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330. (Abstemius 78) A Sheep-Biter Hang'd.

A Certain Shepherd had One Favourite Dog, that he had a Particular Confidence in above all the rest. He fed him with his Own hand, and took more Care of him, in short, then of any of his Fellows. This Kindness went on a Long Time, till in Conclusion, upon the Missing of some Sheep, he fancy'd This Cur to be False to him: After This Jealousy, he kept a Strict Eye upon him, and in fine, found it out, that this Trusty Servant of his was the Felon. Upon the Discovery, he had him presently taken up, bad him prepare for Execution. Alas! Master, says the Dog, I am One of your Family, and 'twould be hard to put a Domestique to Extremities: Turn your Displeasure upon the Wolves rather, that make a Daily Practice on't to Worry your Sheep. No, no, says the Shepherd, I'd sooner Spare Forty Wolves that make it their Profession to Kill Sheep, then One Sheep-biting Cur that's Trusted with the Care of them. There's somewhat of Frankness and Generosity in the One; but the Other is the Basest of Treacheries.

No Perfidy like Breach of Faith and Trust, under the Seal of Friendship: For an Adversary under that Masque, is much more Unpardonable then a Bare-fac'd Enemy.


331. (Abstemius 79) A Bull and a Ram.

There was one Master-Ram that beat all his Fellows out of the Field, and was so puff'd up with the Glory of his Exploits, that nothing would serve him but he must challenge a Bull to the Combat. They met, and upon the First Encounter, there lay the Ram for Dead; but coming to himself again; Well (says he) This is the Fruit of my Insolence and Folly, in provoking an Enemy, that Nature has made my Superior.

Where People will be Provoking and Challenging their Superiors, either in Strength, or Power, 'tis not so much a Bravery of Spirits, as a Rude and Brutal Rashness; and they pay dear for't at last.


332. (Abstemius 80) A Widow and a Green Ass.

There was a Widow that had a Twittering toward a Second Husband, and she took a gossiping Companion of hers to her Assistance, how to manage the

Jobb. The Truth of it is, says she, I have a dear Mind to another Bedfellow: But the Devilish People would keep such a Snearing, and Pointing at me, they'd make me e'en weary of my Life. You are a Fine Widow i' faith, says T'other, to trouble your Head for the Talk of the People, Pray will ye mind what I say to ye now. You have an Ass here in your Grounds; go your Ways and get that Ass painted Green, and then let him be carry'd up and down the Country for a Show. Do this, I say, without any more Words; for talk does but Burn Day-Light. The Thing was done accordingly; and for the First Four or Five days, the Green Ass had the whole Country at his Heels; Man, Woman and Child, staring and hooting after him. In Four or Five Days more, the Humour was quite spent, and the Ass might travel from Morning to Night, and not one Creature to take Notice of him. Now, (says the friendly Adviser) a New-marry'd Widow is a kind of a Green Ass: Every Body's Mouth will be full on't for the First Four or Five Days, and in Four or Five more, the Story will e'en talk it self asleep.

Common Fame is as False and Impudent as a Common Strumpet. Let every Man live to his Confidence, and never trouble his Head with the Talk of the People.


333. (Abstemius 81) An Eagle and Rabbets.

There was an Eagle that drew a Nest of Rabbets, and carry'd them away to her Young. The Mother-Coney follow-d her with Tears in her Eyes, adjuring her in the Name of all those Powers, that take care of the Innocent and Oppressed, to have Compassion upon her miserable Children: But she, in an Outrage of Pride and Indignation, tears them presently to Pieces. The Coney, upon this, convenes a whole Warren; tells her Story, and advises upon a Revenge: For Divine Justice (says she) will never suffer so barbarous a Cruelty to escape unpunish'd. They debated the Matter, and came to an Unanimous Resolve upon the Question, that there was no Way of paying the Eagle in her kind, but by Undermining the Tree where she Timber'd. So they all fell to work at the Roots of the Tree, and left it so little Foot-hold, that the first Blast of Wind laid if Flat upon the Ground, Nest, Eagles and all. Some of 'em were kill'd by the Fall; Others were eaten up by Birds and Beasts of Prey, and the Coney had the Comfort at last, of destroying the Eagle's Children in Revenge for her Own.

'Tis highly Imprudent, even in the Greatest of Men, unnecessarily to provoke the Meanest, when the Pride of Pharaoh himself was brought down by miserable Frogs and Lice.


334. (Abstemius 82) A Pike sets up for Sovereignty.

There was a Master-Pike, that for his Bulk, Beauty and Strength, was look'd upon to be the Prince of the River; but the Sovereignty of the Fresh Water would not content him, it seems unless he might engross to himself the Empire of the Sea too. Upon this Ambitious Design, he launch'd out into the Ocean, and put up his Claim to't. But a prodigious Dolphin took this Encroachment upon his Right in such dudgeon, that he set upon the Pike, gave him Chace, and pursu'd him to the very Borders of his own Stream; insomuch, that the Pike had enough to do to save himself: And from that time forward he had the Wit to keep within the Compas of his Own Dominions.

Ambition has no other Bounds than what Providence has prescrib'd to it, for the Good of Mankind. Here shall thy proud Ways stay. And there must be no passing those Limits.


335. (Abstemius 83) A Sheep picks a Quarrel with a Shepherd.

A Sheep that was to be shorn, took it very ill of the Shepherd that he should not satisfy himself with the Milk she gave him, without stripping her of her Wool too. The Shepherd, upon this, without any more Words, took one of the Lambs in a Rage, and put it to death. Well, says the Sheep, and now y'ave done your Worst, I hope: No, says the Shepherd, when that's done, I can cut your Throat too, If I have a mind to't, and throw ye to the Dogs, or to the Wolves at pleasure. The Sheep said not one Word more, for fear of a worse Mischief to come.

When People will not submit to Reason by fair Means, they must be brought to't by foul.


336. (Abstemius 84) A Creaking Wheel.

A Waggoner took notice upon the Creaking of a Wheel, that it was the worst Wheel of the Four that made most Noise, and was wondring at the Reason of it. Oh, says the Waggon, they that are Sickly are ever the most Piping and Troublesome.

'Tis with Creaking Wheels as 'tis with Courtiers, Physicians, Lawyers, (and with whom not?), They want Greazing.


337. (Abstemius 85) A Man had a mind to try his Friends.

There was a generous Rich Man, that kept a Splendid and an Open Table, and consequently never wanted Guests. This Person found all People came to him promiscuously, and a Curiosity took him in the Head to try which of them were Friends, and which only Trencher-Flies and Spungers. So he took an occasion one Day, at a Full Table, to tell them of a Quarrel he had, and that he was just then going to demand Satisfaction. There must be so many to so many, and he made no doubt, but they'd stand by him with their Swords in their Hands. they all excus'd themselves save only Two; which Two he reckon'd upon as his Friends, and all the rest no better than Hangers-on.

We may talk of many Friends; but not One Man of a Thousand will stand the Test.


338. (Abstemius 86) A Fox Praising Hare's Flesh.

As a Dog was pressing hard upon the very Breech of a Fox, up starts a Hare. Pray hold a little, says the Fox, and take that Hare there while she is to be had: You never tasted such a Morsel since you were born: But I am all over tainted and rotten, and a Mouthful of my Flesh would be enough to poison ye. The Dog immediately left the Fox, and took a Course at the Hare; but she was too nimble for him, it seems; and when he saw he could not catch her, he very discreetly let her go. The Hare had heard what pass'd, and meeting the Fox two or three Days after, she told him how basely he had serv'd her. Nay, says the Fox, if you take it so heavily that I spoke well of you, what would you have done if I had spoken ill?

A Design'd Back-Friend is the Worst of Enemies.


339. (Abstemius 88) A Plain Horse wins the Prize.

There were a great many brave Sightly Horses with Rich Trappings that were brought out one Day to the Course, and only One Plain Nag in the Company that made sport for all the rest. But when they came at last to Trial, This was the Horse that ran the whole Field out of Distance, and Won the Race.

Our Senses are no competent Judges of the Excellencies of the Mind.


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