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Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 14 years, 9 months ago

 

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20. THE FROGS CHUSE A KING (Perry 44)

In the days of old, when the Frogs were all at liberty in the Lakes, and grown quite weary of living without Government, they petition’d Jupiter for a King, to the end that there might be some Distinction of good and Evil, by certain equitable Rules and Methods of Reward and Punishment. Jupiter, that knew the Vanity of their Hearts, threw them down a Log for their Governor; which upon the first Dash, frighted the whole Mobile of them into the Mud for the very fear on’t. This Panick Terror kept them in Awe for a while, till in good time one Frog, bolder than the rest, put up his Head, and look’d about him, to see how Squares went with their New King. Upon this, he calls his Fellow-Subjects together, opens the Truth of the Case, and nothing would serve them then, but riding a-top of him; insomuch that the Dread they were in before, is now turn’d into Insolence and Tumult. This King, they said, was too tame for them, and Jupiter must needs be entreated to send ‘em another: He did so; but Authors are divided upon it, whether ‘twas a Stork or a Serpent; though whether of the two soever it was, he left them neither Liberty nor Property, but made a Prey of his Subjects. Such was their Condition, in fine, that they sent Mercury to Jupiter yet once again for another King, whose Answer was this: They that will not be contented when they are well, must be patient when things are amiss with them; and People had better rest where they are, than go farther and fare worse.

THE MORAL The Mobile are uneasy without a Ruler: They are as restless with one; and oftner they shift, the worse they are: so that Government or no Government, a King of God’s making or of the Peoples, or none at all, the Multitude are never to be satisfied.

  

21. A DOG AND A THIEF (Perry 403)

As a Gang of Thieves were at work to rob a House, a Mastiff took the Alarum, and fell a barking: One of the Company spoke him fair, and would have stopt his Mouth with a Crust. No, says the Dog, this will not do, for several Reasons. First, I’ll take no Bribes to betray my Master. Secondly, I am not such a Fool neither, as to sell the Ease and Liberty of my whole Life to come, for a piece of Bread in Hand: for when you have rifled my Master, pray who shall maintain me?

THE MORAL Fair Words, Presents, and Flatteries, are the Methods of Treachery in Courts, as well as in Cottages; only the Dogs are truer to their Masters than the Men.

  

22. A WOLF AND A SOW (Perry 547)

A Wolf came to a Sow, that was just lying down, and very kindly offer’d to take care of her Litter. The Sow as civilly thank’d her for her Love, and desir’d she wou’d be pleas’d to stand off a little, and do her the good Office at a distance.

THE MORAL There are no Snares so dangerous as those that are laid for us under the Name of good Offices.

  

23. A MOUNTAIN IN LABOUR (Perry 520)

When Mountains cry out, People may well be excus’d the Apprehension of some prodigious Birth. This was the Case here in the Fable. The Neighbourhood were all at their Wits end, to consider what would be the Issue of that Labour, and instead of the dreadful Monster that they expected, out comes at last a ridiculous Mouse.

THE MORAL Much Ado about Nothing

  

24. THE HARES AND THE FROGS (Perry 138)

Once upon a time the Hares found themselves mightily unsatisfy’d with the miserable Condition they liv’d in, and called a Council to advise upon’t. Here we live, says one of ‘em, at the Mercy of Men, Dogs, Eagles, and I know not how many other Creatures and Vermin, that prey upon us at Pleasure; perpetually in frights, perpetually in danger; and therefore I am absolutely of opinion that we had better die once for all, than live at this rate in continual Dread that’s worse that Death it self. The Motion was seconded and debated, and a Resolution immediately taken, One and All, to drown themselves. The Vote was no sooner pass’d but away they scudded with that Determination to the next Lake. Upon this Hurry there leapt a whole Shoal of Frogs from the Bank into the Water, for fear of the Hares. Nay then, my Masters, says one of the gravest of the Company, pray let’s have a little Patience. Our Condition, I find is not altogether so bad as we fansied it; for there are those you see that are as much afraid of us, as we are of others. 

 

25. AN ASS, AN APE, AND A MOLE (not in Perry)

An Ass and an Ape were conferring Grievances. The Ass complain’d mightily for want of a Horns, and the Ape was as much troubled for want of a Tail. Hold your Tongues both of ye, says the Mole, and be thankful for what you have, for the poor Moles are stark blind, and in a worse Condition than either of ye.

THE MORAL OF THE TWO FABLES ABOVE There’s no Contending with the Orders and Decrees of Providence. He that made us knows what’s fittest for us; and every Man’s own Lot (well understood and managed) is undoubtedly the best. 

 

26. AN ASS AND AN UNGRATEFUL MASTER (not in Perry)

A Poor Ass, that what with Age, Labour, and hard Burdens, was now worn out to the Stumps in the Service of an unmerciful Master, had the ill Hap one day to make a false Step, and fall down under his Load; his Driver runs up to him immediately, and beats him almost to death for’t. This (says the Ass to himself) is according to the Course of the ungrateful World. One casual Slip is enough to weigh down the faithful and affectionate Service of a long Life. 

 

27. AN OLD DOG AND A MASTER (Perry 532)

An old Dog, that in his Youth had led his Master many a merry Chase, and done him all the Offices of a trusty Servant, came at last, upon falling from his Speed and Vigor to be loaden at every turn with Blows and Reproaches for it. Why Sir, says the Dog, my Will is as good as ever it was, but my Strength and my Teeth are gone; and you might with as good a Grace, and every Jot as much Justice, hang me up because I’m old, as beat me because I’m impotent.

THE MORAL OF THE TWO FABLES ABOVE. The Reward of Affection and Fidelity must be the Work of another World: Not but that the Conscience of well-doing is a Comfort that may pass for a Recompence even in this; in despite of Ingratitude and Injustice.

  

28. A COUNTRYMAN AND A SNAKE (Perry 51)

There was a Snake that bedded himself under the Threshold of a Country-House: A Child of the Family happen’d to set his Foot upon’t; The Snake bit him, and he dy’d on’t. The Father of the Child made a Blow at the Snake, but miss’d his aim, and only left a Mark behind him upon the Stone where he struck. The Countryman offer’d the Snake, sometime after this, to be Friends again. No says the Snake, so long as you have this Flaw upon the Stone in your Eye, and the Death of the Child in your Thought, there’s no trusting of ye.

THE MORAL In Matters of Friendship and Trust, we can never be too tender; but yet there’s a great Difference betwixt Charity and Facility. We may hope well in many Cases, but let it be without venturing Neck and All upon’t, for New-Converts are slippery. 

 

29. A DOG, A SHEEP, AND A WOLF (Perry 478)

A Dog brought an Action of the Case against a Sheep, for some certain Measures of Wheat, that he had lent him. The Plaintiff prov'd the Debt by three positive Witnesses, the Wolf, the Kite, and the Vulture. (Testes probi & legales.) The Defendant was cast in Costs and Damages, and forc'd to sell the Wool off his Back to satisfy the Creditor.

THE MORAL. 'Tis not a Straw matter whether the main Cause be right or wrong, or the Charge true or false; where the Bench, Jury and Witnesses are in a Conspiracy against the Prisoner.

 

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