The Camel and Jupiter

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Caxton's translation (1484)[edit]

Of the camel and of Iupiter

Every creature ought to be content of that / that god hath gyuen to hym withoute to take thenherytaunce of other / As reherceth this fable Of a camel whiche somtyme complayned hym to Iupiter of that the other beestes mocqued hym / by cause that he was not of so grete beaute / as they were of / wherfore to Iupiter Instantly he prayd in suche maner as foloweth / Fayr syre and god / I requyre and praye that thou wylt gyue to me hornes / to thende that I maye be nomore mocqued / Iupiter thenne beganne to lawhe / and in stede of hornes / he took fro hym his erys / and sayd / thow hast more good than hit behoueth to the to haue / And by cause that thow demaundest that / whiche thow oughtest not to haue I haue take fro the that whiche of ryght and kynd thou oughtest to haue /

For none ought not to desyre more than he ought to haue / to the ende that he lese not that whiche he hath /

L'Estrange's translation (1692)[edit]


It stuck filthily in the Camel’s Stomach, that Bulls, Stags, Lions, Bears, and the like, should be armed with Horns, Teeth, and Claws, and that a Creature of his Size should be left naked and Defenceless. Upon this Thought he fell down upon his marrow-bones, and beg’d of Jupiter to give him a pair of Horns, but the Request was so ridiculous, that Jupiter, instead of horning him, order’d him to be cropt, and so punish’d him with the Loss of his Ears, which Nature had allow’d him, for being so unreasonable as to ask for Horns, that Providence had never intended him.

THE MORAL OF THE THREE FABLES ABOVE. The Boundaries of Heaven are in such manner distributed, that every living Creature has its share; beside, that to desire Things against Nature, is effectually to blame the very Author of Nature itself.

Townsend's translation (1887)[edit]

The Camel and Jupiter

The Camel, when he saw the Bull adorned with horns, envied him and wished that he himself could obtain the same honors. He went to Jupiter, and besought him to give him horns. Jupiter, vexed at his request because he was not satisfied with his size and strength of body, and desired yet more, not only refused to give him horns, but even deprived him of a portion of his ears.