Caxton’s Of the Bee and of Iupiter

Posted by jlubans on February 13, 2020

Caption:Only $20 per bottle.from the Fableist Wine Co.

Now the euyl which men wysshe to other /
cometh to hym whiche wyssheth hit /
as hit appiereth by this fable /
of a Bee whiche offred and gaf to Iupyter a pyece of hony / wherof Iupyter was moche Ioyous /
And thenne Iupyter sayd to the bee /
demaunde of me what thow wylt /
and I shalle graunte and gyue hit to the gladly /
And thenne the Bee prayd hym in this manere /
God almyghty I pray the that thow wylt gyue to me and graunte /
that who so euer shal come for to take awey my hony /
yf I pryke hym /
he may sondenly deye /
And by cause that Iupyter loued the humayn lygnage he sayd to the Bee /
Suffyse the /
that who so euer shalle goo to take thy hony /
yf thow pryke or stynge hym /
Incontynent thow shalt deye /
And thus her prayer was tourned to her grete dommage /
For men ought not to demaunde of god /
but suche thynges that ben good and honest

I wrote about a "different version of this fable in 2013 but the moral was similar: “Evil wishes, like fowls, come home to roost.”
Yet, the bee remains as mankind’s “greatest friend” among the insects. Bees gives us not only honey (and all of its curative properties) they pollinate our fruits and vegetables. If a bee is cranky, leave it be.
Give it some space, don’t crowd it. If she lands on you, let her explore. She will only buzz a bit and then be off.
She may fly back to the hive and do her waggle dance, advising other bees not to bother with you; you are neither sweet nor suitable for a swarm.
As for this fable’s point, pray, if you must, for what is good and honest not something to injure others. Still true to this day.

* Source: The fables of Aesop, as first printed by William Caxton in 1484, with those of Avian, Alfonso and Poggio, now again edited and induced by Joseph Jacobs
by Aesop; Caxton, William, ca. 1422-1491; Jacobs, Joseph, 1854-1916

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