The Poor Man and the Serpent

The authors of which are not known
In the house of a certain Poor Man, a Serpent was always in the habit of coming to his table, and being fed there plentifully upon the crumbs. Shortly after, the Man becoming rich, he began to be angry with the Serpent, and wounded him with an axe. After the lapse of some time he returned to his former poverty. When he saw that like the varying lot of the Serpent, his own fortunes also changed, he coaxingly begged him to pardon the offence. Then said the Serpent to him: “You will repent of your wickedness until my wound is healed; don’t suppose, however, that I take you henceforth with implicit confidence to be my friend. Still, I could wish to be reconciled with you, if only I could never recall to mind the perfidious axe.”
He deserves to be suspected, who has once done an injury; and an intimacy with him is always to be renewed with caution.

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