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

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Cap. XV.

Æsop Presents himselfe before the King of Lydia.

IMmediately Upon Æsop's Arrival in Lydia, he Presented himselse before the King, who looking upon him with Contempt, Hatred, and Indignation; Is This a Man lays he, to hinder the King of Lydia from being Maser of Santos? Æsop then with a Reverence after the Lydian Fashion, deliver'd what he had to say.

I am not here (says he, Great King) in the Quality of a Man that's Given up by his Country, or under the Compulsion of any force; But it is of my own Accord that I am now come to lay my selfe at your Majesties feet, and with this only Request, that you will vouchsase me the Honour of your Royal Eare, and Patience but for a few words.

'There was a Boy hunting of Locusts, and he had the Fortune to take a Grasshopper. She found he was about to kill her, and Pleaded after this Manner for her Life. Alas (lays she) I never did any Body an Injury, and never had it either in my Will or in my Power to do't. All my Business is my Song; and what will you be the Better for my Death? The Youth's Heart relented and he set the Simple Grasshopper at Liberty.'

Your Majesty has now that Innocent Creature before you: There's Nothing that I can pretend to but my Voyce, which I have ever employ'd so far as in me Lay, to the Service of Mankind. The King was so Tenderly moved with the Modesty and Prudence of the Mart, That he did not only give him his Life, but bad him ask any thing further that he had a Mind to, and it should be Granted him. Why then, fays Æsop, (with that Veneration, Gratitude and Respect that the Case required) I do most humbly implore your Majesties favour for my Country-Men the Samians. The King Granted him his Recjuest , and Confirmed it under his Seale; Beside that the Piety of making that Petition his Choice, was a further Recommendation of him to his Royal Kindness and Esteem.

Æsop, soon after This, returned to Samos with the News of the Peace, where he was Wellcomed with All the Instances of Joy and Thankfulness Imaginable; Insomuch that they Erected a Statue for him, with an inscription upon it, in Honour of his Memory. From Samos he returned afterwards to Crœsus, for whose Sake he Composed several of Those Apologues that Pass in the World to This Day under his Name. His Fancy lay extremely to travelling; but above All other Places, he had the Greatest Mind to see Babylon: To which End he got Letters of Recommendation from Crœsus to the King there: who, according to Herodotus, was a Friend, and an Ally of Crœsus's, and his Name, Labynetus; not Lycerus, as Planudes has Handed it down to us upon a Great Mistake. But his Curiosity led him first to pass through Greece, for the sake of the Seven Wise Men, whose Reputation was at That Time Famous All over the World. He had the Good Hap in his Travels to find them at Corinth, together with Anacharsis, and several of their Followers and Disciples, Where they were All Treated by Periander at a Villa of his not far off the Towne. This Encounter was to the Common Satisfaction of the Whole Company; the Entertainment Philosophical, and Agreeable, and among other Discourses, they had some Controversy upon the Subject of Government; and which was the most Excellent Form: Æsop being still for Monarchy, and the Rest for a Common-wealth. He Travell'd thence, a while after into Asia, and so to Babylon, according to his first Intention.