The Runaway Slave and Æsop

The New Fables—attributed to Phædrus
There is no necessity to add evil to evil.
A Slave, when running away from a Master of severe disposition, met Æsop, to whom he was known as a neighbour: “Why are you in such a hurry?” said Æsop. “I’ll tell you candidly, father,” said the other, “for you are worthy to be called by that name, as our sorrows are safely entrusted to you. Stripes are in superabundance; victuals fail: every now and then I am sent to the farm as a slave to the rustics there: if he dines at home I am kept standing by him all night, or if he is invited out, I remain until daylight in the street. I have fairly earned my liberty; but with grey hairs I am still a slave. If I were conscious to myself of any fault, I should bear this patiently: I never have had a bellyful, and, unhappy that I am, I have to put up with a severe master besides. For these reasons, and for others which it would take too long to recount, I have determined to go wherever my feet may carry me.” “Listen then,” said Æsop; “When you have committed no fault, you suffer these inconveniences as you say: what if you had offended? What do you suppose you would then have had to suffer?”
By such advice he was prevented from running away.

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