|spot illustration from the book|
From an 1836 collection of fables, here's one on not trusting to appearances, written by Robert Dodsley in the 1700s:
A Young Mouse, that had seen very little of the world, came running, one day, to his mother in great haste: —“Oh! mother,” said he, “I am frightened almost to death! I have seen the most extraordinary creature that ever was. He has a fierce, angry look, and struts about upon two legs; a strange piece of flesh grows on his head, and another under his throat, as red as blood: he flapped his arms against his sides, as if he intended to rise into the air; and stretching out his head, he opened a sharp-pointed mouth so wide, that I thought he was preparing to swallow me up: then he roared at me so horribly, that I trembled every joint, and was glad to run home as fast as I could. If I had not been frightened away by this terrible monster, I was just going to commence an acquaintance with the prettiest creature you ever saw. She had a soft fur skin, thicker than ours, and all beautifully streaked with black and grey; with a modest look, and a demeanour so humble and courteous, that methought I could have fallen in love with her. Then she had a fine long tail, which she waved about so prettily, and looked so earnestly at me, that I do believe she was just going to speak to me, when the horrid monster frightened me away."
“Ah, my dear child!” said the mother, “you have escaped being devoured, but not by that monster you was so much-afraid of; which, in truth, was only a bird, and would have done you no manner of harm. Whereas, the sweet creature, of whom you seem so fond, was no other than a CAT; who, under that hypocritical countenance, conceals the most inveterate hatred to all our race, and subsists entirely by devouring Mice. Learn from this incident, my dear, never, while you live, to rely on outward appearances.”
Flowers of Fable. Selected from the best sources. (London: Tilt and Bogue), p. 335