The Stag, the Wolf, and the Sheep

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Caxton's translation (1484)[edit]

Of the herte / of the sheep & of the wulf

The thyng which is promysed by force & for drede is not to be hold / wherof esope reherceth suche a fable of a hert which in the presence of a wulf demaunded of a sheep that she shold paye a busshel of corn / And the wulf commaunded to the sheep to paye hit / And whanne the day of payment was come / the herte came and demaunded of the sheep his corn And the sheep sayd to hym / the couenaunces and pactyons made by drede and force oughte not to be holden / For it was force to me beynge to fore the wulf to promytte & graunte to gyue to the that whiche thow neuer lenest to me / And ther for thow shalt haue ryght nought of me /

Wherfore somtyme it is good to make promesse of some thynge for to eschewe gretter dommage of losse / For the thynges whiche are done by force haue none fydelyte

Townsend's translation (1887)[edit]

The Stag, the Wolf, and the Sheep

A Stag asked a Sheep to lend him a measure of wheat, and said that the Wolf would be his surety. The Sheep, fearing some fraud was intended, excused herself, saying, "The Wolf is accustomed to seize what he wants and to run off; and you, too, can quickly outstrip me in your rapid flight. How then shall I be able to find you, when the day of payment comes?"

Two blacks do not make one white.