A Man caught a Weasel who pled for his life based on his catching Mice for the Man. In truth, the Weasel caught mice for his own needs/pleasure. To bad.
Some take credit for things they do for themselves.
A Man caught a Weasel, and was about to kill it. The little animal prayed earnestly for his life. “You will not be so unkind, “said he to the Man,” as to slay a poor creature who kills your Mice for you?” “For me!” answered the Man; “that’s a good joke. For me, you say, as if you did not catch them more for your own pleasure than for my profit. And in respect of eating and gnawing my victuals, you know that you do as much harm as the Mice themselves. You must make some better excuse than that, before I shall feel inclined to spare you” Having said this, he strangled the Weasel without more ado.
A MAN had a caught a Weasel, and was just going to kill it. The poor creature, to escape death, cried out in a pitiful manner, O pray, do not kill me, for I am useful to you, and keep your house clear from Mice. Why, truly, says the man, if I thought you did it purely out of love to me, I should not only be inclined to pardon you, but think myself mightily obliged to you. But whereas you not only kill them, but yourself do the same mischief they would do, in eating and gnawing my victuals, I desire you would place your insignificant services to some other account, and not to mine. Having said this, he took the wicked vermin and strangled it immediately.
This fable is pointed at those who are apt to impute actions, which are done with a private view of their own, to their zeal for the public. This is the case of many a poor Grub-street writer, who perhaps is for no party but himself, and of no principle but what is subservient to his own interest, yet has the impudence to cry himself up for a formal confessor of the cause that happens to flourish, a thorough honest man, who durst show himself in the worst of times. And with this politic view, there are a hundred thousand men in the nation, well attached to which party you please; who are serving the interest of that side only, in their several capacities. By this way of working, they have a double advantage; first, as they procure to themselves a good number of constant customers of the same faction: and, secondly, as they are entitled to some remote share in the government whenever their faction succeeds. But such a pretence to favour is, in truth, little better than that of the Weasel. Both may chance to have done the services they boast of; but as they were principally intended for the promotion of their own private affairs, whatever they might occasionally produce, cannot be a sufficient ground for them to raise any merit upon. A highwayman may as well plead in his own behalf that he never robbed any but those who were enemies to the government, and men of unsound principles. But how absurd would such a pretence be!
Thomas Bewick (The Man and The Weasel)
A Man having caught a Weasel in his pantry, was just going to kill it, when the little captive begged that he would not do so cruel a deed, but spare his life; and he assured the Man that he was his friend, and only entered his pantry with a view of destroying the mice with which it was infested. That may be, said the Man, but you do not do this with the intention of serving me, nor with any other view but that of serving yourself; and besides, you are so ferocious and cruel a little creature, that you kill every animal you have within your power, without the least compunction, and seem to delight in killing for killing’s sake; therefore, your pretensions to serve me, and your plea for mercy, are good for nothing.
Many people in the world are ever ready to set up the pretensions of their acting with zeal, purely to serve the public, and pretend that it is through the warmth of their friendship that they do the same to individuals; but the main spring of all the actions of the agents of treachery, and of bad men, is set a-going with the view only of serving themselves. It is thus that the unprincipled and mercenary thief-taker would like well to be accounted a public spirited man; and he cannot help boasting of his services as such. The hangman’s pretensions are of the same kind: but however useful and necessary some of such a description of men may be, to keep down the wicked part of mankind, who are a nuisance to civilized society, yet the instruments themselves are very like in character to the Weasel in the Fable. The same may be said of those factious writers, who pester the public with their clamorous charges, under the mask of patriotism, but whose real motive is either to gain money by the sale of their highly seasoned scandals, or to run down their corrupt opponents in order to obtain their places.
Mustela et Homo
Mustela, dum apprehenderet mures, ab homine capitur. Illa vero cum fugere vellet, “Rogo,” inquit, “O homo, ut parcas mihi, quia ex molestis sueta sum domum tuam expurgare.” At ille “Non causa,” inquit, “mea haec facis; nam gratam te haberem, si pro me fecisses, veniamque promeruisses; sed ideo mures necas ut comedas reliquias nostras quas illi fuerant rosuri, et tu totum devores omniaque tecum deportes. Nolo mihi deputes beneficium.” Dixit, sicque morti tradidit.
Qui simulatorie famulatur, male remuneratur.