Fables of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists/Fable CCCXCVIII
Boys and Frogs.
A Company of Waggish Boys were Watching of Frogs at the side of a Pond, and (till as any of ‘em put up their Heads, they'd be Pelting them down again with Stones. Children, (says one of the Frogs,) you never Consider, that though this may be Play to you, 'tis Death to us.
'Tis a Dangerous and an Ill Natur'd Liberty, the Wonting or the Suffering of Children to play with Birds and Flies. The Cudgelling of Shroving-Cocks is a Barbarous Custom; and so is the common License that Roguy Boys take in the Streets, of Tearing and Tormenting of Puppies and Kitlings. The very Sport is Cruelty; for 'tis no longer a Laughing Matter, when the Life of a Creature comes to be concern'd. This is a Freedom not to be endur'd, so much as in the Spectacle, but much less to be Approv'd or Prattic’d, especially by those that are Born and Train'd up to any considerable Figure in a Government: For Hard-heartedness in Boys, will be Brutality and Tyranny in Men. Softness and Tenderness of Nature, are the Seeds of a Generous Humanity: Provided always that Children be taught to distinguifh betwixt a Benignity and a Facility of Disposition, and that they may not confound Gracious with Effeminate. By this means there may be a Foundation laid of worthy Thoughts, which will ripen in due time into Glorious Actions and Habits, to qualify Men for the Honour and Service of their Country. This Foundation, I say, of a Pious and a Virtuous Compassion, will Dispose Men afterward, instead of adding Affliction to Aflliction, and of Grinding the Faces of the Weak and Innocent, to Minister Protection to those that are Oppressed.