The Fox and the Crane

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The Fox and the Crane
by Aesop

Caxton's translation (1484)[edit]

Of the foxe and of the storke

Thow oughtest not to doo to other that whiche thow woldest not that men shold doo to the / wherof Esope reherceth to vs suche a fable / Of a foxe which conueyed a storke to souper / And the foxe put the mete vpon a trauncher / the whiche mete the storke myght not ete / wherof she tooke & had grete displaysaunce / & wente & departed oute of the foxes hows al hongry and wente ageyne to her lodgys / And by cause that the foxe had thus begyled her / she bythoughte in her self / how she myght begyle the Foxe / For as men saye / it is meryte to begyle the begylers / wherfore the storke prayd the foxe to come and soupe with her / and put his mete within a glas / And whanne the foxe wold haue eten / he myght not come ther by / but only he lycked the glas / bycause he cowde not reche to the mete with his mouthe / And thenne he knewe wel that he was deceyued / And thenne the storke sayd to hym / Take of suche goodes as thow gauest to me / And the poure foxe ryght shameful departed fro thens / And with the staf which he had made he was bete /

And therfore he that begyleth other / is oftyme begyled hym self /

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


There was a great Friendship once betwixt a Fox and a Stork, and the former would needs invite the other to a Treat. They had several Soups served up in broad Dishes and Plates, and so the Fox fell to lapping himself, and bade his Guest welcom to what was before him. The Stork found he was put upon, but set so good a face however upon his Entertainment, that his Friend by all means must take a Supper with him that Night, in Revenge. The Fox made several Excuses upon the Matter of Trouble and Expence, but the Stork in fine, would not be said nay, so that at last, he promised him to come. The Collation was served up in Glasses with long narrow Necks, and the best of everything that was to be had. Come (says the Stork to his Friend) pray be as free as if you were at home, and so fell to’t very savourily himself. The Fox quickly found this to be a Trick, tho’ he could not but allow of the Contrivance as well as the Justice of the Revenge. For such a Glass of Sweet-Meats to the one, was just as much to the purpose as a Plate of Porridge to the other.

THE MORAL. ‘Tis allowable in all the Liberties of Conversation to give a Man a Rowland for his Oliver, and to pay him in his own Coin, as we say; provided always that we keep within the Compass of Honour and good Manners.

Townsend's translation (1887)[edit]

The Fox and the Crane

A Fox invited a Crane to supper and provided nothing for his entertainment but some soup made of pulse, which was poured out into a broad flat stone dish. The soup fell out of the long bill of the Crane at every mouthful, and his vexation at not being able to eat afforded the Fox much amusement. The Crane, in his turn, asked the Fox to sup with him, and set before her a flagon with a long narrow mouth, so that he could easily insert his neck and enjoy its contents at his leisure. The Fox, unable even to taste it, met with a fitting requital, after the fashion of her own hospitality.

Jacobs' translation (1894)[edit]

The Fox and the Stork

At one time the Fox and the Stork were on visiting terms and seemed very good friends. So the Fox invited the Stork to dinner, and for a joke put nothing before her but some soup in a very shallow dish. This the Fox could easily lap up, but the Stork could only wet the end of her long bill in it, and left the meal as hungry as when she began. "I am sorry," said the Fox, "the soup is not to your liking."

"Pray do not apologise," said the Stork. "I hope you will return this visit, and come and dine with me soon." So a day was appointed when the Fox should visit the Stork; but when they were seated at table all that was for their dinner was contained in a very long-necked jar with a narrow mouth, in which the Fox could not insert his snout, so all he could manage to do was to lick the outside of the jar.

"I will not apologise for the dinner," said the Stork:

"One bad turn deserves another."