Fables of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists/Fable CXCII

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An Ass and the Frogs.

AN Ass Sunk down into a Bog among a Shoale of Frogs, with a Burden of Wood upon his Back, and there he lay, Sighing and Groaning, as his Heart would Break: Hark ye Friend (says one of the Frogs to him) if you make such a Bus'ness of Lying in a Quagmire, when you are but just fall’n into’t, what would you do I Wonder, if You had been here as long as we have been?


Custom makes things Familiar and Easy to us; but every thing is Best yet in it's own Element.


NATURE has Assign’d Every Creature it’s Proper Place and Station; and an Ass in a Bog is out of his Element, and out of his Province. The Fable it self has not Much in’t; but it may serve to Teach us in the Moral, that it is a High Point of Honour, and Christianity, to bear Misfortunes, with Resolution, and Constancy of Mind: And that Steadiness, is a Point of Prudence, as well as of Courage; for People are the Lighter, and the Easier for't. But it was an Ass, we see, that Complain'd, and (if a Body may play the Fool with him) he was but an Ass for Complaining: first, of what he could not Help; and 2ly, to be never the Better for't. 'Tis with a Man in Goal, much at the Rate as it was with this ass in the Bog. He's Sullen and out of Humour at his first coming In; the Pris’ners Gather about him,and there He tells 'em his Case Over and Over I warrant ye. Some make Sport with him; Others Pity him, and this is the Trade they drive for the First Four or Five Days perhaps; but so soon as the Qualm is over, the Man comes to himself again; makes merry with his Companions, and since he cannot be in his Own House, he reckons Himself as good as at Home in the very Prison. ‘Tis the same Thing with a Bird in a Cage; when she has Flutter’d her self a Weary, she sits down and Sings. This ’tis to be Wonted to a Things. And were it not a Scandal now, if Philosophy should not do as much with us as Custom, without leaving it to Necessity to do the Office of Vertue. It might be added to this Moral, that what's Natural to One may be Grievous to Another. The Frogs would have been as much at a Loss in the Stable, as the Ass was in the Bog.