The Monkey and the Fox

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Caxton's translation (1484)[edit]

Of the Ape and of the foxe

Of the poure and of the Ryche Esope reherceth suche a fable / Of an ape / whiche prayd the foxe to gyue hym somme of his grete taylle for to couere his buttoks therwith / sayenge thus to hym / what auaylleth to the soo long a taylle / hit doth but wagge / And that whiche letteth the / shalle be prouffitable and good for me / The foxe said to hym I wold that hit were yet lenger / For rather I wold see hit al to fowled and dagged / than hit shold bere to yow suche honour / as to couere thy fowle buttoks therwith /

And therfore gyue thou not that thynge of whiche thow hast nede of / to the ende that afterward thow myster not of hit

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


An Ape found many Inconveniencies by going bare-arse, went to a Fox that had a well spread bushy Tail, and begg’d of him only a little Piece on’t to cover his Nakedness: For (says he) you have enough for both, and what needs more than you have Occasion for? Well, John (says the Fox) be it more, of be it less, you get not one single Hair on’t; for I would have ye know, Sirrah, that the Tail of a Fox was never made for the Buttocks of an Ape.

THE MORAL. Providence has assign’d every Creature its station, lot, make and figure; and ‘tis not for us to stand correcting the Works of an incomprehensible Wisdom, and an almighty Power.