The Apes and the Two Travelers

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The Apes and the Two Travelers
by Aesop

Caxton's translation (1484)[edit]

Of the trewe man / of the man lyer / and of the apes

In tyme passyd men preysyd more the folke full of lesynges and falshede than the man full of trouthe / the whiche thynge regneth gretely vnto this daye / As we may see by this present fable / Of the man of trouthe and of the man lyar / whiche wente bothe to gyder thorugh the countrey / And so longe they wente to gyder by theyr Iourneyes / that they came in to the prouynce of the apes / And the kynge of thapes made them bothe to be taken and brought before hym And he beynge in his Royal mageste / where as he satte lyke an Emperour / and alle his Apes aboute hym / as the subgets ben aboute theyr lord / wold haue demaunded / and in dede he demaunded to the lyer / who am I / And the lesynge maker & flaterer sayd to hym / thow arte emperour and kynge / the fayrest creature that is in the erthe / And after the kynge demaunded of hym ageyne / who ben these whiche ben al aboute me / And the lyar ansuerd / Syre they ben your knyghtes & your subgettes for to kepe your persone / and your Royalme / And thenne the kynge sayd thow arte a good man / I wylle that thow be my grete styward of my houshold / and that euery one bere to the honour and reuerence / And whan the man of trouthe herd alle this he sayd in hym self / yf this man for to haue made lesynges is soo gretely enhaunced / thenne by gretter rayson / I shalle be more worshopped and enhaunced / yf I saye trouthe / And after the kynge wold aske the trewe man / and demaunded of hym / who am I / and alle that ben aboute me / And thenne the man of trouthe ansuerd thus to hym / thow arte an ape and a beste ryght abhomynable / And alle they whiche ben aboute the are lyke and semblable to the / The kynge thenne commaunded that he shold be broken and toren with teeth and clawes and put alle in to pyeces /

And therfore it happeth ofte that the lyers and flaterers ben enhaunced / and the men of trouthe ben set alowe and put a back / For oftyme for to saye trouthe men lese theyre lyues / the whiche thynge is ageynst Iustyce and equyte

Townsend's translation (1887)[edit]

The Apes and the Two Travelers

Two men, one who always spoke the truth and the other who told nothing but lies, were traveling together and by chance came to the land of Apes. One of the Apes, who had raised himself to be king, commanded them to be seized and brought before him, that he might know what was said of him among men. He ordered at the same time that all the Apes be arranged in a long row on his right hand and on his left, and that a throne be placed for him, as was the custom among men. After these preparations he signified that the two men should be brought before him, and greeted them with this salutation: "What sort of a king do I seem to you to be, O strangers?" The Lying Traveler replied, "You seem to me a most mighty king." "And what is your estimate of those you see around me?" "These," he made answer, "are worthy companions of yourself, fit at least to be ambassadors and leaders of armies." The Ape and all his court, gratified with the lie, commanded that a handsome present be given to the flatterer. On this the truthful Traveler thought to himself, "If so great a reward be given for a lie, with what gift may not I be rewarded, if, according to my custom, I tell the truth?" The Ape quickly turned to him. "And pray how do I and these my friends around me seem to you?" "Thou art," he said, "a most excellent Ape, and all these thy companions after thy example are excellent Apes too." The King of the Apes, enraged at hearing these truths, gave him over to the teeth and claws of his companions.