The Flea and The Man

A Flea begged for his life after biting a man. No argument the Flea used could be enough to sway the man from killing the evil Flea.

Tolerate no evil.

Townsend VersionTownsend version

A man, very much annoyed with a Flea, caught him at last, and said, “Who are you who dare to feed on my limbs, and to cost me so much trouble in catching you?’ The Flea replied, “O my dear sir, pray spare my life, and destroy me not, for I cannot possibly do you much harm.” The Man, laughing, replied, “Now you shall certainly die by mine own hands, for no evil, whether it be small or large, ought to be tolerated.”

L'Estrange VersionL’Estrange version

A fellow finding somewhat prick him, popt his finger upon the place, and it prov’d to be a flea. What art thou, says he, for an animal, to suck thy livelyhood out of my carcass? Why ’tis the livelyhood, (says the flea) that nature has allotted me, and my stinging is not mortal neither. Well, says the man, but ’tis troublesome however; and now I have ye, I’ll secure ye for ever hurting me again, either little or much.


Live and let live is the rule of common justice, but if people will be troublesome on the one hand, the obligation is discharg’d on the other.

1001Pulex et Homo

Pulex hominem momordit at extemplo comprensus fuit. “Oro,” ait, “ut me mittere velis, bestiolam tam minutam, tam levis punctus ream.” At ille renuit et, hostem enecans, “Doceantur,” inquit, “ceteri tui similes quam periculosum sit illos pungere quorum digitulis facile opprimi possunt.”

Perry #272