The fables of Aesop by William Caxton (Jacobs)/Vol. II/Liber Tertius/Fable 18

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The subtyl historyes and fables of Esope, Liber Tertius  (1889)  by Aesop, edited by Joseph Jacobs, translated by William Caxton
Fable 18: The Marchaunt and the Asse

Numbered 164 in the Perry Index. Translated from French by William Caxton and first published in 1484.

¶ The xviij fable is of the marchaunt and of the asse

Many one ben trauaylled after theyr dethe / wherfore men ought not to desyre the dethe / As reherceth Esope by this fable / Of a marchaunt whiche ladde an asse laden vnto the market / And for to be the sooner at the market / he bete his asse / and sore prycked hym / wherfore the poure asse wysshed & desyred his owne deth / wenyng to hym that after his dethe he shold be in reste / And after that he had be wel bete and chaced he deyde / And his mayster made hym to be flayne / and of his skynne he dyd doo make tumbours whiche ben euer bete / And thus for what payne that men may haue durynge his lyf / he ought not to desyre and whysshe his dethe / For many one ben / whiche haue grete payne in this world that shall haue a gretter in the other world / For the man hath no reste for the dethe but for his merytes