Friday Fable. Sir Roger L'Estrange’s “AN APE AND A FOX”*

Posted by jlubans on September 16, 2016

Caption. A disdainful fox by ARTHUR RACKHAM, 1912.

“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.”

Imagine, if you will, the little readers in 1906 chortling over the “bare-arse” mention (plika dirsa in Latvian) as it appeared word for word in Everyman’s Library Children’s Classics.
The fashionable fox would have lost nothing by sharing a bit of his tail for the embarrassed ape. Nor would our fashion industry be anywhere if it abided by L'Estrange’s admonition “that the Tail of a Fox was never made for the Buttocks of an Ape.”
Then again, maybe none of us were ever meant - by heavenly design - to go about in Lycra pants!

*Source: Aesop’s Fables translated by Sir Roger L'Estrange, 1692.

© Copyright John Lubans 2016

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