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

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Cap. VI.

Æsop's Invention to bring his Mistress back again to her Husband, after she had Left him.


THE Wife of Xanthus was well-born and wealthy, but so Proud and Domineering withall, as if her Fortune and her Extraction had Entituled her to the Breeches. She was Horribly Bold, Medling, and Expensive; (as that sort of Women commonly are) Easily put off the Hooks, and Monstrous hard to be pleased again: Perpetually chattering at her Husband, and upon All occasions of controversy, Threatning him to be gone. It came to this at Last, That Xanthus's stock of Patience being quite spent, he took up a Resolution of going another way to Work with her, and of trying a Course of Severity, since there was nothing to be done with her by Kindness. But this Experiment, instead of mending The matter, made it worse; for upon harder Usage, The Woman grew Desperate, and went away from him in Earnest. She was as Bad 'tis true as Bad might well be, and yet Xanthus had a kind of Hankering for her still: Beside that there Was matter of Interest in the Case: and a Pestilent Tongue she had, that the Poor Husband Dreaded above all things Under the Sun: but the man was willing however to make the Best of a Bad Game, and so his Wits and his Friends were set at Work, in the fairest Manner that Might be, to get her home again. But there was No good to be done in't it seems; and Xanthus was so visibly out of Hu-mour upon't, that Æsop in Pure Pity bethought himself Immediately how to Comfort him. Come Master (says he) Pluck up a good heart; for I have a Project in my Noddle that shall bring my Mistress to you back again, with as good a Will as ever me went from you. What does me Æsop, but away Immediately to the Market among the Butchers, Poulterers, Fishmongers, Confectioners, &c. for the Best of Every thing that was in Season. Nay he takes private People in his way too, and Chopps into the very house of his Mistresses Relations,as by Mistake. This Way of Proceeding set the whole Towne a Gog to know the Meaning of all this Bustle, and Æsop innocently told every body That his Masters Wife was run away from him, and he had Marry'd another: His Friends up and down were all Invited to come and make Merry with him, and This was to be the Wedding Feast. The News flew like Lightning, and happy were they could carry the First Tydings of it to the Run-away-Lady: (for every body knew Æsop to be a Servant in That Family.) It Gathered in the Rolling, as all Other Stories do in the Telling: Especially where Womens Tongues and Passions have the Spreading of them. The Wife, that was in her Nature Violent, and Unsteady, ordered her Chariot to be made readie Immediately, and away she Posts back to her Husband: falls upon him with Outrages of Looks and Language ; and after the Easing of her mind a Little; No Xanthus, says she, Do not you Flatter your selfe with the hopes of Enjoying another Woman while I am Alive. Xanthus look'd upon this as one of Æsop's Master pieces; and for that Bout All was well again betwixt Master and Mistress.