Fables of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists/The Life of Æsop/Chapter IV

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Cap. IV.

Xanthus Presents Æsop to his Wife.

XANTHUS had no sooner made his Purchase, and carry'd his Jewel home with him, but, having a kind of Nice Froward Piece to his Wife, the Great Difficulty was how to put her in humour for the Entertainment of his monster, without throwing the House out at the Window. My Dear, says he, You have been often complaining of Careless Servants; And I have bought you one Now that I am Confident will fit your Turn. Heshall Go and Come and Waite and do Every thing as you would have him; Oh, your Servant Sweet heart says she, but what did he Cost you? Why Truly very Reasonable; but at present He's a little Tann'd and out of case you must know, with his Journy, says the Husband, and so he Order'd him to be Call'd in. The Cunning Gipsy smoak'd the Matter presently. Some Monster says she, He be Hanged else. Wife, Wife, says Xanthus If you are a good Woman That that Pleases Me Must Please You too. While These Words were between his Lips, up comes Æsop towards them, she gave him a Fierce Look, and Immediately discharg'd her Choler upon her Husband. Is this a Man, or a Beast? says she, and what Clearer Proofe in the World Could You have given me Now, of an insufferable Hatred and Contempt? Æsop said not one Word all This While; 'till Xanthus Rowz'd him with a Reproof. Oh Villain! says he; to have a Tonge and Wit at Will upon All other Occasions, and not one Diverting Syllable Now at a Pinch, to Pacify your Mistress! Æsop, after a short Pause upon't, Bolted out an old Greek Saying, which is in English to this Effect, From Lying at the Mercy of Fire, Water, and a Wicked woman, Good Lord Deliver us. If the Wife was heartily angry before, This Scomm made her Stark Mad, and the Reproche was so Cutting too, that Xanthus himself did not well know how to take it. But Æsop, brought himself off again from the Malice of ill Intention, by a Passage out of Euripides to this Purpose. The Raging of a Tempestuous Sea; The Fury of a Devouring Fire, and the Pinching Want of Necessaries for Life; are Three Dreadful Things, and a Body might reckon up a Thousand more; but all this is Nothing to the Terrible Violences of an Impetuous Woman, and therefore says he, Make your selfe as Glorious on the other side, in the Rank of Good Women. Vavasor the Jesuite, in his De Ludicrâ Dictione, takes Notice of a Blunder here in the Chronology of the Story for Æsop was Murder'd at least Fourscore Yeares before Euripides was Born. But to follow the Thrid of the Relation; Upon this Oblique Admonition, the Woman came to her self again, and took Æsop into her good Graces, who render'd his Master and Mistress All the Offices of a Faithful Servant.