Aesop's Fables: Yet More Dogs

One of the charms of L'Estrange's great collection of fables is that he includes stories that are fable-like but which were not originally part of the Aesopic tradition (the French poet La Fontaine will do the same, drawing heavily on sources from India and the Middle East). On this page, for example, you will find a famous Welsh folktale, the story of the dog Gellert. You can find other versions of this same story in the Welsh reading units for this class: The Martyred Hound and The Story of Gelert.  

[Notes by LKG]

These fables are part of the Aesop's Fables (English) unit. Story source: Story source: Fables of Aesop and Other Eminent Mythologists by Roger L'Estrange (1692).

Aesop's Fables: Yet More Dogs

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.

A Trusty Dog and his Master

The Master of a Family that had, as he thought, a very good Condition'd Dog; coming home from his Bus'ness once, found a Cradle Overturn'd; the Dog's Mouth all Bloody, and his only Child missing. He draws his Sword immediately and Kills the Dog, upon a Presumption that he had Worryed the Child, without any regard to his Try'd Fidelity, and without Allowing himself One Moment of Time for a Second Thought.

Upon a further Enquiry, he found the Truth of the Matter to be this: The Child being left alone in the Cradle, there was a Serpent Winding it self up the Side on't, to Destroy the Child. The Dog leaps upon the Serpent, and Tears it to Pieces; but in the Scuffle, the Cradle happen'd to be Overturn'd: Upon the taking up of the Cradle, the Master found the Child Alive under it, and the Serpent Dead, which, upon Reflexion, Convinc'd him of the Miserable Temerity of his Mistake.

The Repentance of a whole Life, is not sufficient to Atone for the Miscarriage of One Rash Action.

(400 words)

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