Page:The fables of Aesop, as first printed by William Caxton in 1484, with those of Avian, Alfonso and Poggio. Vol 1.djvu/32

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THE MEDIÆVAL ÆSOP.

wards to the origin of the Mediaeval Æsop. The "Romulus" is near, the "Rufus" is nearer, and the Ademar is nearest the source. This turns out be Phædrus and Phædrus alone, though in a more extended form than we know him at school.

It is well-known that the book we read at school "'twixt smiling and tears," contains some of the fables associated with the name of Æsop. The first five fables of the first book, for example, deal with such familiar topics as The Wolf and Lamb, The Frogs desiring a King, The Jay in Peacock's Feathers, The Dog and Shadow, and The Lion's Share. On the other hand Fables equally familiar like The Lion and Mouse, The Town and Country Mouse, The Ass and Lap-dog, The Wolf and Kid, and The Belly and Members fail to find a place in the ordinary editions of Phædrus. Is this because they are taken from another source, or did Phædrus write more fables than are contained in the vulgate edition? The latter is the alternative towards which we are led by a careful examination of the prose versions, especially of the Æsop of Ademar.

Ademar's collection is, as we have said, com-