An Ape asked a Fox for part of his tale to help cover him. The Fox pointed out that his tail was not built to cover an Ape.
Be content with your station.
An ape that found many inconveniences by going bare-arse, went to a fox that had a well-spread, bushy tayle, 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, or be it less, you get not one single hair on’t; for I would have ye know, sirrah, that the tayle of a fox was never made for the buttocks of an ape.
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.
THE Ape meeting the Fox one day, humbly requested him to give him a piece of his fine long brush tail, to cover his poor naked backside, which was so exposed to all the violence and inclemency of the weather: for, says he, Reynard, you have already more than you have occasion for, and a great part of it even drags along in the dirt. The Fox answered, that as to his having too much, that was more than he knew; but be it as it would, he had rather sweep the ground with his tail as long as he lived, than deprive himself of the least bit to cover the Ape’s nasty stinking posteriors.
One cannot help considering the world, in the particular of the goods of fortune, as a kind of lottery; in which some few are entitled to prizes of different degrees; others, and those by much the greatest part, come off With little or nothing. Some, like the Fox, have even larger circumstances than they know what to do with, insomuch that they are rather a charge and incumbrance, than of any true use and pleasure to them. Others, like the poor Ape’s case, are all blank; not having been so lucky as to draw from the wheel of Fortune, wherewith to cover their nakedness, and live with tolerable decency. That these things are left, in a great measure, by Providence to the blind uncertain shuffle of chance, is reasonable to conclude from the unequal distribution of them; for there is seldom any regard had to true merit upon these occasions; folly and knavery ride in coaches, while goodsense and honesty walk in the dirt. The All-wise Disposer of events does certainly permit these things for just and good purposes, which our shallow understanding is notable to fathom; but, humanely thinking, if the riches and power of the world were to be always in the hands of the virtuous part of mankind, they would be more likely to do good with them in their generation, than the vile sottish wretches who generally enjoy them. A truly good man would direct all the superfluous part of his wealth, at least, for the necessities of his fellow-creatures, though there were no religion which enjoined it; but selfish and avaricious people, who are always great knaves, how much soever they may have, will never think they have. enough; much less be induced by any consideration of virtue and religion to part with the least farthing for public charity and beneficence.
Simia et Vulpis Cauda
Simia sentiens se nudam retro et videns ex adverso vulpem praelonga ac larga cauda instructam, coepit eam rogare ut sibi partem caudae suae daret ad tegendas nates; ita enim fieri communi utriusque emolumento, ut illa importuno onere levaretur, ipsa iuvaretur. Ad quae vulpes, nasum torquens, “Oppido quam falleris, soror,” ait, “cauda enim mea non oneri, sed honori meo servit et, utut sit, mallem ea terram verrere quam tuas tegere impuras nates; ita quaeque nostrum, suis contenta, vivat.”