Fables of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists/Fables IV and V

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Fab. IV.

A Frog and a Mouse.

THere fell out of a Bloody Quarrel once betwixt the Frogs and the Mice, about the Sovereignty of the Fenns; and whilst Two of their Champions were Disputing it at Swords Point, Down comes a Kite Powdering upon them in the Interim, and Gobbles up both together, to Part the Fray.

Fab. V.

A Lion and a Bear.

THere was a Lion and a Bear had gotten a Fawn betwixt them, and there were they at it Tooth and Nail, which of the Two should carry't off. They Fought it out, till they were e'en glad to lie down, and take Breath. In which Instant, a Fox passing that way, and finding how the case stood with the Two Combatants, seiz'd upon the Fawn for his Own Use, and so very fairly scamper'd away with him. The Lion, and the Bear saw the Whole Action, but not being in condition to Rise and Hinder it, they pass'd this Reflexion upon the whole matter; Here have we been Worrying one another, who should have the Booty, 'till this Cursed Fox has Bobb'd us Both on't.

The Moral of the Two Fables above.

'Tis the Fate of All Gotham-Quarrels, when Fools go together by the Ears, to have Knaves run away with the Stakes.


This is no more than what we see Dayly in Popular Factions, where Pragmatical Fools commonly begin the Squabble, and Crafty Knaves reap the Benefit of it. There is very rarely any Quarrel, either Publique, or Private, whether betwixt Persons, or Parties, but a Third Watches, and hopes to be the Better for't.

And all is but according to the Old Proverb, While Two Dogs are Fighting for a Bone, a Third runs away with it. Divide and Govern, is a Rule of State, that we see Confirm'd and Supported by Dayly Practice and Experience: So that 'tis none of the Slightest Arguments for the Necessity of a Common Peace, that the Litigants Tear one another to pieces for the Benefit of some Third Interest, that makes Advantage of their Disagreement. This is no more than what we find upon Experience through the whole History of the World in All Notable Changes, and Revolutions; that is to say, the Contendents have been still made a Prey to a Third Party. And this has not been only the Fate and the Event of Popular Quarrels, but the Punishment of them; for the Judgment still Treads upon the Heel of the Wickedness. People may talk of Liberty, Property, Conscience, Right of Title, &c. but the Main Business and Earnest of the World, is Mony, Dominion, and Power, and how to Compass Those Ends, and not a Rush matter at last, whether it be by Force, or by Cunning. Might and Right are Inseparable, in the Opinion of the World; and he that has the Longer Sword, shall never want, either Lawyers, or Divines to Defend his Claim. But then comes the Kite, or the Fox, in the Conclusion; that is to say, some Third Party, that either by Strength, or by Craft, Masters both Plaintiff and Defendent, and carries away the Booty.