The Bear and the Two Travelers

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Caxton's translation (1484)[edit]

Of the two felawes

Men ought not to hold felauship with hym / whiche is acustommed to begyle other / As hit appiereth by thys Fable / Of two felawes whiche somtyme held felauship to eche other for to goo bothe by montaynes and valeyes / And for to make better theyre vyage / they were sworne eche one to the other / that none of them bothe shold leue other vnto that the tyme of dethe shold come and departe them / And as they walked in a forest they mette with a grete wyld bere / & bothe felaws ran sone awey for fere / of the whiche the one clymmed vpon a tree / And whan the other sawe that his felawe had lefte hym leyd hym self on the erthe / and fayned to be dede / And Incontynent the bere came for to ete hym / but by cause the gallaunt playd wel his game / the bere went forthe his waye and touched hym not / And thenne his felawe came doun fro the tree whiche sayd to hym / I pray the to telle me what the bere sayd to the / For as me semeth he spake to the / and hath shewed to the grete synge or token of loue / And thenne his felawe sayd to hym / He taught to me many fayre secretes / but emonge alle other thynges he sayd to me / that I shold neuer trust hym who ones hath deceyued me

Townsend's translation (1887)[edit]

The Bear and the Two Travelers

Two men were traveling together, when a Bear suddenly met them on their path. One of them climbed up quickly into a tree and concealed himself in the branches. The other, seeing that he must be attacked, fell flat on the ground, and when the Bear came up and felt him with his snout, and smelt him all over, he held his breath, and feigned the appearance of death as much as he could. The Bear soon left him, for it is said he will not touch a dead body. When he was quite gone, the other Traveler descended from the tree, and jocularly inquired of his friend what it was the Bear had whispered in his ear. "He gave me this advice," his companion replied. "Never travel with a friend who deserts you at the approach of danger."

Misfortune tests the sincerity of friends.

Jacobs' translation (1894)[edit]

The Two Fellows and the Bear

Two Fellows were travelling together through a wood, when a Bear rushed out upon them. One of the travellers happened to be in front, and he seized hold of the branch of a tree, and hid himself among the leaves. The other, seeing no help for it, threw himself flat down upon the ground, with his face in the dust. The Bear, coming up to him, put his muzzle close to his ear, and sniffed and sniffed. But at last with a growl he shook his head and slouched off, for bears will not touch dead meat. Then the fellow in the tree came down to his comrade, and, laughing, said "What was it that Master Bruin whispered to you?"

"He told me," said the other,

"Never trust a friend who deserts you at a pinch."