Fables of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists/Fable CXXXVII
Wasps, Partridges, and a Husbandman.
A Flight of Wasps, and a Covy of Partridges that were hard put to’t for Water, went to a Farmer, and begg'd a Soup of him to Quench their Thirst. The Partridges offer'd to Dig his Vineyard for't, and the Wasps to secure him from Thieves. Pray hold your Hand, says the Good Man; I have Oxen and Dogs that do me These Offices already, without standing upon Terms. And therefore it will become me to Provide for Them in the First Place.
Charity is a Humane, as well as a Christian Virtue, and there is a Place for it, even upon Brutes, under the Duty of Tenderness and Good Nature, as well as upon Men; but still with a Distinction by way of Preference, that it is to be Employ’d in the First Place upon Those that have the Fairest Right to't: ‘Tis One thing I must Confess, to Condition for a Good Office, and Another thing to do it Gratis; so that the Husbandman took the Proposal by the Right Handle in That Respect: But his being provided of Servants already, to do his Work was no Excuse for his Want of Charity to Relieve his Distressed Neighbor.