The Man and The Weasel

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.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

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.

Samuel CroxallSamuel Croxall

Croxall - Man and WeaselA 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!

1001Mustela 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.

Perry #293