Fables of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists/Fable CLXXXII

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A Daw with a String at's foot.

A Country Fellow took a Daw and ty'd a String to his Leg; and so gave him to a Little Boy to Play withal. The Daw did not much like his Companion, and upon the First Opportunity gave him the Slip, and away into the Woods again, where he was Shackled and Starv'd. When he came to Die, he Reflected upon the Folly of Exposing his Life in the Woods, rather then Live in an Easie Servitude among Men.


'Tis Fancy, not the Reason of Things, that makes Life fo Uneasie to us as we Find it. 'Tis not the Place, nor the Condition; but the Mind Alone that can make any Body Miserable or Happy.


MEN that are Impatient under Imaginary Afflictions, change commonly for Worse, as the Daw did here in the Fable, that Threw himself into a Starving Necessity, rather then he would Submit to the Tolerable Inconvenience of an Easie Restraint. This was a Republican Daw, that Kaw'd for Liberty, not Understanding that he that Lives under the Bondage of Laws, is in a State of Freedom: And that Popular Liberty, when it passes Those Bounds, is the most Scandalous Sort of Slavery. Nothing would serye him, but he must be at his Own Disposal, and so away he goes, Carries his String along with him, and Shackles Himself This is just the Humour and the Fate of Froward Subjects. They Fancy themselves Uneasie under the Errors of a Male-administration of Government, when their Quarrel strikes, in truth, at the very Root and Conditions of Government it self. It is as Impossible for a Government to be without Faults, as for a Man to be so, But Faults or No Faults, It comes yet much to a Case; for where they cannot Find 'em, they can Create them; And there goes no more to’t neither, then the Calling of Necessary Justice by the Name of Oppression. And what's the End on't, more then This now? They Run away from their Masters into the Woods, and there with Æsop's Daw, they either Starve, or Hang Themselves.