatmade them [Page] the cryes and proclamacions wente in to al the places wh [...] suche cryes were done / Exantus the philosopher hath gyuen ly­berte to Esope / And thus was acoomplysshed that / what esope had said / wyll ye or wyl you not / I shal ones be put in to ly­berte / And thenne Esope went in to the myddes of alle the fo­lauship / and made signe with his hand that euery one shold kepe pees [...] scyl [...]nte / And after said to them / My lordes of Sa mye / the Aygle whiche is kynge aboue al other byrdes / As the kynges ben▪ aboue the peple hath take awey the rynge and scal of your perfect or gouernour / This bytokeneth / and syg­nefyeth / that a kynge shalle demaunde & axe your lyberte / and shal destroye alle your lawes / And whan the Samyens herd the wordes / they wexed and became al abusshed & sore aferd And anon after came a pursyuaunt or messager / whiche bro­ught with hym Royal lettres / the whiche demaunded after the [...] of the Samyens / this messager was brought before the coun [...]ylle of the towne / to whome he presented & toke his l [...]ēs in the whiche was conteyned that whiche folowed / ¶ Cressus kynge of lyndye [...]s / To the Senate & comyn peple of Samye antynge / I commaunde yow that ye doo to me obeyssounce & that ye paye to me my tr [...]butes / the whiche thynge yf ye reffu­se it to fulfyll & do / I shall put yow [...]l to dethe & br [...]ne your toune / the whiche lettres sene & redde / the samyens were al a­ [...]ssded / & for drede were enclyned & wyllyng to obeye vnto him Neuertheles they wold knowe & haue the coun [...]ylle of esope & pr [...]id hym to saye therof his sentence / the which wente & sette hym in the syege / & said to them My lordes of Samye / how be [...] / that I wylle / that ye be enclyned to oleye the kyng of lyn­dye / Neuertheles to thende that I may counceylle yow that whi che is nedeful & couenable for the publyke welthe & prouffyt I do yow to know / that fortune in this mortal lyf sheweth ii thynges & two maners of wayes / The one is lyberte wherof the begynnynge is bard / and dyffy [...]yle / but thende of hit is good swete and facyle / The other waye is seruytude / wherof the begynnynge is facyle / but thende therof is sharp / ful bytter and hard / And whan the samyens herd these wordes kno­wynge what it behoueth to the publyk & comyn welthe / beh [...]ld & took aduys of the sentence of Esope / And sayd al to gydre [Page xxj] Bycause that we be in lyberte / we wylle not be seruaunts to no man / And with this ansuere sente ageyne the Messager to Cressus / And whan the kyng herd this ansuere / he was wroth & sorowful / & gadred al his men of werre / and also all the no­bles & gentyls of his reame / & made a grete armee for to haue destroyed the Samyens / the whiche thyng he myght wel haue brought about had not be his messager / whiche sayd to hym / Ryght dere Syre & my souerayne lord / thou mayst not be auē ­gyd of the Samyens as longe as they haue Esope with them whiche in al their affayres & nede helpeth & counceylleth them / wherfore hit is necessary that thou sende an ambassade vnto the Samyens / that they wyll sende to the Esope / & that thou shalt pardonne & forgyue to them theyr offence / For yf thou mayst haue Esope / they of Samye ben in thyn hand / And the kyng sodenly sent an ambassade to them of Samye / the whiche Am­bassatours applyqued & sette theyre wyttes to shewe vnto the Senate of Samye the wylle of their lerd Cressus / & said that they shold sende Esope to the lord Cressus / ¶ And whan E­sope vnderstode what the kynge demaunded / he said to the Sa­myens / My lordes It pleaseth me wel to go toward the kyng But er I go thyder I wyl telle you a fable


¶ This historye maketh mencion / how the wolues sente am­bassa [...]ours vnto the Sheep

IN a tyme whan the bestes coude speke the wolues ma de werre ageynst the shepe / And by cause that the she­pe myght not kepe them ne hold ageynst the wolues they demaunded helpe of the dogges / the whiche fyghtyng for the sheep made the wolues to torne them backward / ¶ And by cause the wolues coude ne myght not gete ne haue ony pro ye ne wynne nothynge vpon the sheep for the loue of the dog­ges that kepte the sheep / the wolues sent an Ambassade vnto the sheep for to haue perpetuel pees with them / And for to ha ue pees / the wolues went and demaunded that for to esche we al suspecion / the dogges shold be taken to the wolues / or els destroyed for euer / And the sheep as fooles and for to haue good pees consented to this demaunde / And whan the dogges were slayne / the wolues tooke vengeaunce on the sheep as ap pyereth / whanne Esope hadde reherced this fable / the Samyens determyned in them self that Esope shold not go toward the kyng

¶ This historye couteyneth / how Esope obeyed not to the sa­myens / but went toward the kyng


[Page xxij] ESope obeyed not to the wylle of the Samyens / but went with the Ambassade toward the kynge / And whan he was come in to the kynges Courte / the kyng seynge that Esope was soo gretely disformed and coūterfaite of body / he was wrothe and angry with hym self / And sayd as by grete merueylle is the same he / for the trust of whome / they of Samye wylle not obeye to me / ¶ Esope thenne sayd / Haryght dere syre and kynge magnysyke / certaynly I am not come before thy mageste by force / but of my good wylle I am comen to the / trustynge soo moche of thy benygnyte / that thou shalt here what I sha [...]e say to the / The kynge gafe hym audyence and leue to saye what he wold / and thus he sa­yd / that other daye was a man whiche chaced the flyes / the whiche man took a nyghtyngale / the whiche seyng that he wol de haue kylled her / prayd to the fawkoner / sayenge / I praye the that withoute cause thou wylt not slee me / For to no body I doo no harme ne domage / For I ete not the corne / ne wyth my hornes I hurte no body / but gyue solas and Ioye to all them that gone by the way of my songe and boys / and in me shalt thou fynde but only the boyce / And whan the Faukoner herd these wordes he lete goo her / wherfore ryght dere Syre I praye the that withoute cause / I whiche am nought / and as nothynge / thou wylt not slee me / For to no body I doo no harme / ne also wold I doo / And for the debylyte and feble­nesse of my body I may nought doo / but I can speke and say thynges whiche ben prouffitable to them that ben in the mortal lyf of this present world / The kynge was thenne merueylled and moued of pyte and of myserycorde sayd to Esope / I gy ue not to the thy lyf / but fortune gyueth it to the / And yf thou wylt haue ony thynge of me / / aske hit / and hit shall be graū ted / & gyuen to the / And Esope sayd Ryght dere Syre only one thynge I demaunde of the / that is to wete / that thou gy­ue me the trybutes of the Samyens / wel sayd the kynge I am content / Thenne kneled Esope and sayd to the kynge / Sy­re I thanke and regracye yow moche / And after that he com posed the fables whiche ben wr [...]ton in this booke / and to the kynge he gaf them / And demaunded of hym the lettres of the gyfte for the remyssion of the trybutes of the Samyens / the [Page] whiche he delyuerd to hym by the kynges commaundement / & with his good wyl with many other grete yeftes / And Eso pe thenne took leue of the kynge / and to Samye he retorned ¶ whanne Esope was arryued in to Samye / the Samyens receyued hym worshipfully / and made grete Ioye of his co­mynge / And Esope commaunded to the peple to be assembled to gyder at a certayne houre in to the comyn place / ¶ Thenne wente Esope and sette hym in the syege and recyted & redde the Royal lettres / how the kynge Crossus remytted and for­gaf to them the trybutes / After this Esope departed fro Sa­mye / and wold goo to disporte hym self thorugh many regy­ons / nacions and Cyt [...]es gyuynge enseygnementes / by histo ryes and fables to the mortall men / He came to Babyloyne / And by cause he dyd shewe there his sapyence / he was well receyued / and worshipfully festyed of Sycurre kyng of ba­byloyne / And at that tyme the kynges dyd sende the one to the other playes and proposycions problematyks / and suche other playsaunces for theyr disportes / And he whiche coude not in­terprete them / sente trybute to hym that sended them / ¶ And by cause that Esope coude wel interprete them taught to the kynge of Babyloyne the maner of hit / And syn he composed there many fables whiche the kyng of Babyloyn sente to other kynges / And by cause they coude not interprete them they fen ce many trybutes to the kynge of Babyloyne / wherfore the ro­yalme was eslargysshed and fylled of many grete Ryches­ses / And after that by cause Esope had no children / he adop­ted a noble and yonge child to his sone / the whiche he presen ted to the kynge / And he receyued hym as he had be his own sone / whiche child was named Enus / This Enus within a lytel whyle after / medled with the chamberere of Esope whi­che he held for his wyf / and knewe her bodyly / And by cause he was in grete doubte that Esope wold auenge hym he ac­cused Esope toward the kynge of cryme of lezemageste or treason / and composed fals lettres shewynge by them to the kynge / how by the fables whiche he sente here and thyder he hadde bytrayd hym / and that he had conspyred his dethe

[Page xxiij]


¶ This Historye maketh mencyon / how the kynge commaun­ded that Esope shold be put in his fyrst dygnyte and offyce And how he pardonned / and forgaf to his adopted sone /

THe kynge Lycurius byleuynge and gyuyng credence to the accusacion maade ageynste Esope was gretely wrothe / And commaunded to Herope his Seneschalle that Esope shold be put to deth / And Herope seynge / that this sentence was not Iuste / kepte Esope secretely within a sepul­cre / And alle his goodes were confysked to his sone whiche had accused hym / And within a longe whyle after / Nectana bus whiche was kynge of Egypte wenynge that Esope had be putte to dethe / as the comyn renomme or talkynge was sent a proposycion problematyke to Lycurre kyng of babyloyne / the whiche conteyneth this that foloweth / Nectanabus kynge of Egypte / to Lycurre kynge of Babyloyne gretynge / By cause that I wylle edyffye or byld a towre / the whiche shalle not touche heuen ne erthe / I praye the. that thow wylt sende me massons for to make vp the sayd Toure / And this prayer [Page] by the accomplysshed / I shalle gyue to the ten trybutes of al my Reame and londes / And whan the kynge of Babyloyne herd this demaunde / he was gretely troubled and wroth / and thought how he myght satisfye and gyue an ansuere to this question / And thenne he called to hym al his sages for to ha­ue the solucion of the said question / And by cause that none conde make the soluaon / the kynge was more angry than to fo re / And for the grete sorowe that he took herof he felte doune to the ground / and sayd Allas I am wel myserable and my; schannt / that haue lost the crowne of my Royalme / cursed be he by whome I made Esope to be put to dethe / ¶ And thenne whan Herope the Seneschall knewe the grete anguysshe and sorowe of the kynge / he sayd to hym / Ryght dere Syre take nomor [...] sorowe ne afflyction in thyn herte / but pardone and forgyue me / For I made not Esope to be put to dethe / as thou commaundest me / For wel I wyste that yet thou sholdest ha­ue nede of hym / And doubtynge to doo ageynst thy mageste / syn that tyme vnto this day / I haue kepte hym in a sepulcre / ¶ And whanne the kynge herd these wordes / he wexed ful of Iope / And anone rose fro the ground where as he laye / & wente and enbraced his Seneschall / sayenge / yf hit be so that Esope maye be yet on lyue / durynge my lyf I shalle be boūd to the / And therfore I praye the / yf hit be soo / lete hym come to me anone / Esope was brought before the kyng / whiche fyll doune to the kynges feet / And whanne the kynge sawe that Esope was so pale and afflyged / he had of hym pyte / and com maunded or bidde that he sholde be taken vp / and clothed of newe / And whanne Esope was vpon his feet / he came before the kynge / and ful mekely salewed hym / And demaunded of hym the cause why he had ben put in pryson / And the kyng sayd to hym / that his adopted sone Enus hadde accused hym And thenne the kynge commaunded / that Enus shold be pu­nysshed of suche payne / of the whiche oughte to be punysshed they that make theire faders to deye / But Esope prayd the kynge that he wold forgyue hym / And thenne the kyng she­wed to Esope the question of the kynge of Egypte / ¶ And whanne Esope had sene the lettres he sayd to the kynge / wry­te and sende ageyne this sentence to the kynge of Egypte / [Page xxiiij] gyuynge to hym this ansuere / that after the wynter shal be passed and gone / thou shalt sende vnto hym werkmen for to byld and make vp his toure / and for to ausuere to hym in al thynges / And thus he sente his Ambussatours to the kynge of Egypte / After this the kynge made al the goodes of egipt After this the kynge made alle the goodes of Esope to be res­tytued vnto hym / and to be put in his fyrst dygnyte gyuyng to hym auctoryte and myght to punysshe his sone after his wylle / But Esope benygnely receyued ageyne in to his own hows his adopted sone / and swetely chastysed and corryged hym / and sayd to hym / My sone kepe thou my comaundemēts and take and put them in to thy courage / For we gyue well counceylle to other / but for vs we can not take hit / ¶ And by cause that thou arte an humayne man thou must be subgette to fortune / And therfore thou shalt fyrst loue god / and shalle kepe thy self fro the wrath and angre of thy kynge / And by cause that thou arte an humayne man haue thenne cure and sollycitude of humayne thynges / For god punyssheth the euyll and wycked folke / and also it is not heuenly thynge to doo to ony body ony harme / but shewe thy self cruell to thyn ene­myes to thende that of them thou be not condampned / And to thy frendes make ioyefull semblaunt and good there / to then­de that thou mayst haue euer the soner theyre help and good wylle / For thou oughtest to desyre and wysshe prosperyte and welfare to alle thy frendes / and aduersyte to alle thyn enemy­es / Thou must speke fayre to thy wyf / to thende that she take none other man / For by cause a woman is moche varyable and meuable / as men flatere and speke fayre to her / she then [...] ne is lasse enclyned to doo ony euylle / kepe the wel fro the felauship of a man to moche cruel / For how be hit that he ha­ue good prosperyte yet he is myserable / Stop thyn eres / and kepe and hold wel thy tongue / kepe the fro moche talkynge / And haue not enuye of other mens good / For enuye letteth the enuyous / Haue cure and regard ouer thy famylle or mey ny / and that thou be loued lyke a lord / Haue shame in thy self to doo ageynst reason / And be not neclygent or recheles to lerne euery daye / Telle not thy counceylle to thy wyf in no wyse / Spend and wast not thy good wylfully / For better is [Page] to a man to leue his goodes after his dethe / than to be indy▪ gent and a begger in his lyf / ¶ Salewe or grete Ioyously suche as thou mete by the waye / For the dogge maketh wyth his taylle feest and chere to them that he knoweth by the waye ¶ Mo [...]e no body / ¶ And neuer [...]sse thy wytte to sapyence ¶ And alle that thou [...]west yeld it ageyne with good will to thence that men lene to the another tyme with good wylle ¶ And they whiche thou mayst wel [...]lpe / refuse them not / ¶ Kepe the fro euylle companye / ¶ And thyn affayres or be synes sh [...]we vnto thy Frendes / ¶ And beware that thou do nothynge. wherof thou mayst repente the after / ¶ And whanne aduersyte shalle come on the / bere it pacyently / ¶ Lodge and her [...]owe them that ben vnpurueyed of lodges / A good word is medycyn ageynst the vy [...] / ¶ Certaynly he is wel happy that maye gete to hym a good frend / For nothynge is soo se­cretely [...]epte / but that ones it is knowen and manyfested /

¶ This Historye maketh mencion / how Enus departed f [...] [...]ope and kylled hym self


[Page xxv] And after many admonestementes and techynges E­ [...]s the sone of Esope departed fro the companye of Esope seyng that Iniustly and withoute [...]use he had accused hym / He was full of heuynesse and sorowfull / and wente vp to the top of a hyghe montayne / And fro thens he dyd cast hym self doune to the foote of the hylle / And thus wylfully he brake his bones / and kyld hym self / as he that euer had kepte euylle rewle and mysgouernaunce / For of euylle lyf foloweth euylle ende / ¶ After this Esope commaū ­ded to the Faukeners that they shold take foure yonge egles whiche were yet within theyr nest / And whanne Esope hadde them / he acustomed and taught them for to ete theyr mete hy­ghe and lowe / and eche of them had to theyr feet two children fasted and bounden / and as the children lyfte vpward or ma de theyr mete to come dounward / the yonge egles in lyke wyse flough vp & doune for to take theyr mete / And these thynges thus dressyd and made / and that the wynter was gone & pas sed / Esope took his leue of the kynge [...]ycurre / and with his Egles and children wente in to Egypte / And whanne Eso­pe arryued and came byfore the kynge of Egypte / the kynge seyng that Esope was Crokedbucked and counterfayted of bo dy / thought in hym self that he was but a beest / and that the kyng of Babyloyne mocqued hym and his persone / For he consydered not that a fowle vessell may be full of ryght good wyn / For men must not only take hede to the vessel / but to that whiche is in hit / ¶ Esope thenne kneled before the kynge and moche humbly he salewed hym / And the kynge syttyng in his mageste receyued hym ryght graciously and benyngly / sayeng to hym in this manere / how lykest thow me and the myn / And Esope ansuerd Syre thow lykest and semest to me to be the sonne / and thy men the sparkes of hit /

¶ This Historye maketh mencion how Esope rendryd the so­lucion to the kynge of Egypte vpon the question / whiche he sente to the kynge of Babyloyne /


WHanne the kynge herd the ansuere of Esope / [...] was moche merueylled of that he was so subtyle in his an suere / and sayd to hym in this manere / Hast thou bro­ght with the all them whiche shalle edyffye and make vp my Tour / y [...] sayd Esope / but fyrst thow must shewe to me the pla [...] where as thow wylle haue it / ¶ [...]he kynge thenne departed oute of his palays / and ledde Esope in to a fayr fold / and sayd / Seest thow this fayre feld / It is the place where I wylle haue my toure edyffyed /

¶ Esope thenne to eche corner of this feld leyd an Egle with [...]o children / The child held thenne the mete vpward in to the a [...]r / and the egles beganne to flee after hit / ¶ And thenne the Children with a hyghe wys beganne to crye / sa­yeng / brynge now to vs claye stones & bryk / wood & tye [...] [Page] for to haue byld vp the toure / ¶ And whanne the kyng saw this / he said to Esope as by grete admyracion. how sayd he / haue ye men in your land whiche haue wynges / And Esope sayd / many suche one we haue there / ¶ Thenne sayd the kyng to Esope / thow hast wynquysshed me by thy reasons and wor des / But I praye the and requyre / that thow wylt ansuere to me vpon a questyon whiche is thys / I haue maade mares to be broughte to me oute of Grece / the whiche conceyue [...] and bere horses by the help of the horses / that ben in Babyloyne / And Esope thenne ansuerd to hym / Syre / to morne I shalle gyue to the an ansuere vpon this question /

And after that Esope was retorned in to his lodgys / said in this manere to his seruaunte / Make ye so amonge yow all that ye gete me a grete Catte / And the seruauntes accomplys shed the commaundement of Esope / ¶ Esope then­ne openly before alle the folke maade the Catte to be bete wyth roddes / ¶ And as the Egypcyans sawe this / they ran anone after the sayd catte for to haue take hym / but they myght not the whiche faytte or dede the Egypciens wente and shewed it to the kynge / ¶ And anone the kynge commaunded that E­sope shold be brought to fore his persone /

And whanne he was before his mageste / the k [...]ng sayd to hym / Esope come hyder / what hast thow done / wos [...]e thow wel that the god whiche is adoured and worshypped of vs / is of suche fygure and lykenesse as a catte / For certeynly alle the Egypcyens worshyppeth the ydolle maade after the forme and fygure of a catte / wherfore gretely thow haste of­fended / ¶ And Esope sayd thus to the kynge / Syre this fals and euylle beest / on the nyghte laste passyd offended gretely ageynst the kynge of Babyloyne

For this beest hath slayne a Cok whiche be moche loued by cau se he fought strongly / And sange on all the houres of the nyȝt And the kynge thenne seyd to hym / Esope I had neuer by­leuyd that thow sholdest haue madde soo grete a lesynge before me / For hit maye not be that this catte shold haue gone and come on a nyght fro hens to Babyloyne /

And esope smylyng sayd to hym / Syre in suche maner cometh [Page] and goth fro Babyloyne hyther the horses of Babyloyn by the whiche thy marys / brought oute of grece couceyuen and be re yong horses / ¶ And thenne after these wordes sayd by Esope / the kynge preysed gretely the sapyence of Esope / ¶ And the kynge made more of hym and more worshipped hym than he dyd to fore / ¶ And on the next mo [...]we the kyng of Egypt made al the best and grettest philosophres and wyse men of alle his Countrey to be called before hym / the whiche he infourmed of the grete subtylyte [...] wytte of Esope / And commaunded them to come to souper in to his Courte wyth Esope / ¶ And as they were syttynge at the table / the one of them sayd thus to Esope / Thou must pardonne me / For here I am se [...]te to speke with the / ¶ And Esope ansuerd to hym Saye what hit pleaseth to the / It is not / God is wylle that no man shold make ony lesynge / wherfor youre wordes shewen / that lytylle ye drede and loue youre god / For ye talke and saye but fables and lesynges / ¶ And after another sayd to hym / there is a grete Temple in the whiche is a Columpne / ryght grete / the whiche Columpne bereth and susteyneth xij / Cytees / And euery Cyte is couerd with thyrtty grete saylles vpon the whiche two wymmen ben euer rennynge / And Esope ansuerd to hym in this manere / The smal and ly tyll children of Babyloyne knowe the solucion of this ques­tyon / For thie Temple wherof thou spekest is the heuen / and the columpne is the erthe / And the twelue Cytees ben the twelue monethes of the yere / and the thyrtty sayllys ben the dayes of the monethes / And by the two wymmen whiche euer withoute cesse renne ouer the thyrtty saylles / is to vnder stonde the day and nyght / ¶ Thenne sayd the kynge of egipt to the lordes of his Courte / Hit is now ryght and reason / that I send trybutes and yeftes vnto the kyng of Baby­loyne / ¶ And one of them sayd to the kynge / Syre we must yet make to hym another question / the whiche is this what is hit / that we neuer herd ne neuer we sawe / And the kynge thenne beganne to saye to Esope / I pray the to gyue solucion of this question And Esope retourned in to his lodges and fayned to make [Page xxvij] an oblygacion / In the whiche Esope made to be wreton thys whiche foloweth / I Nectanabus kynge of Egypte knowe be­fore alle men to haue borowed of the kynge Lycurre a thousād marke of gold / the whiche I Nectanabus kynge of Egypte promytte to rendre hit and paye to the sayd kynge Lycurre within a certeyn terme / whiche as thenne was passed / the whi che Cyrographe or wrytynge Esope presented on the morne so lowynge to the kynge of Egypte / Gretely was the kynge es­merneylled of this Cyrographe / And sayd to the noble men of his Courte whiche were there presente / Haue yow euer sene ne herd saye that the kynge Lycurre had lente to me ony mo ney ne other thynge / And the knyghtes sayden Nay / ¶ Esope thenne sayd to them / yf hit be as ye saye to me / your question is assoylled / For now ye haue herd and sene that / whiche ye herd ne sawe neuer / ¶ And thenne the kynge of Egypte sa­yd that the kynge Lycurre was well happy and eurous to ha ue in his myght and subiection suche a subget and seruaunt / as Esope was / And sente ageyne Esope in to Babyloyne / with grete yeftes and trybutes for the kynge of Babyloyne /

¶ This Historye maketh mencyon how Esope retorned in to Babyloyn / ¶ And how for to make hym to be worshipped he dyd do make a statue or ymage of gold

THan Esope was come before the kynge of Babyloyn he told and reherced to hym al that he had done in E­gypte / wherfore the kynge commaunded / that in the worship of Esope a statue or ymage of gold shold be sette in the publyke or comyn place / ¶ And within a whyle after eso pe had desyre & wylle for to goo in to grece / and asked leue of the kynge for to goo thyder / wherof the kynge was soroufull And Esope promysed to hym that he shold ret [...]rne in to Ba­byloyne / And that there he wold lyue and deye with hym / And thus the kynge graunted hym leue / And as Esope was goyng & walkyng thurgh al the cytees


[Page] THe whiche thynge Esope denyed and agaynsayd / And thenne the Delphyns vnbynded the male in the whiche they found the Coup of gold / And then­ne wente and shewed it before the people / And consyderynge and seynge the waye of their malyce and wykkednes also knowynge that he myght not escape beganne to wepe / & to ma­ke sorowe on his fortune / And one of his frendes named de­mas as he sawe Esope thus wepynge / comforted hym sayeng Haue good courage and reioyse thy self / And anone the del­phyns wente and concluded to gyder / that they as a sacryle­ge worthy to receyue vylaynous dethe / shold take Esope and make hym to be ledde vpon a hyghe Montayne / for to be there throwen doune fro the top of the hylle vnto the fote of hit / Whanne Esope knewe theyre sentence / he sayd to them and re­herced this fable for to withdrawe them oute of theyre malyce / and sayd that pees was amonge alle beestes / the ratte and the frogge loued moche eche other / And the Ratte called the frogge for to come and soupe with hym / The ratte sayd to the frogge / ete of that whiche pleaseth to the / And as they hadde ynough / the frogge sayd to the Ratte / come with me / and thou shalt be wel festyed atte souper / And to thende that thou maist the better passe the Ryuer / thou shalt bynd thy self to my fo­te / The ratte was bound to the frogges feet / And anone the frogge lepte in to the water / and drewe the Rat after her / And as the Ratte was nyghe drowned he sayd to the frogge / wrongly thou makest me suffre dethe / but they that shall abyde on lyue / shalle auenge this mysdede on the / And as they were thus drawynge the one forward and the other backward A kyte seynge this stryf and delate / took them bothe to gyder / & ete them / And semblably ye make me to deye wrongfully / But Babyloyne and grece shalle auenge me vpon yow / But yet for al this the Delphyns lete not goo Esope / but in stede of dethe they drewe and polled hym shrewdly / and the best wyse that he coude he deffended and reuenged hym self a­geynst them

¶ This History [...] maketh mencyon how Esope ended and [...]


ANd as Esope was thus fyghtynge ageynst them / he scaped oute of theyr handes and fledde in to the Tem ple of Appollo / but al that prouffited hym nothynge For by force and strengthe they had & drewe hym oute of the Temple / And thenne they ledde hym where as they wold ha­ue hym for to be put to dethe / And Esope seynge hym so Vytu pered sayd to them in this manere / ¶ My lordes drede yow not your god Appollo shalle auenge me vpon yow / but not withstondynge alle that he coude saye he was broughte to the place where he shold deye / And seynge that he coude not scape fro them / he beganne to reherce to them this fable / A wo­man was ones the whiche had a doughter whiche was vyr­gyne and foole / ¶ The moder prayd ofte to the goddes / that they wold gyue to her doughter wytte and raysen / her doughter was ones with her in the Temple / and herd what she sayd in her prayer / And as this mayde was ones gone in to the feldes / she sawe a man whiche fylled a sak ful of cor [...] [...] [Page] how the delphyns had put Esope to dethe / they came to Del­ph [...]e for to punysshe them whiche had Iniustly and mysera­bly put Esope to dethe /

¶ Here endeth the lyf of Esope /

And foloweth the Regys­tre of the fables of his fyrste booke /

  • ¶ The fyrst fable is of the Cok and of the precious stone
  • ¶ The second fable is of the wulf and of the lambe
  • ¶ The thyrd fable is of the rat and of the frogge / and of the kyte /
  • ¶ The fourth fable is of the dogge and sheep
  • ¶ The fyfthe fable is of the dogge and of the pyece of flesshe
  • ¶ The syxthe fable is of the lyon / of the Cowe / of the goote / and of the sheep
  • ¶ The seuenth fable is of the theef & of the sonne
  • ¶ The eyght fable is of the wulf and of the crane
  • ¶ The nynthe fable is of the two dogges
  • ¶ The x fable is of the man and of the serpente
  • ¶ The xi fable is of the asse / and of the wyld bore
  • ¶ The xii fable is of the two rats
  • ¶ The xiij fable is of the Egle and of the foxe
  • ¶ The xiiij fable is of the egle / of the nut / & of the rat
  • ¶ The xv fable is of the rauen and of the foxe
  • ¶ The xvj fable is of the lyon / of the wyld bore / of the bool and of the asse
  • ¶ The xvij fable is of the asse and of the bytche
  • ¶ The xviij fable is of the lyon and of the rat
  • ¶ The xix fable is of the myllan whiche was seke / and of his moder
  • ¶ The xx fable is of the swalowe and of other byrdes

¶ Here begynneth the preface or prologue of the fyrste book of Esope


I Romulus sone of thybere of the Cyte of Alyque / gre­tyng / Esope man of grece / subtyle and Ingenyous / techeth in his fables how men ought to kepe and rew­le them well / And to thende that he shold shewe the lyf and customes of al maner of men he induceth the byrdes / the trees and the beestes spekynge to thende that the men may knowe wherfore the fables were found / In the whiche he hath wreton the malyce of the euylle people and the argument of the Im­probes / He techeth also to be humble and for to vse wordes / And many other fayr Ensamples reherced and declared he­re after / the whiche I Romulus haue translated oute of gre­kez tongue in to latyn tongue / the whiche yf thou rede them / they sha [...]e aguyse and sharpe thy wytte and shal gyue to the cause of Ioye /


¶ The thyrd fable is of the rat / and of the frogge /


NOw it be so / that as the rat wente in pylgremage / he came by a Ryuer / and demaunded helpe of a frogge for to passe / and go ouer the water / And thenne the frogge bound the rats foote to her foote / and thus swymed vnto the myddes ouer the Ryuer / And as they were there the frogge stood stylle / to thende that the rat shold be drowned / And in the meane whyle came a kyte vpon them / and bothe [...] them with hym / This fable made Esope for a symplytude whiche is prouffitable to many folkes / For he that thynketh euylle ageynst good / the euylle whiche he thynketh shall ones [...] vpon hym self

¶ The fourth fable is of the dogge and of the sheep

OF the men chalengynge / whiche euer be sekynge occasi on to doo some harme and dommage to the good / saith Esope suche a fable / Somtyme was a dogge / whiche [Page xxxiij]


demaunded of a sheep a loof of brede that she had wrowed of hym / And the sheep ansuerd that neuer she had none of hym The dogge made her to come before the Iuge / And by cause the sheep denyed the dette / the dogge prouysed and broughte with hym fals wytnes / that is to wete the wulf / the mylan [...] the spaehawk / And whanne these wytnes shold be examy­ned and herd / the wulf sayd to the Iuge / I am certayne & me remembreth wel / that the dogge lend to her a loof of brede And the Myllan went and sayd / she receyued hit presente my persone / And the sperowhawk sayd to the sheep / Come hyder why denyest thow that whiche thow hast take and recey­ued / And thus was the poure sheep vaynquysshed / ¶ And thenne the Iuge commaunded to her that she shold paye the dogge / wherfore she sold awey before the wynter her flees and wulle for to paye that / that she neuer had / And thus was the ponre sheep despoylled / In suche maner done the euylle hongry peple whiche by theyr grete vntrouthe and malyce robben and despoyllen the poure folke

¶ The fyfthe fable is of the dogge and of the pyece of flessh



[Page] agaynst hym / & prayd Iupiter that he shold kepe the sonne fro w [...]ddyng / & Iupiter demaūded of them the cause why they wol de not haue hym to be wedded / he one of them said / Iupiter thou knowest wel / how ther is but one sonne & yet he brenneth vs a [...] / [...] yf he be maryed & haue ony children / they shal destroye al kynde / And this fable techeth vs that we ought not to be re­ioy [...] [...]d of euyll felauship /

¶ The viij fable is of the wulf and of the crane

WHo so euer doth ony good to the euyll man he synneth as esope saith / for of ony good which is don to the euils cometh no prouffit / wherof Esope reherceth to vs suche a falle / A wulf ete & deuoured a sheep of whos bones he had one in his throte which he coude not haue out & sore it greued hym Thenne went the wulf & praid the crane that she wold draw oute of his throte the bone / & the crane put her nest in to his thro te & drewe out the bone wherby the wulf was hole /

And the crane demaunded of hym to be payd of her sala­ry / ¶ And the wulf answerd to her / Thow arte well [Page xxxv]


vncōnyng & no good connyng / remembryng the good that I ha ue done to the / for whan thou haddest thy neck within my throte / yf I had wold / I myght haue ete the / And thus it appiereth by the fable how no prouffite cometh of ony good whiche is do ne to the euyls


[Page] and with grete payne he myght hold his courage / to haue forth with deuoure or hym / But the lyon sayd to hym self / It be [...] ueth not that trethe soo noble and so fayre as myn be touche [...] not / [...]e byten suche a fowle beest / For he that is wyse must not hurte the foole ne take hede to his wordes / but lete hym go for suche as he is

¶ The xij fable is of the two rats


BEtter worthe is to lyue in pouerte surely / than to ly­ue rychely be n [...]t euer in daunger / wherof Esope telleth such a fable / There were two rate / wherof the one was grete and fater / and held hym in the celer of a Ryche man And the other was poure and lene / ¶ On a daye this grete and fat ratte wente to sporte hym in the feldes and mette by the way the poure rat / of the whiche he was receyued as well as he coude in his poure cauerne or hole / and gaf hym of suche mete as he had / Thenne sayd the fatte ratte come thow wyth me / And I shalle gyue the wel other metes / He went with [Page xxxvij] hym in to the toune / and entred bothe in to the celer of the ry­che man / the whiche celer was full of alle goodes / And whan they were within the grete rat presented and gaf to the poure rat of the delycious metes / sayeng thus to hym / Be mery and make good chere / and ete and drynke Ioyously / ¶ And as they were etynge / the bouteler of the place came in to the celer / & the grete rat fled anon in to his hole / & the poure rat wist not whyther he shold goo ne flee / but hyd hym behynd the dore with grete fere and drede / and the [...]uteler torned ageyne and sawe hym not / And whan he was gone the fatte rat cam out of his cauerne or hole / and called the poure ratte / whiche yet was shakynge for fore / and said to hym / come hyder and be not aferd / & ete as moche as thou wyll / And the poure rat sayd to hym / for goddes loue lete me go oute of this celer / For I ha ue leuer ete some corne [...] the feldes and lyue surely / than to be euer in this torment / for thou arte here in grete doubte & lyuest not surely / And therfore hit is good to lyue pourely & surely For the poure lyueth more surely than the ryche [...]


[Page] yf thow haddest the wys clere and small thow sholdest be the moost happy of al other byrdes / And the foole whiche herd the flaterynge wordes of the foxe beganne to open his bylle for to synge / And thenne the chese fylle to the grounde / and the fox toke and ete hit / And whan the rauen sawe that for his wyn glorye he was deceyued wexed heuy and sorowfull / And [...] hym of that he had byleued the foxe / And this fable [...] vs / how men ought not to be glad ne take reioysshynge in the wordes of caytyf folke / ne also to leue flatery ne wyn glory

¶ The xvj fable is of the lyon / of the wyld bore / of the bole & of the asse


WHanne a man hath lost his dignyte or offyce / he muste leue his fyrst audacyte or hardynes / to thende / that he be not iniuryed and mocqued of euery one / Wherof Esope sheweth vnto suche a fable / There was a lyon whiche in his yongthe was fyers and moche outragyous / ¶ And when he was come to his old age / there came to hym a wyldbore / whiche with his teeth [...]nt and hirst a grete pyece of his body [Page xxxix] and auenged vpon hym of the wrong that the lyon had doo to hym before that tyme / ¶ After came to hym the boole whi­cha smote and hnrted hym with his hornes / And an asse ca­me there / whiche smote hym in the forhede with his feete by ma ner of vyndycacion / And thenne the poure Lyon beganne to wepe sayenge within hym self in this manere / whan I was yonge and vertuous euery one doubted and fered me / And now that I am old and feble / and nyghe to my dethe / none is that setteth ne holdeth ought by me / but of euery one I am setten a back / And by cause that now I haue lost bothe vertue and strengthe / I haue lost alle good and worship / And ther fore this fable admonesteth many one whiche ben enhaunced in dygnyte and worship shewynge to them / how they must be meke and humble / For he that geteth and acquyreth no fren­des ought to be doubtous to falle in suche caas and in suche pe­ryls

¶ The xvij fable is of the asse and of the yong dogge




body hurte ne lette may at a nede gyue help and ayde [...]o the g [...]

¶ The xix fable is of the mylan whiche was seke and of his moder


HE that euer doth euylle [...]ught not to supp [...]se ne [...]ue no trust that his [...] at his nede shalle be [...] / Of the whiche thynge Esope sheweth to vs suche a fa [...] / Of a mylan whiche was sek [...] / so moche that be had no truste to rec [...]uere hi [...] helthe / And as [...] sawe hym so vexed with fe­blenes / he prayd his moder that she shold praye vnto the god­d [...]s for hym / And his moder ansuerd to hym / My sone thow [...]ast so gretely offendyd and blas [...]hemyd the goddes that now they wol auenge them on the / For thow prayest not them by pyte ne by loue / but for dolour and drede / For he whiche le­d [...] euylle lyf / and that in his euylle delynge is obstynate / ought not to haue hope to be delyuerd of his euyll / For whan [Page xlj] one i [...] fall in to extremyte of his sekenes / thenne is the tyme come that he must be payed of his werkes and dedes / For he that offendeth other in his prosperyte / whan he falleth in to ad­uersyte / he fyndeth no frendes /

¶ The xx fable maketh mencion of the swalowe / and other byrdes


HE that byleueth not good coūceyll / may not fayll to be euylle counceylled / wherof Esope reherceth to vs suche a fable / of a plowgh man / whiche sowed lynseed / & the swalowe seyng that of the same lynseed men myght make net­tes and gynnes / wente and sayd to alle other byrdes / Come with me ye al & lete vs plucke vp al this / For yf we leue hit growe / the labourer shal mowe make therof gynnes and net­tes for to take vs al / Alle the byrdes dispraysed his counceyl ¶ And thenne as the swalowe sawe this / he wente and her­berowed her in the plowgh mans hows / ¶ And whanne the


frogges had grete drede and fered moche / And after they ap proched to theyr kynge for to make obeyssaunce vnto hym / ¶ And whanne they perceyued that hit was but a pyece of wood / they tyrned ageyne to Iupiter prayenge hym swetely that he wold gyue to them another kynge / And Iupiter gaf to them the He [...]n for to be theyr kynge / And thenne the He­ron beganne to entre in to the water / and ete them one after other / And whanne the frogges sawe that theyr kyng destro­yed / and ete them thus / they beganne tendyrly to wepe / sayeng in this manere to the god Iupiter / Ryght hyghe and ryght myghty god Iupiter please the to delyuere vs fro the throte of this dragon and fals tyraunt whiche eteth vs the one af­ter another / And he sayd to them / the kynge whiche ye haue demaunded shalle be your mayster / For whan men haue that / which men oughte to haue / they ought to be ioyeful and glad And he that hath lyberte ought to kepe hit wel / For nothyng is better than lyberte / For lyberte shold not be wel sold for alle the gold and syluer of all the world

¶ The second fable is of the Columbes or douues of the kyte and of the sperehawke /


WHo that putte and submytteth hym self vnder the saue gard or protection of the euylle / thou oughtest to we­te & knowe / that whan he asketh & demaunded ayde & helpe / he geteth none / ¶ wherof Esope reherceth to vs su­che a fable / Of the douues whiche demaunded a sperehawke for to be theyr kynge / for to kepe them fro the kyte or mylan / And whanne the sperehawke was maade kynge ouer them / he beganne to deuoure them / the whiche columbes or douues sa­yd amonge them / that better it were to them do suffre of the ky­te than to be vnder the subiection of the sperehawke / & to be martred as we be / but therof we be wel worthy / For we oure self ben cause of this meschyef / And therfore whanne men do­ne ony thyng / men ought well to loke and consydere thende of hit / For he dothe prudently and wysely whiche taketh good he­de to the ende


¶ The fyfthe fable maketh mencyon of the Montayn whiche shoke


RYght so it happeth / that he that menaceth hath drede and is ferdfull / wherof Esope reherceth to vs suche a fable Of a hylle whiche beganne to tremble and shake by cause of the molle whiche delued hit / And whanne the folke sawe that the erthe beganne thus to shake / they were sore aferd and dredeful / and durst not wel come ne approche the hylle / [...] after whanne they were come nyghe to the Montayne / & knewe how the molle caused this hylle shakynge / theyr doub te and drede were conuerted vnto Ioye / and beganne alle to lawhe / And therfore men ought not to doubte al folk whiche ben of grete wordes and menaces / For somme menacen that ha ue grete doubte

¶ The vj fable is of the wulf and of the lambe
[Page xlv]


THe byrth causeth not so moche to gete some frendes / as doth the goodnes / wherof Esope reherceth to vs suche a fable / Of a wulf whiche sawe a lambe among a gre­te herd of gootes / the whiche lambe sowked a gote / And the wulf wente and sayd to hym / this gote is not thy moder / goo and seke her at the Montayn / for she shalle nourysshe the mo­re swetely and more tendyrly than this gote shalle / And the lambe ansuerd to hym / This goote nouryssheth me in stede of my moder / for she leneth to me her pappes soner than to ony of her own children / And yet more / hit is better for me to be here with these gootes than to departe fro hens / and to falle in to thy throte for to be deuoured / And therfore he is a foole whi­che leueth fredome or surete / for to put hym self in grete perylle and daunger of dethe / For better is to lyue surely and rudely in sewrte than swetely in peryll & da [...] [Page] And as they ranne / they adressyd them in to a medowe fulle of frogges / ¶ And whanne the frogges herd the hares renne they beganne also to flee and to renne fast / And thenne a ha­re whiche perceyued them so ferdfull sayd to alle his felawes / Lete vs no more be dredeful ne doubtuous / for we be not alone that haue had drede / For alle the frogges [...]n in doubte / and haue fere and drede as we haue / Therfore we ought not to des­payr [...] / but haue trust and hope to lyue / And yf somme ad­uersyte cometh vpon vs / we must bere it pacyently / For ones the tyme shalle come that we shalle be oute of payne and oute of all drede / Therfore in the vnhappy and Infortunat tyme men ought not be despayred / but oughte euer to be in good ho pe to haue ones better in tyme of prosperyte / For after gret [...] wer [...] cometh good p [...]s / And after the rayne cometh the fair w [...]r


¶ The ix fable maketh mencyon of the wulf and of the kydde


[Page xlvij] GOod Children ought to obserue and kepe euer the commaundements of theyr good parentes and fren­des / wherof Esope reciteth to vs suche a fable / Of a go­to whiche had made her yonge kydde / and honger toke her soo that she wold haue gone to the feldes for to ete some grasse / Wherfore she sayd to her kyd / My child / beware wel / that yf the wulf come hyder to ete the / that thow opene not the dore to hym / ¶ And whanne the gote was gone to the feldes / came the wulf to the dore / And faynynge the gotes voyce sayd to the kydde / My child opene to me the dore / And thenne the kydde ansuerd to hym / goo hens euylle and fals beste / For well I see the thurgh that hole / but for to haue me thow faynest the wyce of my moder / ¶ And therfore I shalle kepe me well fro openynge of ony dore of this hows / And thus the good chil­dren ought euer to kepe wel / and put in theyr hert & memory the doctryne and the techyng of theyr parentes / For many one is vndone and lost for faulte of obedyence▪

¶ The tenthe fable is of the good man and of the serpente


sa [...]en comynly that of the euylle of other / men ought not to lawhe ne scorne / But the Iniuryous mocquen and scornen the world / and geteth many enemyes / For the whiche cause oftyme it happeth that of a fewe wordes euyll sette / cometh a grete noyse and daunger

¶ The xiij fable is of the foxe and of the storke

THow oughtest not to doo to other that whiche thow woldest not that men shold doo to the / wherof Esope re herceth to vs suche a fable / Of a foxe whiche conueyed a storke to souper / And the foxe put the mete vpon a traun­cher / the whiche mete the storke myght not ete / wherof she tooke & had grete displaysaunce / & wente & departed oute of the fox­es hows al hongry and wente ageyne to her lodgys / And by cause that the foxe had thus begyled her / she bythoughte in [Page xlix]


her self / how she myght begyle the Foxe / For as men saye / it is meryte to begyle the begylers / wherfore the storke prayd the foxe to come and soupe with her / and put his mete within a glas / And whanne the foxe wold haue eten / he myght not come ther by / but only he lycked the glas / bycause he cowde not reche to the mete with his mouthe / And thenne he knewe wel that he was deceyued / And thenne the storke sayd to hym / Take of suche goodes as thow gauest to me / And the poure foxe ryght shameful departed fro thens / And with the staf which he had made he was bete And therfore he that begyleth other / is oftyme begyled hym self /

¶ The xiiij fable is of the wulf and of the dede mans hede


gowne / For suche weren fayre gownes and fayr gyrdels of gold that haue theyr treth cold at home

¶ The xvj fable is of the mule and of the flye


SOmme maken grete menaces / whiche haue no myghte / ¶ wherof Esope reherceth suche a fable / ¶ Of a carter / whiche ladde a Charyot or carte / whiche a Mule dre­we forthe / And by cause the Mule wente not fast ynough / the flye sayd to the Mule / Ha a payllari Mule / why goost thow not faster / I shalle soo egrely pryke the / that I shalle make the to go lyghtely / ¶ And the Mule answerd to the flye / god kepe and preserue the mone for the wolues / For I ha­ue no grete drede ne fere of the / But I drede and doubte sore my mayster / whiche is vpon me / whiche constrayneth me to fulfylle his wylle / ¶ And more I oughte to drede and doubte hym more / than the / whiche arte nought / and of no valewe ne myght / ¶ And thus men ought not to sette by [Page lj] ne doubte them / whiche haue no myght ne that ben of no vales we

¶ The xvij fable is of the ante and of the flye


GO make boost and auanntynge is but vanne glorye and folye / wherof Esope recyteth suche a fable / Of the ante or formyce and of the flye / whiche seryued to gyder / for to wete whiche was the most noble of them bothe / & the flye sayd to the formyce / Come hyder formyce / wylt thow compare thy self to me that dwelle in the kynges places and palays / and ete and drynke at theyr table / And also I kysse bothe kynge and quene / and the most fayre maydens / And thow poure and myschaunt beest thow arte euer within the erthe / And thenne the formyce ansuerd to the flye / Now kno­we I wel thy vanyte and folye / ¶ For thow auauntest the of that wherof thow sholdest disprayse the / For fro alle places where as thow goost or flyest / thow arte


the loue of me / but only thow hast done it for to fylle thy bely For yf thow haddest done it for the loue of me / I shold haue pardonned to the / ¶ And by cause that thow dydest not for to serue me / but for to lette and adōmage me / For that the rat­tes myght not ete / thow burest it awey / And soo by cause / that thow arte wexed fatte of myne owne brede / thow must ren­dre and yeue to me alle the fatnesse / whiche thou hast conque­red and goten here / For he that robbeth shall be robbed / Iuxta il [...] / pillatores pillabuntur / For hit suffyseth not to doo wel / but men must haue good wylle and good entencion for to do hit / For an almesse that is done for vayne glorye / is not meri­ted / but dismeryted / wherfore I shal not pardonne the / but in­contynent and withoute taryenge thow shalt deye / For by cause that thow hast deseruyd no mercy / thow shalt now be putte to dethe

¶ The xx fable maketh mencion of the Oxe / and of the frog­ge / whiche wold haue compared her to hym

[Page liij]


THe poure ought not to compare hym self to hym which is ryche and myghty / As sayth this fable of a frog­ge / whiche was in a medowe / where she aspyed and sawe on oxe whiche pastured / She wold make her self as gre te and as myghty as the oxe / and by her grete pryde she be­ganne to swelle ageynste the oxe / And demaunded of his chil dren yf she was not as grete as the oxe and as myghty / And theyr children ansuerd and sayd / nay moder / For to boke and behold on the oxe / it semeth of yow to be nothynge / And thenne the frogge beganne more to swelle / ¶ And when the oxe sawe her pryde / he thradde and thrested her with his fo te / and brake her bely / Therfore hit is not good to the poure to compare hym self to the ryche / wherfore men sayn comynly / Swelle not thy self / to thende that thow breste not

¶ Here fynysshed the second booke of Esope /

And after begynneth the regystre or table of the thyrd book of Esope

[Page] [...] [Page xlv] [...]


¶ The vij fable speketh of the old dogge and of his mayster


MEn ought not to dysprayse the auncyent ne to pu [...]e a [...] / For yf thow be yonge / thow oughtest to desyre to come to old age or auncyente / And also thow ouȝ­test to loue and prayse the fayttes or dedes whiche they haue done in theyr yongthe / Wherof Esope reherceth to vs suche a fa­ble / Of a lord whiche had a dogge / the whiche dogge had be in his yongthe of good kynde / For ye wote wel / that of kynde the dogges chacen and hunten in theyr yongthe / and haue grete luste to re [...]ne and take the wyld beestes / whan thenne this dogge was come to old age / and that he myght nomore renne / It happeth ones that he lete scape and go fro hym an ha r [...] / wherfore his mayster was sorowfull and angry / and by grete wrathe beganne to bete hym / The dogge sayd thenne to hym / My mayster / of good seruyse thow yeldest to me euylle gwerdone and reward / For in my yonge age I serued the ful wel / And now that I am comen to myn old age / thow [Page xlvj] betest and settest me a bak / haue memorye how in myn yong age / I was stronge and lusty / And how I made grete oul­trages and effors / the whiche caused my yongthe / And now when I am bycome old and feble thow settest nought of me / ¶ This fable techeth that who so euer doth ony good in his yongthe / in his auncyente and old age he shalle not contynue in the vertues whiche he posseded in his yong age

¶ The viij fable is of the hares and of the frogges


MEn say comynly that after that the tym [...] goth / so must folke go / For yf thow makest distinction of the tyme thow shalt wel accord the scryptures / wherof Esope reherceth to vs suche a fable / And sayth thus / that he whiche beholdeth the euylle of other / must haue pacyence of the euylle that maye come vpon hym / For somtyme as a hunter chaced thurgh the feldes and woodes / the hares beganne to flee for fere [Page] [...] [Page xlvij] [...]


HE that ought not to be assewred that applyketh and setteth hym to doo to somme other eny euyll / wherof esope reherceth suche a fable / Of a serpent / whiche wente & came in to the hows of a poure man / whiche serpent lyued of that whiche felle fro the poure mans table / For the whiche thynge happed a grete fortune to this poure man and bycame moche ryche / But on a daye this man was angry ageynste the serpent / and took a grete staf / and smote at hym / and gre­tely hurted hym wherfore the serpente wente oute of his hous And therin he came neuer ageyne / And within a lytyll whyle after this / this man retourned and felle ageyne in to grete pouerte / And thenne he knewe that by the fortune of the Ser pent he was bycome ryche / and repentyd hym moche of that [...] smote the serpent / And thenne this poure man wente and hū ­bled hym bifore the serpent sayenge to hym / I praye the that thow wylt pardonne me of thoffense that I haue done to the ¶ And thenne sayd the serpente to the poure man / Syth thow repentest the of thy mysdede / I pardonne and forgyue it to the But as longe as I shalle be on lyue / I shalle remembre me of thy malyce / For as thow hurtest me ones / thow maist as wel hurte me another tyme / For the wound: that thow madest to me / may not forgete the euylle whiche thow host done to me wherfore he that was ones euylle / shalle euer be presumed & holden for euylle / And therfore men ought to presume ouer hym / by whome they receyue some dommage and not haue suspecte theyr good and trewe frendes

¶ The xj fable is of the herte / of the sheep & of the wulf

THe thyng which is promysed by force & for drede is not to be hold / wherof esope reherceth suche a fable of a hert which in the presence of a wulf demaūded of a sheep that she shold paye a busshel of corn / And the wulf commaū ­ded to the sheep to paye hit / And whanne the day of payment was come / the herte came and demaunded of the sheep his corn And the sheep sayd to hym / the conenaunces and pactyons made by drede and force oughte not to be holden / For it was force to me beynge to fore the wulf to promytte & graunte to gyue to the that whiche thow neuer lenest to me / And ther­for [Page xlviij]


thow shalt haue ryght nought of me / Wherfore somtyme it is good to make promesse of some thynge for to eschewe gret­ter dommage or losse / For the thynges whiche are done by force haue none fydelyte

¶ The xij fable is of the balled man / and of the flye /

OF a lytel euylle may wel come a gretter / Wherof Eso pe recyteth suche a fable / Of a flye / whiche pryked a man vpon his bald hede / And whanne he wold ha­ue smyte her / she flewgh awey / and thus he smote hym self / wherof the flye beganne to lawhe / And the bald man sayd to her Ha a euylle beest thow demaundest wel thy dethe / yf I smo te my self wherof thow lawhest and mocquest me / but yf I had hytte the / thow haddest be therof slayne / And therfore men [Page] [...] [Page xlix] [...]



MAny one ben whiche haue grete worship and glorye / but noo prudence / ne noo Wysedom they haue in them wherof Esope reherceth suche a fable / Of a wulf which found a dede mans hede / the whiche he torned vp so doune with his foote / And sayd / Ha a how fayr hast thow be and play­saunt / And now thow hast in the neyther wytte / ne beaute / & yet thow arte withoute wys and withoute ony thought / And therfore men ought not only to behold the beaulte and fayre­nesse of the body / but only the goodnes of the courage / For somtyme men gyuen glorye and worship to some / whiche haue not deseruyd to haue hit /

¶ The xv fable is of the Iaye and of the pecok
[Page l]


NOne ought to were and putte on hym the gowne of other / wherof Esope reherceth to vs suche a fable Of a Iaye full of vayne glory / whiche took and putte on hym the fethers of a pecok / and with them he aourned / and arayed hym self well / And whanne he was wel dressyd and arayed / by his oultrecuydannce or ouerwenynge wold haue gone and conuersed amonge the pecoks / and dispraysed alle his felawes / And whanne the pecoks knewe that he was not of theyr kynd / they anone plucked of alle his fethers / And smote and bete hym by suche maner / that no fethers abode vpon hym / And he fledde away al naked and bare /

And thenne whanne his felawes sawe hym / they sayd to hym / what gallaunt come hyther / where ben thy fayre fethers / whiche thow haddest but late a gone / Hast thow no shame ne vergoyne to come in oure companye / And thenne alle the byrdes came vpon hym / and smote & lete hym / sayenge thus to hym / yf thow haddest be content of thyn owne vestymentes / thow haddest not come to this vylony / Ther for hit appereth that hit is not good to were another mans


ha [...]ed chaced and put oute / and lyuest in grete daunger / for assone as the wynter shalle come thow shalt deye / And I shal abyde on lyue alone within my chambre or hole / where as I drynke and ete at my playsyr / For the wynter shalle not for­gyue to the thy mysdede / but he shalle slee the / ¶ And thus he that wylle mocque or dispreyse somme other / he ought fyrst to loke and behold on hym self wel / For men sayn comynly / who that beholdeth in the glas / wel he seeth hym self / ¶ And who seeth hym self / wel he knoweth hym self / And who that kno weth hym self wel / lytel he preyseth hym self / ¶ And who that preyseth hym self lytyll / he is ful wyse and sage

¶ The xviij fable is of the wulf / of the foxe / and of the ape


HE that ones falleth in to somme euylle faytte or dede / he shalle euer lyue with dishonour and in suspecion / of the peple / ¶ And how be it that by aduenture he [Page lij] purposed to doo somme prouffitable thynge to somme other / yet he shold not be trusted ne byleued / wherof Esope reherceth to vs suche a fable / Of a wulf / whiche in aade the foxe to be cyted before the Ape / ¶ And the wulf sayd that the foxe was but a cheef and a payll [...]rt and a knaue of poure folke / And the foxe sayd that he lyed / and that he was a good and trewe man / And that he dyde moche good /

And thenne the ape whiche was sette as a Iuge / gaf su­che a sentence / And sayd thus to the wulf / Come hyther / thow hast not loste alle that whiche thow demaundest / ¶ And thow Fox [...] I byleue wel that thow hast vsurped and robbed som thynge / how be it / that thow denyest hit in Iustyce / But for as moche that pees may be bytwixe yow bothe / ye shall parte to gyder your good / to thende / that none of yow haue no hole parte / For he that is wonte and acustomed to rolbe and gua­we / with grete payne he may absteyne hym self fro hit / For a [...] wylle euer begyle other / ¶ And by cause that the ape felte them bothe gylty and suspycious made theyr dyfference to be acorded / and parted half by half / For they that ben cus­tomed to doo ony frawde or falshede / shall euer lyue ryȝ [...] heuyly and in suspycion

¶ The xix fable is of the man and of the wesel

MEn ought wel to loke and behold the courage & tho­ught of hym / whiche dothe good / and the ende / wherfor he dothe hit / wherof Esope reherceth suche a fable Of a man whiche tooke a wesell / the whiche chaced after the rattes wythynne his hows / ¶ And after whanne he had taken her / be wold haue kylled her / ¶ And whanne the poure weselle sawe the wrathe and fnrour of her mayster / she cryed to hym / mercy / sayenge thus / My lord I requyre and [...] raye the / that thow wylt pardonne to me / And that thow wylt reward me of the grete seruyse whiche I haue done to the / For euer I ha­ue chaced the rats oute of thy hows /

And the man sayd to her / thow dydest not that for


¶ Here begynneth the thyrdde booke of the subtyle fables of Esope /

  • ¶ The fyrst fable is of the lyon and of the shepeherd
  • ¶ The second fable is of the hors and of the lyon
  • ¶ The thyrd fable is of the horse / of the asse / and of theyr [...] fortune
  • ¶ The fourthe fable is of the beestes and of the byrdes
  • ¶ The fyfthe fable is of the nyghtyngale & of the sperehawke
  • ¶ The sixthe fable is of the wulf / and of the foxe
  • ¶ The seuenth fable is of the herte and of the hunter
  • ¶ The eyght fable is of Iuno and of Menus
  • ¶ The ix fable is of the woman and of the knyght
  • ¶ The x fable is of the yonge man and of the yong woman
  • ¶ The xj fable is of the fader and of the euylle sone
  • ¶ The xij fable is of the serpent / and of the mone
  • ¶ The xiij fable is of the wulues and of the sheep
  • ¶ The xiiij fable is of the wulf and of the wood
  • ¶ The xv fable is of the wulf and of the dogge
  • ¶ The xvj fable is of the feet / of the handes and of the mans bely
  • ¶ The xvij fable is of the ape and of the foxe
  • ¶ The xviij fable is of the man that kept mules & of the asse
  • ¶ The xix fable is of the herte and of the oxe
  • The xx fable is of the fallace of the lyon / and of his conuer­sacion

wherof the fyrste maketh mencion / of the lyon / & of the pastour or herdman

THe myghty and puyssaunt oughte not to be slowfull of the benefetes done to them by the lytyl and smalle And oughte not also to forgete them / but that they may be rewarded of them / ¶ And this fable approueth esope & sheweth vnto vs / of a lyon whiche ranne after a beest / and as he ranne / a thorne entred in to his foote / whiche hurted and greued hym gretely / wherfore he myght no ferther goo / but as wel as he cowde he came to a shepeherd whiche kepte his sheep and beganne to flatere with his taylle shewynge to hym hys [Page liiij]


foote / whiche was sore hurted and wounded / The sheepherd was in grete drede and casted before the lyon one of his sheep But the lyon demaunded no mete of hym / For more he desy­red to be medycyned and made hole of his foote / ¶ And af ter whanne the sheepherd sawe the wounde / he with a nydle sub tylly drewe oute of his foote the thorne / and had oute of the wound alle the roten flesshe / and enoynted hit with swete oynements / ¶ And anone the lyon was hole / And for to haue rend [...]d graces and thankys to the sheepherd or pasto ur the lyon kyssed his handes / And after he retorned ageyn in to the hyest of the woode / And within a lytel whyle after it happed that this lyon was taken and conueyed to the Cyte of Rome and was put amonge the other beestes for to deuoure the mysdoers / Now it befelle that the sayd shepeherd commysed a crymynous dede / wherfore he was condempned to be deuou­red by these bestes / And ryght soo as he was cast emong them the lyon knewe hym / and beganne to behold on hym / and made to hym chere▪ and lykked hym with his tongue / And pre serued and kepte hym from alle the other bestes / ¶ Thenne [Page] knewe the sheepherd that it was the lyon whiche he maade ho­le / And that he wold thenne haue recompensed hym of the go­od whiche he had done to hym / wherof alle the Romayns we­re all wonderly abasshed / And wold knowe the cause of hit And the sheepherd sayd to them as aboue is sayd ¶ / And whanne they knewe the cause / they gaf leue to the sheepherd / to goo home / and sente ageyne the lyon in to the forest / And therfore this is notary and trewe that al maner of folke ou­ght to rendre and gyue thankynges grace and mercye to theyre good doers / For slowfulnes is a synne / whiche is moche dis­playsaunt to god /

¶ The second fable is of the lyon and of the hors


[...]The one ought to eschewe dyssymylyng / for none ouȝt to were on hym the skyn of the wulf / but that he wyll be lyke to hym / For none ouȝt to fayne hym self other than suche as he is / As to ve reherceth this fable / ¶ Of a lyon whiche sawe a hors / whiche ete grasse in a medowe / And for to fynde somme subtylyte and manere for to ete and deuoure [Page lv] hym / approched to hym / and sayd / god kepe the my broder / I am a leche / and with al a good phisycyen / ¶ And by cause that I see that thow hast a sore foote / I am come hyther for to hele the of hit / And the hors knewe wel all his euyl thought And sayd to the lyon / My broder I thanke the gretely / and thow arte welcome to me / I praye the that thow wylt make my foote hole / And thenne the lyon sayd to the hors / late see thy foote / And as the lyon loked on hit / the hors smote hym on the forhede / In suche wyse that he brake his hede and fyll oute of hismynde / & the lyon felle to the ground / And soo wonderly he was hurte / that almost he myght not ryse vp a­geyne / And thenne sayd the lyon in hym self / I am wel wor thy to haue had this / For he that sercheth euylle / euyll cometh to hym / And by cause that I dyssymyled and fayned my self to be a medycyn / where as I shold haue shewed my s [...] a grete enemye / I therfore haue receyued good reward / And therfore euery body oughte to shewe hym self suche as he is /

¶ The thyrd fable maketh mencion of the asse / of the hors / & of theyr fortune


[Page] HE that is wel fortuned and happy / and is atte vp­perest of the whele of fortune / may wel falle doune / And therfore none ought to disprayse the poure / but ought to thynke how the whele of fortune is moche doubtuous as sheweth this present fable / Of a fayr hors whiche was wel harnaysed and arayed / and his sadel and brydel garnysshed with gold / whiche hors mette with an asse sore laden in a na­rowe way / And by cause that the asse tourned hym not a bak Incontynent the hors sayd to hym / Ha a chorle hast thow noo shame ne vergoyne / that thow doste ne berest none worshippe [...]e reuerence vnto thy lord / who holdeth now me / that wyth my foote I breke not thyn hede / by cause that thow put test not thy self asyde and oute of my waye / so that I myght passe & goo on my waye / The poure asse ansuerd ne sayd to hym ne­uer a word / and was sore aferd that the hors shold haue be­ [...] hym / wherfore he held his pees as wyse and sage / And the hors wente his waye / ¶ And within a lytel whyle after / it [...]felle / that fortune tourned his whele vp so doune / For thys [...]yre hors [...]ame old lene and seke / ¶ And whanne his maystre sawe that his hors was thus lene and seke and oute of prosperyce / he comaūded that he shold be had in to the toun And that in stede of his ryche sadel men shold put and sette on his lucke a panyer for to bere dounge in to the feldes / Now it happed that the asse whiche was in a medowe etyng grasse perceyued and sawe the hors and wel knewe hym' / wherof he was wonder abusshed / and merueylled moche that he was thus poure and so lene bycome / ¶ And the Asse went toward hym and sayd / Ha a felawe. where is now thy fayre sadel / and thy ryche brydel / garnysshed with gold / how arte thow now bycome soo lene and suche a payllard / what haue prouffyted to the thy fayre and ryche rayments / and what a­uaylled now to the thy grete fyerste and pryde / and thy grete presumpcion whiche ones thow shewest to me / Thynke now / how thow arte lene and vnthrysty / And how thow and I ben now of one offyce / And the myserable and vnhappy hors was abusshed / And for shame loked dounward / & ansuerd neuer one word / for alle his felycite was thenne torned in to aduersyte / ¶ And therfore they that ben in felycite / oughte [Page lvj] not to dysprayse them / whiche ben in aduersyte / For many one I knewe ryche and myghty / whiche are now poure /

¶ The iiij fable maketh mencyon of the beestes and of the bir­des


NOne maye doo no good to two bordes at ones / whiche ben cōtrary one to that other / as sayth to vs this fable that the beestes made grete werre ageynst the byrdes / & fought euery day to gyder / And the backe feryng the wulues And that the beestes shold vaynquysshe and ouercome the byrdes / wold haue hold with the beestes / and be ageynst the byrdes / And whanne the bataylle was ordeyned on bothe sy­des / the egle beganne to entre in to the batayll of the beestes by suche a strengthe / that with the help of the other byrdes he gat the feld / and vaynquysshed / and ouercame the bestes / wherfor the bestes maade pees with the byrdes / and were alle of one [Page] acord and of one wylle / And for the treason that the [...]acke had made / she was condempned to neuer see the day / And ne­uer flee / but only by nyght / And also she was despoylled of alle her fethers / And therfore he that wylle serue two lordes cō trary one to other may not be good ne trewe / And they whi­che relynquen and leue theyr owne lordes for to serue another straunger / whiche is enemy to theyr lord / ben wel worthy to be punysshed / For as the Euangely sayth / None may serue bothe god and the deuyl

¶ The v fable is of the nyghtyngale and of the sperehawke /


HE that oppresseth the Innocents shalle haue an euyl ende / wherof Esope reherceth to vs suche a fable / Of a sperehawk / whiche dyd put hym within the nest of a nyghtyngale / where he fond the lytyl and yonge byrdes / the nyghtyngale came and perceyued hym / wherfore she praid the sperehawke / sayeng / I requyre and praye the as moche as I [Page lvij] may / that thow haue pyte on my smal byrdes / And the spere­hawke ansuerd and sayd / yf thow wylt that I graunte the thy request / thow must synge swetely after my wylle and gree And thenne the nyghtyngale beganne to synge swetely / not with the herte / but with the threte onely / For he was soo fyl­led of sorowe that otherwyse he myght not doo / The sperehawk sayd thenne to the nyghtyngale / This songe playseth me not / And toke one of the yonge byrdes and deuoured hit / And as the sayd sperehawke wold haue deuoured and eten the other came there a hunter whiche dyd caste a grete nette vpon the sperehawke / And whanne she wold haue fleen awey / he my­ght not / for he was taken / And therfore he that doth harme & letteth the Innocents / is worthy to deye of euylle dethe / As Caym dyd whiche slewe his broder Abel

¶ The seuenth fable is of the foxe and of the wulf


[Page] FOrtune helpeth bothe the good and euylle folke / and to alle them / whiche she helpeth not she sendeth euylle to them / And they that setten alle theyr malyce ageynste fortune ben subuertysed and ouerthrawon by her / wherof Eso­pe reherceth suche a fable / Of a wulf whiche had assembled to gyter a grete proye / or moche mete for to haue lyued more de­lyaously / wherof the foxe had grete enuye / and for to haue robbed somme of this good / he came vnto the cauerne or hole where as this proye or mete was in / and sayd to the wulf / My godsep the wulf / by cause hit is longe syth I sawe the / I am in grete heuynesse and sorowe / and also by cause we haue not ben in long tyme gone chaced and gone to gyder / ¶ And whan the wulf knewe the malyce of the foxe / he sayd to hym thow arte not come hyder for to see me / ne how I fare / but thou arte come for to robbe and rauysshe my good / For the whiche wordes the foxe was moche angry / and wente toward a sheepherd / to whome he sayd / yf thow wylt be auenged of the wulf whiche is enemy of thy heerd or parke / on this day I shalle put hym vnder thy handes / And the sheepherd ansuerde to the foxe in this manere / yf thow doo as thow sayst / I shall paye the wel / And thenne the foxe shewed to hym the hool / wherin the wulf was / And the sheepherd Incontynent wente toward the hole / and with a spere he kyld the wulf / And by this manere the foxe was wel fylled and refresshyd of the good of other / but as he retorned homeward / he was taken & deuoured by somme dogges / wherfore he seyd to hym self / by cause that ryght euylle I haue done / euylle cometh now to me / For synne retorneth euer vpon his mayster / And he that lyueth but of rauyn and robberye shal at the last be knowen and robbed /

¶ The seuenth fable is of the herte and of the hunter

MEn preysen somtyme that that shold be blamed & vitu pered / And ofte men blamen & vytuperen that / that shold be preysyd / as reciteth to vs this fable of a her te / To whome it happyd on a tyme that he drank in a fontayn [Page lix]


or welle as he dranke / he sawe in the water his hede which was horned / wherfore he preysed moche his hornes / And as he lo­ked on his legges / whiche were lene and smal / he dispreysed and vytupered them / And as he was drynkynge in the fon­tayne he herd the voys and barkynge of dogges / wherfore he wold haue fledde awey in to the forest for to saue hym self / but as he sawe the dogges so nyghe hym he wold haue entrid within a busshe / but he myght not / for his hornes kepte hym withoute / And thenne seyng that he myght not escape began to saye within hym self / I haue blamed & vytupered my leg­ges / whiche haue ben to me vtyle and prouffitable / and haue preysed my hornes / whiche ben now cause of my dethe / And therfore men ought to disprayse that thynge / whiche is vnpro­uffitable / and preyse that whiche is vtyle and prouffitable / And they ought to preyse and loue the chirche and the com­maundements of the same / the whiche ben moche vtyle & prouf fytable / And dispreyse and flee al synne and vyce / Whiche ben inutyle harmeful and dommageable

¶ The viij fable maketh mencion of Iuno / of Menus / and of the other wymmen


BEfore the goddes and the goddesses men muste euer preyse chastyte / for it is a worshipful & an honest thyng to a woman to hold hyr contente with a man alone / but Menus for her disporte & for to dryue aweye the tyme / wold Interprete the sayenge of the hennes / wherfore she demaunded a henne whiche was in her hows / but at this tyme I shal ke­pe my tongue / and no ferther I shalle speke therof / For ma­ny wyse men whiche haue sene and redde alle this book vnder standen wel alle the nature of hit / And by cause it is lycyte & honest / And that we alle ben bounden to kepe the ladyes in theyre worship and honour / also that in euery place where hit shalle be possyble to vs. we ought to preyse them / We shalle now cesse to enquere ferther of this matere / and Historye / whiche we shall leue iij latyn for the grete clerkes / & in especial [Page lix] for them that wylle occupye theyr tyme to studye and rede the glose of the sayd Esope

¶ The nynthe fable is of the knyght and of the wydowe


THe woman whiche lyueth in this world without re­proche or blame is worthely to be gretely preysed / wherof Esope reherceth suche a fable of a man and of a woman / whiche loued moche eche other / It happed thenne by the effors of Atropos or dethe / the whiche we al must suffre / that the sayd man deyde / And as men wold haue borne hym in to his graue / whiche was withoute the toune there to be bu ryed / his wyf made grete sorowe and wepte pyteously / And whanne he was buryed / she wold abyde stylle vpon the gra­ue / and lete do make a lytyll lodge or hows therupon / and oute of this lodge she wold neuer departe for no prayer ne fa­yr word / neyther for ony yeftes ne for menaces of her parentes Now it befell in the toun that a mysdoer was condampned to be hanged / ¶ And to thende that he shold not be taken fro the galhows / hit was thenne commaunded that a knyght [Page] shold kepe hym / And as the knyght kepte hym / grete thurste took hym / And as he perceyued the lodge of the sayd woman he wente to her / and prayd her to gyue hym somme drynke / And she with good herte gaf hym to drynke / And the kny­ght dranke with grete appetyte / as he that had grete thurste / & whan he had dronke / he torned ageyne to the galhows ward / This knyght came another tyme to the woman for to comforte her / And thre tymes he dyd soo / And as he was thus goyng and comynge / doubtynge hym of no body / his hanged man was taken and had fro the galhows / And whan ne the kny­ght was come ageyne to the galhows & sawe that he had loste his dede man / he was gretely abasshed & not withoute cause For hit was charged to hym vpon peyne to be hanged / yf he were take awey / This knyght thenne seynge his Iugement / tourned and went ageyne to the sayd woman / & cast hym at her feete / and laye before her as he had be dede / And she demaū ded of hym / My frend / what wylt thow that I doo for the / Allas sayd he / I praye the that thow socoure and counceylle [...] now at my grete nede / For by cause I haue not kept wel my theef / whiche men haue rauysshed fro me / the kynge shalle make me to be put to dethe / And the woman sayd / Haue no drede my frend / For well I shalle fynde the manere wherby thow shalt be delyuerd / For we shall take my husbond / and shalle hange hym in stede of thy theef / ¶ Thenne beganne she to delue / and tooke oute of the erthe her husbond / and at nyȝt she hanged hym at the galhows in stede of the other / & sayd to the knyght / My ryght dere frend I pray the that this be kept wel secrete / For we doo hit theefly / And thus the dede men ha­ue somme / whiche make sorowe for them / but that sorowe is so­ne gone and passyd / And they whiche ben on lyue haue some whiche drede them / but theyr drede wantith and faylleth whan they ben dede

¶ The tenthe fable maketh mencyon of the yonge man / and of the comyn woman
[Page lx]


OF the comyn and folysshe wymmen Esope reherceth to vs suche a fable / Of a woman whiche had to name Tahys / the whiche was cause by her feyned loue of the dethe and losse of many yonge men / to one of the whiche she had be bete ofte before that tyme / she sayd to hym in this wy se / My ryght dere loue and good frende / I suppose that of ma ny one I am wel byloued and desyred / Neuertheles I shall sette my loue on thy self alone / wherfore I pray the that thow mayst be myn / and I shalle be thyn / for alle thy goodes I retche not / but only I desyre thy swete body / And he that kne­we the feyntyse and falsheed of the woman / ansuerd to her / ryght benyngly and swetely / thy wyll and the myn ben both but one alone / For thow arte she whiche I moost desyre / and the whiche I shalle loue alle the terme of my lyf / yf thow de­ceyue me nomore / For by cause that thow hast receyued me in tyme passed / I am euer aferd of the / but notwithstondynge this / thow arte now moche playsaunt and fayr to the syghte of me / And thus the one begyled that other / For the loue of a comyn woman is not to be trusted / For thow oughtest to knowe and thynk within thy self / that the comyn and folyssh woman loue the not / but she loueth thy syluer

¶ The xj fable is of the fader and of the euylle sone /


THe good and wyse fader ought to chastyse his chil­dren in theyr yong age / and not in theyr old age / For thenne hit is moche dyffycyle to make them bowe As to vs r [...]ateth this fable / Of a fader of famylle / whiche had a sone the whiche dyd no thynge that he oughte to haue done but euer was goynge and playeng in the toune / And the fa­ [...]r for the cryme and mys [...]wle of his sone brawled euer and bete his meyny / And sayd to them suche a fable / Of a plough man or labourer / whiche bond a bole by the hornes to an oxe The booll wold not be bound / and smo [...] strongly with his feet after the man / and launched his hornes at hym / ¶ And at the last whan he was bound / the labourer sayd to them / I haue ioyned and bound yow bothe to gyder / to thende that ye too somme labour / But I wyll that the lest of yow two / that is to wete the boole / be lerned and corryged of the moste / whi che is the oxe / For I must sayd the labourer to hym self bynde them thus to gyder / to thende that the bole / whiche is yong fyers and malyaous and strong / smyte ne hurte no body / wherof grete dommage myght come to me / But by cause that I wote well / that the oxe shalle teche and corryge hym wel / I haue [Page lxj] put and bound them bothe to gyder / ¶ Thus this fable she­weth to vs / that the fader ought to teche and gyue good en­sample to his children and chastyse them whanne they be yong For he that wel loueth / wel he chastyseth

¶ The xij fable is of the serpent


THe Auctor that is to wete Esope reherceth to vs suche a fable of two euyls / sayeng that a serpent entryd som tyme within the forge of a smythe / for to serche somme mete for her dyner / It happed / that she fond a fyle whiche she beganne to gnawe with her trethe / Thenne sayd the fyle to her / yf thow byte and gnawe me / yet shalt thow doo to me no hurte / but bytynge and gnawyng on me / thow shalt hurte thyn owne self / For by my strengthe alle the yron is planed by me / And therfore thow arte a foole to gnawe me / For I telle the / that none euyll may hurte ne adommage another as euylle as he / Ne none wycked may hurte another wycked / ne also the hard ageynst the hard shalle not breke eche other / ne two enuyous men shal not both ryde vpon an asse / wherfor the [Page] myghty and stronge must loue hym whiche is as myghty and as stronge as hym self is

¶ The xiij fable is of the wulues and of the sheep


WHanne men haue a good hede / and a good defe [...]sour / or a good Capitayne / men oughte not to leue hym / for he that leueth hym repenteth hym afterward of hit / as to ve reherceth this fable / Of the sheep whiche had werre and discencion with the wolues / And by cause that the wulues made to stronge werre ageynst the sheep / the shepe thenne tooke for theyr help the dogges / and the whethers also / And thenne was the bataylle of the sheep so grete and so stronge / & fought so vygorously ageynst the wolues. that they put them to flyȝt ¶ And whanne the wolues sawe the strengthe of theyr ad­uersarye [...] / they sent an ambassade toward the sheep for to trete [Page lxij] the pees with them / the whiche Ambassade sayd to the sheep in this maner / yf ye wylle gyue vs the dogges / we shalle swere vnto yow oure feythe / that we shalle neuer kepe ne hold wer­re ageynst yow / And the sheep ansuerd / yf ye wylle gyue vs your fayth / we shalle be content / And thus they made pees to gyder / but the wulues kyld the dogges / whiche were capy­tayns and protectours of the sheep / And the dogges dyde but lytyll hurte to the wulues / wherfore whanne the lytyl and yong wulues were growen in theyr age / they came of eche part and countrey / and assembled them to gyder / and all of one accord and wylle sayd to theyre Auncestres and faders / we must ete vp alle the sheep / And theyr faders ansuerd thus to them / we haue maade pees with them / Neuertheles the yonge wolues brake the pees and ranne fyersly vpon the sheep / and theyr faders wente after them / ¶ And thus by cause that the sheep had delyuerd the dogges to the wolues / the whiche we­re theyr capitayns / and that they had none that kepte them / they were all eten and deuoured of the wulues / Therfore hit is good to kepe well his capytayne / whiche may at a nede g [...] ­ue socour and helpe / For a trewe frend is oftyme better at a nede than a Royalme / For yf the sheep had kepte the loue of the dogges / the wolues had neuer deuoured them / wherfore it is a sure thynge to kepe wel the loue of his protectour and good frende /

¶ The xiiij fable is of the man and of the wood

HE that gyueth ayde and help to his enemy is cause of his dethe / as recyteth this fable of a man whiche made an axe / And after that he had made his axe / he asked of the trees / and sayd / ye trees gyue yow to me a handle / And the trees were content / ¶ And whanne he had maade fast his handle to the axe / he began to cutte and throwe doune to the ground alle the trees / wherfore the oke and the Asshe sa yd / yf we be cutte / hit is wel ryght and reason / For of oure owne self we ben cut and thrawen doune / ¶ And thus hit is not good to put hym self in to the daunger and subiection of [Page]


his enemye / ne to helpe hym for to be adōmaged / as thou maist see by this presente fable / For men ought not to gyue the staf / by whiche they may he beten with

¶ The xv fable is of the wulf and of the dogge /


[Page lxiij] LYberte or fredome is a moche sivete thynge / as Esope reherceth by this fable / of a wulf and of a dogge whi che by aduenture mette to gyder / wherfore the wulf de­maunded of the dogge / wherof arte thow so fatte and so play saunt / And the dogge ansuerd to hym / I haue wel kepte my lordes hows / & haue barked after the theues whiche came in the hows of my mayster / wherfore he and his meyny gyue to me plente of good mete / wherof I am fatte and playsaunt / and the wulf sayd thenne to hym / It is wel sayd my broder / Cer taynly syth thow arte so wel atte thyn ease and farest so wel I haue grete desyre to dwelle with the / to thende that thow & I make but one dyner / wel sayd the dogge / come on with me yf thow wylt be as wel at thyn ease as I am / and haue thou no doubte of no thynge / The wulf wente with the dogge / and as they wente by the way / the wulf beheld the dogges neck / whiche was al bare of here / and demaunded of the dogge / My broder why is thy neck so shauen / And the dogge ansuerd / it is by cause of my grete coler of yron / to the whiche dayly I am fasted / And at nyght I am vnbound for to kepe the hows the better / Thenne sayd the wulf to the dogge / This I myster ne nede not / For I that am in lyberte / wylle not be put in no subiection / And the [...]for for to fylle my bely / I wylle not be subget / yf thou be acustommed for to be bound / contynue thow in hit / and I shalle lyue as I am wonte and acusto­med / therfore there is no rychesse gretter / than lybete / For ly­berte is better than alle the gold of the world /

¶ The xvj fable maketh mencion of the handes / of the feet / & of the mans bely

HOw shalle one do ony good to another / the which can doo no good to his owne self / As thow mayst see by this fable / Of the feet and of the handes / wh [...]che som­tyme had grede stryf with the bely / sayenge / Al that we can or may wynne with grete labour thow etest it all / and yet th [...]u [Page]


doost no good / wherfore thou shalt no more haue nothynge of vs / and we shalle lete the deye for honger / And thenne when the bely was empty and sore hongry / she beganne to crye [...] sayd Allas I deye for hongre / gyue me somwhat to ete / And the feet and handes sayd / thou getest no thynge of vs / And by cause that the bely myght haue no mete / the conduyts tho­rugh the whiche the metes passeth b [...]me smal and narowe / And within fewe dayes after the feete and handes for the fe­blenes whiche they felte wold thenne haue gyuen mete to the bely / but it was to late / for the conduits were ioyned to gyder And therfore the lymmes myght doo no good to other / that is to wete the bely / And he that gouerneth not wel his bely with grete payne he may hold the other lymmes in theyr stren­gthe and vertue / wherfore a seruaunt ought to serue wel his mayster / to thende that his mayster hold and kepe hym honest­ly / and to receyue and haue good reward of hym / when his mayster shalle see his feythfulnesse

¶ The xvij fable is of the Ape and of the foxe


OF the poure and of the Ryche Esope reherceth suche a fable / Of an ape / whiche prayd the foxe to gyue hym somme of his grete taylle for to couere his but­toks therwith / sayenge thus to hym / what auaylleth to the soo long a taylle / hit doth but wagge / And that whiche letteth the / shalle be prouffitable and good for me / The foxe said to hym I wold that hit were yet lenger / For rather I wold see hit al to fowled and dagged / than hit shold bere to yow suche ho nour / as to couere thy fowle buttoks therwith / And therfore gyue thou not that thynge of whiche thow hast nede of / to the ende that afterward thow myster not of hit

¶ The xviij fable si of the Marchaunt and of the asse

MAny one ben trauaylled after theyr dethe / wherfor men ought not to desyre the dethe / As reherceth Esope by this fable / Of a marchant whiche ladde an Asse laden [Page]


vnto the market / And for to be the sooner at the market / he bete his asse / and sore prycked hym / wherfor the poure asse wysshed & desyred hisowne deth / wenyng to hym that after his dethe he shold be in reste / And after that he had be wel bete & chaced he deyde / And his mayster made hym to be flayne / and of his skynne he dyd doo make tambours whiche ben [...]uer bete / And thus for what payne that men may haue durynge his lyf / he ought not to desyre and wysshe his [...]the / For many one ben / whiche haue grete payne in this world-that shall haue a gret ter in the other world / For the man hath no reste for the dethe but for his merytes

¶ The xix fable is of the herte and of the oxe

ONely for to flee none is assured to scape the daunger wh [...]rfore he fleeth / As thow shalt mowe see by this fable / Of a herte whiche ranne byfore the dogges / and to thende that he shold not be take / he fledde in to the fyrst toun that he found / & entryd in to a stable where as many oxen we re / to whom he sayd the cause why he was come there / prayeng them swetely that they wold saue hym / And the oxen sayd [Page lxv]


thus to hym / Allas poure herte thow arte amonge vs euylle adressyd / thow sholdest be more surely in the feldes. ¶ For yf thow be perceyued or sene of the oxeherd or els of the mays­ter / Certaynly thow arte but dede / Helas for god & for pyte I praye yow that ye wylle hyde me within your racke / and that ye deceyue me not / and at nyght next comynge / I shalle goo hens / and shalle putte my self in to a sure place / ¶ And whanne the seruaunts came for to gyue heye to the oxen / they dyd cast heye before the oxen / and wente ageyne theyre waye and sawe not the hert / wherof the herte was gretely reioysshed wenynge to haue scaped the perylle of dethe / He thenne ren­dred thanke and graces to the oxen / and one of the oxen sa­yd to hym / It is facyle to scape out of the handes of the blyn [...] but hit is not facyle to scape fro the handes of hym that seeth wel / For yf oure mayster come hyther whiche hath more than an honderd eyen / Certaynly thow arte deed yf he perceyue the ¶ And yf he see the not / certaynly thow arte saued / and shalt goo forthe on thy waye surely / The mayst [...]r withyn a short whyle after entryd in to the seab [...] [Page] And after he commaunded to vysyte and see the hey / whiche was before his oxen / And hym self went and tasted / yf they had ynough of hit / And as he tasted thus the heye / he felt the hornes of the herte with his hand / and to hym self he sayd / what is that that I fele here / and beynge dredeful called alle his seruauntes / and demaunded of the manere how the herte was come thyder / And they sayd to hym / My lord I knowe nothynge therof / And the lord was full gladde and made the herte to be taken and slayne / and maade a grete feest for to ha ue ete hym / Therfore it happeth oftyme / that he whiche supposeth to flee is taken and hold within the lace or nette / For he that fleeth awey is in grete perylle / wherfore men ought wel to ke pe them self to doo suche dede / that they must nedes flee therfore

¶ The xx fable maketh mencion of the fallace of the lyon / And of his conuersacion


[Page lxvj] TO conuerse with folke of euylle lyf is a thyng moche peryllous / And only to speke with them letteth moch other / As this fable reherceth of a lyon ryght strong and ryght myghty / the whiche made hym self kynge for to ha ue grete renommee and glorye / And fro thenne forthon he be­ganne to chaunge his condycions and customme shewyng hym self curtois / and swore that he shold hurte no bestes / but shold kepe them ageynst euery one / And of this promesse he repen­ted hym by cause hit is moche dyffycyle and hard to chaunge his owne kynd / And therfore whanne he was angry / he lad with hym somme smalle beestes in to a secrete place for to ete and deceyue them / And demaunded of them / yf his mouthe stanke or not / And they that sayd that it stanke or not were al saued / And alle they the whiche ansuerd not he kylled / & deuoured them al / It happed that he demaunded of the Ape / yf his mouthe stanke or not / And thape sayd no but that hit smelleth lyke baine / And thenne the lyon had shame to slee the ape / but he fond a grete falsheed for to put hym to dethe / He fayned to be seke and commaunded that al his leches & Cyrurgyens shold anone come vnto hym / whan they were co­me / he commaunded them to boke his vryne / And whan they had sene hit [...] / they sayd to hym / Syre ye shalle soone be hole / but ye must ete lyght metes / And by cause that ye be kynge / alle is at your commaundement / And the lyon ansuerd Allas Ryght fayne I wold ete of an Ape / Certaynly sayd the me decyn that same is good mete / Thenne was the Ape sen [...]e for And not withstondyng that he worshipfully spak & ansuerd to the kynge / the kynge made hym to deye / and deuoured hym ¶ Therfore hit is peryllous and harmeful to be in the felau­ship of a Tyraunt / For be hit euylle or good he wylle ete and deuoure euery thynge / And wel happy is he / that may ecape fro his blody handes / And that may eschewe and flee the fe­lauship of the euyll tyraunts

¶ Here fynysshed the thyrdde booke of the subtyle fables of Esope / And begynneth the table of the fourthe booke /
  • [Page]¶ The fyrst fable is of the foxe / and of the raysyn
  • ¶ The second fable is of the wesel and of the rat /
  • ¶ The thyrd fable is of the wulf / of the shepherd / and of the hun [...]er
  • ¶ The fourthe is of the pecok / of Iuno the goddesse / and of the nyghtyngale
  • ¶ The v fable is of the panthere and of the vylayns /
  • ¶ The vj fable is of the bochers and of the whethers /
  • ¶ The vij fable is of the fawkener and of the byrdes
  • ¶ The eyght fable is of the trewe man / of the man lyer / and of the apes
  • ¶ The ix fable is of the hors / of the hunter and of the herte
  • ¶ The tenthe fable is of the lyon and of the asse
  • ¶ The xj fable is of the hawke and other byrdes
  • ¶ The xij fable is of the lyon and of the foxes
  • ¶ The xiij fable is of the seke asse / and of the wulf
  • ¶ The xiiij fable is of the grete hegotte and of the lytyl gote
  • ¶ The xv fable is of the man and of the lyon
  • ¶ The xvj fable is of the camel and of the flye
  • ¶ The xvij fable is of the Ante and of the sygalle
  • ¶ The xviij fable is of the pylgrym and of the swerd
  • ¶ T [...] xix fable is of the sheep and of the rauen
  • ¶ The xx fable is of the tree and of the Rosyer

¶ The fyrst fable maketh mencyon of the foxe and of the raysyns


HE is not wyse / that desyreth to haue a thynge whiche he may not haue / As reciteth this fable Of a foxe / whi­che loked and beheld the raysyns that grewe vpon an hyghe vyne / the whiche raysyns he moche desyred for to ete them ¶ And whanne be sawe that none he myght gete / he torned his sorowe in to Ioye / and sayd these raysyns ben sowre / and yf I had some I wold not ete them / And therfore this fable sheweth that he is wyse / whiche fayneth not to desyre that thynge the whiche he may not haue /

¶ The second fable is of the auncyent wesel and of the rat /

WYtte is better than force or strengthe / As reherceth to vs this fable of an old wesel / the whiche myghte no more take no rats / wherfor she was ofte sore hongry [Page]


and bethought her that she shold hyde her self withynne th [...] f [...]ure for to take the rats whiche came there for to ete hit. And as the rats came to the floure / she took and ete them eche o [...]e after other / And as the oldest rat of all perceyned & kne­w [...] h [...]r malyce / he sayd thus in hym self / Certaynly I shalle k [...]pe me wel fro the / For I knowe alle thy malyce & falshede ¶ And therfore he is wyse that scapeth the wytte and malyce of euylle folke / by wytte and not by for [...]

¶ The thirdde fable is of the wulf and of the sheepherd and of the hunter

MAny folke shewe them self good by theyr wordes whi che are ful of grete fantasyes / As reherceth to vs thys fable of a wulf whiche fledde byfore the hunter / And as he fledde he mette with a sheepherd / to whome he sai [...] My frende I praye the that thow t [...]lle not to hym that folo­weth me which wey I am gone / & the sh [...]epherd said to hym haue [Page lxviij]


no drede ne fere no thynge / For I shalle not accuse the / For I shalle shewe to hym another way / And as the hunter came / he demaunded of the sheepherd yf he had sene the wulf pas­se / And the sheepherd both with the heed and of the eyen she­wed to the hunter the place where the wulf was / & with the hand and the tongue shewed alle the contrarye / And in­contynent the hunter vnderstood hym wel / But the wulf whiche perceyued wel all the fayned maners of the sheepherd fled awey / ¶ And within a lytyll whyle after the sheepherd encountred and mette with the wulf / to whome he sayd / paye me of that I haue kepte the secrete / ¶ And thenne the wulf ansuerd to hym in this manere / I thanke thyn handes and thy tongue / and not thyn hede ne thyn eyen / For by them I shold haue ben bytrayd / yf I had not fledde aweye / ¶ And therfore men must not truste in hym that hath two faces and two tongues / for suche folke is lyke and semblable to the scor pion / the whiche enoynteth with his tongue / and prycketh so­re with his taylle

¶ The fourth fable is of Iuno the goddesse and of the pecok and of the nyghtyngale


[...]ery one oughte to be content of kynde / and of su­che good as god hath sente vnto hym / wherof he must vse Iusely / As wherceth this fable of a pecok whiche [...] me to Iuno the goddesse / and sayd to her I am heuy and so rowful / by cause I can not synge as wel as the nyghtyngale For euery one mocketh and scorneth me / by cause I can not synge / And Iuno wold comforte hym and sayd / thy fayre forme and beau [...] is fayrer and more worthy and of gretter preysynge than the songe of the nyghtyngale / For thy fethers and thy colour ben resplendysshyng as the precious [...] And ther is no byrde lyke to thy fethers ne to thy beaulte / ¶ And the pecok sayd thenne to Iuno / All this is nought / syth I can not synge / And thenne Iuno sayd ageyne thus to the pecok for to contente hym / This is in the disposycion of the goddes / whiche haue gyuen to eyther of yow one propyrte / and one vertue / suche as it pleasyd them / As to the they haue gyuen fayr fygure / to the egle haue they gyuen strengthe / and [Page lxix] to the nyghtyngale fayr & playsaūt songe / And so to all other byrdes / wherfore euery one must be content of that that he hath For the myserable auarycious / the more goodes that they haue the more they desyre to haue

¶ The v fable maketh mencion of the panthere and of the vylayns


[...]ery one ought to do wel to the straunger and for: gyue to the myserable / As reher [...]th this fable of a pan there whiche fylle in to a pytte / And whan the vy­layns or chorles of the countrey sawe her / somme of them be­ganne to smyte on her / and the other sayd pardonne and for­gyue her / for she hath hurted no body / and other were that gaf to her breed / And another sayd to the vylayns / beware ye wel that ye slee her not / And by cause that they were al of dyuerse wyll / euerychone of them wente and retorned home a geyne wenynge that she shold deye within the sayd pytte / but lytyl and lytyl she clymmed vp / and wente to her how [...] [Page] ageyne / and made her to be wel medecyned / in so moche / that soone she was al hole / ¶ And within a whyle after she has uynge in her memorye the grete Iniurye that had be done to her came ageyne to the place where she had be hurte and sore be­te / & began to kylle & slee al the bestes whiche were there about & put al the sheepherds and swyneherds & other whiche kepte beestes all to flyght / she brente the Corne / & many other euyl and grete harme she dyd there aboute / And whanne the folke of the countrey sawe the grete dommage that she dyd to them / they came toward her / prayenge that she wold haue pyte on them / And to them she ansuerd in this manere / I am not come hyther to take vengeaunce on them whiche haue had pyte and myserycorde of me / but only on them that wold haue slayne me / And for the wycked and euylle folk I recyte this fable / to thende that they hurte no body / For yf alle the vylaynes hadde hadde pyte / the one as the other of the poure panthere or ser [...]ent whiche was straunger and myserable / as moche as sh [...] was fallen in to the pytte / the forsayd euylle and domma­ge had not come to them


¶ The vj fable is of the bochers and of the whethers

WHanne a lygnage or kynred is indyfferent or indy­uysyon / not lyghtly they shalle doo ony thynge to theyr salute / as reherceth to vs this fable / Of a bocher whiche entryd within a stable full of whethers / And after as the whethers sawe hym / none of them sayd one word / And the bocher toke the fyrst that he fonde / ¶ Thenne the whethers spake al to gyder and sayd / lete hym doo what he wylle / And thus the bocher tooke hem all one after another sauf one onely / And as he wold haue taken the last / the poure w [...]ether sayd to hym / Iustly I am worthy to be take / by ca [...] se I haue not holpen my felawes / For he that wylle not helpe ne comforte other / ought not to demaunde or aske helpe ne com forte / For vertue whiche is vnyed is better than vertue sepa­rate

¶ The seuenth fable is of the fawkoner and of the byrdes


[Page] THe wyse ought euer to kepe and obserue the good cost ceyll / And in no wyse they ought not to doo the contra rye / As reherceth to vs this fable / Of the byrdes whi che were Ioyeful and gladde / as the prymtemps came / by cause that theyr nestes were thenne al couerd with leues / And Incontynent they beheld and sawe a fawkoner whi­che dressyd and leyd his laces and nettes for to take them / ¶ And thenne they sayd al to gyder / yonder man hath pyte of vs / For whanne he beholdeth vs he wepeth / ¶ And thenne the pertryche / whiche had experymented and assayed all the [...]ytes of the sayd Fawkoner / sayd to them / kepe yow alle wel fro that sayd man and flee hyghe in to the ayer / For he seketh nothynge / but the manere for to take yow / For yf he toke yow / he shalle ete and deuoure yow / or to the markette he shalle bere yow for to be sold / And they that byleuyd his coū ceylle were saued / And they that byleuyd it not were taken and lost / ¶ And therfore they whiche byleue good counceylle are delyuerd oute of theyr peryls / And they whiche byleue it not ben euer in grete daunger


[Page lxxj] IN tyme passyd men preysyd more the folke full of le­synges and falshede than the man full of trouthe / the whiche thynge regneth gretely vnto this daye / As we may see▪ by this present fable / Of the man of trouthe and of the man lyar / whiche wente bothe to gyder thorugh the coun trey / And so longe they wente to gyder by theyr Iourneyes / that they came in to the pronynce of the apes / And the kynge of thapes made them bothe to be taken and brought before hym And he beynge in his Royal mageste / where as he satte lyke an Emperour / and alle his Apes aboute hym / as the subgets ben aboute theyr lord / wold haue demaunded / and in dede he demaunded to the lyer / who am I / And the lesynge maker & flaterer sayd to hym / thow arte emperour and kynge / the fay rest creature that is in erthe / ¶ And after the kynge demaun­ded of hym ageyne / who ben these whiche ben al aboute me / And the lyar ansuerd / Syre they ben your knyghtes & your subgettes for to kepe your persone / and your Royalme / And thenne the kynge sayd thow arte a good man / I wylle that thow be my grete styward of my houshold / and that euery one bere to the honour and reuerence / And whan the man of trouthe herd alle this he sayd in hym self / yf this man for to haue made lesynges is soo gretely enhaunced / thenne by gret­ter vayson / I shalle be more worshipped and enhaunced / yf I saye trouthe / ¶ And after the kynge wold aske the trewe man / and demaunded of hym / who am I / and alle that ben aboute me / And thenne the man of trouthe ansuerd thus to hym / thow arte an ape and a beste ryght abhomynable / And alle they whiche ben aboute the are lyke and semblable to the / ¶ The kynge thenne commaunded that he shold be broken and [...]oren with teeth and clawes and put alle in to pyeces / And therfore it happeth ofte that the lyers and flaterers ben enhaū ced / and the men of trouthe ben set alowe and put a back / For oftyme for to saye trouthe men lese theyre lyues / the whiche thynge is ageynst Iustyce and equyte

¶ The ix fable is of the hors / of the hunter and of the hert /



NOne ought to put hym self in subiection for to auenge hym on other / For better is not to submytte hym self / than after to be submytted / as reherced to vs this fa­ble / Of an hors whiche had enuye ouer an herte / by cause the herte was fayrer than he / and the hors by enuye went vnto an hunter / to whome he sayd in this manere / yf thow wylt byle­ue me / we shalle this day take a good proye / [...]epe vpon my [...]k / and take thy swerd / and we shalle chace the herte / and thow shalt hytte hym with thy swerd / and kylle hym / and shalt take hym / and thenne his flesshe thow mayst [...]e / and his skynne thow mayst selle /

¶ And thenne the hunter moued by auaryce / demaunded of the hors / thynkest thow by thy feythe that we maye take the herte / of whome thow spekest to me of / ¶ And the hors an­swerd thus / Suffyse the / For ther to I shalle put al my dy­lygence and alle my strengthe / lepe vpon me / and doo after my counceylle / ¶ And thenne the Hunter [...]epte forthwith vpon the hors backe / And the hors [Page lxxij] beganne to renne after the herte / And whanne the herte sawe / hym come he fled / And by cause that the hert ranne faster / than the hors dyd / he soaped fro them / and saued hym / ¶ And thenne when the hors sawe and felte hym moche we­ry / and that he myght no more renne / he sayd to the hunter in this maner / alyght fro my back / For I may bere the no more and haue myst of my proye / Thenne said the hunter to the hors Syth thow arte entryd in to my handes / yet shalt not thow escape thus fro me / thow hast the brydel in thy mouthe wherby thow mayst be kepte stylle and arrested / And thow wylt lepe / the sadell shalle saue me / And yf thow wylt caste thy feet fro the / I haue good spores for to constrayne and make the goo whether thow wylt or not where as I wylle haue the / and And therfore kepe the wel / that thow shewest not thy self re­belle vnto me / ¶ Therfore it is not good to put and submyt­te hym self vnder the hand of other wenynge therby to be auen ged of hym / ageynste whome men haue enuye / For who sub­mytteth hym self vnder the myght of other / he byndeth hym self to hym


[Page]¶ The tenthe fable is of the asse and of the lyon

THe grete callers by theyr hyghe and lowd crye suppo sen to make folke aferd / as recyteth this fable / Of an asse whiche somtyme mette with a lyon / to the whiche the asse sayd / lete vs clymme vpon the montayne / and I shall shewe to the / how the beestes ben aferd of me / and the lyon be­ganne to smyle / and he ansuerd to the asse / Goo we my broder / And whan they were vpon the top of the hylle / the asse by­ganne to crye / And the foxe and hares beganne to flee / And whanne thasse sawe them flee sayd to the lyon / Seest thou not how these beestes dreden and doubten me / and the lyon sayde / I had ben also ferdfull of thy voys / yf I had not knowen be [...]ly that thow arte but an asse / ¶ And therfore men nede not doubte ne drede hym that auaunceth hym self for to do that that he can not doo / For god kepe the mone fro the wulues / Ne also men nede not doubte a foole for his menaces / ne for his hyghe crye

¶ The xj fable is of the hawke and of other byrdes /


[Page lxxiij] THe ypocrytes maken to god a berd of strawe / As re­cyteth to vs this fable / Of a hawke / whiche somtyme fayned / that he wold haue celebred and holden a na tall or a grete feste / the whiche fest shold be celebred within a Temple / And to this feste and solempnyte he Inuyted and somoned alle the smal byrdes / to the whiche they came / And Incontynent as they were all come in to the temple / the [...] shette the gate and put them alle to dethe / one after an other / ¶ And therfore this fable sheweth to vs / how we must kepe our self fro all them / / whiche vnder fayre semynge haue a fals herte / and that ben ypocytes and deceptours of god and of the world /

¶ The xij fable is of the foxe / and of the lyon


FAyre doctryne taketh he in hym self / that chastyseth hym by the perylle of other / As to vs reherceth [Page] this present fable / Of a lyon whiche somtyme faygned hym self seke / ¶ And whanne the beestes knewe that the lyon was seke / they wold goo alle to vysyte and see hym as theyre kynge / ¶ And Incontynent as the beestes entryd in to his hows for [...]o see and comforte hym / he deuoured and ete them / ¶ And whan the foxes were come to the yate for to haue vy sy [...]d the lyon / they knewe wel the fallace and falshede of the lyon and salewed hym at the entre of the yate / And en­ [...] not within / ¶ And whan the lyon sawe that they wold not entre in to his hows / he demaūded of them / why they wold [...] [...] within / And one of the foxes sayd to hym / we kno [...] [...] [...] thy trac [...]s / that alle the beestes whiche haue entryd [...] [...] [...]ws came not oute ageyne / And also yf we entryd [...] [...] [...]ore shold we come ageyne [...]And therfore he is [...] [...] that taketh [...]ample by the dommage of other / [...] [...] [...] entre in to the hows of a grete lord / it is wel facyle [...] for to come oute of hit ageyne it is moche dyffycyle /


[Page lxxiiij] ¶ The xiij fable is of the asse / and of the wulf

[...]O none euylle man feythe ne trouthe ought neuer to be adiousted / As men may wel see by this Fable / Of a wulf whiche vysyted an asse whiche was wel seke the whiche wulf beganne to fele and taste hym / and demaun­ded of hym / My broder and my frend where aboute is thy sore / And the asse sayd to hym / there as thow tastest / ¶ And thenne the wulf faynyng to vysyte hym / beganne to byte and smyte hym / ¶ And therfore men must not trust fla terers / For one thynge they saye / and done another

¶ The xiiij fable is of the hedgehogge and of thre lytyl kydddes


[Page] IT behoueth not to the yong and lytyl of age to moc­ke ne scorne theyr older / As this fable sayth / of thre lytyll hedgehogges / whiche mocked a grete hedgehog­ge / which fled byfore a wulf / And whanne he perceyued the scornyng of them / he sayd to them / Ha a poure fooles & wood ye wote not wherfore I fle / For yf ye wyst and knewe wel thynconuenyent and paryll / ye shold not moche of hit / And therfore whan men seen that the grete and myghty ben ferdful and doubtous / the lasse or lytyll oughen not to be assured / For whan the toune is taken and goten by fortune of warre the Countrey aboute is not therfore more acertayned / but ou [...] to tremble and shake

¶ The xv fable is of the man and of the lyon /


MEn ought not to byleue the paynture / but the trouthe and the dede / as men may see by this present Falle / Of a man & of a lyon which had stryf to gyder & were [Page lxxv] in grete discencion for to were and knowe / whiche of them bo­the was more stronger / ¶ The man sayd / that he was stronger than the loyn / And for to haue his sayenge veryfyed / he she­wed to the lyon a pyctour / where as a man had vyctory ouer a lyon / As the pyctour of Sampson the stronge / ¶ Thenne sayd the lyon to the man / yf the lyon coude make pyctour good and trewe / hit had be herin paynted / how the lyon had had vyctorye of the man / but now I shalle shewe to the very and trewe wytnesse therof / The lyon thenne ledde the man to a grete pytte / And there they fought to gyder / But the lyon caste the man in to the pytte / and submytted hym in to his sub iection and sayd / Thow man / now knowest thow alle the trouthe / whiche of vs bothe is stronger / ¶ And therfore at the werke is knowen the best and most subtyle werker /

¶ The xvj fable is of the camel / and of the flee


[Page] HE that hath no myght ought not to gloryfye ne preyse hym self of no thynge / As reherceth to vs this presente fable of a camele / which bare a grete charge or burden It happed that a flee by cause of the camels here lepte to the back of the camel / and made her to be borne of hym all the day And whanne they had made a grete way / And that the ca­mel came at euen to the lodgys / and was put in the stable / the flee lepte fro hym to the ground besyde the foote of the camel / And after she sayd to the camel / I haue pyte of the / and am comen doune fro thy back by cause that I wylle nomore greue ne trauaylle the by the berynge of me / And the camel sayd to the flee / I thanke the / how be it that I am not sore laden of the / And therfore of hym which may neyther helpe ne lette men nede not make grete estymacion of

¶ The xvij fable is of the Ant and of the sygale


[Page lxxvj] IT is good to purueye hym self in the, somer season of suche thynges / wherof he shalle myster and haue nede in wynter season / As thow mayst see by this present fable / Of the sygalle / whiche in the wynter tyme went and demaunded of the ant somme of her Corne for to ete / ¶ And thenne the Ant sayd to the sygall / what hast thow done al the somer last passed / And the sygalle ansuerd / I haue songe / ¶ And after sayd the ante to her / Of my corne shalt not thou none haue / And yf thow hast songe alle the somer / daūse now in wynter / ¶ And therfore there is one tyme for to doo some labour and werk / And one tyme for to haue rest / For he that werketh not ne doth no good / shal haue ofte at his teeth grete cold and lacke at his nede /

¶ The xviij fable is of the pylgrym and of the swerd /


AN euylle man maye be cause of the perdycion or losse of mauy folke / As regercetg to vs this present Fa­ble / Of a pylgrym / whiche fond in his way a swerd [Page]And he asked of the swerd / what is he that hath lost the / ¶ And the swerd answerd to the pylgrym / A man alone hath lost me / but many one I haue lost / And therfor an euyl man may wel be lost / but er he be lost he may wel lette many one / For by cause of an euylle man may come in a Countrey many euyls

¶ The xix fable is of the sheeep and of the Crowe


MEn ought not to iniurye n [...] disprayse the poure In­nocentes ne the symple folke. As reherceth this fable / Of a Crowe / whiche sette her self vpon the back of a [...] / And whan the sheep had born her a grete whyle she sa­yd to her / thow shalt kepe thy self wel to sette the vpon a dog­ge / ¶ And thenne the crowe sayd to the sheep / Thynke thow poure Innocent that I wote wel with whome I playe / For I am old and malycious / and my kynde is to lette all In­nocents / and to be frende vnto the euyls / ¶ Ad therfore this fable wylle telle and saye / how ther be folke of suche kynde / [Page lxxvij] that they wyl doo no good werk / but only to lette euer the Innocents and symple folke

¶ The xx fable maketh mencion of the tree and of the reed /


NOne ought to be prowd ageynst his lord / but oughte to humble hym self toward hym / As this fable reher­ceth to vs of a grete tre / whiche wold neuer bowe hym for none wynd / And a reed whiche was at his foote bowed hym self as moche as the wynd wold / And the tree sayd to hym / why dost thow not abyde stylle as I doo / And the reed ansuerd / I haue not the myght whiche thow hast / And the tree sayd to the reed prowdly / than haue I more strengthe / than thow / And anone after came a grete wynde / whiche thre­we doune to the ground the sayd grete tree / and the reed abode in his owne beynge / For the prowde shall be allwey humbled And the meke and hūble shalle be enhannced / For the roote [Page] of alle vertue is obedyence and humylyte

¶ Here fynyssheth the fourthe book of the subtyle Fables of Esope / And how be it that moo of them ben not found in ony Regystre / Neuertheles many other fables composed by hym / haue [...]en founden whiche here after folowen

¶ The fyrste fable maketh mencion of the Mulet / of the foxe / and of the wulf


MEn calle many folke Asses / that ben wel subtyle / And suche wenen to knowe moche / and to be a grete clerke that is but an asse / As hit appiereth by thys [...] / Of a mule whiche ete grasse in a medowe nyghe to a gre te forest / to whome came a foxe whiche demaunded of hym / what [...] thow / And the mule ansuerd I am a beest / And the fo [...] sayd to hym / I ne demaunde ne aske of the that / but I aske who was thy fader / ¶ And the Mule ansuerd / My [Page lxxviij] grete fader was an hors / And the foxe sayd ageyne I ne de­maunde to the that / but only that thow tellest me / who thow arte named / And the Mule sayd to the foxe / I ne wote / by cause I was lytyll whanne my fader deyde / Neuertheles to thende that my name shold not be forgeten / my fader made hit to be wreton vnder my lyfte foote behynde / wherfore yf thow wylt knowe my name / goo thow and loke vnder my foote /

And whanne the foxe vnderstood the fallace or falshede / he wente ageyne in to the forest / And mette with the wulf / to whome he sayd / Ha myschaunt beest / what dost thow here / Come with me / and in to thy hand I shall put a good proy Loke in to yonder medowe / there shalt thow fynde a fatte beest Of the whiche thow mayst be fylled / ¶ And thenne the wulf entryd in to the medowe / and fonde there the mule / Of whom he demaunded / who arte thow / And the mule ansuerd to the wulf / I am a beest / And the wulf sayd to hym / This is not that that I aske to the / but telle how thow arte named / And the mule sayd I wote not / but neuertheles yf thow wylt kno we my name / thow shalt fynde it wreton at my lyfte foote be hynde / Thenne sayd the wulf / I praye the / wuchesauf to she­we it to me / And the mule lyft vp his foote / ¶ And as the wulf beheld and studyed in the foote of the mule / the Mule gaf hym suche a stroke with his foote before his forhede / that almost the brayne ranne oute of his hede / And the foxe whi che was within a busshe and sawe alle the maner beganne to lawhe and mocque the wulf / to whome he sayd / Foole beeste thow wost wel / that thow canst not rede / wherfore yf euylle is therof come to the / thy self is cause of hit / For none ought not to entremete hym to doo that / that Impossyble is to hym /

And therfore many ben deceyued / that entremeteth them to doo that / that they may not doo /

¶ The second fable is of the bore and of the wulf

SOOthe desyren to be grete lordes / and dyspreysen his pa­rents / that at the last becomen poure and fallen in to grete dishonour / As thow mayst see by this present [Page]


fable / Of a bore / whiche was amonge a grete herd of other swynes / And for to haue lordship and domynacion ouer alle them / he beganne to make grete rumour / and shewed his gre­te teethe for to make the other swynes aferd / but by cause they knewe hym / they sette nought by hym / wherof he displea­sed moche / and wold goo in to a herd of sheep / and emonge lambes / And whanne he was amonge the lambes / he began to make grete rumour / and shewed his sharp and long teeth ¶ And whanne the lambes herd hym / they were sore aferd / and byganne to shake for fere / ¶ And thenne sayd the bore within hym self / here is the place wherin I must abyde & dueke For here I shalle be gretely worshipped / For euerychone quaken for fere of me / ¶ Thenne came the wulf there for to haue and rauysshe somme proye / And the lambes beganne alle to flee / but the bore as prowd wold not sterr hym / ne go fro the place / by cause he supposed to be lord / but the wulf toke hym / and bare hym in to the wode for to ete hym / ¶ And as the wulf bare hym / it happed that he passid before the herd of swynes / whiche the bore had lefte / ¶ And thenne whanne the bore perceyued and knewe them / he prayd and cryed to them / that for the loue of god they wold helpe hym / And that withoute [Page lxxix] [...]er help / he was d [...]d / And thenne the swynes alle of one as­sent and owne wylle wonte and recouered theyr felawe / and after slewe the wulf / And as the bore was delyuerd / and sa we hym amonge the swynes / and that alle his doubte and fere was gone / he beganne to haue vergoyne and shame / by cause that he was thus departed / and gone fro theyr felauship and sayd to them / My bretheren and my frendes / I am well worthy to haue had this payne / by cause / I was gone & depar ted from yow / And therfore he that is wel / lete hym beware / that he moue not hym self / For suche by his pryde desyreth to be a grete lord / whiche ofte falleth in grete pouerte /

¶ The thyrd fable is of the foxe and of the cocke /


OFtyme moche talkynge letteth / As hit appiereth by this fable / Of a foxe / whiche came toward a Cocke / And sayd to hym / I wold fayne wete / yf thow canst as wel synge as thy fader dyde / And thenne the Cock shette [Page] his eyen / and beganne to crye and synge / ¶ And thenne the Foxe toke and bare hym awey / And the peple of the towne cryed / the foxe bereth awey the cok / ¶ And thenne the Cocke sayd thus to the Foxe / My lord vnderstandest thow not / what the peple sayth / that thow berest awey theyr cock / telle to them / that it is thyn / and not theyrs / And as the foxe sayd / hit is not yours / but it is myn / the [...]k s [...]aped fro the foxe mouthe / and f [...]ough vpon a tree / And thenne the Cok sayd to the fox thow lyest / For I am theyrs and not thyn / And thenne the foxe beganne to hytte the erthe bothe with his mouthe & heed sayenge / Mouthe / thow hast spoken to moche / thow sholdest ha­ue eten the Cok / had not be thyn ouer many wordes / And ther for ouer moche talkyng letteth / and to moche crowynge smar­ [...] / therfore kepe thy self fro ouer many wordes / to thende / that thow repentest the not

¶ The fourthe fable is of the dragon and of the [...]erle

MEn ought not to rendre euylle for good / And them that helpen ought not to be letted / As reherceth thys fable Of a dragon whiche was within a Ryuer / and as this Ryuer was dymynuyssled of water / the dragon abo­de at the Ryuage / whiche was al drye / And thus for lack of watre he coude not stere hym / A labourer or vylayne came thē ­ne that waye / and demaunded of the dragon / what dost thow there / And the dragon ansuerd to hym / I am here lefte with­oute water / withoute whiche I can not meue / but yf thow wilt bynd me / and sette me vpon thyn asse / and lede me in to my Ryuer / I shal gyue to the habondaunce of gold and syluer / And the vylayne or chorle for couetyse bound and ledde hym in to his repayre / And whanne he had vnbounden hym / he de­maunded his sallary / and payment / And the dragon sayd to hym / By cause that thow hast bounden me / thow wylt be payd And by cause that I am now hongry / I shalle ete the / And the vylayne ansuerd and sayd / For to haue done wel / thow wylt ete and deuoure me / And as they stryued to gyder / the [Page lxxx] foxe whiche was within the forest herd wel theyr question and different came to them / and sayd in this manere / Stryue ye no more to gyder / For I wyll acord / and make pees bytwixt you [...]ate eche of yow telle to me his reason for to wete / whiche of yow hath ryght / And whanne eche of them had told his caas the foxe sayd to the vylayne / Shewe thow to me / how thow boundest the dragon / to thende / that I may gyue therof a trewe and lawfull sentence / And the vylayne put the dragon vpon his asse / and bound hym as he had done before / And the fox demaunded of the dragon / helde he thenne the so fast bounden / as he dothe now / And the dragon ansuerd / ye my lord / and yet more hard / And the foxe sayd to the vylayn / Bynde hym yet more harder / For who that wel byndeth / wel can he vnbynd And whanne the dragon was fast and wel bounden / the fox sayd to the vylayne / bere hym ageyn there as thow fyrst tokest hym / And there thow shalt leue hym bounden as he is n [...]w / And thus he shalle not ete ne deuoure the / For he that dothe euylle / euylle he must haue / For Iustly he shall ben punysshed of god / they that done harme and dommage to the poure folke For who so euer rendreth euylle for good / he shalle therof iust ly be rewarded


¶ The v fable is of the foxe and of the catte

THere is many folke / whiche auauncen them and saye that they ben wyse and subtyle / whiche ben grete fooles and knowynge no thynge / As this fable reherceth / Of a foxe whiche somtyme mette with a Catte / to whome he sa yd / My godsep / god yeue yow good daye / And the catte an­swerd / My lord god gyue yow good lyf / And thenne the foxe demaunded of hym / My godsep what canst thow doo / And the catte sayd to hym / I can lepe a lytyl / And the fox sayd to hym / Certaynly thow arte not worthy to lyue / by cau se that thow canst nought doo / And by cause that the cat was angry of the foxes wordes / he asked and demaunded of the foxe / And thow godsep what canst thow doo / A thousand wyles haue I sayd the foxe / For I haue a sak ful of scyen­ [...] and wyles / And I am so grete a clerke / that none maye begyle ne deceyue me / And as they were thus spekyng to gyder the cat perceyued a knyght comynge toward them / whiche had many dogges with hym / and sayd to the foxe / My godsep / cer taynly I see a knyght comynge hytherward / whiche ledeth with hym many dogges / the whiche as ye wel knowe ben our enemyes / The foxe thenne ansuerd to the cat / My godsep / thou spekest lyke a coward / and as he that is aferd / lete them co­me and care not thow / And Incontynently as the dogges perceyued and sawe the foxe and the catte / they beganne to renne vpon them / And whanne the foxe sawe them come / he sayd to the kat / Flee we my broder / flee we / To whome the kat ansuerd / Certaynly godsep / therof is none nede / Neuerthe les the foxe byleued not the cat / but fledd / and ranne as fast as he myght for to saue hym / And the catte lepte vpon a tree and saued hym self / sayenge / Now shalle we see / who shalle playe best for to preserue and saue hym self / And whanne the catte was vpon a tree / he loked aboute hym / and sawe how the dogges held the foxe with theyr trethe / to whome he cryed and seyd / O godsep and subtyle foxe / of thy thowsand wyles that syth late thow coudest doo / lete me now see / and shewe to me one of them / the foxe ansuerd not / but was killed of the dogges [Page lxxxj] send the catte was saued / ¶ And therfore the wyse ought not to disprayse the symple / For suche supposeth to be moche wyse / whiche is a kynd and a very foole /

¶ The vj fable is of the hegoote and of the wulf


THe feble ought not to arme hym ageynst the stronge / As recyteth this present fable of a wulf / which som tyme raune after a hegoot / and the hegoot for to saue hym lept vpon a roche / and the wulf besyeged hym / ¶ And after whan they had duellid there two or thre dayes / the wulf beganne to wexe hongry / and the hegoote to haue thurst / And thus the wulf went for to ete / and the hegoot went for to drynke / And as the hegoot dranke he sawe his shadowe in the water / and speculynge and beholdynge his shadowe profe­red and sayd suche wordes within hym self / Thou hast so fayre legges / so fayr a berd / and so fayre hornes / and hast fere of the wulf / yf hit happed that he come ageyne / I shalle corryge hym wel / and shalle kepe hym wel / that he shalle haue no my­ght ouer me / ¶ And the wulf whiche held hys [Page] peas / and herkened what he sayd / toke hym by the one legge thus sayenge / what wordes ben these whiche thow proferest & sayst broder Hegoote / ¶ And whanne the hegote sawe that he was taken / he beganne to saye to the wulf / Ha my lord / I saye no thynge / and haue pyte of me / I knowe wel / that it is my coulpe / And the wulf toke hym by the neck and strangled hym / ¶ And therfore it is grete folye whan the feble maketh werre ageynst the puyssauut and stronge

¶ The vij fable is of the wulf and of the asse


MEn ought not to byleue lyghtly the counceylle of hym to whome men purposen to lette / As ye maye see by thio fable / Of a wulf whiche somtyme mette with an Asse / to the whiche he sayd / My broder I am hon [...]ry / Wherfor I must nedes ete the / ¶ And thenne the Asse ansuerd ryght benyngly / My lord / with me thow mayst doo what som­euer thow wylt / For yf thow etest me / thou shalt putte me [Page lxxxij] oute of grete payne / but I praye the yf thow wylt ete me / that thou vouchesauf to ete me oute of the way / For wel thow knowest that I brynge home the raysyns fro the vyne / and fro the feldes home the corne / ¶ Also wel thow knowest / that I bere home wood fro the forest / And whanne my mais­ter wel do buyld somme edyffy [...] / I must go fetche the stones from the montayne / And at the other parte I bere the corne vnto the mylle / And after I bere home the floure / And for alle short conclusions I was borne in a cursyd houre / For to alle payne and to alle grete labours I am submytted & sub­get to hit / For the whiche I wylle not that thow ete me here in the waye for the grete vergoyne and shame that the [...]of my­ght come to me / But I pray the / and Instantly requyre the / that thow wylt here my counceylle / whiche is / that we two go in to the forest / and thow shalt bynde me by the breste / as thy seruaunt / and I shalle bynd the by thy neck as my mayster And thow shalt lede me before the in to the wood where som­euer thow wylt / to the ende that more secretely thow ete me / to the whiche counceylle the wulf acorded and sayd / I wylle wel that it be done so / ¶ And whanne they were come in to the forest / they bounde eche other in the maner as aboue is sayd ¶ And whanne they were wel bounden / the wulf sayd to the Asse / goo we where thou wylt / and goo before for to she­we the waye / And the asse wente byfore and ledde the wulf in to the ryght waye of his maysters hows / ¶ And whanne the wulf beganne to knowe the way / he sayd to the asse / We goo not the ryght way / to the whiche the asse ansuerd / ¶ My lord saye not that / For certaynly / this is the ryght wey / But for alle that / the wulf wold haue gone backward / But neuertheles the Asse ledde hym vnto the hows of his mayster / ¶ And as his mayster and alle his meyny sawe how the Asse drewe the wulf after hym / and wold haue entred in to the hows▪ they came oute with staues and clubbes and smote on the wulf / ¶ And as one of them wold haue caste and smyten a grete stroke vpon the wulfes heede / he brake the cord / wherwith he was bounden / And so scaped and ranne awey vpon the montayne fore hurted and beten / And [Page] thenne the asse for the grete ioye that he hadde of that he was so scaped fro the wulf / beganne to synge / And the wulf whiche was vpon the montayne / & herd the voys of thasse beganne to saye in hym self / thow mayst wel crye and calle / For I shalle kepe the wel another tyme / that thow shalt not bynd me as thow hast done / but late gone / ¶ And therfore hit is grete folye to byleue the counceylle of hym / to whome men will lette / and to putte hym self in his subiection / And he that ones hath begyled / must kepe hym fro another tyme that he be not deceyued / For he to whome men purposen to doo somme euylle tourn / syth men holden hym at auauntage / men muste putte hem self at the vpper syde of hym / And after men sha [...] purueye for their counceylle

¶ The viij fable is of the serpent and of the labourer /


[Page lxxxiij] THe Auctor of this booke reherceth suche another Fa­ble and of suche sentence / as the precydent / that is to wete / that men shold not byleue hym / to whome / men hath done euylle / And sayth that somtyme in heruest tyme a labourer wente for to see his goodes in the feldes / the whiche mette on his way a serpent / And with a staf whiche he bare in his hand smote the sayd serpent / and gaf hym suche a stro ke vpon the heed / that nyghe he slewe hym / ¶ And as the Serpent felte hym self soo sore hurted / he wente fro the man / And entryd in to his hole / And sayd to the labou­rer / O euylle Frende / thow hast bete me / But I warne the / that thow neuer byleue not hym / to the whiche thow hast done ony euylle / Of the whiche wordes the labourer made lytyl ex­tyme and went forthe on his waye / ¶ It befelle thenne in the same yere / that this labourer wente ageyne by that waye / for to goo laboure and ere his ground / To whome the sayd Serpent sayd / ¶ Ha my frend / whyther goost thow / And the labourer answerd to hym / I goo ere and plowe my ground / And the Serpent sayd to hym / sowe not to moche / For this yere shalle be raynfull and grete ha­bondaunce of waters shalle falle / But byleue not to hym / to whome thow hast somtyme done ony euylle / And withoute ony wordes the labourer wente forthe on his waye / and by­leued not the serpent / but made alle his ground to be culty­ued and ered / and sowed as moche corne as he myghte / In that same yere felle grete habondaunce of water / wherfore the sayd labourer had but lytyl of his corne / For the mooste parte of the corne that he had sowen perysshed that same yere by cause of the grete rayne that felle that same yere / ¶ And the next yere after folowynge / as this labourer pas­syd before the repayre or dwellynge place of the sayd Serpent and went for to sowe his ground / the Serpente demaunded thenne of hym / My Frend whyther ghost thow / ¶ And the labourer answerd / I goo for to sowe my ground wyth corn and with other gaynes suche as I hope that shalle ben neces­sary for me in tyme comynge / And thēne the Serpent saide to hym / My frend sowe but lytyl corne / For the Somer next [Page] comynge shalle be so [...] grete and soo hote / that by the dryenes and hete / that alle the goodes sowen on the erthe shall perysshe [...]ut byleue not hym / to whome thow hast done ony euylle / ¶ And withoute sayenge ony word / the labourer wente / and thought on the wordes of the Serpent / ¶ And wenynge / that the Serpent hadde soo sayd for to deceyue hym / he sowed as moche corne and other graynes / as he myght / ¶ And it happed that the Somer next folowynge was suche / as a­boue is sayd / Therfor the man was begyled / ¶ For he ga­dred that same yere nothynge / ¶ And the next yere after fo­lowynge / the sayd season as the poure labourer wente ageyne for to ere and cultyue his ground the serpent sawe hym come fro ferre / ¶ And as he came and passed before his re payre he asked of the labourer in suche maner / ¶ My Frend whyther goost thow / And the labourer ansuerd / I goo cul­tyue and ere my ground / ¶ And thenne the serpent seyd to hym / My Frend sowe not to moche ne to lytyl of [...]ne and of other graynes / but sowe bytwene bothe / Neuertheles byleue not hym / to the whiche thow hast done euyl ¶ And I telle the that this yere shalle be the most temperate and the / moost fertyle of all [...] maner of corne / that euer thow sawest / ¶ And whanne the labourer hadde herd these wordes / be wente his waye / and dyd as the Ser­pent had sayd / And that yere he gadred moche good / by cau­se of the good disposycion of the season and tyme / ¶ And on a daye of the same yere / the serpent sawe the sayd labourer comynge fro the heruest / to whome he came ageynste / and sayd / Now saye me my good Frend / Hast thow not fond now grete plente of goodes / as I had told to the byfore And the labourer ansuerd and sayd ye certaynly / wherof I thanke the / ¶ And thenne the Serpent demaunded of hym Re [...]uneracion or reward / ¶ And the labourer thenne de­maunded what he wold haue of hym / And the Serpent sayd I n [...] demaunde of the nothynge / but only that to morowe on the mornyng thow wylt sende me a dyssh ful of mylk by som of thy children / ¶ And thenne the serpent shewed to the labourer the hole of his dwellyng / & sayd to hym / telle thy sone [Page lxxxiiij] that he brynge the mylke hyther / but take good heede to that that other whyle I told to the / that thow byleuest not hym / to whome thow hast done euylle / ¶ And anone after whanne these thynges were sayd / the labourer wente ho­meward / And in the mornynge next folowynge / he betoke to his sone a dysshe full of mylke / whiche he brought to the ser­pent / and sette the dysshe before the hool / And anone the ser­pent came oute and slewe the child thurgh his Wnym / And when the labourer cam fro the feld / and that he came before the repayre or dwellynge of the serpent / he fond his sonne whi­che laye doune deed on the erthe / Thenne beganne the sayd la­bourer to crye with a hyghe wys / as he that was ful of sorowe and of heuynesse sayenge suche wordes / Ha cursyd & euylle serpent / vermyn and fals traytour / thow hast deceyued me / Ha wycked and deceytfull beest / ful of all contagyous euyll thow hast sorowfully slayne my sone ¶ And thenne the serpente sayd to hym / I wylle well / that thow knowe / that I haue not slayne hym sorowfully / ne with oute cause / but for to auenge me of that / that thow hurtest me on that other daye withoute cause / and hast not amended hit / Hast thow now memorye / how ofte I sayd to the / that thow sholdest not byleue hym / to whome thow hast done euyll / haue now thenne in thy memorye / that I am auengyd of the / ¶ And thus this fable sheweth how men ought not to byleue ne bere feythe to them / to whome men hath done somme harme / [...] euylle

¶ The ix fable is of the foxe / of the wulf / and of the Lyon /

YF hit be soo that ony hath ben adommaged by other he ought not to take vengeaūce by the tong in gyuyng Iniuryous wordes / and the cause why / is by cause / that suche vengeaunce is dishonest. As to vs reherceth this pre­sent fable / Somtyme was a foxe / that ete fysshe in a Ryuer / ¶ It happed / that the wulf came that waye / ¶ And [Page]


wh [...]nne he sawe the foxe / whiche ete with so grete appetyte / He beganne to saye / My broder gyue me somme fysshe / And the foxe ansuerd to hym / Allas my lord / It behoueth not that ye [...] the releef of my table / but for the worship of your persone I shall counceylle yow wel / Doo soo moche to gete yow a les [...] / And I shalle teche yow how men shalle take fysshes / to thende / that ye may take somme whan ye shalle be hongry / And the wulf wente in to the strete / and stalle a basket / whi the [...]e brought with hym / the foxe tooke the basket / and bound it with a cord at the wulfs taylle / ¶ And whanne he was wel bounden / the foxe sayd to the wulf / goo thow by the Ry­uer / and I shalle lede and take hede to the basket / And the wulf dyde as the foxe bad hym do / ¶ And as the wulf was go [...]nge within the water / the foxe fylled the basket fulle of stones by his malyce / ¶ And whan the basket was full / the foxe sayd to the wulf / Certaynly my lord / I maye no more lyfte ne hold the basket / so full it is of fysshe / ¶ And the wulf wenynge that the foxe had sayd trouthe / profe [...]rd such wordes / sayenge / I rendre graces and thankes to god / that I maye ones see thyn hyghe and excellente wysedome in the arte and crafte of fysshynge / ¶ And thenne the foxe sayd to [Page lxxxv] hym / My lord abyde me here / And I shalle fetche some to hel­pe vs for [...] haue and take the fysshe oute of the basket / And in sayenge these wordes / the foxe ranne in to the strete / where he fond men / to whome he sayd in this manere / My lordes what doo ye here / why are yow werkles / see yonder the wulf / which ete you [...] sheep / your lambes / and your beestes / and yet now he taketh your fysshes oute of the Ryuer / and ete them / ¶ And thenne alle the men came to gyder / somme with flynges / and somme with bowes / and other with staues vnto the Ryuer / where they fond the wulf / whiche they bete outragyously / ¶ And whanne the poure wulf sawe hym thus oppressyd / & vexed with strokes beganne with alle his strengthe & myghte to drawe / and supposed to haue caryed the fysshe awey / but so strongly he drewe / that he drewe and pulled his taylle fro his ers / And thus he scaped vnnethe with his lyf / ¶ In the mene whyle thenne happed / that the lyon whiche was kynge ou [...]r alle beestes felle in a grete sekenesse / for the whiche cause euery beest wente for to see hym / as theyr lord / ¶ And when the wulf wold haue gone thyder / he salewed his lord / sayeng thus to hym / My kynge I salewe yow / please it yow to kno­we that I haue gone round aboute the countre and prouyn­ce / and in alle places of hit for to serche somme medycynes prouffitable for yow / and to recouere your helthe / but nothyng I haue found good for your sekenesse / but only the skynne of a foxe fyers and prowde and malycious / whiche is to youre body medycynal-but he daygneth not to come hyther to see you But ye shalle calle hym to a counceylle / and whanne ye hold hym / lete his skynne be taken from hym / And thenne lete hym renne where he wylle / and that fayr skynne whiche is so holso­me / ye shalle make hit to be sette and bound vpon your bely / And within fewe dayes after hit shalle rendre yow in as go­od helthe / as euerye were / ¶ And whanne he had sayd the­se wordes / he departed fro the lyon and toke his leue / but ne­uer he had supposed / that the foxe had herd hym / but he had / For he was within a terryer nyghe by the lodgys of the lyon / where he herd alle the proposycion of the wulf / to the whiche he dyd put remedye and grete prouysyon / For as soone as the wulf was departed fro the lyon / the foxe wente in to the [Page] feldes / And in a hyghe way he fond a grete donghyll / within the whiche he put hym self / ¶ And as he supposed after hi [...] aduys to [...]e d [...]fowled and dagged ynough / came thus aryed in to the pytte of the lyon / the whiche he salewed as he ought [...] to haue done to his lord / sayenge to hym in this manere / Syre kynge god yeue good helthe / And the lyon ansuerd to hym God salewe the swete frend / come nyghe me and kysse me / & after I shalle telle to the somme secrete / whiche I wylle not that [...]uery man knowe / to whome the foxe sayd in this maner [...]a a syre kynge be not displeasyd / for I am to fowle arayed and al to dagged / by cause of the grete way / whiche I haue gone / sekynge al aboute somme good medycyne for yow / Wherfore it behoueth not to me / for to be so nyghe your persone For the scenche of the donge myght wel greue yow for the grede sekenesse that ye haue / but dere syre / yf hit please to the / or euer I come nerer to thy Royal mageste I shalle goo bathe me and make me fayre and clene / And thenne I shall come a­geyne to presente my self byfore thy noble persone / And not withstondynge al this / also or I goo / please the to wete & kno we that [...] come from alle the contrees here aboute / and from alle the Royalmes adiacent to this prouynce / for to see yf I [...] fynde somme good medycyn dusynge and nedeful to thy sekenesse / and for to recouere thy helthe / but certaynly I haue soūd no better coūceylle than the coūceylle of an aūcyent greke with a grete & long berd / a man of grete wysedom / sage & wa [...] thy to be praysed / the whiche sayd to me / how in this prouync [...] [...] a wulf withoute taylle / the whiche hath lost his taylle by the vertue of the grete medycyn whiche is within hym / For the whiche thynge it is nedeful and expedyent / that ye doo make this wulf to come to yow for the recoueraunce of the helthe of your fayr and nobl [...] body / And whan [...]e is come dyssymylle and calle hym to counceylle / sayenge that it shalle be for his grete worship & prouffite / & as he shal be nyghe vnto how case on hym your armed feet / and as swetely as ye maye pulle the skynne fro the body of hym & kepe it hoole / sauf only that ye shalle leue the heed and the feet / And thenne lete hym gone his way to seche his auenture / And forthwith whan ye shalle haue that skynne / al hote and warme ye shal doo bynd hit al [Page lxxxvj] aboute your bely / And after that or lytyll tyme be passyd / your helthe shalle be restored to yow / and ye shal be as hole as euer in your lyf ye were / ¶ And thenne the foxe toke his le­ue of the kynge / and departed / and wente ageyne in to his ter ryer / ¶ Soone after came there the wulf for to see the lyon / And Incontynent the lyon called hym to counceylle / and cas tynge softly his feet vpon hym dyspoylled the wulf of his skynne sauf the skynne of his hede and of his feet / And af­ter the lyon bound it al warme aboute his bely / ¶ And the wulf ranne aweye skynles / wherfore he had ynough to doo to defende and put from hym the flyes / whiche greued hym sore / And for the grete distresse that he felte by cause of the flyes / that thus ete his flesshe / he as wood beganne to renne / and pas syd vnder an hylle / vpon the whiche the foxe was / ¶ And af ter whanne the foxe sawe hym / he beganne to crye / and calle / lawhyng after the wulf / and mocked / and sayd to hym / who arte thow that passest there before with suche a fayre hood on thy heed and with ryght fayr glouues in thyn handes / Herke herke / what I shalle saye to the / whan thow wente & camest by the kynges hows / thow were blessyd of the lord / & whan thow were at the Court thow herkenest and also sayest many good wordes and good talkynge of al the world / ¶ And therfore my godsep be it euyl or good / thow muste al lete passe / and goo / and haue pacyence in thyn aduersyte / ¶ And thus this fable sheweth vnto vs / that yf ony be hur­ted or dommaged / by somme other he must not auenge hym self by his tonge for to make ony treson / ne for to say of other ony harme ne open blasphemye / For he ought to consydere / that who so euer maketh the pytte redy for his broder / ofte it hap­pe [...]h that he hym self falleth in the same / and is beten with the same rodde that he maketh for other

¶ The x fable is of the wulf whiche made a fart /



IT is folye to wene more / than men ought to doo / For what someuer a foole thynketh-hit someth to hym that it shalle be / As it appiereth by this fable / of a wulf / whiche somtyme rose erly in a m [...]nynge / And after that he was rysen vp fro his bedde / as he retched hym self / made a gre [...] [...]art / and beganne to saye in hym self / blessyd be god ther­fore / these ben good tydynges / this daye / I shalle be wel for­tunate and happy / as myn ers syngeth to me / And thenne he departed from his lodgys / and biganne to walke and goo / & as he wente on his way he fonde a sa [...] ful of talowe / whiche a woman had lete falle / and with his foote he torned hit vpso doune / and sayd to hym / I shalle not ete the / For thow shol­dest hurte my tendre stomak / and that more is / I shall this day haue better mete / and more delycious / For well I knowe this by myn er [...] / whiche dyd synge it to me / And sayenge these wordes went his way / And anone after he fond a grete pye [...] of bakon wel salted / the whiche he tourned and retourned vpso doune / And whan he had torned and retorned hit longe / ynough / he sayd / I dayne not to ete of this mete / by cause that hit shold cause me for to drynke to moche / for it is to salte [Page lxxxvij] And as myn ers songe to me last I shalle ete this same day better and more delycious mete / ¶ And thenne he beganne to walke ferther / And as he entryd in to a fayr medowe / he sa [...] we a mare / and her yong foole with her / and sayd to hym self alone / I rendre thankes and graces to the goddes of the go­des that they send me / For wel I wyst and was certayne / that this daye I shold fynde somme precious mete / And then­ne he came nyghe the mare and sayd to her / Certaynly my sister I shalle ete thy child / And the mare ansuerd to hym / My broder doo what someuer hit shalle please the / But fyrst I praye the that one playsyre thow wylt do to me / I haue herd saye that thow art a good Cyrurgyen / wherfore I praye the / that thou wylt hele me of my foote / I saye to the my good bro der / that yesterdaye as I wente within the forest / a thorne en­teyd in to one of my feet behynd / the whiche greueth me sore / I praye the / that or thow ete my fool / thow wylt drawe and haue it oute of my foote / And the wulf answerd to the mare that shalle I doo gladly my good suster / shewe me thy foote / ¶ And as the mare shewed hir foote to the wulf / she gaf to the wulf suche a stroke bytwixe bothe his eyen / that alle his hede was astonyed and felle doune totheground / and by the same occasion was hir foole or colt saued / And a longe space was the wulf lyenge vpon the erthe / as deed / And whanne he was come to hym self ageyne / and that he coud speke / he sayd / I care not for this myshap / For wel I wote that yet this day I shalle ete / and be fylled of delycious mete / And in sayenge these wordes lyft hym self vp / and wente aweye / ¶ And whanne he had walked and gone a whyle / he fond two rammes within a medowe whiche with their hornes laū ­ched eche other / And the wulf sayd in hym self / Blessyd be god / that now I shal be well fedde / he thenne came nyghe the two rammes / & said / Certaynly I shall ete the one of you two And one of them sayd to hym / My lord doo alle that it plese yow / but fyrst ye must gyue to vs the sentence of a processe of a plee whiche is bytwixe vs bothe / And the wulf ansuerd / that with ryght a good wylle he wold doo hit / And after sa­yd to them / My lordes telle me your reson [...] and [...]as / to then [...] [Page] that the better I may gyue the sentence of your different and question / And thenne one of them beganne to say / My lord / this medowe was bylongynge to our fader / And by cause that he deyde withoute mastynge ony ordenaunce or testament / we be now in debate and stryf for the partynge of hit / wherfore we praye the that thow vouchesauf to accorde oure different / so that pees be made bytwene vs / And thenne the wulf demaunded of the rammes how theyr question myght be accorded / Ryght wel seyd one of them / by one manere / whiche I shal telle to the / yf hit please to the to here me / we two shalle be at the two endes of this medowe / and thow shalt be in the myddes of it / And fro thende of the medowe / we bothe at ones shalle renne toward the / And he that fyrst shalle come to the / shalle be lord of the medowe / And the last shalle be thyn / wel thenne sayd the wulf / thyn aduys is good and wel purposed / late set now who fyrst shalle come to me / Thenne wente the two rammes to the two endes of the medowe / and bothe at ones beganne to renne toward the wulf / and with alle theyr myght came and g [...]f to hym suche two strokes bothe at ones ageynst bothe his sydes / that almost they brake his herte within his bely / & there fyll doune the poure wulf alle aswowned / And the rammes wente theyr way / ¶ And whanne he was come ageyn to hym self / he took courage and departed / sayenge thus to hym self / I care not for alle this Iniurye and shame / For as myn er [...] dyd synge to me / yet shalle I this day ete somme good and delycious mete / ¶ He had not long walked / whanne he fond a sowe / and her smal pygges with her / And Incontynent as he sawe her / he sayd / blessyd be god of that I shalle this daye ete and fylle my bely with precious metes / and shalle haue good fortune / And in that sayenge approched to the sowe / & sayd to her / My suster I must ete somme of thy yonge pygges And the sowe wente and sayd to hym / My lord I am con­tent of alle that / whiche pleaseth to yow / But or ye ete them / I praye yow that they maye be baptysed and made clene in pure and fayre water / And the wulf sayd to the sowe / Shewe me thenne the water / And I shalle wasshe and baptyse them wel / And thenne the sowe wente and ledde hym at a stange or pond where as was a fayr mylle / ¶ And as the wulf [Page lxxxviij] was vpon the lytyl brydge of the sayd mylle / and that he wold haue take one pygge / the sowe threwe the wulf in to the water with her hwde / and for the swyftnesse of the water / he must nedes passe vnder the whele of the mylle / And god wo­te yf the wynges of the mylle bete hym wel or not / And as soone as he myght / he ranne away / And as he ranne seyd to hym self / I care not for soo lytyl a shame / ne therfore I shall not be lette / but that I shalle yet this daye ete my bely full of metes delycious / as myners dyd synge it erly to me / ¶ And as he passed thurgh the strete / he sawe somme sheep / and as the shepe sawe hym / they entryd in to a stable / ¶ And whan the wulf came there he sayd to them in this manere / God kepe yow my susters / I must ete one of yow / to thende / that I may be fylled and rassasyed of my grete honger / And thenne one of them sayd to hym / Certaynly my lord / ye are welcome to passe / For we ben comen hyder for to hold a grete solempnyte / wherfore we alle praye yow / that ye pontyfycally wylle synge And after the seruyse complete and done / doo what ye wyll of the one of vs / & thēne the wulf for vayn glory / faynyng to be a prelate beganne to synge and to howle before the sheep / ¶ And whanne the men of the tou [...]e herd the Wys of the wulf / they came to the stable with grete staues and with gre­te dogges / and wonderly they wounded the wulf / and almost brought hym to deth / that with grete payne he coude goo / Ne­uertheles he soaped / and wente vnder a grete tree / vpon the whiche tree was a man whiche hewe of the bowes of the tree / The wulf thenne beganne to syghe sore / and to make grete so­rowe of his euylle fortune / and sayd / Ha Iupiter how ma­ny euyls haue I had and suffred this daye / but wel I pre­sume and knowe / that hit is by me and by myn owne cause / and by my proud thoughte / For the daye in the mornynge I fond a sak ful of talowe / the whiche I dayned not but only smelle hit▪ And after I fond a grete pyrce of bakon / the whi­che I wold neuer ete for drede of grete thurst and for my fo­lysshe thought / And therfore yf euylle is syn happed to me / it is wel bestowed and employed / My fader was neuer me­decyn ne leche / and also I haue not studyed and lerned in the [Page] scyence of medycyn or phisyke / therfore if it happeth euylle to me / whanne I wold drawe the thorne oute of the mares fot [...] it is wel employed / ¶ Item my fader was neuer neyther pa­tryarke ne Bisshop / And also I was neuer bettred / and yet I presumed / and toke on me for to sacryfyce and to synge be fore the goddes / faynyng my self to be a prelate / but after my deserte I was wel rewarded / ¶ Item my fader was no legist no neuer knewe the lawes / ne also man of Iustyce / and to gyue sentence of a plee / I wold entremete me / and fayned my self grete Iustycer / but I knewe neyther / a / ne / b / ¶ And yf therfore euylle is come to me / it is of me as of ryght it shold be / O Iupyter I am Worthy of gretter punycyon whanne I haue offensed in so many maners / sende thow now to me from thyn hyghe throne a swerd or other wepen / wherwith I maye strongly punysshe and bete me by grete penaunce / For wel worthy I am to receyue a gretter disciplyne / And the good man whiche was vpon the tree / herkened alle these wordes & deuyses / and sayd no word / ¶ And whanne the wulf had fynyssh [...]d alle his syghes and complayntes / the good man to ke his axe / wherwith he had kytte awey the dede braunches fro the tree / and cast it vpon the wulf / and it felle vpon his neck in suche maner that the wulf torned vpsodoun the feet vpward and saye as he had ben dede / And whan the wulf myght re­s [...]e and dresse hym self / he loked and byheld vpward to the [...]uen / and beganne thus to crye / Ha Iupiter I see now wel that thow hast herd and enhaunced my prayer / And thenne he perceyued the man whiche was vpon the tree / & wel wende that he had ben Iupiter / And thenne with alle his myght he fledde toward the forest sore wounded / and rendred hym self to humylyte / and more m [...]ke and humble he was afterward than euer before he had ben fyers ne prowde / ¶ And by this fable men may knowe and see that moche resteth to be done of that / that a foole thynketh / And hit sheweth to vs / that whan somme good cometh to somme / it ought not be reffused / For it maye not ben recouerd as men wyll / And also it sheweth / hou none ought to auaunte hym to doo a thynge whiche he can not doo / but therfore euery man ought to gouerne and rewle hym self after his estate and faculte /

¶ The xj fable is of the enuyous dogge /


NOne ought not to haue enuye of the good of other / As it appiereth by this fable / Of a dogge whiche was ennyous / and that somtyme was within a stable of ox en / the Whiche was ful of heye / This dogge kept the oxen that they shold not entre in to theyr stable / and that they shold not ete of the sayd hey / And thenne the oxen sayd to hym / Thow arte wel peruers and euylle to haue enuye of the good / the whiche is to vs nedefull and prouffitable / And thow hast of hit nought to doo / for thy kynde is not to ete no hey / And thus he dyd of a grete bone / the whiche he held at his mouthe / and wold not leue hit by cause and for enuye of another dogge / whiche was therby / And therfore kepe the wel fro the compa­ny or felauship of an enuyous body / For to haue to doo with hym hit is moche peryllous and dyffycyle / As to vs is wel shewen by Lucyfer

¶ The xij fable is of the wulf and of the hongry dogge /


S [...]che supposen somtyme to wynne that lesen / As hit appiereth by this Fable / For hit is sayd comunly / that as moche dispendeth the nygard as the large / As hit appiereth by this Fable of a man whiche had a grete herd of sheep / And also he had a dogge for to kepe them fro the wulues / To this dogge he gaf no mete / for the grete aua­ryce whiche held hym / And therfore the wulf on a daye came to the dogge / and demaunded of hym the rayson / why he was soo lene / and sayd to hym / I see wel that thow dyest for hon ger / by cause that thy mayster gyueth to the no mete / by his gre te scarepte / but yf thow wylt byleue me I shalle gyue to the good counceylle / And the dogge sayd to hym / Certaynly I myster gretely of good counceylle / ¶ Thenne the wulf sayd to hym / This shalt thow doo / Lete me take a lambe / And whanne I shalle haue hit I shalle renne awey / [Page lxxxx] And whanne thow shalt see me renne / make thenne semblaūt to renne after me / and lete thy self falle faynynge that thow canst not ouertake me / for lack and fawte of mete / which ma keth the so feble / And thus whanne the sheepherd shalle see that thow mayst not haue the lambe fro me by cause of the gre te feblenesse and debylyte of thy lene body / he shall telle to thy lord that thow myghtest not socoure the lambe / by cause that thow arte so sore ahongryd / and by this meane thow shalt ha ue mete thy bely ful / ¶ The dogge thenne acorded this with the wulf / and eche of [...] made and dyde as abo­ue is sayd / ¶ And whanne the sheepherd sa­we the dogge falle / supposed wel / that honger was cause of it Forthe whiche cause whanne one of the shepherdes came home he told hit to his mayster / And whan the mayster vnderstood hit / he seyd as a man wroth for shame / I wylle that fro hence forth on he haue breed ynough / ¶ And thenne euery daye the sayd dogge hadde soppes of brede / and of drye breed he hadde ynough / ¶ Thenne the dogge toke strengthe / and vygour a­geyne / ¶ It happed within a lytyl whyle after / that the wulf came ageyne to the dogge / and sayd to hym / I percey­ue wel / that I gaf to the good counceylle / And the dogge sayd to the wulf / My broder thow sayst soothe / wherfore I thanke the moche / For of hit I hadde grete nede /

And thenne the wulf sayd to hym / Yf thow wylt I shall gyue to the yet better counceylle / And the dogge ansuerd hym with ryght a good wylle I shalle here hit / And yf hit be go­od I shalle doo after hit / ¶ Thenne sayd the wulf to hym Lete me take yet another lambe / and doo thy dylygence for to haue hit fro me / and to byte me / and I shalle ouerthrowe the thy feet vpward / as he that hath no puyssaunce ne strength withoute hurtynge of thy self / byleue me hardyly / and wel hit shalle happe to the / And whanne thy maysters seruaunts shalle haue sene thy dylygence / they shalle shewe hit to thy mayster how that thow shalt kepe full wel his folde / yf thou be wel nourysshed / ¶ And thenne the dogge ansuerd to the wulf that he was contente / And as hit was sayd / ryght so hit was done / and bothe of them maad good dylygence [Page] The wulf bare aweye the lambe / and the dogge ranne after hym / and ouertook hym / & bote hym fayntly / And the wulf ouerthrewe the dogge vpsodoune to the ground / And whan the sheepherdes sawe gyue suche strokes amonge the dogge & the Wulf / sayd Certaynly we haue a good dogge / we muste telle his dylygence to our mayster / and soo they dyd / & how he bote the wulf / and how he was ouerthrowen / and yet sayd Certaynly yf he hadde hadde euer mete ynough / the wulf had not borne awey the lambe / Thenne the lord commaunded to gy ue hym plente of mete / whe [...]f the dogge took ageyne al streng the and vertue / And within a whyle after the wulf came a­geyne to the dogge / and sayd to hym in this manere / My bro der haue I not gyuen to the good counceylle / And thenne the dogge ansuerd to hym / Certaynly ye / wherof I thanke yow / And the wulf sayd to the dogge / I praye the my broder and my good frend that thow wylt yet gyue another lambe / and the dogge sayd to hym / Certaynly my broder / wel hit maye suffyse the to haue had tweyne of them / ¶ Thenne sayd the wulf to the dogge / ¶ At the lest waye I maye haue one for my laboure and sallarye / That shalt thow not haue sayd the dogge / Hast thow not hadde good sallarye for to haue hadde two lambes ou [...] of my maysters herd / ¶ And the wulf ansuerd to hym ageyne / My brother gyue hit me yf hit please the / ¶ And after sayd the dogge to hym / Nay I wylle not / And yf thow takest hit ageynste my wylle / I promytte and warne the / that neuer after this tyme thow shalt ete none / And thenne the wulf sayd to hym / Allas my broder I deye for honger / Counceylle me for goddys loue what I shalle doo / And the dogge sayd to hym / I shal coū ­ceylle the wel▪ a walle of my maysters celer is fallen doune / go thyder this nyght and entre in hit / and there thow mayst both ete and drynke after thy playsyr / For bothe breed flesshe and wyn shalt thow fynde at plente there within / And thenne the wulf sayd to hym / Allas my broder / beware wel thenne / that thow accuse ne deceyue me not / And the dogge ansuerd / I waraunt the / but doo thy faytte soo pryuely / that none of my felawes knowe not of hit / ¶ And the wulf [Page lxxxxj] came at the nyght / and entryd in to the celer / and / ete and dranke at his playsyre / In so moche that he wexed dronke / And whanne he hadde dronke soo moche / that he was dronke / He sayd to hym self / whanne the vylaynes ben fylled wyth metes / and that they ben dronke / they synge theyr songes / and I wherfore shold I not synge / ¶ And thenne he be­ganne to crye and to howle / And the dogges herd the Wys of hym wherfore they beganne to barke and to howle / And the seruaunts whiche herd them sayd / It is the wulf / whiche is entryd within the celer / And thenne they al to gyder wen [...]n thyder / and kylled the wulf / And therfore more dispendeth the nygard than the large / For auaryce was neuer good / For many one ben whiche dare not ete ne drynke as nature re­quyreth / But neuertheles euery one oughte to vse and lyue prudently of alle suche goodes as god sendeth to hym / This fable also she weth to vs / that none ought to do ageynste his kynde / as of the wulf whiche wexed dronke / for the whi­che cause he was slayne

¶ The xiij fable maketh mencyon of the fader and of his th [...] children

HE is not wyse / whiche for to haue vanyte and his ple­syr taketh debate or stryf / As hit appiereth by this fa­ble / Of a man whiche hadde thre children / and at the houre of his dethe he byquethed / and gaf to them his herytage or lyue [...]de / that is to wete a grete pere tree / a gote & a mylle / ¶ And whanne the fader was deed / the bretheren assembled them thre to gyder / and wente before the Iuge for to parte the­ir lyue [...]de / and sayd to the Iuge / My lord the Iuge / Oure fader is dede whiche hath byquethed to vs thre bretheren al his herytage and as moche of hit shold haue the one as the other And thenne the Iuge demaunded / what was theyr lyuelode / And they ansuerd a pere tree / a gote and a mylle / And then­ne the Iuge sayd to them / that they shold sette and make partyes egal of your lyuelede / and the one to haue as moche [Page] of hit as the other / hit is a thynge moche dyffycyle to doo / but to your aduys how shold ye parte it / And thenne the eldest of the thre bretheren spake and sayd / I shalle take fro the pere tree alle that is croked and vpryght / And the second sayd / I shalle take fro the pere tree alle that is grene and drye / And the thyrd sayd I shalle haue alle the rote / the pulle or maste and alle the braunches of the pere tree / ¶ And thenne the Iuge sayd to them / He that thenne shalle haue the most part [...] of the tree / lete hym be Iuge / For I ne none other may kno­we [...]e vnderstande who shalle haue the moore or lesse parte / And therfore he that can or shalle proue more openly / that he hath the moost parte shal be lord of the tree / ¶ And after the Iuge demaunded of them / how that theyr fader had deuysed to them the gote / And they sayd to hym / he that shalle make the fayrest prayer and request must haue the gote / And thēne the fyrste broder made his request / and sayd in this manere / wold god that the goot were now soo grete that she myght drynke alle the water whiche is vnder the cope of heuen / And that whanne she hadde dronken it / she shold yet be sore thursty ¶ The second sayd / I suppose that the gote shalle be myn / For a fayrer demaunde or request than thyn is I shalle now ma [...] / ¶ I wold / that alle the hempe / and alle the Flaxe and alle the wulle of the worlde were made in one threed alone / And that the Gote Were so grete / that with that same th [...]de men myght not bynde one of his legges / ¶ Thenne sayde the thirdde / yet shalle be myn the gote / ¶ For I wolde / that he were soo grete / that yf an Egle were at the vppermost of the heuen / he myghte occupye and [...]aue thenne as moche place as the Egle myght loke and see in hyght / in lengthe and in breed / ¶ And thenne the Iuge sayde to them thre / who is he of yow thre / that hath maade the fayrest prayer / Certaynly I no [...] none other canne not saye ne gyue the Iugement / And therfore the goode shalle be bylongynge to hym / that of hit shalle say the trouthe ¶ And the Mylle how was hit deuysed by your Fader for to be par­ted amonge yow thre / ¶ And they ansuerde and sayde to the Iuge / He that shalle be moost lyer / mooste [Page lxxxxij] euylle and most slowe ought to haue hit / ¶ Thenne say the eldest sone / I am moost slowfull / For many yeres I haue dwellyd in a grete hows / and laye vnder the conduytes of the same / oute of the whiche felle vpon me alle the fowle waters / as pysse / dysshe water / and alle other fylthe that wonderly stanke / In so moche that al my flesshe was roten therof / and myn eyen al blynd / and the durt vnder my back was a foot hyghe / And yet by my grete slouthe I hadde leuer to abyde there / than to tourne me / and haue lyfte me vp ¶ The second sayd / I suppose wel / that the mylle shalle be myn / For yf I had fasted twenty yere / And yf I hadde co­me to a table couerd of al maner of precious and delycate me tes / wherof I myght wel ete yf I wold take of the [...]st / I am so slouthfull that I maye not ete withoute one shold putte the mete in to my mouthe / ¶ And the thyrde sayd / the Mylle shalle be myn / For I am yet a gretter lyar and more slouthfull / than ony of yow bothe / For yf I hadde ben athurst vnto the dethe / And yf I found thenne my self within a fayre water vnto the ne [...] / I wold rather deye / than to me [...]e ones my heed for to drynke therof only one drop / ¶ Thenne sayd the Iuge to them / Ye wote not what ye saye / For I nor none other maye not wel vnderstande yow / But the cause I remytte and put amonge yow thre / And thus they wente withoute ony sentence / For to a folysshe demaunde behoueth a folysshe ansuere ¶ And therfore they ben fooles that wylle pl [...]te suche vanyte one ageynste other / And many one ben fallen therfore in grete pouerte / For for a lytyl thynge ought to be made a lytyl plee

¶ The xiij fable is of the wulf and of the foxe

NOne maye not be mayster without he haue be fyrste a disciple / As hit appiereth by this Fable / Of a Foxe whiche came toward a wulf / and sayd to hym / / [Page]


My lord I proye yow that ye wylle be my godsep / And the wulf ansuerd / I am content / And the foxe toke to hym his sone prayenge hym that to his sone he wold shewe and lerne good doctryne / the whiche the wulf tooke / and wente with hym vpon a montayne / And thenne he sayd to the lytyll foxe wharne the beestes shalle come to the feldes calle me / And the [...] wente and sawe fro the top of the hylle / how the beestes were comynge to the feldes / and forthwith he wente and cal­led his godfader / and sayd My godfader the beestes comen in to the feldes / And the wulf demaunded of hym / what bestes are they / and the fox ansuerd / they be bothe kyne & swyn to gy der / wel sayd the wulf / I gyue no force for them / lete them go for the [...]gges ben with them / And soone after the foxe dyd loke on another syde and perceyued the mare whiche wente to the feldes / and he wente to his godfader & sayd / godfader the mare is go [...] to the feldes / & the wulf demaunded of hym wh [...]re abou [...] is she / And the foxe ansuerd she is by the forest / And the wulf sayd / Now go we to dyner / And the wulf with his godsone entryd in to the wood / and came to the mare / ¶ The [Page lxxxxiij] wulf perceyued wel and sawe a yonge colt / whiche was by his moder / the wulf tooke hym by the neck with his trethe and drewe hit within the wood / and ete & deuoured hym by­twene them bothe / ¶ And whan they had wel eten the godson sayd to his godfader / My godfader I commaūde yow to god and moche I thanke yow of your doctryne / For wel ye haue taught me / in so moche / that now I am a grete clerke / & now I wylle goo toward my moder / And thenne the wulf sayd to his godson / My godsone yf thow gost awey / thow shalt re­pente the therfore / For thow hast not yet wel studyed / and knowest not yet the Sylogysmes / ¶ Ha my godfader sayd the Foxe / I knowe wel al / ¶ And the wulf sayd to hym / Sythe thow wylt goo / to god I commaunde the / ¶ And whanne the Foxe was come toward his moder / she sayd to hym / Certaynly / thow hast not yet studyed ynough / ¶ And he thenne sayd to her / Moder I am soo grete a clerke that I can cast the deuylle fro the clyf / [...]ete vs go chace / and ye shalle see yf I haue lerned ought or not / ¶ And the yong foxe wold haue done as his godfader the wulf dede / and said to his moder / make good watche / ¶ And whanne the beestes shalle come to the feld / lete me haue therof knowlege / And his moder sayd / wel my sone / so shalle I doo / She maade go­od watche / And whanne she sawe that both kyne and swyne wente to the feldes / she sayd thenne to hym. My sone the kyne and the swyn to gyder ben in the feldes / And he ansuerd / My moder of them I retche n [...]t / lete them goo / for the dogges kepe them wel / ¶ And within a short whyle after / the mo der sawe come the mare nyg [...]e vnto a wode / and wente / and sayd to her sone / My sone the mare is nyghe the wood. And he ansuerd / My moder these ben good tydynges / Abyde ye here / For I goo to fetche our dyner / and wente and entred in to the Wode / And after wold doo as his godfader dyd be­fore / and wente and tooke the mare by the neck / But the mare tooke hym with her treth / and bare hym to the sheepherd And the moder cryed from the top of the hylle / My sone lete goo the mare / and come hyder ageyne / but he myght not / For the mare held hym fast with her teethe / ¶ And as the sheep­herdes [Page] came for to kylle hym / the moder cryed and sayd we­pynge / Allas my sone thow dydest not lerne wel / and hast ben to lytel a whyle at [...] scole / wherfore thow must now deye myserably / And the sheepherdes took and slewe hym / For no ne ought to saye hym self mayster withoute that he haue fyrst studyed / For some wene to be a grete clerke / that can nothyng of clergye /

¶ The xv fable is of the dogge / of the wulf and of the whe­th [...]r


GRete folye is to a fool that hath no myght / that wylle begyle another stronger thā hym self / a [...] re [...]ceth this fable of a fader of famylle whiche had a grete herd or [...] of sheep / and had a grete dogge for to kepe them which was wel stronge / And of his Wys all the wolues were aferd wherfore the sheepherd slepte more surely / but it happed / that this dogge for his grete age deyde / wherfore the sheepherdes we re sore troubled and wrothe / and sayd one to other / we shall nomore s [...]pe at oure eas [...] by cause that our dogge is dede / for the wulues shall now come and ete our sheep / ¶ and thenne [Page lxxxxiiij] a grete wether fyers and prowd / whiche herd alle these wor des came to them and sayd / I shalle gyue yow good coun­ceylle / Shaue me / and put on me the skynne of the dogge And whanne the wulues shalle see me / they shalle haue gre­te fere of me / ¶ And whanne the wulues came and sawe the wether clothed with the skynne of the dogge / they beganne all to flee / and ranne awey / ¶ It happed on a day that a wulf whiche was sore hongry / came and toke a lambe / and after ran awaye therwith / ¶ And thenne the sayd wether ranne after hym / And the wulf whiche supposed that it had ben the dogge shote thryes by the waye for the grete fere that he had / And ranne euer as fast as he coude / and the wether also ranne af ter hym withoute cesse / tyl that he ranne thurgh a busshe full of sharp thornes / the whiche thornes rente and brake alle the dogges skynne / whiche was on hym / And as the wulf loked and sawe behynde hym / beynge moche doubtous of his dethe / sawe and perceyued alle the decepcion and falshede of the we ther / And forthwith retorned ageynste hym / and demaunded of hym / what beest arte thow / And the wether ansuerd to hym in this maner / My lord I am a wether whiche playeth with the / And the wulf sayd / Ha mayster ought ye to playe with your mayster and with your lord / thow hast made me so so [...] aferd / that by the weye as I ranne before the / I dyte shyte thre grete toordes / And thēne the wulf ledde hym vnto the pla­ce where as he had shyte / sayenge thus to hym / Loke hyther / callest thow this a playe / I take hit not for playe / For now I shalle shewe to the / how thou oughtest not to playe so with thy lord / And thenne the wulf took and kylled hym / and denoured and ete hym / ¶ And therfore he that is wyse muste take good hede / how he playeth with hym whiche is wyser / mo re sage / and more stronge / than hym self is /

¶ The xvj fable maketh mencyon of the man / of the lyon & of his sone


HE that reffuseth the good doctryne of his fader / yf euyl happe cometh to hym / [...]t is but ryght / As to vs reher­ceth this fable of a labourer / whiche somtyme lyued in a deserte of his cultyuynge and laboure / In this deserte was a lyon / whiche wa [...]ed and destroyed all the sede / whiche eue ry daye the sayd labourer sewed / and also this lyon destroyed his trees / And by cause that he bare and dyd to hym so grete [...] and dommage / he made an hedge / to the whiche he putte and sorte cordes and nettes for to take the lyon / And ones as this lyon came for to ete corne / he entryd within a n [...]te / & was taken / And thenne the good man came thyder / and bete and smote hym so wonderly / that vnnethe he myght scape fro deth / And by cause that the lyon sawe that he myght not esca­pe the subtylyte of the man / he took his lytyl lyon / and went to dwelle in another Regyon / And within a lytel whyle af­ter that the lyon was wel growen and was fyers / & stronge he demaunded of his fader / My fader be we of this Regyon / Nay sayd the fader / For we ben fledde awey fro oure land / And thenne the lytyl lyon as [...]ed / wherfore / And the fader ansuerd to hym / For the subtylyte of the man / And the lytyl lyon demaunded of hym what man is that / And his fader [Page lxxxxv] sayd to hym / he is not soo grete ne so stronge as we be / but he is more subtyle and more Ingenyous / than we he / And thē ­ne sayd the sone to the fader / I shall goo auenge me on hym And the grete lyon sayd to hym / goo not / For yf thow gost thyder thow shalt repente the therfore / and shalt doo lyke a fole And the sone ansuerd to his fader / Ha by my heed I shalle goo thyder / and shalle see what he can doo / And as he wente for to fynde the man / he mette an oxe within a medowe / and an hors whos back was al fleyen / and fore / to whome he said in this manere / who is he that hath ledde yow hyder / and that so hath hurted yow / And they sayd to hym / It is the man / ¶ And thenne he sayd ageyne to them / Certaynly / here is a wonder thynge / I praye yow / that ye wylle shewe hym to me And they wente and shewed to hym the labourer / which ered the erthe / And the lyon forthwith and withoute sayenge of ony moo wordes wente toward the man / to whome he sayd in this maner / Ha man thow hast doue ouer many euyls / bothe to me and to my Fader / and in lyke wyse to oure beestes / wherfore I telle the that to me thow wylt doo Iustyce / And the man ansuerd to hym / I promytte and warne the / that yf thow come nyghe me I shalle slee the with this grete clubbe / And after with this stuyf I shalle flee the / And the lyon sayd to hym / Come thenne before my fader / and he as kynge shalle doo to vs good Iustyce / And thenne the man sayd to the lyon / I am content / yf that thow wylt swere to me / that thow shalt not touche me / tyll that we ben in the presence of thy fader / And in lyke wyse I shalle swere to the / that I shal go with the vnto the presence of thy fader / And thus the lyon and the man swered eche one to other / and wente toward the grete lyon / and the man beganne to goo by the way where as his cordes and nettes were dressyd / And as they wente / the lyon lete hym self falle within a corde / and by the feet he was take / so that he myght not ferther goo / And by cause he coude not goo he sayd to the man / O man I praye the that thow wilt helpe me / For I maye no more goo / And the man answerd to hym / I am sworne to the that I shalle not touche the vnto the ty me that we ben before thy fader / And as the lyon supp [...] to haue vnbonnd hym self for to scape / he fylle in to another nette [Page] And thenne the lyon beganne to crye after the man / sayenge to hym in this manere / O good man I praye the that thou wilt vnhynde me / And the man beganne to smyte hym vpon the he­de / ¶ And thenne whanne the lyon sawe that he myght not scape / he sayd to the man / I praye the / that thow smyte me no more vpon the heed / but vpon myn erys / by cause that I wold not here the good counceylle of my fader / And thenne the man beganne to smyte hym at the herte and slewe hym / The whiche thyng happeth ofte to many children whiche ben hanged or by other maner executed and put to dethe / by cause that they wil not byleue the doctryne of theyr faders and moders / ne obeye to them by no wyse

¶ The xvj fable is of the knyght and of the seruaunt / the whiche fond the Foxe /


MAny ben that for theyr grete lesynges supposen to put vnder alle the world / but euer at the last theyr lesyn­ges ben knowen and manyfested / as hit appiereth by [Page lxxxxvj] this fable of a knyght whiche somtyme wente with an archer of his thurgh the lande / And as they rode / they fonde a Fox And the knyght sayd to his archer / In good soothe I see a grete Foxe / And the Archer beganne to saye to his lord / My lord / merueylle ye therof / I haue ben in a Regyon where as the Foxes ben as grete as an oxe / And the knyght ansuerd In good soothe theyr skynnes were good for to make man­tels with / yf skynners myght haue them / And as they were rydynge / they felle in many wordes and deuyses / And then­ne by cause the knyght perceyued wel the lesynge of his Ar­cher / he beganne to make prayers and orysons to the goddes / for to make his Archer aferd / And sayd in this manere / O Iupiter god almyghty / ¶ I praye the / that this daye thow wylt kepe vs fro all lesynges / so that we may sauf passe thys flood and this grete Ryuer whiche is here before vs / and that we may surely come to oure hows / And whanne the Archer herd the prayer and oryson of his lord / he was moche abasshed ¶ And thenne the Archer demannded of hym / My lord wher fore prayest thow now soo deuoutely / And the knyȝt ansuerd wost thou not wel that hit is wel knowen and manyfested / that we soone must passe a ryght grete Ryuer / And that he who on al this daye shalle haue made ony lesynge / yf he entre in hit / he shalle neuer come oute of hit ageyne / of the whiche wordes the Archer was moche doubtous and dredeful / And as they had ryden a lytyl waye / they fond a lytyl Ryuer / wherfore the Archer demaunded of his lord / Is this the flood whiche we must passe / Nay sayd the knyght / For hit is wel gretter / O my lord I saye by cause that the foxe whiche ye sa we may wel haue swymmed and passed ouer this lytyl wa ter / And the lord sayd / I care not therfore / ¶ And after that they had ryden a lytyl ferther / they fond another lytyll Ryuer / And the Archer demaunded of hym / Is this the flood that ye spake of to me / Nay sayd he / For hit is gretter & mo­re brode / And the Archer sayd ageyne to hym / My lord I say so / by cause that the Foxe of the whiche I spake of to daye was not gretter than a calf / ¶ And thēne the knyght herkyng the dyssymylacion of his archer / answerd not / And soo they rode forthe so longe that they fond yet another Ryuer / [Page] And thenne the Archer demaunded of his lord / Is this the same hit / Nay sayd the knyght / but soone we shalle come ther to / O my lord I saye so by cause that the Foxe wherof I spak to yow this daye / was not gretter than a sheep / ¶ And when they had ryden vnto euen tyme they fond a grete Ryuer and of a grete vrede / ¶ And whan tharcher sawe hit / he began al to shake for fere / and demaunded of his lord / My lord is this the Ryuer / ye sayd the knyght / O my lord I ensure you on my feythe / that the Foxe of the whiche I spake to daye / was not gretter than the Foxe / whiche we sawe to day / wherfore I knowlege and confesse to yow my synne / ¶ And thenne the knyght beganne to smyle / and sayd to his Archer in this ma­nere / Also this Ryuer is no wore than the other whiche we sa we to fore and haue passed thurgh them / And thenne the ar­cher had grete vergoyne and was shameful / by cause that he myght no more couere his lesynge / And therfore hit is fayre and good for to saye euer the trouthe / and to be trewe bothe in speche and in dede / For a lyer is euer begyled / and his le­synge is knowen and manyfested on hym to his grete shame & dommage

¶ Here after folowen somme Fables of Esope after the newe translacion / the whiche Fables ben not founden ne wreton in the bookes of the philosopher Romulus

  • ¶ The Fyrst fable is of the Egle and of the rauen
  • ¶ The second Fable is of the egle and of the wesell
  • ¶ The thyrdde fable is of the Foxe and of the gote /
  • ¶ The fourthe Fable is of the katte and of the chyken
  • ¶ The v Fable is of the Foxe and of the busshe
  • ¶ The syxthe Fable is of the man / of the god of the wodes /
  • ¶ The vij Fable is of the fyssher
  • ¶ The eyghte Fable is of the catte and of the rat
  • ¶ The ix Fable is of the labourer and of the large foote
  • ¶ The x fable is of the child that kepte the sheep
  • [Page lxxxxvij] ¶ The xj fable is of the Ante and of the columbe
  • ¶ The xij fable is of the Bee and of Iupiter
  • ¶ The xiij fable is of a carpenter
  • ¶ The xiiij fable is of a yonge theef and of his moder
  • ¶ The xv fable is of the man and of the flee
  • ¶ The xvj fable is of the husbond and of his two wyues
  • ¶ The xvij fable is of the labourer and of his children

¶ The fyrst fable is of the Egle and of the rauen


NOne ought to take on hym self to doo a thynge / whi­che is peryllous withoute he fele hym self strong ynouȝ to doo hit / As reherceth this Fable / Of an Egle / whi­che fleyncte took a lambe / wherof the Rauen hadde grete enuye wherfor vpon another tyme as / the sayd rauen sawe a grete herd of sheep / by his grete enuy & pryde & by his grete oultrage descended on them / and by suche fachon and manere smote [Page] a wether that his clowes abode to the flyes of hit / In soo moche that he coude not flee awey / The sheepherd thenne came and brake and toke his wynges from hym / And after bare hym to his children to playe them with / And demaunded of hym / what byrd he was / And the Rauen ausuerd to hym / I supposed to haue ben an Egle / And by my ouerwenynge I wende to haue take a lambe / as the egle dyd / but now I kno we wel that I am a Rauen / wherfore the feble ought not in no wyse to compare hym self to the stronge / For somtyme when he supposeth to doo more than he may / he falleth in to grete dis­honour / as hit appiereth by this present Fable / Of a Rauen / whiche supposed to haue ben as stronge as the egle

¶ The second Fable is of the egle and of the wesel


[Page lxxxxviij] NOne for what so euer myght that he haue / ought not to dispreyse the other / As hit appiereth by this present fa­ble of an Egle / whiche chaced somtyme after an hare And by cause that the hare myght not resyste ne withstande a geynst the egle / he demaunded ayde and helpe of the wesel / the whiche tooke hym in her kepynge / And by cause that the egle sawe the wesel soo lytyl / he dispreysed her / and before her toke the hare / wherof the wesel was wrothe / And therfore the we­sell wente / and beheld the Egles nest whiche was vpon a hy­ghe tree / And whanne she sawe hit / the lytell wesell clymmed vpon a tree and took and cast doune to the ground the yong egles wherfore they deyde / And for this cause was the Egle moche wrothe and angry / and after wente to the god Iupiter And prayd hym that he wold fynde hym a sure place where as he myght leye his egges and his lytyl chykyns / And Iu­piter graunted it / and gaf hym suche a gyfte / that whan the tyme of childynge shold come / that she shold make her yong Egles within his bosome / And thenne whanne the wesel kno we this / she gadred and assembled to gyder grete quantite of ordure or fylthe / and therof made an hyghe hylle for to lete her self falle fro the top of hit in to the bosome of Iupiter / And whanne Iupyter felte the stenche of the fylthe / he leganne to shake his bosome / and both the wesel and the egges of the egle felle doune to the erthe / And thus were alle the egges broken and bost / And whanne the Egel knewe hit / she made anowe / that she shold neuer make none egles / tyll of the wesel she we re assured / And therfore none how stronge and myghty that he be / ought not to dispreyse somme other / For there is none soo lytyl / but that somtyme he may lette and auenge hym self / wherfore doo thow no displaysyr to none / that displaysyre co­me not to the

¶ The thyrdde fable is of the Foxe and of the gote


HE whiche is wyse and sage ought fyrst to loke and be hold the ende / or he begynneth the werke or dede / as hy­er appiereth by this fable / Of a Foxe & of a gote / that somtyme defanded and wente doune in to a depe welle / for to drynke. And whanne they had wel dronke / by cause that thei [...]oude not come vpward ageyne / the Foxe sayd to the gote in this maner / my frend yf thow wylt helpe me / we shall sone ben bothe oute of this welle / For yf thow wylt sette thy two feet ageynste the walle / I shal wel lepe vpon the / & vpon thy hornes And thenne I shal lepe oute of this welle / ¶ And whanne I shalle be oute of hit / thow shalt take me by the handes / and I shal plucke and drawe the oute of the welle / And at this re­quest the gote / acorded and ansuerd / I wylle wel / And thē ­ne the gote lyfte vp his feet ageynst the walle / and the foxe dyd so moche by his malyce that he gat out of the welle / And whan he was oute / he began to loke onthectote / whiche was within the welle / & thenne the gote sayd to hym / help me now as thow hast promysed / And thēne the foxe beganne to law­he and to scorne hym / and sayd to hym / O mayster goote / yf [Page lxxxxix] thow haddest be wel wyse with thy fayre berde / or euer thow haddest entryd in to the welle / thow sholdest fyrst haue taken hede / how thow sholdest haue comen oute of hit ageyne / ¶ And therfore he whiche is wyse / yf he wysely wylle gouer ne hym self / ought to take euer good hede to the ende of his werke

¶ The fourthe fable is of the catte and of the chyken


HE whiche is fals of kynde / & hath begonne to deceyue some other / euer he wyl vse his craft / As it appiereth by this present Fable of a kat whiche somtyme toke a chyken / the whiche he biganne strongly to blame / for to haue fonde somme cause that he myght ete hit / and sayd to hym in this manere / Come hyther thou chyken / thow dost none other good but crye alle the nyght / thow letest not the men slepe / And thenne the chykyn ansuerd to hym / I doo hit for theyre grete prouffite / And ouer ageyne the catte sayd to hym / Yet is there wel wors / For thow arte an inceste & lechour [Page] For thow knowest naturelly both thy moder and thy doughter And thenne the chyken sayd to the cat / I doo hit by cause that my mayster maye haue egges for his etynge / And that hys mayster for his prouffyte gaf to hym bothe the moder and the doughter for to multyplye the egges / And thenne the Catte sayd to hym / by my feythe godsep thow h [...]t of excusacions y­nough / but neuertheles thow shalt passe thurgh my throte / for I suppose not to faste this day for alle thy wordes / ¶ And thus is it of hym whiche is custommed to lyue by rauyn / For he can not kepe ne absteyne hym self fro hit / For alle thex cusacions that be leyd on hym

¶ The v fable is of the Foxe and of the busshe


MEn ouȝt not to deman̄de ne aske help of them that ben more customed to lette than to do good or prouffit / as it appereth by this fable of a fox which for to scape the peril [Page C] to be taken wente vpon a thorne busshe / whiche hurted hym so­re / and wepynge sayd to the busshe / I am come as to my re­fuge vnto the / and thow hast hurted me vnto the dethe / And thenne the busshe sayd to hym / thow hast erred / and wel thou hast begyled thy self / For thow supposest to haue taken me as thow arte custommed to take chekyns and hennes / ¶ And ther fore men ought not to helpe them whiche ben acustomed to doo euylle / but men ought rather to lette them

¶ The vj fable is of the man and of the god of the wodes

OF the euylle man somtyme prouffiteth sōme other / he doth hit not by his good wylle / but by force / As re­herceth to vs this fable / Of a man whiche had in his hows an ydolle the whiche oftyme he adoured as his god / to whome ofte he prayd that he wold gyue to hym moche good And the more that he prayd hym / the more he faylled / and became pouere / wherfore the man was wel wrothe ageynst his ydolle / and took hit by the legges / and smote the hede of hit so strongly ageynst the walle / so that it brake in to many pye­ces / Oute of the whiche ydolle yssued a ryght grete tresoure / wherof the man was ful gladde and Ioyous / And thenne the man sayd to his ydolle / Now knowe I wel / that thou art wycked / euyl and peruers / For whanne I haue worshipped the / thow hast not holpen me / And now whanne I haue be­te the / thow hast moche done for me / ¶ And therfore the euylle man whanne he doth ony good / it is not of his good wylle / but by force /

¶ The vij fable is of a fyssher

ALle thynges which ben done & made in theyr tyme & se ason ben wel made / as by this present fable it appereth Of a fyssher whiche somtyme touched his bagpype nyhe [Page]


the Ryuer for to make the fysshe to daunse / ¶ And whan he sawe that for none fonge that he coude pype / the fysshes wold not daūse / As wroth dyd cast his nettes in to the Ryuer / & toke of fysshe grete quantite / And whanne he had drawe oute his net [...]s oute of the water / the fysshe beganne to lepe and to daū se / and thenne he sayd to them / Certaynly hit appiereth now wel / that ye be euylle beestes / For now whanne ye be taken / ye lepe and daunse / And whanne I pyped and played of my muse or bagpype ye dayned / ne wold not daunse / Therfore hit appiereth wel that the thynges whiche ben made in season / ben wel made and done by reason

¶ The eyght fable is of the catte and of the rat

HE whiche is wyse / and that ones hath ben begyled / ought not to truste more hym that hath begyled hym As wherceth this Fable of a catte whiche wente in to [Page C j]


a hows / where as many rats were / the whiche he dyd ete eche one after other / ¶ And whanne the rats perceyued the grete fyersnes and crudelyte of the catte / held a counceylle to gyder where as they determyned of one comyn wylle / that they shold no more hold them ne come nor goo on the lowe floore▪ wher­fore one of them moost auncyent profered and sayd to al the other suche wordes / ¶ My bretheren and my frendes / ye kno­we wel / that we haue a grete enemye / Whiche is a grete perse­cutour ouer vs alle / to whome we may not resyste / wherfor of nede we must hold our self vppn the hyghe balkes / to thende that he may not take vs / Of the whiche proposycion or wordes the other rats were wel content and apayd / and byleuyd this counceylle / And whanne the kat knewe the counceylle of the rats / he hynge hym self by his two feet behynd at a pynne of yron whiche was styked at a balke / feynynge hym self to be dede / And whanne one of the rats lokynge dounward saw▪ the katte beganne to lawhe and sayd to the cat / O my Frend yf I supposed that thow were dede / I shold goo doune / but wel I knowe the so fals & peruers / that thou mayst wel haue hanged thy self / faynynge to be dede / wherfore I shall not go doune / And therfore he that hath ben ones begyled by somme [Page] other / ought to kepe hym wel fro the same

¶ The ix fable is of the labourer and of the pyelarge


HE whiche is taken with the wicked and euyll ouȝte to suffre payne and punycyon as they / As it appiereth by this fable / Of a labourer whiche somtyme dressyd and sette his gynnes and nettes for to take the ghees and the cranes / Whiche ete his corne / It happed thenne that ones a­monge a grete meyny of ghees and cranes / he took a pyelar­ge / whiche prayd the labourer in this maner / I praye the lete me go / For I am neyther goos ne crane nor I am not come byther for to do to the ony euylle / The labourer beganne thenne to law [...] / and sayd to the pyelarge / yf thow haddest not be in theyr felauship / thow haddest not entryd in to my nettes / n [...] haddest not be taken / And by cause that thow arte founde and taken with them / thow shalt be punysshed as they shalle be Therfore none ought to hold companye with the euylle with­oute he wylle suffre the punycion of them whiche ben punysshed

¶ The tenth fable is of the child / whiche kepte the sheep


HE whiche is acustommed to make lesynges / how be it that he saye trouthe / yet men byleue hym not / As re­herceth this fable / Of a child whiche somtyme kepte sheep / the whiche cryed ofte withoute cause / sayenge / Alla [...] for goddes loue so [...]ure yow me / For the wulf wylle ete my sheep / And whanne the labourers that cultyued and ered the erthe aboute hym / herd his crye / they came to helpe hym / the whiche came so many tymes / and fond nothyng / And as they sawe that there were no wulues / they retorned to theyr labou­rage / And the child dyd so many tymes for to playe hym / ¶ It happed on a day that the wulf came / and the child cry ed as he was acustommed to doo / And by cause that the la­bourers supposed / tha [...] hit had not ben trouthe / abode stylle at theyr laboure / wherfore the wulf dyd ete the sheep / For men bi leue not lyghtly hym / whiche is knowen for a lyer

¶ The xj fable is of the ante and of the columbe


NOne ought to be slowful of the good whiche he recey­ueth of other / As reherceth this fable of an Ante / whiche came to a fontayne for to drynke / and as she wold haue dronke she felle within the fontayn / vpon the whi­che was a columbe or douue / whiche seyng that the Ante shold haue ben drowned withoute helpe / took a braunche of a tree / & cast it to her for to saue her self / And the Ante wente anone vpon the braunche and saued her / ¶ And anone after came a Fawkoner / whiche wold haue take the douue / And thenne the Ante whiche sawe that the Fawkoner dressyd his nett [...]s came to his foote / and soo fast pryked hit / that she caused hym to smyte the erthe with his foote / and therwith made soo grete noyse / that the doune herd hit / wherfore she fl [...]whe aweye o [...] the gynne and nettes were al sette / ¶ And therfore none ought to forgete the benyfyce whiche he hath receyued of some other / fo [...] slowfulnesse is a grete synne

¶ The xij fable is of the Bee and of Iupiter


NOw the euyl which men wysshe to other / cometh to hym whiche wyssheth hit / as hit appiereth by this fable / of a Bee whiche offred and gaf to Iupyter a pyece of hony / wherof Iupyter was moche Ioyous / And thenne Iu­pyter sayd to the bee / demaunde of me what thow wylt / and I shalle graunte and gyue hit to the gladly / And thenne the Bee prayd hym in this manere / God almyghty I pray the that thow wylt gyue to me and graūte / that who so euer shal come for to take awey my hony / yf I pryke hym / he may so­denly deye / And by cause that Iupyter loued the humayn lyg nage he sayd to the Bee / Suffyse the / that who so euer shalle goo to take thy hony / yf thow pryke or stynge hym / Inconty­nent thow shalt deye / And thus her prayer was tourned to her grete dommage / For men ought not to demaunde of god / but suche thynges that ben good and honest [Page] [...] [Page C iij] [...]

¶ The xiij fable is of a carpenter


IN as moche as god is more propyce and b [...]nygne to the good and holy / moche more he punyssheth the wyc [...]d and euylle / As we may see by this fable / Of a carpenter whiche cutte wode vpon a Ryuer for to make a tem­ple to the goddes / And as he cutte wode / his axe felle in the Ryuer / wherfore he beganne to wepe and to calle helpe of the goddes / And the god Mercurye for pyte appiered before hym And demaunded of hym wherfore he wepte / and shewed to hym an axe of gold / and demaunded of hym yf hit was the axe whiche he had lost / & he sayd nay / And after the god she­wed to hym another axe of syluer / And semblably said nay And by cause that Mercurius sawe that he was good and trewe / he drewe his axe oute of the water / and took hit to hym with moche good that he gaf to hym / And the carpenter told thystorye to his felawes / of the whiche one of them came in to the same place for to cutte woode as his felawe dyd before / E lete falle his axe within the water / and beganne to wepe and to demaund the helpe and ayde of the goddes / And thenne [Page C iiij] Mercury appiered to fore hym / and shewed to hym an axe of gold / and demaunded of hym in suche manere / Is the sa­me hit that thow hast lost / And he ansuerd to Mercury / ye fayre syre and myghty god the same is it / And Mercury s [...] ­ynge the malyce of the vylayne gaf to hym ueyther the same ne none other / and lefte hym wepynge / For god whiche is go­od and Iust rewarded the good and trewe in this wo [...] / or eche other after his deserte and punyssheth the euylle and Iniuste

¶ The xiiij fable is of a yonge theef and of his moder


HE whiche is not chastysed at the begynnynge is [...]uyll and peruers at the ende / As hit appiereth by this fa­ble of a yonge child whiche of his yongthe began [...]e to stele / and to be a theef / And the theftys whiche he maad / he broughte to his moder / and the moder toke them gladly / & in no wyse she chastysed hym / And after that he had done ma ny theftys / he was taken / and condempned to be hanged / And [Page] as men ledde hym to the Iustyce / his moder folowed hym and wepte sore / And thenne the child prayd to the Iustyce / that he myght saye one word to his moder / And as he approuched to her / made semblaunt to telle her somme wordes at her ere / & with his treth he bote of her nose / wherof the Iustyce blamed hym / And he ansuerd in this manere / My lordes ye haue no cause to blame me therfore / For my moder is cause of my deth For yf she had wel chastysed me / I had not come to this sha me and vergoyne / For who loueth wel / wel he chastyseth / And therfore chastyse wel youre children / to thende / that ye falle not in to suche a caas

¶ The xv fable is of the flee and of the man /


HE that [...] the euyl / how be hit that the euylle be not gre te men ought not to leue hym vnpunysshed / As it ap pyereth by this fable / Of a man whiche took a flee whi che bote hym / to whome the man sayd in this manere / Fle why bytest thow me / and letest me not slepe / And the flee ansuerd [Page C v] It is my kynd to doo soo / wherfore I praye the that thow wyll not put me to dethe / And the man beganne to lawhe / & sayd to the flee / how be it / that thow mayst not hurte me sore / N [...]uertheles / to the behoueth not to prycke me / wherfore thow shalt deye / For men ought not to leue none euyll vnpunysshed how be hit that hit be not grete [...] for [...] [...]

¶ The xvj fable is of the husbond and of his two wyues


NOo thynge is werse to the man than the woman / As it appereth by this fable / of a man of a meane age / whiche tooke two wyues / that is to wete an old / & one yong / whiche were both dwellyng in his hows / & by cau se that the old desyred to haue his loue / she plucked the blak herys fro his hede and his berde / by cause he shold the more be lyke to her / And the yonge woman at the other syde pluc­ked end drewe oute alle the whyte herys / to the ende / that he shold seme the yonger / more gay and fayrer in her syghte / [Page] And thus the good man abode withoute ony here on his hede And therfore hit is grete folye to theauncyent to wedde them self ageyne / For to them is better to be vnwedded / than to be euer in trouble with an euyl wyf / for the tyme in whiche they shold reste them / they put it to payne and to grete labour

¶ The xvij fable is of the labourer and of his children


HE that laboureth and werketh contynuelly maye not faylle to haue plente of goodes / as it appiereth by this present fable / Of a good man labourer / whiche all his lyf had laboured and wrought / and was ryche / And whan he shold deye / he sayd to his children / My children I muste now deye / And my tresour I haue lefte in my vyne / And after that the good man was dede / his children whiche suppo­sed that his tresour had ben in the vyne / dyd nothyng al day but delued hit / & it bare more fruyte than dyd before / ¶ For who trauaylleth wel / he hath euer brede ynough for to ete / And he that werketh not dyeth for honger

¶ Here fynysshen the Fables of Esope /

And after foloweth the table of the fables of Auyan

  • ¶ The fyrst fable is of the wulf and of the old woman
  • ¶ The second fable is of the Tortose and of the byrdes
  • ¶ The thyrd fable is of the two creuyses
  • ¶ The fourth fable is of the asse / & of the skynne of the lyon
  • ¶ The v fable is of the frogges and of the Foxe
  • ¶ The vij fable is of the camel and of Iupiter
  • ¶ The eyght fable is of the two felawes
  • ¶ The ix fable is of the two postes
  • ¶ The x fable is of the bole / of the lyon and of the gote
  • ¶ The xj fable is of the Ape and of his child
  • ¶ The xij fable is of the crane and of the pecost
  • ¶ The xiij fable is of the hunter and of the tygre
  • ¶ The xiiij fable is of the four oxen
  • ¶ The xv fable is of the busshe and of the tree
  • ¶ The xvj Fable is of the fyssher and of the lytyl fysshe
  • ¶ The xvij fable is of phebus / of the Auarycious / and of the enuyous
  • ¶ The xviij fable is of the theef & of the child whiche wepte
  • ¶ The xix fable is of the lyon and of the gote
  • ¶ The xx fable is of the crowe whiche had thurst
  • ¶ The xxj fable is of a vylayne / and of a yonge bole
  • ¶ The xxij fable is of a pylgrym and of the satyre
  • ¶ The xxiij fable is of an oxe and of the ratte
  • ¶ The xxiiij fable is of the ghees and of her lord
  • ¶ The xxv fable maketh mencion of the ape and of his two children
  • ¶ The xxvi fable is of the wynd and of the potte
  • ¶ The xxvij fable is of the wulf and of the cheuerel or lytil goot

¶ The fyrst fable is of the old woman and of the wulf

MEn ought not to byleue on al maner spyrytes / As reherceth this fable of an old woman / which said to her child bicause that it wept / certeynly if thou wepst ony [Page]


more / I shal make the to be ete of the wulf / & the wulf heryng this old woman / abode styll to fore the yate / & supposed to haue eten the old womans child / & by cause that the wulf had soo longe taryed there that he was hongry / he retorned and went ageyne in to the wood / And the shewulf demaunded of hym / why hast thow not brought to me some mete / And the wulf ansuerd / by cause / that the old woman hath begyled me / the whiche had promysed to me to gyue to me her child for to ha­ue ete hym / And at the laste I hadde hit not / And therfore men ought in no wyse to truste the woman / And he is wel a fole that setteth his hope and truste in a woman / And ther­fore truste them not / and thow shalt doo as the sage and wyse

¶ The second fable is of the tortose and of the other byrdes

HE that enhaunceth hym self more than he oughte to do To hym oughte not to come noo good / As hit appiereth by this present fable / Of a tortose / whiche said [Page C vij]


to the byrdes / yf ye lyft me vp wel hyghe fro the ground to the ayer I shalle shewe to yow grete plente of precious stones / And the Egle toke her and bare her so hyghe / that she myghte not see the erthe / And the Egle sayd to her shewe me now the­se precious stones that thow promysest to shewe to me / And by cause that the tortose myght not see in the erthe / and that the Egle knewe wel that he was deceyued / thrested his clowes in to the tortoses bely / and kylled hit / For he that wylle haue and gete worship and glorye may not haue hit withoute gre­te laboure / Therfore hit is better and more sure / to kepe hym lowely than to enhaunce hym self on hyghe / and after to deye shamefully and myserably / ¶ For men sayn comynly / who so mounteth hyher / than he shold / he falleth lower than he wold

¶ The thyrd fable is of the two Creuysses

HE whiche wyll teche and lerne some other / ought first to corryge & examyne hym self / as it appereth by this fable of a creuysse / whiche wold hauec hastysed her owne doughter bicause that she wente not wel ryght /



And sayd to her in this manere / My doughter / hit pleaseth me not that thow goost thus backward / For euylle myght wel therof come to the / And thenne the doughter sayd to her moder My moder I shalle go ryght and forward with a good will but ye must goo before for to shewe to me the waye / But the moder coude none other wyse goo / than after her kynd / wher­fore her doughter sayd vnto her / My moder fyrst lerne your self for to goo ryght and forward / and thenne ye shalle teche me And therfore he that wylle teche other / ought to shewe good ensample / For grete shame is to the doctour whanne his owne coulpe or faulte accuseth hym

¶ The fourthe fable is of the asse / and of the skynne of the Lyon

NOne ought not to gloryfye hym self of the goodes of other as recyteth this fable of an asse whiche som ty­me fo nd the skynne of a lyon / the whiche he dyd & wered on hym / but he coude neuer hyde his eres therwith / & when he was / as he supposed wel arayed with the sayd skynne / he [Page C viij]


ranne in to the forest / And whanne the wyld [...] saw [...] hym come / they were so ferdfull that they alle beganne to flee / For they wend / that it had be the lyon / And the mayster of the asse ser [...]d and soughte his asse in euery place al aboute And as he had soughte longe / he thougiht that he wold go in to the forest for to see yf his asse were there / And as soone as he was entryd in to the forest / he mette with his asse arayed as before is sayd / but his mayster whiche had soughte hym [...]onge sawe his erys / wherfore he knewe hym wel / and anon [...] toke hym / and sayd in this manere / Ha a mayster asse / ar [...] thow c [...]othed with the skynne of the lyon / thow makest the [...] stes to be aferd / but yf they knewe the / as wel as I do / then shold haue no fere of the / but I ensure the / that wel I shall▪ bete the therfore / And thenne he toke fro hym the skynne of the lyon / and sayd to hym Lyon shalt thow be no more / but an asse shalt thow euer be / And his mayster tooke thenne a staf / and smote hym / soo that euer after he remembryd hym wel of hit / And therfore he whiche auaunceth hym self of other mennes goodes is a very foole / For as men sayn comynly / [Page] he is not wel arayed nor wel appoynted / whiche is clothed with others gowne / ne also it is not honeste to make large [...]onges of other mennes leder

¶ The v fable is of the frogge and of the Foxe


NOne ought to auaunce hym self to doo that whiche he be can not doo / As hit appiereth of a frogge / whiche somtyme yssued or came oute of a dyche / the whiche presumed to haue lepte vpon a hyghe montayne / And whanne she was vpon the montayne / she sayd to other beestes / I am a maystresse in medecyn / and canne gyue remedy to al manere of sekenes by myn arte / and subtylyte / and shalle rendre and brynge yow vp ageyne in good helthe / wherof somme byleued her / And thenne the Foxe whiche perceyued the folysshe by­leue of the beestes / beganne to lawhe / and sayd to them / poure beestes / how may this fowle and venemous beest whiche is se­ke and pale of colour rendre and gyue to yow helthe / For the leche whiche wylle hele somme other / ought fyrste to hele hym [Page C ix] self / For many one counterfayteth the leche / whiche can not a word of the scyence of medecyne / from the whiche god preser­ue and kepe vs

¶ The vj fable is of the two dogges


HE that taketh within hym self vayne glorye of that thynge / by the whiche he shold humble hym self is a very fole / as hit appereth by this fable / of a fader of famylle / whiche had two dogges / of the whiche the one with­oute ony barkyng bote the folke / & the other dyd barke & bote not / And whan the fader of famyll perceyued the shrewdnes and malyce of the dogge that barkyd not he henge on his nest a belle / to the ende that men shold beware of hym / wherfore the dogge was ouer prowd and fyers / and beganne to dyspreyse alle the other dogges / of the whiche one of the moost aun [...]en▪ sayd to hym in his manere / O fole beest / now perceyue I [...] [Page] thy foly and grete wodenesse to suppose / that this belle is gy­uen to the for thyn owne deserte and meryte / but certaynly hit is not soo / For hit is taken to the for thy demerytes / and by cause of thy shrewdnesse / and grete treason / for to shewe / that thow arte fals and traytour / And therfore none oughte to be Ioyeful and gladd of that thynge / wherof he oughte to be tryst and sorowful / as many foles done / whiche make Ioye of theyr vyces and euyll dedes / for a moche fole were the theef whiche that men ledde for to be hanged / and that he had a cord of gold aboute his neck / yf he shold make Ioye therof / how be hit that the corde were moche ryche and fayre

¶ The vij Fable is of the camel and of Iupiter


EWery creature ought to be content of that / that god hath gyuen to hym withoute to take thenherytaunce of other / As reherceth this fable Of a camel whiche som tyme complayned hym to Iupiter of that the other beestes [Page C x] mocqued hym / by cause that he was not of so grete beaute / as they were of / wherfore to Iupiter Instantly he prayd in suche maner as foloweth / Fayr syre and god / I requyre and pra­ye that thou wylt gyue to me hornes / to thende that I maye be nomore mocqued / Iupiter thenne beganne to lawhe / and in stede of hornes / he took fro hym his erys / and sayd / thow hast more good than hit behoueth to the to haue / And by cause that thow demaundest that / whiche thow oughtest not to haue I haue take fro the that whiche of ryght and kynd thou ouȝ­test to haue / For none ought not to desyre more than he ought to haue / to the ende that he lese not that whiche he hath /

¶ The eyght fable is of the two felawes.


MEn ought not to hold felauship with hym / whiche is acustommed to begyle other / As hit appiereth by thys Fable / Of two felawes whiche somtyme held felau­ship to eche other for to goo bothe by montaynes and valeyes / [Page] And for to make better theyre vyage / they were sworne eche one to the other / that none of them bothe shold leue other vnto that the tyme of dethe shold come and departe them / And as they walked in a forest they mette with a grete wyld bere / & bothe felaws ran sone awey for fere / of the whiche the one clym med vpon a tree / And whan the other sawe that his felawe had lefte hym leyd hym self on the erthe / and fayned to be de­de / And Incontynent the bere came for to ete hym / but by cau se the gallaunt playd wel his game / the bere went forthe his waye and touched hym not / And thēne his felawe came doun fro the tree whiche sayd to hym / I pray the to telle me what the b [...]re sayd to the / For as me semeth he spake to the / and hath shewed to the grete sygne or token of loue / And thenne his felawe sayd to hym / He taught to me many fayre secretes / but emonge alle other thynges he sayd to me / that I shold ne uer trust hym who ones hath deceyued me

¶ The ix fable maketh mencion of the two pottes


[Page C xj] THe poure ought not to take the Ryche as his felawe As it appiereth by this fable of two pottes / of the whi­che the one was coper / and the other of erthe / the whi­che pottes dyd mete to gyder within a Ryuer / ¶ & by cause that the erthen pot wente swyfter than dyd the coper potte / the pot of coper sayd to the pot of erthe / I praye the that we may goo to gyder / And the erthen potte ansuerd and sayd to the coper pot / I wylle not go with the / For it shold happe to me as it happed to the glas and of the morter For yf thow shol dest mete with me / thow sholdest breke and putte me in to pye ces / ¶ And therfore the poure is a fole that compa­reth and lykeneth hym self to the ryche and myghty / For better is to lyue in pouerte than to deye vylaynsly and be oppressyd of the ryche

¶ The x fable is of the lyon and of the boole


[Page] IT is not alweye tyme to auenge hym self of his ene­mye / As it appiereth by this fable of a bole / whiche somtyme fledde before a lyon / And as the bole wold entre within a cauerne for to saue hym / a gote wente ageynste hym for to kepe and lette hym that he shold not entre in it / to whome the bole sayd / It is not tyme now to auenge me on the / for the lyon that chaseth me / but the tyme shalle come that wel I shalle fynde the / For men ought not to doo to hym self dommage for to be auengyd of his enemy / but oughte to loke tyme and place couenable for to doo hit

¶ The xj fable is of the ape and of his sone


NO fowler a thyng is to the man / than with his mouth to preyse hym self / As this fable reherceth to vs / Of Iupiter kynge of alle the world / whiche maade alle the beestes and alle the byrdes to be assembled to gyder for to knowe theyr lounte / and also theyr kynd / Emonge alle the [Page C xij] whiche came the Ape / whiche presented his sone to Iupiter / sa yenge thus / Fayre syre and myghty god / loke and see here the fairest beest that euer thow createst in this world / And Iupi ter thenne beganne to lawhe / and after sayd to hym / thow arte wel a fowle beest to preyse soo thy self / For none oughte to preyse hym self / but oughte to doo good and vertuons wer kes / wherof other may preyse hym / for it is a shameful thyng to preyse hym self

¶ The xij fable is of the crane and of the pecok


FOr what vertue that ony man hath / none oughte to preyse hym self / As hit appiereth by this fable / Of a pecok / whiche somtyme made a dyner to a crane / And And whanne they had eten and dronken ynough / they had grete wordes to gyder / wherfore the pecok sayd to the crane / Thow hast not so fayre a forme ne so fayre a fygure as I ha­ue / ne also fayr fe hers / ne soo resplendysshynge as I haue / To whome the crane ansuerd / and sayd / It is trouthe / Ne­uertheles thow hast not one good / ne one fo fayre a vertue as [Page] I haue / For how be hit that I haue not so fayre fethers as thow hast / yet can I flee better than thy self dost / For with thy fayre fethers thou must euer abyde on the erthe / And I may flee where someuer hit pleaseth me / And thus euerycho­ne ought to haue suffysaunce and to be content of that / that he hath / without auanncyuge or praysynge of hym self / and not to dyspreyse none other

¶ The xiij fable is of the hunter and of the tygre


WErse is the stroke of a toncte / than the stroke of a spe­re as hit appiereth by this fable / Of a hunter / whiche with his arowes hurtrd the wyld beestes / in suche wyse that none scoped fro hym / to the whiche bestes a tygre fy­ers and hardy sayd in this manere / Be not aferd / For I shalle kepe yow wel / And as the Tygre came in to the wode / the hunter was hyd within a busshe / the whiche whan he sawe [Page C xiij] passe the tygre before the busshe / he shote at hym an arowe / and hytte hym on the thye / wherfore the tygre was gretely abasshed And wepynge and sore syghynge sayd to the other beestes / I wote not from whens this cometh to me / ¶ And whanne the foxe sawe hym sooo gretely abasshed / al lawhynge sayd to hym / Ha a tygre / thow arte so myghty and so stronge / And thenne the tygre sayd to hym / My strengthe auaylled me not at that tyme / For none may kepe hym self fro treason And therfore some secrete is here / whiche I knewe not before But notwithstandynge this I maye wel conceyue / that there is no wors arowe / ne that letteth more the man / than tharowe whiche is shotte fro the euyll tongue / For whanne som persone profereth or sayth som wordes in a felauship / of sommen a of honest & good lyf / alle the felauship supposeth that that whi che this euylle tongue hath sayd be trewe / be hit trewe or not / how be it that it be but lesynge / but notwithstondynge the go­od man shalle euer be wounded of that same arowe / whiche wound shalle be Incurable / And yf hit / were a stroke of a spere / hit myght be by the Cyrurgyen heled / but the stroke of an euylle tongue may not be heled / by cause that Incontynent as the word is profered or sayd / he that hath sayd hit / is no more mayster of hit / And for this cause the stroke of a tongue is Incurable and withoute guaryson

¶ The xiiij fable is of the four oxen

MEn oughte not to breke his feythe ageynste his good Frend / ne to leue his felauship / as hit appiereth by this fable / of four oxen whiche to gyder were in a fair medowe / ¶ And by cause that euer they were and kept them to gyder / none other beest durste not assaylle them / and also the lyon dradde them moche / the whiche lyon on a daye came to them / And by his deceyuable wordes thoughte for to begyle them / & to rauysshe & take them the better / maade them to be separed eche one fro other / ¶ And whanne they were [Page]


[...] / the lyon wente / and tooke one of them / And whan [...]he lyon wold haue strangled hym / the oxe sayd to hym / god­se [...] / He is a foole / whiche byleueth fals and deceyuable wordes And leueth the felawship of his good frende / For yf we had [...]en euer to gyder / thow haddest not taken me / And therfore he whiche is / and standeth wel sure / ought to kepe hym soo that he fulle not / For he whiche is wel / meue not hym self

¶ The xv fable is of the busshe / and of the aubyer tr [...]e

NOne for his beaute ought not to dispreyse some other / For somtyme suche one is fayre that soone wexeth lo­thely and fowle / and to hyghe falleth vnto lowe / as it apperyth by this fable / Of a fayr tree / whiche mocqued and scorned a lytyl busshe / and sayd / ¶ Seest thow not / my fayre fourme and my fayre fygure / And that of me men [Page C xiiij]


and byldeth fayre edefyces as palays and castellis / galeyes & other shippes for to saylle on the see / And as he auaunced & preysed hym self thus / came there a labourer with his axe for to hewe and smyte hym to the ground / And as the labourer smote vpon the fayr tree / the busshe sayd / Certaynly my broder yf now thow were as lytel / as I am / men shold not hewe ne smyte the doune to the erthe / And therfore none oughte to reioysshe hym self of his worship / For suche is now in grete honour and worship / that herafter shalle falle in to grete vy­tupere shame and dishonour

¶ The xvj fable is of the fyssher and of the lytyl fysshe

MEn ought not to leue that thynge whiche is sure & cer tayne for hope to haue the vncertayn / as to vs reher­ceth this fable of a fyssher whiche with his lyne toke a lytyll [Page]


fysshe whiche sayd to hym / My frend I pray the / doo to me none euylle / ne putte me not to dethe / For now I am nought / for to be eten / but whanne I shalle be grete / yf thow come a­geyne hyther / of me shalt thow mowe haue grete auaylle / For thenne I shalle goo with the a good whyle / And the Fyssher sayd to the fysshe. Syn I hold the now / thou shalt not scape fro me / For grete foly hit were to me for to seke the here ano­ther tyme / For men ought not to lete goo that / of what they be sure of / hopynge to haue afterward that that they haue not and whiche is vncertayne

¶ The xvij fable is of Phebus / of the Auarycious / and of the enuyous

NOne oughte to doo harme [...] dommage to somme other for to receyue or doo his owne dommage / As hit appereth by this fable / Of Iupiter whiche sent phebus in to ther [...]he for to haue al the knowlege of the thouȝt of me [...]

[Page C xv]


¶ This phebus thenne mette with two men / of whiche the one was moche enuyous / And the other ryght couetous / Phebus demaunded of them what theyr thought was / We thynke said they to demaunde and aske of the grete yeftes / To the which Phebus ansuerd / Now demaunde what ye wylle / For al that that ye shalle demaunde of me / I shalle graunte hit / And of that / that the fyrst of yow shalle aske / the second shal haue the dowble parte / or as moche more ageyne / And thenne the aua­rycious sayd / I wyl that my felawe aske what he wyll fyrst wherof the enuyous was wel content / whiche sayd to P [...]ebus Fayre syre I praye the that I maye lese one of myn eyen / to thende that my felawe may lese al bothe his eyen / wherfor phe­bus beganne to lawhe whiche departed and wente ageyne vn to Iupiter / and told hym the grete malyce of the enuyous / whiche was Ioyeful and glad of the harme and dommage of an other / & how he was wel content to suffre payne for to haue a dommaged somme other


The xviij fable is of the theef / and of the child whiche wepte

HE is a fole that putteth his good in Ieopardy to lese it for to gete & haue som others good / as it appereth by this fable of a theef whiche fond a child wepyuge be syde a welle / of whom the theef vyde aske why he wepte / & the child answerd to hym I wepe / by cause that I haue lete falle within this welle a boket of gold / & thenne the theef toke of his clothes / & sette them on the ground and wente doune in to the welle / And as be was doune the child toke his gowne & lefte hym within the welle / And thus for couetyse to wynne / he lost his gowne / For suche supposen to wynne somtyme whi­che losen / And therfore none ought to wysshe that / that he hath not / to thende that he leseth not that / that he hath / For of the thynge wrongfully and euylle goten / the thyrd heyre shalle neuer be possessour of hit


¶ The xix fable is of the lyon and of the gote

HE is wyse that can kepe hym self from the wyly and fals / as hit appereth by this fable / Of a lyon / whiche ones mette with a gote / whiche was vpon a montayne And whanne the lyon sawe her / he sayd to her in this manere / for to gyue to her occacion to come doune fro the hylle / to thende that he myght ete her / My suster why comest thow not hyder on this fayre and grene medowe for to ete of these fayre herbes or grasse / And the gote ansuerd to hym / How be hit / that thow sayst trouthe / Neuertheles thow sayst it not / neyther for my we le ne for my prouffyte / but thow sayst hit / by cause that thow woldest fayne ete and deuoure me / but I truste not in thy fayre speche / For many tymes I haue herd saye of my graūt moder / he that is wel / meue not hym self / For he whiche is in a place wel sure / is wel a fole to go fro hit / and to putte hym self in grete daunger and perylle

¶ The xx fable was of the crowe whiche was a thurst



BEtter is crafte and subtylyte than force / As reherceth to vs this fable / Of a crowe whiche vpon a day came for to drynke oute of a boket / and by cause that she myght not reche to the water / she dyd fyll the boket ful of smal stones / in soo moche that the water came vpward / wherof she dranke thenne at her wylle / and playsyre / And therfore hit appiereth wel / that wytte or sapyence is a moche fayr vertue For by sapyence or wytte / thow shalt mowe resyste to all faultes /

¶ The xxj fable is of the vylayne and of the yonge bole /

HE whiche is of euylle and shrewd kynde / with grete payne he may chasty hym self / as it appereth by this fable / Of a vylayne / whiche had a yonge bole / the whi che he myght not bynd / by cause that euer he smote with his hornes / wherfor the vylayne cutte of his hornes / ¶ But yet whan he wold haue bound hym / the bole casted his feete fro hym / in suche wyse that he suffred noman to come nyghe hym / [Page C xvij]


And whan the vylayne perceyued the malyce of the bole / he sayd to hym / I shalle chastyse the wel / For I shalle take the in to the bouchers handes / And thenne was the bole wel chas­tysed / ¶ And thus ought men to doo of the euylle / cursyd & rebelles / whiche doo no thynge but playe with dees and cardes and to ruffule / Suche folke ought men to put in to the handes of the boucher for to lede them to the galhows / For better may no man chastyse them / For with grete payne may he be chasty­sed / whiche fleeth alle good werkes ond alle good felauship

¶ The xxij fable is of the viator or palmer and of Satyre

MEn ought to beware & kepe hym self from hym whiche bereth both fyre & water / as reherceth to vs this Fable Of a pylgrym / whiche somtyme walked in the wyn­ter / and wente thurgh a grete forest / ¶ And by cause that the snowe had couerd al the wayes / he wist ne knewe not whyther [Page] he wente / ageynste the whiche came a wodewose named Satyre by cause he sawe hym a cold / whiche approched to the pylgrym and brought hym in to his pytte / And whan the pylgrym sawe hym / he hadde grete drede by cause that a wodewose is a monstre lyke to the man / as hit appiereth by his fygure / ¶ And as the wodewose or Satyre ledde the pylgrym in to his pytte / the pylgrym dyd blowe within his handes for to chaus­fe them / For he was sore acold / And thenne the wodewose gaf to hym hote water to drynke / ¶ And whan the pylgrym wold haue dronken hit / he beganne to blowe in hit / And the wedewose demaunded of hym / why he dyd blowe hit / And the pylgrym sayd to hym / I blowe in hit / for to haue it somwhat more cold than hit is / The wodewose thenne sayd to hym / Thy felauship is not good to me / by cause that thow wrest bothe the fyre and the water in thy mouthe / therfore go hens fro my pyt and neuer retorne ageyne / For the felauship of the man whi­che hath two tongues is nought / And the man whiche is wy­se ought to flee the felauship of flaterers / For by flateryng & adulacion many haue ben begyled and deceyued


¶ The xxiij fable is of the oxe and of the rat

THe lordes ought to loue theyr subgettis / For he whiche is hated of his tenaunts and subgets / is not lord of his land / as hit appereth by this Fable / Of an oxe / whiche somtyme was within a stable / and as the oxe on a ty­me wold haue slepte fayne / a rat came / whiche bote the oxe by the thyes / And as the oxe wold haue smyten hym / he ran awaye in to his hole / And thenne the oxe beganne to menace the rat / And the ratte sayd to hym / I am not aferd of the For al be hit that I am lytyl / I may lette and empeche the / And yf thow arte grete / thy parentes ben cause therof and not thy self / And therfore the stronge ought not to dispreyse the feble / vnt ought to loue hym as the chyef or hede ought to loue his lymmes / For he that loueth not / oughte not to be loued / And therfore the lord must loue his subgettys / yf of them he wylle be loued

¶ The xxiiij fable is of the goos and of her lord



HE that ouer ladeth hym self / is euylle strayned / As this fable sayth / of a man / whiche had a goos / that leyd euery day an egge of gold / The man of auaryce or couetousnes commaunded and bad to her / that euery daye she shold leye two egges / And she sayd to hym / Certaynly / my mayster I maye not / wherfore the man was wrothe with her / and slewe her / wherfore he lost that same grete good / of the whiche dede he was moche sorowful and wrothe / how be it that it was not tyme to shetle the stable whan the horses ben loste / & none / And he is not wyse / whiche dothe suche a thynge / wherof he shalle repente hym afterward / ne healso / whiche doth his owne dommage for to auenge hym self on somme other / For by cause that he supposeth to wynne al / he leseth all that he hath

¶ The xxv fable is of the ape and of his two children
[Page C xix]


HE that somtyme men dispreysen / may wel helpe somme other / as hit appereth by this Fable of an Ape / whiche had two children / of the whiche he hated the one / & loued the other / whiche he toke in his armes / and with hym fled before the dogges / And whanne the other sawe / that his mo­der lefte hym behynde / he ranne and lepte on her back / And by cause that the lytyl ape whiche the she ape held in her armes empeched her to flee / she lete hit falle to the erthe / And the other whiche the moder hated held fast and was saued / the whi­che from thens forthon kyssed and embraced his moder / And And she thenne beganne to loue hym / wherfore many tymes it happeth / that that thynge whiche is dispreysed / is better than that thynge whiche is loued and preysed / For somtyme the children whiche ben preysed and loued / done lasse good than they whiche ben dispreysed and hated

¶ The xxvj Fable is of the wynd and of therthen pot



¶ The second fable is of the commyssion of pecuny [...] money


A Spaynard arryued somtyme in to the lande of egipte And by cause that he doubted to be robbed within the desertys of Arabe / he purposed and bethought in hym self that it were wysely done to take his money to somme tre­we man for to stepe hit vnto his retorne ageyne / And by cau se that he herd somme saye / that within the Cyte was a trewe man / he anone wente to hym / and toke to hym his syluer for to kepe hit / And whan he had done his vyage / he came ageyne to hym / and demaunded of hym his syluer / whiche ansuerd to hym in this manere / My frend / Ine wote who thow arte / for I sawe the neuer that I wote of / And yf thou sayest or spekest ony more wordes / I shalle make the to be wel bete / Thenne was the spaynard sorowful and wroth / and therof be wold haue made a playnte to his neyghbours / as he dyde / & the neyghbours sayd to hym Certaynly / we be wel abasshed of that / that ye telle to vs / for he is emonge vs alle reputed [Page C xxiij] and holden for a good man and trewe / And therfore retor­ne ageyne to hym / and by swete wordes telle hym that he wyl rendre to the thy good ageyne / the whiche thynge he dyd / and the old man ansuerd to hym more sharply and rygorously / than he had done before / wherof the spaynard was wonderly wrothe / And as he departed oute of the old mans hows / he mette with an old woman / the whiche demaunded of hym / wherfore he was soo troubled and heuy / And after that he had told to her the cause why / thold woman sayd to hym / make good chere / For yf hit be so as thow sayst / I shalle counceylle the how thow shalt recouere thy syluer / And thenne he demaūded of her / how hit myght be done / And she sayd to hym b [...]yng hyther to me a man of thy countrey whome thow trustest / and doo to be made four fayr chestes / and fylle them alle with sto­nes / and by thy felawes thow shalt make them to be borne / in to his hows / and to hym they shalle say / that the marchaūts of spayne send them to hym for to be kepte surely / And whan the chestes shalte be within his hows / thow shalt go and demā de of hym thy syluer / whiche thynge he dyd / And as the sayd chestes were borne within his hows / the spaynard wente with them / that bare them / the whiche straungers sayd to the old mā My lord / these four chestes ben al ful of gold / of syluer and o [...] precious stones / whiche we brynge to yow / as to the trewest man and feythful that we knowe for to stepe them surely by cause that we fere and doubte the theues / whiche ben within the desert / After the whiche wordes sayd / came he / whiche the old woman had counceylled / and demaunded of hym his syluer And by cause that the old man doubted / that the spaynard wold haue dispreysed hym / he sayd thus to hym / Thow arte welcome / I merueylled how thow taryest soo longe for to co­me / And Incontynent he restored to hym his syluer / And thus by the counceylle of the woman whiche he gretely than­ked / he had his good ageyn / and retourned ageyne in to his countrey /

¶ The thyrd fable speketh of a subtyle Inuencion of a senten­ce gyuen vpon a derke and obscure cause



HIt befelle somtyme that a good man labourer wente fro lyf to deth / the whiche labourer lefte nothyng to his sone / but only a hows / the whiche sone lyued by the [...] of his handes pourely / This yong man had a neygh­ [...]ur whiche was moche ryche whiche demaūded of the sayd yong man yf he wold selle his hows / but he wold not selle it / by cau se that it was come to hym by enherytaūce and by patrymony wherfore the ryche man his neyȝbour connersyd & was fuloft with hym for to deceyue hym / but the yong man fled his com­pany as moche as he myght / & whan the ryche man perceyued that the yong man fled from hym / he bithouȝt hym self of a gre te dece [...]on & falshede / & demaūded of the poure yong man that he wold hyre to hym a parte of his hows for to delue & make a celer / the whiche he shold hold of hym payeng to hym yerely rent / & the poure yonge man hyred it to hym / & whan the celer was made / the ryche man did do bryng therin x tōnes of oylle of the which the v were ful of oylle / & the other v were but half ful / & dyd do make a grete pytte in the erthe / & dyd do put the fyue tonnes whiche were half ful in hit / & the other fyue abo [...]e them / And thenne he shytte the dore of the celer / and delyuerd the keye to the poure yonge man / and prayd [Page C xxiiij] hym frawdelently to kepe wel his oylle / but the poure yonge man knewe not the malyce and falshede of his neyghboure / wherfore he was contente to kepe the keye / And within a why le after as the oylle became dere / the ryche man came to the pou re / and asked of hym his good / and the yong man tooke to hym the keye / this Ryche man thenne sold his oylle to the marchauntes / and warauntysed eche tonne al ful / And when the marchauntes mesured theyr oylle / they fond but fyue of the x tonnes full / wherof the ryche man demaunded of the pou re yonge man resticucion / and for to haue his hows he maade hym to come before the Iuge / ¶ And whanne the poure man was before the Iuge / he demaunded terme and space for to answere / For hym thought and semed that he had kepte wel his oylle / and the Iuge gaf and graūted to hym day of ad­uys / & thēne he went to a philosophre whiche was procuratour of the poure peple / & prayd hym for charyte / that he wold gyue to hym good coūceylle at his grete nede / & he reherced and told to hym al his cause & swore vpon the holy euangely that he to ke none of the ryche mans oylle / And thenne the philosopher ansuerd to hym in this manere / My sone / haue no fere / for the trouthe may not faylle / And the next morowe after / the philo sopher wente with the poure man in to Iugement / the whiche Philosopher was constitued by the kynge for to gyue the Iust sentence of hit / And after that the cause had be wel deffended and pleted of bothe partyes / the philosophre sayd / the same ry­che man is of good renommee / and I suppose not that he de­maunded more than he shold haue / And also I byleue not / that this poure may be maculed ne gylty of the blame / which he putteth on hym / but notwithstondynge for to knowe the trouthe of hit / I ordeyne and gyue sentence / that the oylle pu re and clene of the v tonnes whiche are ful to be mesured / and also the lye therof / And after that the pure and clene oylle of the fyue tonnes whiche ben but half ful to be also mesured with the lye therof / and that men loke yf the lye of the fyue Tonnes half ful is egal and lyke to the lye of the fyue Tonnes / whiche ben fulle / And yf hit be not soo / that as mo­moche lye be fond within the vessels whiche ben but half full as in the other / he shalle thenne be suffysauntly & ryghtwysly [Page] proued / that none oyle hath be taken oute of them / but yf ther be fond as moche lye in the one as in the other / the poure shall be condempned / and of this sentence the poure was contente / & the trouthe was knowen / wherfore the poure man went quyte / and the ryche was condempned / For his grete malyce and falsheed was knowen and manyfested / For there is no syn­ne or mysdede done / but that ones it shalle be knowen and ma nyfested

¶ The fourthe fable maketh mencion of the sentence gyuen vp the pecuny or money whiche was found


A Ryche man somtyme wente by a Cyte / And as he wal ked fro one syde to that other / fylle fro hym a grete purse / wherin were a thowsand crownes / the whiche a poure man fond / and toke them for to kepe to his wyf / wherof she was ful gladde / and sayd / thanked be god of al the goo­des whiche he sendeth to vs / yf he sendeth now this grete somme kepe we hit wel / And on the next m [...]ne after folowyng / the [Page C xxv] Ryche man made to be cryed thurgh the Cyte / that who some­uer had fond a thowsand Crownes in a purse / he shold resti­tue / and brynge them to hym ageyne / and that he shold haue for his reward an honderd of them / And after that the poure man had herd this crye / he ranne Incontynent to his wyf / & sayd to her / My wyf / that / that we haue found must be rendred or yolden ageyne / For hit is better to haue a C crownes with­oute synne than a thowsand with synne & wrongfully / And how be hit that the woman wold haue resysted / Neuertheles in thende she was content / And thus the poure man restored the thowsand crownes to the Ryche / and demaunded of hym his honderd crownes / And the ryche full of frawde or falshede sayd to the poure / thow rendrest not to me al my gold / whiche thow fondest / For of hit I lack four honderd pyeces of gold And whanne thow shalt rendre and brynge to me ageyn the sayd four honderd pyeces of gold / thow shalt haue of me the C crownes / whiche I promysed to the / And thenne the poure ansuerd to hym / I haue take and brought to the al that I haue found / wherfore they fylle in a grete dyfferent or stryf / in so moche that the cause came before the kyng / to be decyded and pletyd / of the whiche the kyng made to be callyd before hym a grete philosopher whiche was procuratour of the poures / And whanne the cause was wel dispnted / the philosopher moued with pyte / called to hym the poure man / and to hym seyd in this maner / Come hyther my frend / by thy feythe hast thow restored alle that good whiche thou fondest in the purse / and the poure ansuerd to hym / ye syre by my feythe / And thenne the philosophre sayd before thassistantes / Syth this ryche man is trewe and feythfull / and that hit is not to byleue / that he shold demaunde more than he ought to doo / he oughte to be by leued / And as to the other parte men muste byleue that this poure man is of good renomme and knowen for a trewe man wherfore the philosopher sayd to the kynge / / Syre I gyue by my sentence / that thow take these thowsand crownes / and that an C thow take of them / the whiche honderd thow shalt dely­uere to this poure man whiche fond them / And after whan he that hath lost them shall come / thow shalt restore them to hym / [Page] And yf it happeth that another persone fynde the thowsand & four C crownes / they shal be rendryd and taken ageyn to the same good man whiche is here present whiche sayth that he hath lost them / the whiche sentence was moche agreable and ple saunt to al the companye / And whan the ryche man sawe that he was deceyued / he demaunded myseryoorde and grace of the kynge sayenge in this manere / Syre this poure man that hath fond my purse / trewely he hath restored it to me all that I ou­ȝt to haue / but certaynly I wold haue deceyued hym / wherfor I praye the that thou wylt haue pyte and myserycorde on me And thenne the kynge had myseryoorde on hym / And the poure man was wel contented and payd / and al the malyce of the ryche man was knowen and manyfested

¶ The v fable is of the feythe of thre felawes


[Page C xxvj] OFte it happeth that the euyll whiche is procured to other cometh to hym whiche procureth it / as hit apperyth by the felawes / of the whiche tweyn were burgeys / & the thyrd a labourer / the whiche assembled them to gydre for to go to the holy sepulcre / This thre felawes made so grete prouysy­on of flour for to make theyr pylgremage / in suche wyse / that it was al chauffed / and consumed / excepte only for to make one loef only / And whan the Burgeis sawe thende of theyre floure they sayd to gyder / yf we fynde not the maner and cau­tele for to begyl [...] this vylayn / by cause that he is a ryght grete gallaunt / we shalle deye for hongre / wherfore we must fynde the maner and facyone that we may haue the loof whiche shall be maad of alle oure floor / And therfore they concluded to gy der and sayd / whanne the loof shalle be putte within the ouen we shalle goo and leye vs for to slepe / and he that shalle dre­me best / the loof shalle be his / And by cause that we [...]he [...]n subtyle and wyse / he shalle not mowe dreme as wel as we shalle / wherof the [...]of shal be ours / wherof alle they thre were wel content / and al byganne to slepe /

¶ But whanne the labourer or vylayne knewe and percey­ued alle theyre fallace / and sawe that his two felawes we re a sleep / he wente and drewe the loof oute of the ouen and ete hit / ¶ And after he fayned to be a slepe / And thē ­ne one of the burgeys rose vp / and sayd to hys felawes / I haue dremed a wonder dreme / For two Angels haue taken & borne me with grete Ioye before the dyuyn mageste / And the other burgeys his felawe awoke and sayd / Thy dreme is merueyllous and wonderfull / but I suppose that the myn is fayrer / than thyn is / For I haue dremed that two Angel [...] drewe me on hard ground for to lede me in to helle / And af­ter they dyd awake the vylayne whiche as dredeful sayd / who is there / and they ansuerd / we be thy felawes / And he sayd to them / how be ye soo soone retourned / And they an­swerd to hym / how retorned / we departed not yet fro hens / And he sayd to them by my feythe / I haue dremed that the Angels had led one of yow in to paradys or heuen / and the other in to helle / Wherfor I supposed / that ye shold neuer ha­ue comen ageyne / And therfore I aroos me fro sleep / and by [Page] cause I was hongry / I wente and drewe oute of the ouen the leef and ete hit / For ofte hit happeth that he whiche supposeth to begyle somme other / is hym self begyled

¶ The vj fable is of the labourer and of the nyghtyngale


SOmtyme there was a labourer / whiche had a gardeyn wel playsaunt and moche delycious / in to the whiche he ofte wente for to take his disporte and playsyre / And on a day at euen when he was wery and had trauayl­led sore / for to take his recreacion he entryd in to his gardyn and sette hym self doune vnder a tree / where as he herd the son­ge of a nyghtyngale / And for the grete plesyre and Ioye whiche he took therof / he sought and at the last fond the mea­nes for to take the nyghtyngale / to thende / that yet gretter Ioye and playsannce he myght haue of hit / And whan the nygh­tyngale was take / he demaunded of the labourer / wherfore hast thow take so grete payne for to take me / For wel thow kno­west that of me thow mayst not haue grete prouffyte / And [Page C xxvij] the vylayne ansuerd thus to the nyghtyngale / For to here the songe of the I haue taken the / And the nyghtyngale ansuerd Certaynly in vayne thou hast payned and laboured / For / for no good I wylle synge whyle that I am in pryson / And thenne the labourer or vylayne ansuerd / yf thow syngest not wel / I shalle ete the / And thenne the nyghtyngale sayd to hym / yf thow putte me within a potte for to be soden / lytyl me­te shalt thou thenne make of my body / and yf thow settest me for to be rosted / lesse mete shalle be thenne made of me / And therfor neyther boylled ne rosted shalle not be thy grete bely fylled of me / but yf thow lete me flee / ħit shalle be to the a grete good and prouffyte / For thre doctrynes I shall teche the whiche thow shalt loue better than thre fat kyne / And thi­ne the labourer lete the nyghtyngale flee / And whan he was oute of his handes / and that he was vpon a tree / he sayd to the vylayne in this maner / My Frend I haue promysed to the / that I shall gyue to the thre doctrynes / wherof the fyrst is this that thow byleue no thynge whiche is Impossyble / The second is that thow kepe wel that thyn is / And the thyrd is / that thow take no sorowe of the thynge lost whiche may not be re­couerd / And soone after the nyghtgngale beganne to synge / & in his songe sayd thus / blessyd be god / whiche hath delyuerd me oute of the handes of this vylayne or chorle / whiche hath not knowen / sene / ne touched the precious dyamond whiche I haue within my bely / For yf he had foūde hit / he had be moche ryche / And fro his handes I had not scaped / And thenne the vylayne whiche herd this songe / beganne to complayne and to make grete sorowe, and after sayd I am wel vnhappy / that haue lost so fayre a tresour / whiche I had wonne / and now I haue lost hit / And the nyghtyngale seyd thenne to the chorle / Now knowe I wel that thow arte a fool / For thow takest sorowe of that wherof thow sholdest haue none / and sone thow hast forgeten my doctryne / by cause that thow wenest that with in my bely shold be a precious stone more of weyght than I am / And I told and taught to the / that thow sholdest neuer byleue that thynge / whiche is Impossyble / And yf that stone was thyn / why hast thow lost ħit / And yf thow [...] lost ħit and mayst not recouere hit / why takest thow sorowe for hit / [Page] And therfore hit is foly to chastyse or to teche a fole / whiche neuer byleueth the lernynge and doctryne whiche is gyuen to hym

¶ The vij fable is of a Rethorycian and of a crowkbacked /


A Philosopher sayd ones to his sone / that whan he were falle by fortune in to somme dommage or perylle / the sooner that he myght he shold delyuere hym of hit / to thende / that afterward he shold no more be vexed ne greued of hit / As ħit appiereth by this fable of a rethoryque man or fayr speker / whiche ones demaunded of a kynge / that of alle them whiche shold entre in to the Cyte / hauynge somme faulte of kynde on theyr bodyes / as crouked or counterfayted / he myght haue and take of them at thentre of the yate a peny / the whiche demaunde the kynge graunted to hym / and made his lettres to be sealed and wreton vnder his sygnet / And thus he kepte hym styll at the yate / And of euery lame scabbed / & of alle suche that had ony counterfaytour on theyr bodyes / he tooke a peny / ¶ It happed thēne on a day that a croukbacked and counterfayted man wold haue entryd within the Cyte [Page C xxviij] withoute gyuynge of ony peny / and bethought hym self / that he shold take and put on hym a fayre mantel / and thus ara­yed came to the yate / ¶ And thenne whan the porter byheld hym / he perceyued that he was goglyed / and sayd to hym pay me of my dowte / And the goglyed wold paye nought / wher fore he toke from hym his mantel / And thenne he sawe that he was crowkbacked and sayd to hym / thow woldest not tofore paye a peny / but now thow shalt paye tweyne / ¶ And whyle that they stryued to gyder / the hat and the bonet folle from his hede to the erthe / And the porter whiche sawe his scabbed hede / sayd to hym / now shalt thow paye to me thre pens / And then­ne the porter yet ageyne setted his handes on hym / and felte / that his body was al scabbed / And as they were thus wrast­lynge to gyder / the crowkbacked fylle to the ground / and hur­ted hym self sore on the legge / And the porter sayd thenne to hym / Now shalt thow paye v pens / For thy body is al counter fayted / wherfore thow shalt leue here thy mantell / And yf thou haddest payd a peny / thow haddest gone on thy waye free and quyte / wherfore he is wyse that payeth that / that he oweth of ryght / to then de that therof come not to hym gretter dommage /

¶ The eyght fable is of the discyple / And of the sheep /

A Discyple was somtyme / whiche toke his playsyre to reherce and telle many fables / the whiche prayd to his mayster / that he wold reherce vnto hym a long fable / To whome the mayster ansuerd / kepe and beware wel that hit happe not to vs / as it happed to a kyng and to his fabulatour And the discyple ansuerd / My mayster I pray the to telle to me how it befelle / And thenne the mayster sayd to his discy­ple / ¶ Somtyme was a kynge whiche hadde a fabulatour / the whiche reherced to hym at euery tyme / that he wold sleep fyue fables for to reioysshe the kynge / and for to make hym falle in to a slepe / It bifelle thenne on a daye / that the kynge was moche sorowful and so heuy / that he coude in no wyse falle a sle pe / And after that the sayd fabulatour had told and reherced [Page]


his fyue fables / the kynge desyred to here more / And thenne the sayd fabulatour recyted vnto hym thre fables wel shorte / And the kynge thenne sayd to hym / I wold fayne here one wel longe / And thenne shalle I loue wel the slepe / The fabu­latour thenne reherced vnto hym suche a fable / Of a ryche man whiche wente to the market or feyre for to bye sheep / the which man bought a thowsand sheep / And as he was retornynge fro the feyre / he cain vnto a Ryuer / and by cause of the grete wa­wes of the water he coude not passe ouer the brydge / Neuerthe les he wente soo longe to and fro on the Ryuage of the sayd Ryuer / that at the last he fonde a narowe way / vpon the whi­che myght passe scant ynough thre sheep attones / And thus he passed and had them ouer one after another / And hyderto reherced of this fable / the fabulatour felle on slepe / And anon after the kynge awoke the fabulatour / and sayd to hym in this manere / I pray the that thow wylt make an ende of thy fable / And the fabulatour ansuerd to hym in this manere Syre this Ryuer is ryght grete / and the ship is lytyll / wher­fore late the marthaunt doo passe ouer his sheep / And after I shalle make an ende of my fable / And thenne was the kynge wel appeased and pacyfyed / ¶ And therfore be thow [Page xxix] content of that I haue reherced vnto the / For there is folke so superstycious or capaxe / that they may not be contented with fewe wordes

¶ The ix fable is of the wulf / of the labourer / of the foxe / & of the chese


SOmtyme was a labourer wgiche vnnethe myght go­uerne and lede his oxen by cause that they smote with theyr feet / wherfore the labourer sayd to them / I pray to god that the wulf may ete yow / the whiche wordes the wulf herd / wherfore he hyd hym self nyghe them vnto the nyght / And thenne came for to ete them / ¶ And whanne the nyght was come / the labourer vnbonde his oxen / and lete them goo to his hows / ¶ And thenne whanne the wulf sawe them comynge homeward / he sayd / O thow labourer many ty­mes on this day thow dydest gyue to me thyn oxen / and ther fore hold thy promesse to me / ¶ And the labourer sayd to the wulf / I promysed to the nought at al / in the presence of whome I am oblyged or bound / I swore not neyther to

[...] [Page] and yong man whiche fournysshed to thappoyntement / And ones as they thre made good chere the husbond came ageyne fro the feyre and knocked at the dore of the hows / wherfore they were wel abasshed / Thenne sayd the old moder thus to them / haue no fere / but doo as I shalle telle to yow / and ca re yow not / And thenne she sayd to the yonge man / hold this swerd / and goo thow to the yate / and beware thy self that thow saye no word to hym / but lete me doo / And as the hus­band wold haue entryd his hows / and that he sawe the yong man holdynge a naked swerd in his handes / he was gretely aferd / And thenne the old woman sayd to hym / My sone thow arte ryght welcome / be not aferd of this man / For thre men ranne ryght now after hym for to haue slayne hym / and [...]y auenture he fond the yate open / and this is the cause why he came here for to saue his lyf / And thenne the husbond said to them / ye haue done wel / And I can yow grete thanke / And thus the yonge amerous wente his waye surely by the subtylyte of the moder / of his wyf / to the whiche truste thy self not / and thow shalt doo as sage and wyse


¶ The xi fable is of an old harlotte or bawde

A Noble man was somtyme / whiche had a wyf moche chaste and was wonder fayr / This noble man wold haue go on pylgremage to Rome / and lefte his wyf at home / by cause that he knewe her for a chaste and a good woman / ¶ It happed on a daye as she wente in to the toun A fayre yonge man was esprysed of her loue / and took on hym hardynes / and requyred her of loue / and promysed to her many grete yeftes / But she whiche was good had leuer deye than to consente her therto / wherfore the yonge man deyde al mooste for sorowe / to the whiche felawe came an old wo­man / whiche demaunded of hym the cause of his sekenesse / And the yonge man manyfested or discouered vnto her alle his courage and herte / askynge help and counceylle of her / And the old woman wyly and malycious sayd to hym / Be thow gladde and Ioyous / and take good courage / For wel I shalle doo / and brynge aboute thy fay [...] / in soo moche that thow shalt haue thy wyll fulfylled / And after thys the old bawde wente to her hows / and maade a lytyl catte which she hadde at home to faste thre dayes one after another / And after she took somme breed with a grete dele or quantite of mostard vpon hit / and gaf hit to thys yonge Catte for to ete hit / ¶ And whanne the Catte smelled hit / she beganne to wepe and crye / ¶ And the old woman or Bawde wente vnto the hows of the sayd yonge woman / and bare her lytyl Catte with her / the whiche yonge and good woman receyued and welcomed her moch honestly / by cause that alle the world held her for a holy woman / ¶ And as they were tallynge to gyder / the yong woman hadde pyte of the catte whiche wep­te / And demaunded of the old woman / what the cat eyled / And the old woman sayd to her / Ha a my fayr doughter & my fayre Frend / renewe not my sorowe / And sayenge these wordes she beganne to wepe / and sayd / My frend for no go­od I wyl telle the cause why my catte wepeth / And then­n / the yonge woman sayd to her / My good Moder I praye yow that ye wyll telle me the cause why & wherfor your catte [Page] wepeth / And thenne the old woman sayd to her / My Frend I wyll wel / yf thow wilt swere that thou shalt neuer reherce it to no body / to the whiche promesse the good & trewe yonge woman accorded her self / supposyng / that hit had ben al good and sayd / [...] wylle wel / And thenne the old woman sayd to her in this manere / My frend this same catte whiche thow seest yonder was my doughter / the whiche was wonder fayre gracious and chaste / whiche a yonge man loued moche / and was so moche esprysed of her loue / that by cause that she reffu­sed hym / he deyde for her loue / wherfore the goddes hauyng py­te on hym / haue torned my douggter in to this catte / And the yonge woman whiche supposed that the old woman had sayd trouthe sayd to her in this manere / Allas my fayr moder / I ne wote what I shalle doo / For suche a [...]as myght wel hap­pe to me / For in this Towne is a yonge man / whiche deyeth almoost for the loue of me / But for loue of my husband / to whome I oughte to kepe chastyte / I haue not wylle graunte hym / Neuertheles I shall doo that / that thow shalt counceylle to me / And thenne the old woman sayd to her / My Frend haue thow pyte on hym as soone as thow mayst / soo that hit [...] not to the lyke as it dyd to my doughter /

¶ The yonge woman thenne answerd to her / and sayd / yf he requyre me ony more / I shalle accorde me with hym / And yf he requyre me no more / yet shalle I profere me to hym /

And to thende / that I offende not the goddes / I shalle doo and accomplysshe hit / as soone as I maye / ¶ The old woman thēne took leue of her / & wente forthwith to the yong man / And to hym she reherced and told all these tydynges / wherof hys herte was fylled with Ioye / the whiche anone wente toward the yonge woman / and with her he fulfylled his wylle / ¶ And thus ye maye knowe the euyls / whiche ben done by bawdes and old harlottes / that wold to god / that they were al brente

¶ The xij fable is of a blynd man and of his wyf /


THere was somtyme a blynd man whiche had a fayre wyf / of the whiche he was moche Ia [...]us / He kepte her so that she myght not goo no wher / For euer he had her by the hand / And after that she was enamoured of a gentil felawe / they coude not fynde the maner ne no place for to ful­fylle theyr wyll / but notwithstandyng the woman whiche was subtyle and Ingenyous counceylled to her frende that he shold come in to her hows / and that he shold entre in to the gardyn and that there he shold clymme vpon a pere tree / And he did as she told hym / and when they had made theyr enterpryse / the woman came ageyne in to the hows / and sayd to her hus­bond / My frend I praye yow that ye wylle go in to our gar­dyn for to disporte vs a lytel whyle there / of the whiche pra­yer the blynd man was wel content / and sayd to his wyf / wel my good frend I will wel / lete vs go thyder / And as they were vnder the pere tree / she sayd to her husband / My frende I praye the to lete me goo vpon the pere tre / And I shalle gader for vs bothe some fayre peres / wel my frend sayd the blynd man / I wylle wel & graūt therto / And when [Page] she was vpon the tree / the yong man begannn to shalte the [...] tree at one syde / and the yonge woman atthe other syde / And And as the blynd man herd thus hard shake the pere tree / and the noyse whiche they made / he sayd to them / Ha a euylle woman how be it that I see hit not / Neuertheles I fele and vnderstande hit well / But I praye to the goddes / that they vouchesauf to sende me my syght ageyne / And as soone as he had made his prayer Iupiter rend [...]yd to hym his syght ageyn

And whanne he sawe that pagent vpon the pere tree / he sayd to his wyf Ha vnhappy woman / I shalle neuer haue no Ioye with the / And by cause that the yonge woman was re dy in speche and malycious / she ansuerd forthwith to her hus­bond / My frend thow arte wel beholden and bounden to me / For by cause and for the [...]oue the goddes haue restored to the thy syght / wh [...]rof I thanke alle the goddes and goddesses / whiche haue enhaunced and herd my prayer / For I desyryng moche that thow myght see me / cessed neuer day ne nyght to pray them / that they wold rendre to the thy syghte / wherfore the goddesse Wenus Vysybly shewed her self to me / and sayd / that yf I wold doo somme plays yr to the sayd yonge man / she shold restore to the thy syght / And thus I am cause of it And thenne the good man sayd to her / My ryght dere wyf & good frende / I remercye and thanke yow gretely / For ryght ye haue and I grete wronge

¶ The xiij fable is of the tayller / of a kynge / and of his seruaunte

MEn ought not to doo some other / that whiche he wold not that it were done to hym / As it appiereth / by thys present fable / of a kynge whiche had a tayller whiche was as good a werkman of his craft / as ony was at that tyme in alle the world / the whiche tayller had with hym ma­ny good seruauntes / wherof the one was called Medius / whi che surmounted alle the other in shapynge or sewynge / wher­fore the kyng commaunded to his styward that the sayd tayl­lers shold fare wel / and haue of the best metes and of dely­cious [Page C xxxiij]


drynke / ¶ It happed on a daye that the mayster Sty­ward gaf to them ryght good and delycious mete in the whi­che was some hony / And by cause that Medius was not atte that feste / the styward sayd to the other / that they shold kepe for hym / somme of their mete / And thenne the mayster tayller ansuerd / he must none haue / For yf he were here / he shold not ete of hit / For he ete neuer no hony / And as they had done / Medius came / and demaunded of his felawes / why kepte you not parte of this mete for me / And the styward ansuerd and sayd to hym / By cause that thy mayster sayd to me / that thow ete neuer no hony / no parte of the mete was kepte for the And Medius ansuerd thenne neuer one word / but beganne to thynke / how he myght paye his mayster / And on a day as the styward was allone with Medius / he demaunded of Me­dius / yf he knewe no man that coude werke as wel as his mayster / And Medius sayd nay / and that it was grete dom­mage of a sekenes that he had / And the styward demaunded what sekenes hit was / And thenne Medius ansuerd to hym / My lord whan he is entryd in to his fransy or wodenes / there cometh vpon hym a rage / And how shalle I knowe hit sayd the styward / Certaynly my lord sayd Medius / whan ye shal [...] [Page] see that he shalle sette at his werke / and that he shalle loke he­re and there / and shal smyte vpon his borde with his fyst / thē ­ne may ye knowe that his sekenesse cometh on hym / And thē ­ne withoute ye take and bynde hym / and also bete hym wel / he shalle doo grete harme and dommage / And the styward sayd to hym / Care not therof my frend / For wel I shalle be­ware my self of hym / And on the mornynge next folowynge / the styward came for to see the tayllers / And whan Medius whiche knewe wel the cause of his comynge / tooke aweye se­cretely his maysters sheres / and hydde them / And anone his mayster beganne for to loke after them / and sawe and serched al aboute here and there / and beganne to smyte his fyste vpon the borde / And thenne the mayster styward beganne to loke on his maners / and sodenly made hym to be take / and holde by his seruaunts / And after made hym to be bound and wel [...] / Thenne was the mayster tayller al abasshed / and demaū ­ded of them / My lordes wherfor doo ye bete me soo outrageous­ly / what offense haue I done / wherfore I must be bound and thus [...]e bete / And thenne the Styward sayd to hym in thys maner / by cause that Medius told me / that thow art frantyck And yf thow be not wel bete / thow sholdest doo grete harme and dommage / And thēne the mayster came to his seruaunt Medius and rygorously sayd to hym / Ha a euyl boye fylled whan euylle wordes / whan sawest thow me madde / And his seruaunt proud [...]ly ansuerd to hym / My mayster whan dydest thow see that I ete no hony / And therfore I threwe to the one [...]ole for another / And the mayster styward / and alle his ser­uaunts beganne thenne to lawhe / and sayd al that he hadde wel done / ¶ And therfore men ought not to doo to eny other that thynge whiche they wylle not that men dyd to them /

¶ Here enden the fables of Alfonce

And folowen other fables of Po­ge the Florentyn

¶ The fyrst fable is of the subtylyte of the woman for to d [...]yue her husbond


THe cautele or falshede of the woman is wonder mer­ueyllous / as it appiereth by this fable / Of a marchaūt whiche was wedded of newe vnto a fayre and yong woman / the whiche marchaunt wente ouer the see for to bye & selle / and for to gete somwhat for to lyue honestly / And by cause that he dwellyd to longe / his wyf supposed that he was dede / And therfore she enamoured her self with another man / whiche dyd to her mykle good / as for to haue doo make and bylde vp his hows of newe the whiche had grete nede of repa­racion / and also he gaf to her all newe Vtensyles to kepe a hous hold / And within a long tyme after the departyng of the mar­chaunt he came ageyne in to his hows whiche he sawe newe byl ded / & sawe dysshes pottes / pannes / and suche other houshold wherfore he demaunded of his wyf how and in what man [...] she had foūde the facion and the meane for to haue repayred so so honestly his hows / And she ansuerd that it was by the gra ce of god / And he ansuerd / Blessyd be god of hit / And when he was within the chambre / he sawe the bedde rychely couerd / & [Page] the walles wel hanged / and demaunded of his wyf he had done before / And she thenne ansuerd to hym in lyke maner as she dyd before / And therfore he thanked god as he had done to fore / And as he wold sette hym at his dyner / there was brought before hym vnto his wyf a child of thre yere of age / or there aboute / wherfore he demaunded of his wyf / My frend to whome belongeth this fayre child / And she ansuerd / My Frend the holy ghoost of his grace hath sente hit to me / Thē ­ne ansuerd the marchaunt to his wyf in this manere / I rendre not graces ne thankes not to the holy ghoost of this / For he hath taken to moche payne and labour for to haue it made vp myn owne werke / And I wyll that in no maner wyse he me dl [...] no more therwith / For suche thynge belongeth to me for to doo hit / and not to the holy ghoost

¶ The second fable is of the woman and of the ypocryte


[Page C xxxv] THe generacion or byrth of the ypocryte is moche damp nable and euylle / As it appiereth by this fable / and as poge reherceth to vs whiche sayth / that somtyme he fond hym self in a good felauship / where he herd a fable / whi che was there reherced / Of the whiche the tenour foloweth / and seyth the sayd poge / that of alle the goodes of this world / the ypocrytes ben possessours / For how be hit / that a [...] ypocryte ha ue somtyme wylle for to helpe somme poure and Indygent / Neuertheles he hath a condycyon within hym self / that is to w [...] / that he shold rather see a man at the poynt of dethe / than for to saue his lyf of an halfpeny / And this presumpcion is called ypocrysye / as ye shal here herafter by the fable folowyng the whiche sayth that one beynge in the felauship of Poge re­herced / that somtyme the customme of alle the poure was that they wente before the folkes dores withoute sayenge ony word It happed thenne on that tyme that a poure man moche faire and of good lyf wente to serche his lyf fro one dore to ano­ther / And vpon a day emonge other he wente and sette hym self vpon a grete stone before the yate of a wydowe / whiche wy dowe was acustommed to gyue hym euer somwhat / ¶ And whan the good woman knewe that he was at hir dore she dyd brynge to hym his porcion as she was custommed for to doo / And as she gaf to hym the mete she loked on hym / and seyng hym soo fayre / and wel made of body / she thenne fylled of car nal concupiscence / and brennynge in the fyre of loue / requered and Instantly prayd hym that he wold retorne thyder with­in thre dayes / and promysed to hym that she shold gyue to hym a ryght good dyner / And the poure man sayd to her / that he shold doo soo / And whanne he came ageyne / he sette hym self as before / atte dore of the wydowes hows / whiche the woman knewe well whanne he shold come / wherfore she came to the yate and sayd / Come within good man / For now we shalle dyne / to the whiche prayer the poure man assented / & entred within the hows / the whiche wydowe gaf to hym good mete / and good drynke / And whanne they had wel dyned / the sa­yd wydowe pressyd the good man strongly / and after she kys sed hym / requyrynge hym that she myght haue the copye of his loue / And thēne the poure man al ashamed & Vergoynous [Page] knowynge her thoughte and her wylle / ansuerd thus to her / Certaynly my good lady I dare not / but neuertheles he wold fayne haue done hit / And the wydowe al embraced with loue beseched and prayd hym more and more / And thenne whan the poure man sawe that he myght not excuse hym self / he sayd to the wydowe in this manere / My frend syth that thow de­syrest it for to doo soo moche and soo grete an euylle / I take god to my wytnes / that thow arte causer of hit / For I am not consentynge to the faytte or dede / but sayenge these wordes he consented to her wylle

¶ The thyrd fable is of a yonge woman whiche accused her husband of coulpe or blame


POge florentyne sayth / that somtyme ther was a man named Nerus de paas / the whiche of his age was emonge the Florentyne / Ryght sage and prudent and ryght ryche / This Nerus had a fayr doughter / the whiche he [Page C xxxvj] he maryed with a tyght fayre yonge man / and a ryche / and of good parentage or kynred / the whiche yong man the next day after the feest of his weddynge dyd lede her in to his cas­tel / a lytyl way withoute the Cyte of Florence / And within fewe dayes after / this yonge man brought his wyf ageyne in to Florence vnto the hows of her fader Nerus / the whiche made thenne a feest as it was customed to doo at that tyme in some places eyght dayes after the weddynge / whanne this newe maryed or wed ded woman was come ageyne to her faders hows / she maad not ouer good chere / but euer she had her loke dounward to the erthe / as ful tryste / thoughtful & melanco­lyous / And whanne her moder perceyued and sawe her dough ter so sorowful / and of mournynge contenaunce / she called her within a wardroppe where as no body was / but they two / and asked of her the cause of her sorowe / sayenge / how fare ye my doughter / what wante yow / haue yow not all thynges comyng to yow after your desyre and playsaunce / wherfore take ye so grete thought and melancolye / And thenne the doughter we pynge ful tendyrly sayd to the moder in this maner / Allas my moder ye haue not maryed me to a man / For of suche a thynge that a man oughte to haue / he hath neuer a dele / sauf only a lytel parte of that thynge for the whiche weddynge is made / And thenne the moder ryght wrothe & sorowful of this euyl fortune wente toward her husbond Nerus / and told to hym theuyll auenture and happe of theyr doughter / wherof he was gretely wrothe and sore troubled / And soone after this fortune was also dyuulged manyfested and knowen emong alle the lygnage of Nerus / wherof they were al sorowful / & gretely abasshed / how this fayr yonge man / to whome god had sent so many good Vertues / and that had soo many yeftes of grace / as is beaute / Rychesse / and good Renommee / and that he was Indygent or fawtyf of that thynge / wherfore marya­ge is made / Neuertheles the tables were sette and couerd /

And whanne the tyme of dyner came / the yonge man cam in to the hows of Nerus with his frendes and parents / And Incontynent they sette them all at the table / somme with heuy and sorowful herte / and the other with grete Ioye and plea­syr / And whanne the yonge man sawe that alle his Frendes [Page] maad good chere / and that alle the parentes of his wyf were heuy and melancolyous / he prayd and besoughte them / that they wold telle hym the cause of their heuynes and sorowe / but none of them alle ansuerd / Neuertheles he prayd / and be­sought them yet ageyne / And thenne one of them ful of sorow and more lyberall than alle the other / sayd thus to hym / Cer­taynly my fayre sone / thy wyf hath told to vs / that thow arte not man parfyghte / For the whiche wordes the man beganne to lawhe / and sayd with an hyghe boys that al they that we­re there myght Vnderstand what he sayd / My lordes / and my frendes make good chere / For the cause of your sorowe shalle soone be peased / And thenne he beynge clothed with a shorte gowne Vntyde his hosen / and tooke his membre with his han de / whiche was grete and moche suffysaunt vpon the table / so that al the folauship myght see hit / wherfore the sayd felau­ship myght see hit / wherof the sayd felauship was ful glad and Ioyeful / wherof somme of the men desyred to haue as moche / And many of the wymmen wysshed to theyr husban­des suche an Instrument / And thenne somme of the frendes & parentes of Nerus doughter wente toward her / and sayd to [...] / that she had grete wronge for to complayne her of her hus­band / For he had wel wherwith she myght be contented / and blamed her gretely of her folye / to whome the yong doughter ansuerd / My frendes why blame ye me / I complayne me not without cause / For our asse / whiche is a brute beest / hath wel a membre as grete as myn arme / and my husband whiche [...] a man / his membre is Vnnethe half so grete / wherfore the symple and yonge damoysell wend that the men shold haue hit as grete and gretter than Asses

¶ Therfore it is sayd ofte / that moche lacketh he of that that a fole thynketh or weneth

¶ The fourthe fable is of huntynge and hawkynge
[Page C xxxvij]¶ The fourth fable is of the huntynge & hawkynge


POge Florentyn reherceth to vs / how ones he was in a felauship where men spak of the superflue cure of them whiche gouerne the dogges and hawkes / wherof a my­lannoys named Paulus beganne to lawhe / and lawhyng re quyred of Poge that he wold reherce somme fable of the sayd hawkes / And for loue of alle the felauship he sayd in thys manere / Somtyme was a medecyn whiche was a Mylannoys This medecyn heled al foles of al maner of foly / and how & in what manere he dyd hele them / I shalle telle hit to you This medycyn or leche had within his hows a grete gardyn And in the myddes of hit was a depe and a brode pytte / whi che was ful of stynkynge and Infected water / And within the same pytte the sayd medycyn put the foles after the quan tyte of theyr folysshnes / somme vnto the knes / and the other vnto the bely / And there he bonde them fast at a post / but no­ne he putte depper / than vnto the stomack for doubte of gretter [Page] Inconuenient / It happed thenne that emonge other was one brought to hym / whiche he putte in to the sayd water vnto the thyes / And whan he had be by the space of xv dayes within the sayd water / he beganne to be peasyble and gate his wytte ageyne / And for to haue take somme disporte and consolacion he prayd to hym whiche had the kepynge of hym / that he wold take hym oute of the water / and promysed to hym that he shold not departe fro the gardyn / And thenne the kepar that kepte hym Vnbounde hym fro the stake / and had hym oute of the water / And whanne he had be many dayes oute of the pytte / he wente wel vnto the yate of the gardyn / but he durst not go oute / lesse that he shold be put ageyne within the sayd pytte / And on a tyme he went aboue vpon the yate / and as he loked al aboute / he sawe a fayr yong man on a horsbuk / whiche bare a sperehawk on his fyste / and had with hym two fayre spay­nels / wherof the sayd fole was al abasshed / And in dede as by [...]as of nouelte / he callyd the sayd yong man / and after he sayd to hym benyngly / My frend I praye the that thou wilt [...] me what is that wherupon thow arte sette / And thenne the yonge sone sayd to hym / that it was a hors whiche prouffi ted to hym to the chace / and bare hym where he wold / And af ter the fole demaunded of hym / And what is that whiche thou wrest on thy fyste / and wher to is it good / and the yongman ansuerd to hym / It is a sperehawst whiche is good for to ta­ke par [...]ryches and quaylles / And yet ageyne the fole demaun ded of hym / My frend what are thoos that folowe the / & wher to ben they good / And the yonge man ansuerd to hym / they be dogges whiche are good for to serche and fynde partryches & quaylles / And whan they haue reysed them / my sperehawke taketh them / wherof procedeth to me grete solas and playsyre / And the fole demaunded ageyne / To your aduys the takyng that ye doo by them in a hole yere / how moche is hit / shalle hit bere to the grete prouffyte / And the yong man ansuerd to hym four or fyue crownes [...] ther aboute / And no more sayd the fole / And to your aduys how moche shalle they dispende in a yere / And the yong man ansuerd xl or l crownes / ¶ And whanne the fole herd these wordes / he sayd to the sayd yonge [Page C xxxviij] man / O my frend I pray the that soone thow wylt departe fro hens / For yf our fysicien come / he shalle putte the within the sayd pytte by cause that thow arte a fole / I was put in it Vn to the thyes / but therin he shold putte the vnto the chynne / for thow dost the grettest foly that euer I herd speke of / ¶ And therfore the studye of the huntynge and hawkynge is a slou­ful cure / And none ought to doo hit withoute he be moche ryche and man of lyuelode / And yet hit ought not to be done ful ofte / but somtyme for to take disporte and solas / and to dry ue awey melancolye

¶ The V fable is of the recytacion of somme monstres


POge of Florence recyteth how in his tyme one named Hugh prynce of the medycyns / sawe a catte whiche had two hedes / and a calf whiche also had two hedes And his legges bothe before and behynde were double / as they had be Ioyned al to gyder / as many folke sawe / Item about [Page] the matches of ytalye withynne a medowe was somtyme a Cowe / the whiche Cowe maade and delyuerd her of a Ser­pent of wonder and Ryght merueyllous grettenesse / Ryghte hydous and ferdful / ¶ For fyrste he hadde the heede gretter than the hede of a calf / ¶ Secondly / he had a necke of the lengthe of an Asse / And his [...]dy made after the lykenesse of a dogge / and his taylle was wonder grete / thycke and longe withoute comparyson to ony other

And whanne the Cowe sawe that she hadde maade suche a byrthe / And that within her bely she had borne soo ryght hor­ryble a beeste / she was al ferdful / and lyfte her self vp / and supposed to haue fledde aweye / but the Serpent with his won­der longe taylle enlaced her two hynder legges / and the Ser­pent thenne beganne to souke the Cowe / And in dede soo mo­che / and soo longe he souked tylle that he fond somme mylke / ¶ And whanne the Cowe myght escape fro hym / she fledde vnto the other kyne / ¶ And Incontynent her pappes and her behynder legges and all that the Serpent touched was all black a grete space of tyme / ¶ And soone after the sayd Cowe maade a fayre calf / The whiche mer­ueylle was announced or sayd to the sayd [...] he beynge [...] Ferrare / ¶ And yet ageyne soone after that / ther was fond within a grete Ryuer a monstre maryn / or of the see of the forme or lykenesse whiche foloweth /

¶ Fyrste he hadde from the nauylle vpward the symylytude or lykenesse of a man / And fro the nauylle dounward / he had the fourme or makynge of a Fysshe / the whiche parte was i [...] ­melle that is to wete double / ¶ Secondly he hadde a grete berd / and he hadde two wonder grete hornys aboue his eres / ¶ Also he hadde grete pappes / and a wonder gre­te and horryble mouthe / and his handes retched vnto his en­traylles or bowellys / And at the bothe his elbowes he hadde wynges ryght brode and grete of fysshes mayles / wherwith he swymmed / and only he hadde but the hede oute of the water /

¶ It happed thenne as many wymmen bouked and wesshed at the porte or hauen of the sayde Ryuer / that thys horryble and ferdful beeste was / for lacke and defaulte of mete came [Page C xxxix] swymmyng toward the sayd wymen / Of the which he toke one by the hand / and supposed to haue drawe her in to the water / but she was stronge / and wel auysed and resysted ageynste the sayd monstre / And as she deffended her self / she beganne to crye with a hy [...] wys / help help / to the whiche came rennynge fyue wymmen / whiche by hurlynge and drawynge of stones kyld and slewe the sayd monstre / For he was come to ferre within the sonde / wherfore he myght not retorne in to the depe water / And after whanne he rendryd his spyryte / he made a ryght lytyl crye / sayenge that he was so disformed and soo moche cruel / For he was of grete corpulence more than ony mans body / And yet sayth [...]oge in this manere / that he bryng at Ferrare he sawe the sayd monstre / And saith yet / that the yonge children were customed for to go bathe and wesshe them within the sayd Ryuer / but they came not all ageyne / wherfor the wymen wesshed ne bouked nomore theyr clothes at the said porte / For the folke presumed and supposed that the monstre kyld the yonge children / whiche were drowned / ¶ Item also within a lytyl whyle after hit befelle aboute the marches of ytaly that a child of fourme humayne whiche hadde two hedes and two Vysages or faces beholdynge one vpon the other / & the armes of eche other embraced the body / the whiche body fro the nauyl vpward was Aoyned sauf the two hedes / and from the nauyll dounward the lymmes were al separed one fro other in suche wyse that the lymmes of generacion were shewed ma­nyfestly / Of the whiche child the tydynges came vnto the per­sone of the [...] of Rome

¶ The syxthe fable is of the parsone / of his dogge / And of the Bisshop /

SYluer dothe and causeth alle thynge to be done vnto the halowynge ageyne of a place whiche is prophane or Interdicte / As ye shalle mowe here by thys pre­sente Fable / ¶ Of a [...]reest dwellynge in the countrey whiche [Page]


somtyme had a dogge / whiche he boued moche / the whiche preest was moche ryche / The sayd dogge by processe of tyme deyde / & whan he was dede / he entered and buryed hit in the chirche yerd for cause of the grete loue whiche he loued hym / it hap­ [...]ed thenne on a day his bisshop knewe hit by thaduertysement of somme other / wherfore he sen [...]e for the sayd preest / and sup­posed to haue of hym a grete somme of gold / or els he shold make hym to be straytly punysshed / And thenne he wrote a lettre vnto the sayd preest / of whiche the tenour conteyned only that he shold come and speke with hym / And whan the prest had redde the lettres / he Vnderstood wel alle the caas / and pre supposed or bethought in his courage / that he wold haue of hym somme syluer / For he knewe wel ynough the condycions of his bisshop / & forthwith he toke his breuyarye / & an C crow­nes with hym / and wente for to speke to his prelate / & whan he came before hym / the prelate beganne to remembre and to she we to hym the enormyte of his mysdede / And to hym answerd the preest whiche was ryght wyse sayenge in this manere / O my ryght reuerende fader / yf ye knewe the souernyne prudence of whiche the sayd dogge was fylled / ye shold not be mer­ueylled yf he hath wel desernyd for to be buryed honestly and [Page C xl] worshipfully amonge the men / he was al sylled thith huma­yn wytte as wel in his lyf / as in thartycle of the dethe / And thenne the bisshop sayd / how may that be / wherce to me thenne al his lyf / Certaynly ryght reuerende fader ye ought wel to knowe / that whanne he was atte thartycle and at the poynt of dethe / he wold make his testament / and the dogge knowyng your grete nede and Indygence / he bequethed to yow an C crownes of gold / the whiche I brynge now vnto yow / And thenne the Bisshop for loue of the money he assoylled the prest And also graunted the sayd sepulture / And therfore syluer causeth alle thynge to be graunted or done

¶ The Vij fable is of the Foxe of the Cock and of the dogges


ALle the sallary or payment of them that mokken other is for to be mocaued at the last / as hit appiereth by this present Fable / of a Cock whiche somtyme sawe a foxe comynge toward hym sore hongry and fainysshed / whiche Cock supposed wel that he came not toward hym / but for to ete some henne / for whiche cause the Cock maade al his hennes to flee vpon a tree / And when the foxe beganne tapproche to the said tree / he began to crye toward the cock good tydynges good [Page] tydynges / And after he salewed the cost ryght reuerently / & demaunded of hym thus / O godsep / what dost thow there soo hyghe / And thy hennes with the / hast not thow herd the good tydynges worthy and prouffitable for vs / ¶ And thenne the Cok ful of malyce ansuerd to hym / Nay Veryly godsep / but I praye the / telle and reherce them vnto vs / Thenne sayd the foxe to the cost / Certaynly godsep / they [...] the best that euer ye herd / For ye may goo and come / talke & commnnpque emong alle leestes withoute ony harme or dommage / And they shalle doo to yow bothe pleasyr and alle seruyse to them possible / for thus it is concluded and accorded / and also confermed by the grete counceyll of all bestes / And yet they haue made com­maundement that none be so hardy to Vexe ne lette in no wyse ony other / be it neuer soo lytyll a beest / For the whiche good tydynges I praye the / that thow wylt come doune / to thende / that we may goo and synge / Te deum laudamus / for Ioye / And the Cok whiche knewe wel the fallaces or falshede of the foxe ansuerd to hym in this manere / Certaynly my broder and my good Frend thow hast brought to me ryght good tydynges / wherof more than C tymes I shalle thanke the / And sayenge these wordes the Cock lyfte vp his neck / and his feet / and loked ferre fro hym / And the foxe sayd to hym / what godsep / where aboute lokest thow / And the Cok ansuerd to hym / Certaynly my broder I see two dogges strongly and lyghtly rennynge hytherward with open mouthes / whiche as I suppose come for to brynge to vs the tydynges whiche thou hast told to vs / And thenne the Foxe whiche shoke for fere of the two dogges sayd to the Cock / god be with yow my frend / It is tyme that I departe fro hens / or these two dog­ges come [...]rer / And sayenge these wordes toke his waye / & ranne as fast as he myght / And thenne the cock demaunded and cryed after hym / godsep / why rennest thow thus / yf the sayd pac [...] is accorded / thow oughtest not to doubte no thynge Ha a godsep sayd the Foxe from ferre / I doubte / that these two dogges haue not herd the decre [...] of the pees / And thus whanne a begyler is begyled / he receyued the sallary or paye­ment / whiche he ought to haue / wherfore lete euery man kepe hym self ther fro

POgius reherceth that there were two wymmen in Ro­me / whiche he knewe of dyuerse age and forme / which came to a Curteyzan by cause to haue and wynne som what wyth theyr bodyes / whome he receyued and happed that be knewe the fayrest of bothe twyes / and that other ones / and soo departed / And afterward whanne they shold departe / he gaf to them a pyece of lynen clothe / not decernynge how moche eche of them shold haue to her parte and porcion / And in the partynge of the sayd clothe fylle bitwene the wymmen a stryf by cause one of them demaunded two partes after thexygence of her werke / And that other the half after theyre persones / eche of them shewynge dyuersly theyr resons / that one sayeng that she hadde suffred hym twyes to doo his pleasyr / and that other pretended / that she was redy and in her was no defawte And soo fro wordes they came to strokes and cratchyng with naylys / and drawynge theyr here / in so moche that theyr neygh bours came to this batayll for to departe them / And also their owne and propre husbondes / not knowynge the cause of theyr stryf and debate / eche of them defendynge his wyues cause / And fro the fyghtynge of the wymmen hit aroos and came to theyr husbondes with buffettis and castynge of stones / soo longe that men ranne bytwene them / And after the customme of Rome bothe the husbondes were brought to pryson berynge enemyte eche to other / & knowe no thynge the cause wherfore / The sayd cloth is sette in the handes of the wymen secretely yet not departed / but is secretely argued amonge the wymmen in what wyse that this mater shal be deuyded / And I demaunde of doctours what the lawe is of it

¶ He sayth also that a Marchaunt of Florence bonght an hors of a man / and made his couenaunt with the sellar for xxv du cattes for to paye forthwith in hande xv ducattes / And as for the rest he shold abyde dettour and owe / And the sellar was content / and therupon delyuerd the hors and receyued the xv ducattes / After this a certayne terme the sellar demaunded of the byar the resydue / And he denyed the payment / & had hym hold his couenaunt / For the byer sayd we were accorded that I shold be thy debtour / And yf I shold satysfye & paye the [Page] I shold nomore be thy dettour / et [...] / and soo he abode det­tour

HE telleth also that ther was a carryk of Iene hyred in to fraūce for to make warre ayenst englissħmen / of the whiche [...]arrik the patrone bare in his sheld painted an oxe hede / whiche a noble man of fraūce beheld & sawe / & sayd he wold auenge hym on hym that bare tho armes / wherupon aroos an altercacion so moche / that the frensshman prouoked the Ia [...]eye to bataylle and fyght therfore / The Ianuey ac­ceptyd the prouocacion / & came at the day assigned in to the felde withoute ony araye or habyllements of warre / And that other frensshe man came in moche noble apparayll in to the feld that was ordeyned / & thēne the patrone of the carrik said wher fore i [...] it that we two shold this day fyght & make bataill fore I saye said that other that thyn armes ben myn / & bylonged to me to fore that thow haddest them / Thenne the Ianuey said It is no nede to make ony bataylle therfore / For the armes that I bere is not the hede of an oxe but it is the hede of a cowe whiche thynge so spoken the noble Frensshe man was abasshed and so departed half mocqued

ALso he saith that ther was a phisycyen dwellyng in a Cyte / whiche was a grete & a connyng man in that sey en [...] / & he had a seruaūt a yong man whiche made pyl les after a certayne forme that he shewed to hym / & whan this yong man had dwellid long with hym / & coude parfȝtly make the pyllys / he departed fro his mayster / and went in to straū ge countre where as he was knowen / and lete men there to Vn derstonde that he was a connynge phisycyen / and coude gyue medycynes for al maner maladyes ond sekenesses / and my­nystred alwey his pylles to euery man that came to hym for ony remedy / And hit was soo that a poure man of that place where he was came to hym / and complayned how he had loste his asse / and prayd hym to gyue to hym a medycyne for to fynde his asse ageyne / And he gaf to hym the sayd pyllys / & [...]dde hym to receyue and take them / And he shold fynde ħis asse / And this poure man dyd soo / and after wente in to the feldes and pastures to seke and loke after his asse / and soo doynge the pyllys wronght soo in his bely / that he must nedes [Page C xlij] go purge hym / and went amonge the reed and there easyd hym / And anone there he fonde his asse / wherof he beyng moche Ioyeful ranne in to the toune / and told and proclamed / that by the medecyn that he had receyued of the phisycyen he had found his asse / whiche thynge knowen alle the symple peple reputed hym for a moche connynge man / whiche coude no thynge doo but make pyllys / And thus many fooles are ofte taken for wyse and connynge / Fo [...] he was reputed to hele all maner sekenesses / and also to fynde asses

THere was in a certayne towne a wydower wowed a wydowe for to haue and wedde her to his wyf / and at the last they were agreed and sured to gyder / ¶ And whan a yonge woman beynge seruaunt with the wy­dowe herd therof / she came to her maystresse / and sayd to her / Allas maystresse what haue ye doo / why sayd she / I haue herd say sayd the mayde / that ye be assured and shalle wedde suche a man / And what thenne sayd the wydowe / Allas sayd the mayde I am sory foryow / by cause I haue herd saye that he is a peryllous man / For he laye so ofte and knewe so moch his other wyf that she deyde therof / And I am sory therof / that yf ye shold falle in lyke caas / to whome the wydowe an­swerd and sayd / Forsothe I wold be dede / For ther is but so­rowe and care in this world / This was a curteys excuse of a wydowe

NOw thenne I wylle fynysshe alle these fables wyth this tale that foloweth whiche a worsħipful preest and a parsone told me late / he sayd / that there were duel­lynge in Oxenford two prestes bothe maystres of arte / of who me that one was quyck and coude putte hym self forth / And that other was a good symple preest / And soo it happed that the mayster that was perte and quyck was anone promoted to a benefyce or tweyne / and after to prebendys / and for to be a Dene of a grete prynces chappel / supposynge and wenynge that his felaw the symple preest shold neuer haue be promoted but be alwey an Annuel / or at the most a parysshe preest / So after longe tyme that this worshipful man this dene came ry­dynge in to a good paryssh with a x or xij horses / lyke a pre­late / and came in to the chirche of the sayd parysshe / and fond

there this good symple man somtyme his felawe / whiche ca [...] and welcomed hym lowely / And that other badde hym good morowe mayster Iohan / and toke hym sleyghtly by the hand and axyd hym where he dwellyd / And the good man sayd / in this paryssh / how sayd he / are ye here a sowle preest or a pa­ryssh preste / nay syr said he / for lack of a better though I be not able ne worthy I am parson and curate of this parysshe / and thenne that other aualed his bonet and said mayster parson I praye yow to be not displeasyd / I had supposed ye had not [...]e bene fyeed / But mayster sayd he / I pray yow what is this benefyce worth to yow a yere / Forsothe sayd the good symple man / I wote neuer / for I make neuer accomptes therof / how wel I haue had hit four or fyue yere / And knowe ye not sa id he what it is worth / it shold seme a good benefyce / No for­sothe sayd he / but I wote wel what it shalle be worth to me / why sayd he / what shalle hit be worth / Forsothe sayd he / yf I doo my trewe dylygēce in the cure of my parysshēs in prechyng and techynge / and doo my parte longynge to my cure / I shalle haue heuen therfore / And yf theyre sowles ben lost or ony of them by my defawte / I shall be punysshed therfore / And herof am I sure / And with that word the ryche dene was abussded And thought he shold be the better / and take more hede to his [...]res and benefyces than he had done / This was a good an­swere of a good preest and an honest /

And here with I fy­nysshe this book / translated & emprynted by me William Cax­ton at wesemynstre in thabbey / And fynysshed the xxvj daye of Marche the yere of oure lord M CCCC lxxxiiij / And the fyrst yere of the regne of kyng Rychard the thyrdde

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