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140. JUPITER AND A SERPENT (Perry 221)

Jupiter had Presents made him upon his Wedding-Day, greater or less, from all living Creatures. A Serpent brought him a Rose in his Mouth for an Offering. The thing was acceptable enough, but not the Presenter; for (says Jupiter) though Gifts are welcome to me, of themselves, I must not yet receive any from a Serpent.

THE MORAL. He that receives a Present, contracts an Obligation; which a Body would be asham'd of in the Case of an ill Man; for it looks towards making a Friendship with them.


141. A MAN AND TWO WIVES (Perry 31)

It was now Cuckow Time, and a certain middle-ag’d Man, that was half grey, half brown, took a fancy to marry two Wives, of an Age one under another, and happy was the Woman who could please him best. They took mighty Care of him to all manner of Purposes, and still as they were combing the good Man’s Head, they’d be picking out here and there a Hair to make it all of a Colour. The matronly Wife, she pluck’d out all the brown Hairs, and the younger the white: So that they left the Man in the Conclusion no better than a bald Buzzard betwixt them.

THE MORAL. ‘Tis a much harder Thing to please two Wives, than two Masters; and he’s a bold Man that offers at it.



Upon the drying of a Lake, two Frogs were forc’d to quit, and to seek for Water elsewhere. As they were upon the Search, they discover’d a very deep Well. Come, (says one to t’other) let us e’en go down here, without looking any further. You say well, says her Companion; but what if the Water should fail us here too? How shall we get out again?

THE MORAL. ‘Tis good Advice to look before we leap.


143. A LARK IN A NET (Perry 251)

A poor Lark enter'd into a miserable Expostulation with a Bird-Catcher, that had Taken her in his Net, and was just about to put her to Death. Alas, (says she) What am I to Die for now? I am no Theif; I have Stol'n neither Gold, not Silver; but for making Bold with One Pitiful Grain of Corn am I now to Suffer.

THE MORAL. 'Tis to no Purpose to stand Reasoning, where the Adversary is both Party and Judge. 



A certain Covetous, Rich Churl Sold his whole Estate, and put it into Money, and then melted down That Money into One Mass, which he bury’d in the Ground, with his very Heart and Soul in Pot for Company. He gave it a Visit every Morning, which it seems was taken Notice of, and some Body that Observ’d him, found out his Hoard one Night, and Carry’d it away. The next Day he miss’d it, and ran almost out of his Wits for the loss of his Gold. Well, (says a Neighbour to him) and what’s all this Rage for? Why you had no Gold at all, and so you lost none. You did but Fancy all this while that you had it, and you may e’en as well Fancy again that you have it still. ‘Tis but laying a Stone where you laid your Money, and Fancying that Stone to be your Treasure, and there’s your Gold again. You did not Use it when you had it; and you do not Want it so long as you Resolve not to Use it.

THE MORAL. Better no Estate at all, than the Cares and Vexations that attend the Possession of it, without the Use on’t.



A Dog and a Cock took a Journey together. The Dog kennell’d in the Body of a hollow Tree, and the Cock roosted at Night upon the Boughs. The Cock crow’d about Midnight (at his usual Hour) which brought a Fox that was abroad upon the Hunt, immediately to the Tree; and there he stood licking of his Lips at the Cock, and wheedling him to get him down. He protested he never heard so angelical a Voice since he was born; and what would he not do now, to hug the Creature that had given him so admirable a Serenade! Pray! Says the Cock, speak to the Porter below to open the Door, and I’ll come down to ye: The Fox did as he was directed, and the Dog presently seiz’d and worry’d him.

THE MORAL. The main Business of the World is nothing but sharping, and putting Tricks upon one another by Turns.



A Bat, a Bramble, and a Cormorant, enter'd into Covenants with Articles, to join Stocks, and Trade in Partnership together. The Bat's Adventure was ready Money that he took up at Interest; the Bramble's was in Clothes; and the Cormorant's in Brass. They put to Sea, and so it fell out, that Ship and Goods were both lost by stress of Weather: But the three Merchants by Providence got safe to Land. Since the time of this Miscarriage, the Bat never stirs abroad till Night, for fear of his Creditors. The Bramble lays hold of all the Cloaths he can come at in hope to light upon his own again: And the Cormorant is still sauntering by the Sea side, to see if he can find any of his Brass cast up.

THE MORAL. The Impression of any notable Misfortune will commonly stick by a Man as long as he lives.


147. A STAG WITH ONE EYE (Perry 75)

A one ey’d Stag was afraid of the Huntsmen at Land, kept a Watch that Way with T’other Eye, and fed with his blind-side toward an Arm of the Sea, where he thought there was no Danger. In this Prospect of Security, he was Struck with an Arrow from a Boat, and so ended his Days with this Lamentation: Here am I destroy’d, says he, where I reckon’d my Self to be Safe on the One Hand; and no Evil has befall’n me, where I most Dreaded it, on the Other.

THE MORAL. We are liable to Many Unlucky Accidents that no care or Foresight can Prevent: But we are to provide the Best we can against them, and leave the Rest to Providence.


148. A GOAT AND A VINE (Perry 77)

A Goat that was hard Press’d by the Huntsmen, took Sanctuary in a Vineyard, and there he lay Close, under the covert of a Vine. So soon as he thought the Danger was Over, he fell presently to Browzing upon the Leaves; and whether it was the Rusling, or the Motion of the Boughs, that gave the Huntsmen an Occasion for stricter Search, is Uncertain: But a Search there was, and in the End he was Discover’d and Shot. He dy’d, in fine, with this Conviction upon him, that his Punishment was Just, for Offering Violence to his Protector.

THE MORAL. Ingratitude Perverts all the Measures of Religion and Society, by making it Dangerous to be Charitable and Good Natur’d.


149. A STAG AND A LYON (Perry 76)

A Stag that was close Pursu’d by the Huntsmen, fled for Safety into a Lyon’s Den; and as he was just Expiring under the Paw of the Lyon: Miserable Creature that I am, says he, to fly for Protection from Men, to the most Unmerciful of Beasts.

THE MORAL. There are Harder and Gentler Ways, even of Ruin it self; as ‘tis Common we see for Men under a Capital Sentence to Petition even for the Charge of the Death.


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