The Fowler and the Viper

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


As a Country Fellow was making a Shoot at a Pigeon, he trod upon a Snake that bit him by the Leg. The Surprize startled him, and away flew the Bird.

THE MORAL. We are to distinguish betwixt the Benefits of good Will, and those of Providence: For the latter are immediately from Heaven, where no humane Intention intervenes.

Townsend's translation (1887)[edit]

The Fowler and the Viper

A Fowler, taking his bird-lime and his twigs, went out to catch birds. Seeing a thrush sitting upon a tree, he wished to take it, and fitting his twigs to a proper length, watched intently, having his whole thoughts directed towards the sky. While thus looking upwards, he unknowingly trod upon a Viper asleep just before his feet. The Viper, turning about, stung him, and falling into a swoon, the man said to himself, "Woe is me! that while I purposed to hunt another, I am myself fallen unawares into the snares of death."