The Crab and Its Mother

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Caxton's translation (1484)[edit]

Of the two Creuysses

He whiche wyll teche and lerne some other / ought first to corryge & examyne hym self / as it appereth by this fable of a creuysse / whiche wold haue chastysed her owne doughter bicause that she wente not wel ryght / And sayd to her in this manere / My doughter / hit pleaseth me not that thow goost thus backward / For euylle myght wel therof come to the / And thenne the doughter sayd to her moder My moder I shalle go ryght and forward with a good will but ye must goo before for to shewe to me the waye / But the moder coude none other wyse goo / than after her kynd / wherfore her doughter sayd vnto her / My moder fyrst lerne your self for to goo ryght and forward / and thenne ye shalle teche me

And therfore he that wylle teche other / ought to shewe good ensample / For grete shame is to the doctour whanne his owne coulpe or faulte accuseth hym

Townsend's translation (1887)[edit]

The Crab and Its Mother

A Crab said to her son, "Why do you walk so one-sided, my child? It is far more becoming to go straight forward." The young Crab replied: "Quite true, dear Mother; and if you will show me the straight way, I will promise to walk in it." The Mother tried in vain, and submitted without remonstrance to the reproof of her child.

Example is more powerful than precept.

Jacobs' translation (1894)[edit]

The Two Crabs

One fine day two Crabs came out from their home to take a stroll on the sand. "Child," said the mother, "you are walking very ungracefully. You should accustom yourself, to walking straight forward without twisting from side to side."

"Pray, mother," said the young one, "do but set the example yourself, and I will follow you."

Example is the best precept.