The Wolf, the Fox, and the Ape

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Caxton's translation (1484)[edit]

Of the wulf / of the foxe / and of the ape

He that ones falleth in to somme euylle faytte or dede / he shalle euer lyue with dishonur and in suspecion / of the people / And how be it that by aduenture he purposed to doo somme prouffitable thynge to somme other / yet he shold not be trusted ne byleued / wherof Esope reherceth to vs suche a fable / Of a wulf / whiche maade the foxe to be cyted beofre the Ape / And the wulf sayd that the foxe was but a theef and a payllart and a knaue of poure folke / And the foxe sayd that he lyed / and that he was a good and trewe man / And that he dyde moche good / And thenne the ape whiche was sette as a Iuge / gaf suche a sentence / And sayd thus to the wulf / Come hyther / thow hast not loste alle that whiche thow demaundest / And thow Foxe I byleue wel that thow hast vsurped and robbed som thynge / how be it / that thow denyest hit in Iustyce / But for as moche that pees may be bytwixe yow bothe / ye shall parte to gyder your good / to thende / that none of yow haue no hole parte / For he that is wonte and acustomed to robbe and gnawe / with grete payne he may absteyne hym self fro hit / For a begyler wylle euer begyle other / And by cause that the ape felte them bothe gylty and suspycious made theyr dyfference to be acorded / and parted half by half /

For they that ben customed to doo ony frawde or falshede / shall euer lyue ryghte heuyly and in suspycion

Townsend's translation (1887)[edit]

The Wolf, the Fox, and the Ape

A Wolf accused a Fox of theft, but the Fox entirely denied the charge. An Ape undertook to adjudge the matter between them. When each had fully stated his case the Ape announced this sentence: "I do not think you, Wolf, ever lost what you claim; and I do believe you, Fox, to have stolen what you so stoutly deny."

The dishonest, if they act honestly, get no credit.