Æsop and his Mistress

The New Fables—attributed to Phædrus
How injurious it often is to tell the Truth.
Æsop being in the service of an Ugly Woman, who wasted the whole day in painting herself up, and used fine clothes, pearls, gold, and silver, yet found no one who would touch her with a finger: “May I say a few words?” said he. “Say on,” she replied. “Then I think,” said he, “that you will effect anything you wish, if you lay aside your ornaments.” “Do I then seem to you so much preferable by myself?” said she. “Why, no; if you don’t make presents, your bed will enjoy its repose.” “But your sides,” she replied, “shan’t enjoy their repose;” and ordered the talkative Slave to be flogged. Shortly after a thief took away a silver bracelet. When the Woman was told that it could not be found, full of fury she summoned all her slaves, and threatened them with a severe flogging if they did not tell the truth. “Threaten others,” said Æsop, “indeed you won’t trick me, mistress; I was lately beaten with the whip because I told the truth.”