The Fox and the Bramble

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Caxton's translation (1484)[edit]

Of the Foxe and of the busshe

Men ought not to demaunde ne aske help of them that ben more customed to lette than to do good or prouffit / as it appereth by this fable of a fox which for to scape the peril to be taken wente vpon a thorne busshe / whiche hurted hym sore / and wepynge sayd to the busshe / I am come as to my refuge vnto the / and thow hast hurted me vnto the dethe / And thenne the busshe sayd to hym / thow hast erred / and wel thou hast begyled thy self / For thow supposest to haue taken me as thow arte custommed to take chekyns and hennes /

And therfore men ought not to helpe them whiche ben acustomed to doo euylle / but men ought rather to lette them

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


A Fox that was close pursued, took a Hedge, the Bushes gave way, and in catching hold of a Bramble to break his Fall, the Prickles ran into his Feet; upon this, he laid himself down, and fell to licking his Paws, with bitter Exclamation against the Bramble. Good Words, Reynard, says the Bramble, one would have thought you had known better Things, than to expect a Kindness from a common Enemy, and to lay hold on that for Relief, that catches every thing else for Mischief.

THE MORAL. There are some malicious Natures that place all their Delight in doing ill turns, and that Man is hard put to’t, that is first brought into a Distress, and then forc’d to fly to such People for Relief.

Townsend's translation (1887)[edit]

The Fox and the Bramble

A Fox was mounting a hedge when he lost his footing and caught hold of a Bramble to save himself. Having pricked and grievously tom the soles of his feet, he accused the Bramble because, when he had fled to her for assistance, she had used him worse than the hedge itself. The Bramble, interrupting him, said, "But you really must have been out of your senses to fasten yourself on me, who am myself always accustomed to fasten upon others."