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Last Updated: Friday, September 03, 1999

82 Aesop's Fables


  1. The Cock and the Pearl
  2. The Frog and the Ox
  3. The Wolf and the Lamb
  4. Androcles
  5. The Dog and the Shadow
  6. The Bat, the Birds, and the Beasts
  7. The Lion's Share
  8. The Hart and the Hunter
  9. The Wolf and the Crane
  10. The Serpent and the File
  11. The Man and the Serpent
  12. The Man and the Wood
  13. The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse
  14. The Dog and the Wolf
  15. The Fox and the Crow
  16. The Belly and the Members
  17. The Sick Lion
  18. The Hart in the Ox-Stall
  19. The Ass and the Lapdog
  20. The Fox and the Grapes
  21. The Lion and the Mouse
  22. The Horse, Hunter, and Stag
  23. The Swallow and the Other Birds
  24. The Peacock and Juno
  25. The Frogs Desiring a King
  26. The Fox and the Lion
  27. The Mountains in Labour
  28. The Lion and the Statue
  29. The Hares and the Frogs
  30. The Ant and the Grasshopper
  31. The Wolf and the Kid
  32. The Tree and the Reed
  33. The Woodman and the Serpent
  34. The Fox and the Cat
  35. The Bald Man and the Fly
  36. The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
  37. The Fox and the Stork
  38. The Dog in the Manger
  39. The Fox and the Mask
  40. The Man and the Wooden God
  41. The Jay and the Peacock
  42. The Fisher
  43. The Shepherd's Boy
  44. The Miser and His Gold
  45. The Young Thief and His Mother
  46. The Fox and the Mosquitoes
  47. The Man and His Two Wives
  48. The Fox Without a Tail
  49. The Nurse and the Wolf
  50. The One-Eyed Doe
  51. The Tortoise and the Birds
  52. Belling the Cat
  53. The Two Crabs
  54. The Hare and the Tortoise
  55. The Ass in the Lion's Skin
  56. The Old Man and Death
  57. The Two Fellows and the Bear
  58. The Hare With Many Friends
  59. The Two Pots
  60. The Lion in Love
  61. The Four Oxen and the Lion
  62. The Bundle of Sticks
  63. The Fisher and the Little Fish
  64. The Lion, the Fox, and the Beasts
  65. Avaricious and Envious
  66. The Ass's Brains
  67. The Crow and the Pitcher
  68. The Eagle and the Arrow
  69. The Man and the Satyr
  70. The Milkmaid and Her Pail
  71. The Goose With the Golden Eggs
  72. The Cat-Maiden
  73. The Labourer and the Nightingale
  74. The Horse and the Ass
  75. The Fox, the Cock, and the Dog
  76. The Trumpeter Taken Prisoner
  77. The Wind and the Sun
  78. The Buffoon and the Countryman
  79. Hercules and the Waggoner
  80. The Old Woman and the Wine-Jar
  81. The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey
  82. The Fox and the Goat

 

 

 

 

 

The Cock and the Pearl

 A cock was once strutting up and down the farmyard among the

hens when suddenly he espied something shinning amid the straw.

"Ho! ho!" quoth he, "that's for me," and soon rooted it out from

beneath the straw. What did it turn out to be but a Pearl that by

some chance had been lost in the yard? "You may be a treasure,"

quoth Master Cock, "to men that prize you, but for me I would

rather have a single barley-corn than a peck of pearls." 

Precious things are for those that can prize them.

 

The Wolf and the Lamb

 Once upon a time a Wolf was lapping at a spring on a hillside,

when, looking up, what should he see but a Lamb just beginning to rink a little lower down. "There's my supper," thought he, "if

only I can find some excuse to seize it." Then he called out to

the Lamb, "How dare you muddle the water from which I am

drinking?" 

"Nay, master, nay," said Lambikin; "if the water be muddy up

there, I cannot be the cause of it, for it runs down from you to

me." 

"Well, then," said the Wolf, "why did you call me bad names

this time last year?" 

"That cannot be," said the Lamb; "I am only six months old."

 "I don't care," snarled the Wolf; "if it was not you it was

your father;" and with that he rushed upon the poor little Lamb

and .WARRA WARRA WARRA WARRA WARRA

.ate her all up. But before she died she gasped out

."Any excuse will serve a tyrant."

  

The Dog and the Shadow

 It happened that a Dog had got a piece of meat and was

carrying it home in his mouth to eat it in peace. Now on his way

home he had to cross a plank lying across a running brook. As he

crossed, he looked down and saw his own shadow reflected in the

water beneath. Thinking it was another dog with another piece of

meat, he made up his mind to have that also. So he made a snap at the shadow in the water, but as he opened his mouth the piece of meat fell out, dropped into the water and was never seen more.

 Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.

 

The Lion's Share

 The Lion went once a-hunting along with the Fox, the Jackal,

and the Wolf. They hunted and they hunted till at last they

surprised a Stag, and soon took its life. Then came the question

how the spoil should be divided. "Quarter me this Stag," roared

the Lion; so the other animals skinned it and cut it into four

parts. Then the Lion took his stand in front of the carcass and

pronounced judgment: The first quarter is for me in my capacity

as King of Beasts; the second is mine as arbiter; another share

comes to me for my part in the chase; and as for the fourth

quarter, well, as for that, I should like to see which of you will

dare to lay a paw upon it."

 "Humph," grumbled the Fox as he walked away with his tail

between his legs; but he spoke in a low growl

."You may share the labours of the great,but you will not share the spoil."

 

The Wolf and the Crane

 A Wolf had been gorging on an animal he had killed, when

suddenly a small bone in the meat stuck in his throat and he could

not swallow it. He soon felt terrible pain in his throat, and ran

up and down groaning and groaning and seeking for something to

relieve the pain. He tried to induce every one he met to remove

the bone. "I would give anything," said he, "if you would take it

out." At last the Crane agreed to try, and told the Wolf to lie

on his side and open his jaws as wide as he could. Then the Crane

put its long neck down the Wolf's throat, and with its beak

loosened the bone, till at last it got it out.

"Will you kindly give me the reward you promised?" said the

Crane.

 The Wolf grinned and showed his teeth and said: "Be content.

You have put your head inside a Wolf's mouth and taken it out

again in safety; that ought to be reward enough for you."

 

Gratitude and greed go not together.

 

The Man and the Serpent

 A Countryman's son by accident trod upon a Serpent's tail,

which turned and bit him so that he died. The father in a rage

got his axe, and pursuing the Serpent, cut off part of its tail.

So the Serpent in revenge began stinging several of the Farmer's

cattle and caused him severe loss. Well, the Farmer thought it

best to make it up with the Serpent, and brought food and honey to

the mouth of its lair, and said to it: "Let's forget and forgive;

perhaps you were right to punish my son, and take vengeance on my

cattle, but surely I was right in trying to revenge him; now that

we are both satisfied why should not we be friends again?"

 "No, no," said the Serpent; "take away your gifts; you can

never forget the death of your son, nor I the loss of my tail."

 Injuries may be forgiven, but not forgotten.

 

 

 

The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

 Now you must know that a Town Mouse once upon a time went on a visit to his cousin in the country. He was rough and ready, this

cousin, but he loved his town friend and made him heartily

welcome. Beans and bacon, cheese and bread, were all he had to

offer, but he offered them freely. The Town Mouse rather turned

up his long nose at this country fare, and said: "I cannot

understand, Cousin, how you can put up with such poor food as

this, but of course you cannot expect anything better in the

country; come you with me and I will show you how to live. When

you have been in town a week you will wonder how you could ever

have stood a country life." No sooner said than done: the two

mice set off for the town and arrived at the Town Mouse's

residence late at night. "You will want some refreshment after

our long journey," said the polite Town Mouse, and took his friend

into the grand dining-room. There they found the remains of a

fine feast, and soon the two mice were eating up jellies and cakes

and all that was nice. Suddenly they heard growling and barking.

"What is that?" said the Country Mouse. "It is only the dogs of

the house," answered the other. "Only!" said the Country Mouse.

"I do not like that music at my dinner." Just at that moment the

door flew open, in came two huge mastiffs, and the two mice had to

scamper down and run off. "Good-bye, Cousin," said the Country

Mouse, "What! going so soon?" said the other. "Yes," he replied;

 "Better beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear."

 

 

The Fox and the Crow

 A Fox once saw a Crow fly off with a piece of cheese in its

beak and settle on a branch of a tree. "That's for me, as I am a

Fox," said Master Reynard, and he walked up to the foot of the

tree. "Good-day, Mistress Crow," he cried. "How well you are

looking to-day: how glossy your feathers; how bright your eye. I

feel sure your voice must surpass that of other birds, just as

your figure does; let me hear but one song from you that I may

greet you as the Queen of Birds." The Crow lifted up her head and

began to caw her best, but the moment she opened her mouth the

piece of cheese fell to the ground, only to be snapped up by

Master Fox. "That will do," said he. "That was all I wanted. In

exchange for your cheese I will give you a piece of advice for the

future. "Do not trust flatterers."

 

The Sick Lion

 A Lion had come to the end of his days and lay sick unto death

at the mouth of his cave, gasping for breath. The animals, his

subjects, came round him and drew nearer as he grew more and more

helpless. When they saw him on the point of death they thought to

themselves: "Now is the time to pay off old grudges." So the Boar

came up and drove at him with his tusks; then a Bull gored him

with his horns; still the Lion lay helpless before them: so the

Ass, feeling quite safe from danger, came up, and turning his tail

to the Lion kicked up his heels into his face. "This is a double

death," growled the Lion.

 Only cowards insult dying majesty.

 

 

The Ass and the Lapdog

 A Farmer one day came to the stables to see to his beasts of

burden: among them was his favourite Ass, that was always well fed

and often carried his master. With the Farmer came his Lapdog,

who danced about and licked his hand and frisked about as happy as

could be. The Farmer felt in his pocket, gave the Lapdog some

dainty food, and sat down while he gave his orders to his

servants. The Lapdog jumped into his master's lap, and lay there

blinking while the Farmer stroked his ears. The Ass, seeing this,

broke loose from his halter and commenced prancing about in

imitation of the Lapdog. The Farmer could not hold his sides with

laughter, so the Ass went up to him, and putting his feet upon the

Farmer's shoulder attempted to climb into his lap. The Farmer's

servants rushed up with sticks and pitchforks and soon taught the

Ass that "Clumsy jesting is no joke".

 

The Lion and the Mouse

 Once when a Lion was asleep a little Mouse began running up

and down upon him; this soon wakened the Lion, who placed his huge paw upon him, and opened his big jaws to swallow him. "Pardon, O King," cried the little Mouse: "forgive me this time, I shall never forget it: who knows but what I may be able to do you a turn some of these days?" The Lion was so tickled at the idea of the

Mouse being able to help him, that he lifted up his paw and let

him go. Some time after the Lion was caught in a trap, and the

hunters who desired to carry him alive to the King, tied him to a

tree while they went in search of a waggon to carry him on. Just

then the little Mouse happened to pass by, and seeing the sad

plight in which the Lion was, went up to him and soon gnawed away

the ropes that bound the King of the Beasts. "Was I not right?"

said the little Mouse.

 Little friends may prove great friends.

 

The Swallow and the Other Birds

 It happened that a Countryman was sowing some hemp seeds in a

field where a Swallow and some other birds were hopping about

picking up their food. "Beware of that man," quoth the Swallow.

"Why, what is he doing?" said the others. "That is hemp seed he

is sowing; be careful to pick up every one of the seeds, or else

you will repent it." The birds paid no heed to the Swallow's

words, and by and by the hemp grew up and was made into cord, and

of the cords nets were made, and many a bird that had despised the

Swallow's advice was caught in nets made out of that very hemp.

"What did I tell you?" said the Swallow.

Destroy the seed of evil, or it will grow up to your ruin.

The Frogs Desiring a King

The Frogs were living as happy as could be in a marshy swamp

that just suited them; they went splashing about caring for nobody

and nobody troubling with them. But some of them thought that

this was not right, that they should have a king and a proper

constitution, so they determined to send up a petition to Jove to

give them what they wanted. "Mighty Jove," they cried, "send unto

us a king that will rule over us and keep us in order." Jove

laughed at their croaking, and threw down into the swamp a huge

Log, which came downrplashto the swamp. The Frogs

were frightened out of their lives by the commotion made in their

midst, and all rushed to the bank to look at the horrible monster;

but after a time, seeing that it did not move, one or two of the

boldest of them ventured out towards the Log, and even dared to

touch it; still it did not move. Then the greatest hero of the

Frogs jumped upon the Log and commenced dancing up and down upon it, thereupon all the Frogs came and did the same; and for some

time the Frogs went about their business every day without taking

the slightest notice of their new King Log lying in their midst.

But this did not suit them, so they sent another petition to Jove,

and said to him, "We want a real king; one that will really rule

over us." Now this made Jove angry, so he sent among them a big

Stork that soon set to work gobbling them all up. Then the Frogs

repented when too late.

Better no rule than cruel rule.

 

The Mountains in Labour

 One day the Countrymen noticed that the Mountains were in

labour; smoke came out of their summits, the earth was quaking at

their feet, trees were crashing, and huge rocks were tumbling.

They felt sure that something horrible was going to happen. They

all gathered together in one place to see what terrible thing this

could be. They waited and they waited, but nothing came. At last

there was a still more violent earthquake, and a huge gap appeared

in the side of the Mountains. They all fell down upon their knees

and waited. At last, and at last, a teeny, tiny mouse poked its

little head and bristles out of the gap and came running down

towards them, and ever after they used to say:

"Much outcry, little outcome."

 

 

The Hares and the Frogs

 The Hares were so persecuted by the other beasts, they did not

know where to go. As soon as they saw a single animal approach

them, off they used to run. One day they saw a troop of wild

Horses stampeding about, and in quite a panic all the Hares

scuttled off to a lake hard by, determined to drown themselves

rather than live in such a continual state of fear. But just as

they got near the bank of the lake, a troop of Frogs, frightened

in their turn by the approach of the Hares scuttled off, and

jumped into the water. "Truly," said one of the Hares, "things

are not so bad as they seem:

"There is always someone worse off than yourself."

 

The Wolf and the Kid

 A Kid was perched up on the top of a house, and looking down

saw a Wolf passing under him. Immediately he began to revile and

attack his enemy. "Murderer and thief," he cried, "what do you

here near honest folks' houses? How dare you make an appearance

where your vile deeds are known?" 

"Curse away, my young friend," said the Wolf. 

"It is easy to be brave from a safe distance."

The Woodman and the Serpent

 One wintry day a Woodman was tramping home from his work when he saw something black lying on the snow. When he came closer he saw it was a Serpent to all appearance dead. But he took it up and put it in his bosom to warm while he hurried home. As soon as he got indoors he put the Serpent down on the hearth before the fire. The children watched it and saw it slowly come to lifea gain. Then one of them stooped down to stroke it, but the Serpent raised its head and put out its fangs and was about to sting the child to death. So the Woodman seized his axe, and with one stroke cut the Serpent in two. "Ah," said he,

"No gratitude from the wicked."

 

 

The Bald Man and the Fly

 There was once a Bald Man who sat down after work on a hot

summer's day. A Fly came up and kept buzzing about his bald pate,

and stinging him from time to time. The Man aimed a blow at his

little enemy, but acks palm came on his head instead;

again the Fly tormented him, but this time the Man was wiser and

said:

 "You will only injure yourself if you take notice of despicable enemies."

 

The Fox and the Stork

 At one time the Fox and the Stork were on visiting terms and

seemed very good friends. So the Fox invited the Stork to dinner,

and for a joke put nothing before her but some soup in a very

shallow dish. This the Fox could easily lap up, but the Stork

could only wet the end of her long bill in it, and left the meal

as hungry as when she began. "I am sorry," said the Fox, "the

soup is not to your liking."

 "Pray do not apologise," said the Stork. "I hope you will

return this visit, and come and dine with me soon." So a day was

appointed when the Fox should visit the Stork; but when they were

seated at table all that was for their dinner was contained in a

very long-necked jar with a narrow mouth, in which the Fox could

not insert his snout, so all he could manage to do was to lick the

outside of the jar.

 "I will not apologise for the dinner," said the Stork:

 

"One bad turn deserves another."

 

The Fox and the Mask

 A Fox had by some means got into the store-room of a theatre.

Suddenly he observed a face glaring down on him and began to be

very frightened; but looking more closely he found it was only a

Mask such as actors use to put over their face. "Ah," said the

Fox, "you look very fine; it is a pity you have not got any

brains."

Outside show is a poor substitute for inner worth.

The Jay and the Peacock

 A Jay venturing into a yard where Peacocks used to walk, found

there a number of feathers which had fallen from the Peacocks when

they were moulting. He tied them all to his tail and strutted

down towards the Peacocks. When he came near them they soon

discovered the cheat, and striding up to him pecked at him and

plucked away his borrowed plumes. So the Jay could do no better

than go back to the other Jays, who had watched his behaviour from

a distance; but they were equally annoyed with him, and told him:

"It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds."

 

The Frog and the Ox

 "Oh Father," said a little Frog to the big one sitting by the

side of a pool, "I have seen such a terrible monster! It was as

big as a mountain, with horns on its head, and a long tail, and it

had hoofs divided in two." 

"Tush, child, tush," said the old Frog, "that was only Farmer

White's Ox. It isn't so big either; he may be a little bit taller

than I, but I could easily make myself quite as broad; just you

see." So he blew himself out, and blew himself out, and blew

himself out. "Was he as big as that?" asked he. 

"Oh, much bigger than that," said the young Frog.

 Again the old one blew himself out, and asked the young one if

the Ox was as big as that. 

"Bigger, father, bigger," was the reply.

 So the Frog took a deep breath, and blew and blew and blew,

and swelled and swelled and swelled. And then he said: "I'm sure

the Ox is not as big asBut at this moment he burst.

 

Self-conceit may lead to self-destruction.

 

Androcles

 A slave named Androcles once escaped from his master and fled

to the forest. As he was wandering about there he came upon a

Lion lying down moaning and groaning. At first he turned to flee,

but finding that the Lion did not pursue him, he turned back and

went up to him. As he came near, the Lion put out his paw, which

was all swollen and bleeding, and Androcles found that a huge

thorn had got into it, and was causing all the pain. He pulled

out the thorn and bound up the paw of the Lion, who was soon able

to rise and lick the hand of Androcles like a dog. Then the Lion

took Androcles to his cave, and every day used to bring him meat

from which to live. But shortly afterwards both Androcles and the

Lion were captured, and the slave was sentenced to be thrown to

the Lion, after the latter had been kept without food for several

days. The Emperor and all his Court came to see the spectacle,

and Androcles was led out into the middle of the arena. Soon the

Lion was let loose from his den, and rushed bounding and roaring

towards his victim. But as soon as he came near to Androcles he

recognised his friend, and fawned upon him, and licked his hands

like a friendly dog. The Emperor, surprised at this, summoned

Androcles to him, who told him the whole story. Whereupon the

slave was pardoned and freed, and the Lion let loose to his native

forest.

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.

 

The Bat, the Birds, and the Beasts

 A great conflict was about to come off between the Birds and

the Beasts. When the two armies were collected together the Bat

hesitated which to join. The Birds that passed his perch said:

"Come with us"; but he said: "I am a Beast." Later on, some

Beasts who were passing underneath him looked up and said: "Come

with us"; but he said: "I am a Bird." Luckily at the last moment

peace was made, and no battle took place, so the Bat came to the

Birds and wished to join in the rejoicings, but they all turned

against him and he had to fly away. He then went to the Beasts,

but soon had to beat a retreat, or else they would have torn him

to pieces. "Ah," said the Bat, "I see now, 

"He that is neither one thing nor the other has no friends."

 

The Hart and the Hunter

 The Hart was once drinking from a pool and admiring the noble

figure he made there. "Ah," said he, "where can you see such

noble horns as these, with such antlers! I wish I had legs more

worthy to bear such a noble crown; it is a pity they are so slim

and slight." At that moment a Hunter approached and sent an arrow

whistling after him. Away bounded the Hart, and soon, by the aid

of his nimble legs, was nearly out of sight of the Hunter; but not

noticing where he was going, he passed under some trees with

branches growing low down in which his antlers were caught, so

that the Hunter had time to come up. "Alas! alas!" cried the

Hart:

"We often despise what is most useful to us."

 

The Serpent and the File

 A Serpent in the course of its wanderings came into an

armourer's shop. As he glided over the floor he felt his skin

pricked by a file lying there. In a rage he turned round upon it

and tried to dart his fangs into it; but he could do no harm to

heavy iron and had soon to give over his wrath.

It is useless attacking the insensible.

 

The Man and the Wood

 A Man came into a Wood one day with an axe in his hand, and

begged all the Trees to give him a small branch which he wanted

for a particular purpose. The Trees were good-natured and gave

him one of their branches. What did the Man do but fix it into

the axe head, and soon set to work cutting down tree after tree.

Then the Trees saw how foolish they had been in giving their enemy

the means of destroying themselves.

 

The Dog and the Wolf

 A gaunt Wolf was almost dead with hunger when he happened to

meet a House-dog who was passing by. "Ah, Cousin," said the Dog.

"I knew how it would be; your irregular life will soon be the ruin

of you. Why do you not work steadily as I do, and get your food

regularly given to you?"  

"I would have no objection," said the Wolf, "if I could only

get a place."  

"I will easily arrange that for you," said the Dog; "come with

me to my master and you shall share my work."

 So the Wolf and the Dog went towards the town together. On

the way there the Wolf noticed that the hair on a certain part of

the Dog's neck was very much worn away, so he asked him how that

had come about.  

"Oh, it is nothing," said the Dog. "That is only the place

where the collar is put on at night to keep me chained up; it

chafes a bit, but one soon gets used to it."

"Is that all?" said the Wolf. "Then good-bye to you, Master

Dog."

 

Better starve free than be a fat slave.

The Belly and the Members

 One fine day it occurred to the Members of the Body that they

were doing all the work and the Belly was having all the food. So

they held a meeting, and after a long discussion, decided to

strike work till the Belly consented to take its proper share of

the work. So for a day or two, the Hands refused to take the

food, the Mouth refused to receive it, and the Teeth had no work

to do. But after a day or two the Members began to find that they

themselves were not in a very active condition: the Hands could

hardly move, and the Mouth was all parched and dry, while the Legs

were unable to support the rest. So thus they found that even the

Belly in its dull quiet way was doing necessary work for the Body,

and that all must work together or the Body will go to pieces.

 

The Hart in the Ox-Stall

 A Hart hotly pursued by the hounds fled for refuge into an

ox-stall, and buried itself in a truss of hay, leaving nothing to

be seen but the tips of his horns. Soon after the Hunters came up

and asked if any one had seen the Hart. The stable boys, who had

been resting after their dinner, looked round, but could see

nothing, and the Hunters went away. Shortly afterwards the master

came in, and looking round, saw that something unusual had taken

place. He pointed to the truss of hay and said: "What are those

two curious things sticking out of the hay?" And when the stable

boys came to look they discovered the Hart, and soon made an end

of him. He thus learnt that

Nothing escapes the master's eye.

 

The Fox and the Grapes

 One hot summer's day a Fox was strolling through an orchard

till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which

had been trained over a lofty branch. "Just the thing to quench

my thirst," quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and

a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a

One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again

and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to

give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: "I

am sure they are sour." 

It is easy to despise what you cannot get.

 

The Horse, Hunter, and Stag

A quarrel had arisen between the Horse and the Stag, so the

Horse came to a Hunter to ask his help to take revenge on the

Stag. The Hunter agreed, but said: "If you desire to conquer the

Stag, you must permit me to place this piece of iron between your

jaws, so that I may guide you with these reins, and allow this

saddle to be placed upon your back so that I may keep steady upon

you as we follow after the enemy." The Horse agreed to the

conditions, and the Hunter soon saddled and bridled him. Then

with the aid of the Hunter the Horse soon overcame the Stag, and

said to the Hunter: "Now, get off, and remove those things from my

mouth and back."

"Not so fast, friend," said the Hunter. "I have now got you

under bit and spur, and prefer to keep you as you are at present."

If you allow men to use you for your own purposes,

they will use you for theirs.

The Peacock and Juno

 A Peacock once placed a petition before Juno desiring to have

the voice of a nightingale in addition to his other attractions;

but Juno refused his request. When he persisted, and pointed out

that he was her favourite bird, she said: 

"Be content with your lot; one cannot be first in everything."

 

The Fox and the Lion

 When first the Fox saw the Lion he was terribly frightened,

and ran away and hid himself in the wood. Next time however he

came near the King of Beasts he stopped at a safe distance and

watched him pass by. The third time they came near one another

the Fox went straight up to the Lion and passed the time of day

with him, asking him how his family were, and when he should have

the pleasure of seeing him again; then turning his tail, he parted

from the Lion without much ceremony.

Familiarity breeds contempt.

 

The Lion and the Statue

 A Man and a Lion were discussing the relative strength of men

and lions in general. The Man contended that he and his fellows

were stronger than lions by reason of their greater intelligence.

"Come now with me," he cried, "and I will soon prove that I am

right." So he took him into the public gardens and showed him a

statue of Hercules overcoming the Lion and tearing his mouth in

two.

 "That is all very well," said the Lion, "but proves nothing,

for it was a man who made the statue."

We can easily represent things as we wish them to be.

 

The Ant and the Grasshopper

 In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hopping about,

chirping and singing to its heart's content. An Ant passed by,

bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the

nest. 

"Why not come and chat with me," said the Grasshopper,

"instead of toiling and moiling in that way?"

 "I am helping to lay up food for the winter," said the Ant,

"and recommend you to do the same."

 "Why bother about winter?" said the Grasshopper; we have got

plenty of food at present." But the Ant went on its way and

continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no

food and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants

distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had

collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew:

It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.

 

The Tree and the Reed

 "Well, little one," said a Tree to a Reed that was growing at

its foot, "why do you not plant your feet deeply in the ground,

and raise your head boldly in the air as I do?"

 "I am contented with my lot," said the Reed. "I may not be so

grand, but I think I am safer."

 "Safe!" sneered the Tree. "Who shall pluck me up by the roots

or bow my head to the ground?" But it soon had to repent of its

boasting, for a hurricane arose which tore it up from its roots,

and cast it a useless log on the ground, while the little Reed,

bending to the force of the wind, soon stood upright again when

the storm had passed over.

Obscurity often brings safety.

 

The Fox and the Cat

 A Fox was boasting to a Cat of its clever devices for escaping

its enemies. "I have a whole bag of tricks," he said, "which

contains a hundred ways of escaping my enemies."

 "I have only one," said the Cat; "but I can generally manage

with that." Just at that moment they heard the cry of a pack of

hounds coming towards them, and the Cat immediately scampered up a tree and hid herself in the boughs. "This is my plan," said the

Cat. "What are you going to do?" The Fox thought first of one

way, then of another, and while he was debating the hounds came

nearer and nearer, and at last the Fox in his confusion was caught

up by the hounds and soon killed by the huntsmen. Miss Puss, who

had been looking on, said:

 "Better one safe way than a hundred on which you cannot reckon."

 

The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

 A Wolf found great difficulty in getting at the sheep owing to

the vigilance of the shepherd and his dogs. But one day it found

the skin of a sheep that had been flayed and thrown aside, so it

put it on over its own pelt and strolled down among the sheep.

The Lamb that belonged to the sheep, whose skin the Wolf was

wearing, began to follow the Wolf in the Sheep's clothing; so,

leading the Lamb a little apart, he soon made a meal off her, and

for some time he succeeded in deceiving the sheep, and enjoying

hearty meals.

Appearances are deceptive.

The Dog in the Manger

 A Dog looking out for its afternoon nap jumped into the Manger

of an Ox and lay there cosily upon the straw. But soon the Ox,

returning from its afternoon work, came up to the Manger and

wanted to eat some of the straw. The Dog in a rage, being

awakened from its slumber, stood up and barked at the Ox, and

whenever it came near attempted to bite it. At last the Ox had to

give up the hope of getting at the straw, and went away muttering:

 "Ah, people often grudge others what they cannot enjoy themselves."

The Man and the Wooden God

 In the old days men used to worship stocks and stones and

idols, and prayed to them to give them luck. It happened that a

Man had often prayed to a wooden idol he had received from his

father, but his luck never seemed to change. He prayed and he

prayed, but still he remained as unlucky as ever. One day in the

greatest rage he went to the Wooden God, and with one blow swept

it down from its pedestal. The idol broke in two, and what did he

see? An immense number of coins flying all over the place.

 

The Fisher

 A Fisher once took his bagpipes to the bank of a river, and

played upon them with the hope of making the fish rise; but never

a one put his nose out of the water. So he cast his net into the

river and soon drew it forth filled with fish. Then he took his

bagpipes again, and, as he played, the fish leapt up in the net.

"Ah, you dance now when I play," said he.

"Yes," said an old Fish:

 "When you are in a man's power you must do as he bids you."

 

The Shepherd's Boy

 There was once a young Shepherd Boy who tended his sheep at

the foot of a mountain near a dark forest. It was rather lonely

for him all day, so he thought upon a plan by which he could get a

little company and some excitement. He rushed down towards the

village calling out "Wolf, Wolf," and the villagers came out to

meet him, and some of them stopped with him for a considerable

time. This pleased the boy so much that a few days afterwards he

tried the same trick, and again the villagers came to his help.

But shortly after this a Wolf actually did come out from the

forest, and began to worry the sheep, and the boy of course cried

out "Wolf, Wolf," still louder than before. But this time the

villagers, who had been fooled twice before, thought the boy was

again deceiving them, and nobody stirred to come to his help. So

the Wolf made a good meal off the boy's flock, and when the boy

complained, the wise man of the village said:

"A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth."

 

The Young Thief and His Mother

A young Man had been caught in a daring act of theft and had

been condemned to be executed for it. He expressed his desire to

see his Mother, and to speak with her before he was led to

execution, and of course this was granted. When his Mother came

to him he said: "I want to whisper to you," and when she brought

her ear near him, he nearly bit it off. All the bystanders were

horrified, and asked him what he could mean by such brutal and

inhuman conduct. "It is to punish her," he said. "When I was

young I began with stealing little things, and brought them home

to Mother. Instead of rebuking and punishing me, she laughed and

said: "It will not be noticed." It is because of her that I am

here to-day."

 "He is right, woman," said the Priest; "the Lord hath said:

 "Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart therefrom."

 

The Man and His Two Wives

 In the old days, when men were allowed to have many wives, a

middle-aged Man had one wife that was old and one that was young;

each loved him very much, and desired to see him like herself.

Now the Man's hair was turning grey, which the young Wife did not

like, as it made him look too old for her husband. So every night

she used to comb his hair and pick out the white ones. But the

elder Wife saw her husband growing grey with great pleasure, for

she did not like to be mistaken for his mother. So every morning

she used to arrange his hair and pick out as many of the black

ones as she could. The consequence was the Man soon found himself

entirely bald.

Yield to all and you will soon have nothing to yield.

 

The Nurse and the Wolf

 "Be quiet now," said an old Nurse to a child sitting on her

lap. "If you make that noise again I will throw you to the Wolf."

 

Now it chanced that a Wolf was passing close under the window

as this was said. So he crouched down by the side of the house

and waited. "I am in good luck to-day," thought he. "It is sure

to cry soon, and a daintier morsel I haven't had for many a long

day." So he waited, and he waited, and he waited, till at last

the child began to cry, and the Wolf came forward before the

window, and looked up to the Nurse, wagging his tail. But all the

Nurse did was to shut down the window and call for help, and the

dogs of the house came rushing out. "Ah," said the Wolf as he

galloped away,

"Enemies promises were made to be broken."

 

The Tortoise and the Birds

 A Tortoise desired to change its place of residence, so he

asked an Eagle to carry him to his new home, promising her a rich

reward for her trouble. The Eagle agreed and seizing the Tortoise

by the shell with her talons soared aloft. On their way they met

a Crow, who said to the Eagle: "Tortoise is good eating." "The

shell is too hard," said the Eagle in reply. "The rocks will soon

crack the shell," was the Crow's answer; and the Eagle, taking the

hint, let fall the Tortoise on a sharp rock, and the two birds

made a hearty meal of the Tortoise.

Never soar aloft on an enemy's pinions.

 

The Two Crabs

 One fine day two Crabs came out from their home to take a

stroll on the sand. "Child," said the mother, "you are walking

very ungracefully. You should accustom yourself, to walking

straight forward without twisting from side to side." 

"Pray, mother," said the young one, "do but set the example

yourself, and I will follow you." 

Example is the best precept.

 

The Ass in the Lion's Skin

 An Ass once found a Lion's skin which the hunters had left out

in the sun to dry. He put it on and went towards his native

village. All fled at his approach, both men and animals, and he

was a proud Ass that day. In his delight he lifted up his voice

and brayed, but then every one knew him, and his owner came up and

gave him a sound cudgelling for the fright he had caused. And

shortly afterwards a Fox came up to him and said: "Ah, I knew you

by your voice." 

Fine clothes may disguise, but silly words will disclose a fool.

 

The Two Fellows and the Bear

 Two Fellows were travelling together through a wood, when a

Bear rushed out upon them. One of the travellers happened to be

in front, and he seized hold of the branch of a tree, and hid

himself among the leaves. The other, seeing no help for it, threw

himself flat down upon the ground, with his face in the dust. The

Bear, coming up to him, put his muzzle close to his ear, and

sniffed and sniffed. But at last with a growl he shook his head

and slouched off, for bears will not touch dead meat. Then the

fellow in the tree came down to his comrade, and, laughing, said

"What was it that Master Bruin whispered to you?"

 "He told me," said the other, 

"Never trust a friend who deserts you at a pinch."

 

The Two Pots

 Two Pots had been left on the bank of a river, one of brass,

and one of earthenware. When the tide rose they both floated off

down the stream. Now the earthenware pot tried its best to keep

aloof from the brass one, which cried out: "Fear nothing, friend,

I will not strike you." 

"But I may come in contact with you," said the other, "if I

come too close; and whether I hit you, or you hit me, I shall

suffer for it." 

The strong and the weak cannot keep company.

 

The Four Oxen and the Lion

 A Lion used to prowl about a field in which Four Oxen used to

dwell. Many a time he tried to attack them; but whenever he came

near they turned their tails to one another, so that whichever way

he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them. At

last, however, they fell a-quarrelling among themselves, and each

went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field. Then

the Lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all

four. 

United we stand, divided we fall.

 

The Fisher and the Little Fish

 It happened that a Fisher, after fishing all day, caught only

a little fish. "Pray, let me go, master," said the Fish. "I am

much too small for your eating just now. If you put me back into

the river I shall soon grow, then you can make a fine meal off

me."

 "Nay, nay, my little Fish," said the Fisher, "I have you now.

I may not catch you hereafter."

 A little thing in hand is worth more than a great thing in prospect.

 

Avaricious and Envious

 Two neighbours came before Jupiter and prayed him to grant

their hearts' desire. Now the one was full of avarice, and the

other eaten up with envy. So to punish them both, Jupiter granted

that each might have whatever he wished for himself, but only on

condition that his neighbour had twice as much. The Avaricious

man prayed to have a room full of gold. No sooner said than done;

but all his joy was turned to grief when he found that his

neighbour had two rooms full of the precious metal. Then came the

turn of the Envious man, who could not bear to think that his

neighbour had any joy at all. So he prayed that he might have one

of his own eyes put out, by which means his companion would become totally blind.

 

Vices are their own punishment.

 

The Crow and the Pitcher

 A Crow, half-dead with thirst, came upon a Pitcher which had

once been full of water; but when the Crow put its beak into the

mouth of the Pitcher he found that only very little water was left

in it, and that he could not reach far enough down to get at it.

He tried, and he tried, but at last had to give up in despair.

Then a thought came to him, and he took a pebble and dropped it

into the Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped it into

the Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into

the Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into

the Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into

the Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into

the Pitcher. At last, at last, he saw the water mount up near

him, and after casting in a few more pebbles he was able to quench

his thirst and save his life.

 

Little by little does the trick.

 

The Man and the Satyr

 A Man had lost his way in a wood one bitter winter's night.

As he was roaming about, a Satyr came up to him, and finding that

he had lost his way, promised to give him a lodging for the night,

and guide him out of the forest in the morning. As he went along

to the Satyr's cell, the Man raised both his hands to his mouth

and kept on blowing at them. "What do you do that for?" said the

Satyr.  

"My hands are numb with the cold," said the Man, "and my

breath warms them." 

After this they arrived at the Satyr's home, and soon the

Satyr put a smoking dish of porridge before him. But when the Man

raised his spoon to his mouth he began blowing upon it. "And what

do you do that for?" said the Satyr.

 "The porridge is too hot, and my breath will cool it."

 "Out you go," said the Satyr. "I will have nought to do with

a man who can blow hot and cold with the same breath."

 

The Goose With the Golden Eggs

 One day a countryman going to the nest of his Goose found

there an egg all yellow and glittering. When he took it up it was

as heavy as lead and he was going to throw it away, because he

thought a trick had been played upon him. But he took it home on

second thoughts, and soon found to his delight that it was an egg

of pure gold. Every morning the same thing occurred, and he soon

became rich by selling his eggs. As he grew rich he grew greedy;

and thinking to get at once all the gold the Goose could give, he

killed it and opened it only to find nothing.

Greed oft o'er reaches itself.

 

The Labourer and the Nightingale

 A Labourer lay listening to a Nightingale's song throughout

the summer night. So pleased was he with it that the next night

he set a trap for it and captured it. "Now that I have caught

thee," he cried, "thou shalt always sing to me."

 "We Nightingales never sing in a cage." said the bird.

 "Then I'll eat thee." said the Labourer. "I have always heard

say that a nightingale on toast is dainty morsel."

 "Nay, kill me not," said the Nightingale; "but let me free,

and I'll tell thee three things far better worth than my poor

body." The Labourer let him loose, and he flew up to a branch of

a tree and said: "Never believe a captive's promise; that's one

thing. Then again: Keep what you have. And third piece of advice

is: Sorrow not over what is lost forever." Then the song-bird

flew away.

The Fox, the Cock, and the Dog

One moonlight night a Fox was prowling about a farmer's

hen-coop, and saw a Cock roosting high up beyond his reach. "Good

news, good news!" he cried. 

"Why, what is that?" said the Cock. 

"King Lion has declared a universal truce. No beast may hurt

a bird henceforth, but all shall dwell together in brotherly

friendship." 

"Why, that is good news," said the Cock; "and there I see some

one coming, with whom we can share the good tidings." And so

saying he craned his neck forward and looked afar off.

 "What is it you see?" said the Fox.

 "It is only my master's Dog that is coming towards us. What,

going so soon?" he continued, as the Fox began to turn away as

soon as he had heard the news. "Will you not stop and

congratulate the Dog on the reign of universal peace?"

 "I would gladly do so," said the Fox, "but I fear he may not

have heard of King Lion's decree."

Cunning often outwits itself.

 

The Wind and the Sun

 The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger.

Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun

said: "I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can

cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as

the stronger. You begin." So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and

the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller.

But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveller wrap his

cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair.

Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the

traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.

Kindness effects more than severity.

 

Hercules and the Waggoner

 A Waggoner was once driving a heavy load along a very muddy

way. At last he came to a part of the road where the wheels sank

half-way into the mire, and the more the horses pulled, the deeper

sank the wheels. So the Waggoner threw down his whip, and knelt

down and prayed to Hercules the Strong. "O Hercules, help me in

this my hour of distress," quoth he. But Hercules appeared to

him, and said:

"Tut, man, don't sprawl there. Get up and put your shoulder

to the wheel."

The gods help them that help themselves.

 

The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey

 A Man and his son were once going with their Donkey to market.

As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them

and said: "You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?"

 So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their

way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: "See

that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides."

 So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself.

But they hadn't gone far when they passed two women, one of whom

said to the other: "Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little

son trudge along."

 Well, the Man didn't know what to do, but at last he took his

Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to

the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The

Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said:

"Aren't you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey

of yours and your hulking son?"

 The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They

thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied

the donkey's feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to

their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met

them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one

of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end

of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and

his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.

"That will teach you," said an old man who had followed them:

"Please all, and you will please none."

 

The Miser and His Gold

 Once upon a time there was a Miser who used to hide his gold

at the foot of a tree in his garden; but every week he used to go

and dig it up and gloat over his gains. A robber, who had noticed

this, went and dug up the gold and decamped with it. When the

Miser next came to gloat over his treasures, he found nothing but

the empty hole. He tore his hair, and raised such an outcry that

all the neighbours came around him, and he told them how he used

to come and visit his gold. "Did you ever take any of it out?"

asked one of them.

 "Nay," said he, "I only came to look at it."

 "Then come again and look at the hole," said a neighbour; "it

will do you just as much good."

 

Wealth unused might as well not exist.

The Fox and the Mosquitoes

 A Fox after crossing a river got its tail entangled in a bush,

and could not move. A number of Mosquitoes seeing its plight

settled upon it and enjoyed a good meal undisturbed by its tail.

A hedgehog strolling by took pity upon the Fox and went up to him:

"You are in a bad way, neighbour," said the hedgehog; "shall I

relieve you by driving off those Mosquitoes who are sucking your

blood?" 

"Thank you, Master Hedgehog," said the Fox, "but I would

rather not." 

"Why, how is that?" asked the hedgehog.

 "Well, you see," was the answer, "these Mosquitoes have had

their fill; if you drive these away, others will come with fresh

appetite and bleed me to death."

 

The Fox Without a Tail

 It happened that a Fox caught its tail in a trap, and in

struggling to release himself lost all of it but the stump. At

first he was ashamed to show himself among his fellow foxes. But

at last he determined to put a bolder face upon his misfortune,

and summoned all the foxes to a general meeting to consider a

proposal which he had to place before them. When they had

assembled together the Fox proposed that they should all do away

with their tails. He pointed out how inconvenient a tail was when

they were pursued by their enemies, the dogs; how much it was in

the way when they desired to sit down and hold a friendly

conversation with one another. He failed to see any advantage in

carrying about such a useless encumbrance. "That is all very

well," said one of the older foxes; "but I do not think you would

have recommended us to dispense with our chief ornament if you had not happened to lose it yourself."

Distrust interested advice.

 

 

 

The One-Eyed Doe

 A Doe had had the misfortune to lose one of her eyes, and

could not see any one approaching her on that side. So to avoid

any danger she always used to feed on a high cliff near the sea,

with her sound eye looking towards the land. By this means she

could see whenever the hunters approached her on land, and often

escaped by this means. But the hunters found out that she was

blind of one eye, and hiring a boat rowed under the cliff where

she used to feed and shot her from the sea. "Ah," cried she with

her dying voice,

 

"You cannot escape your fate."

 

Belling the Cat

 Long ago, the mice had a general council to consider what

measures they could take to outwit their common enemy, the Cat.

Some said this, and some said that; but at last a young mouse got

up and said he had a proposal to make, which he thought would meet

the case. "You will all agree," said he, "that our chief danger

consists in the sly and treacherous manner in which the enemy

approaches us. Now, if we could receive some signal of her

approach, we could easily escape from her. I venture, therefore,

to propose that a small bell be procured, and attached by a ribbon

round the neck of the Cat. By this means we should always know

when she was about, and could easily retire while she was in the

neighbourhood." 

This proposal met with general applause, until an old mouse

got up and said: "That is all very well, but who is to bell the

Cat?" The mice looked at one another and nobody spoke. Then the

old mouse said: 

"It is easy to propose impossible remedies."

 

The Hare and the Tortoise

 The Hare was once boasting of his speed before the other

animals. "I have never yet been beaten," said he, "when I put

forth my full speed. I challenge any one here to race with me."

 The Tortoise said quietly, "I accept your challenge."

 "That is a good joke," said the Hare; "I could dance round you

all the way."

 "Keep your boasting till you've beaten," answered the

Tortoise. "Shall we race?"

 So a course was fixed and a start was made. The Hare darted

almost out of sight at once, but soon stopped and, to show his

contempt for the Tortoise, lay down to have a nap. The Tortoise

plodded on and plodded on, and when the Hare awoke from his nap,

he saw the Tortoise just near the winning-post and could not run

up in time to save the race. Then said the Tortoise:

"Plodding also wins the race."

 

The Old Man and Death

 An old labourer, bent double with age and toil, was gathering

sticks in a forest. At last he grew so tired and hopeless that he

threw down the bundle of sticks, and cried out: "I cannot bear

this life any longer. Ah, I wish Death would only come and take

me!" 

As he spoke, Death, a grisly skeleton, appeared and said to

him: "What wouldst thou, Mortal? I heard thee call me."

 "Please, sir," replied the woodcutter, "would you kindly help

me to lift this faggot of sticks on to my shoulder?"

 We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified.

 

The Hare With Many Friends

 A Hare was very popular with the other beasts who all claimed

to be her friends. But one day she heard the hounds approaching

and hoped to escape them by the aid of her many Friends. So, she

went to the horse, and asked him to carry her away from the hounds

on his back. But he declined, stating that he had important work

to do for his master. "He felt sure," he said, "that all her

other friends would come to her assistance." She then applied to

the bull, and hoped that he would repel the hounds with his horns.

The bull replied: "I am very sorry, but I have an appointment with

a lady; but I feel sure that our friend the goat will do what you

want." The goat, however, feared that his back might do her some

harm if he took her upon it. The ram, he felt sure, was the

proper friend to apply to. So she went to the ram and told him

the case. The ram replied: "Another time, my dear friend. I do

not like to interfere on the present occasion, as hounds have been

known to eat sheep as well as hares." The Hare then applied, as a

last hope, to the calf, who regretted that he was unable to help

her, as he did not like to take the responsibility upon himself,

as so many older persons than himself had declined the task. By

this time the hounds were quite near, and the Hare took to her

heels and luckily escaped.

 

He that has many friends, has no friends.

 

The Lion in Love

 A Lion once fell in love with a beautiful maiden and proposed

marriage to her parents. The old people did not know what to say.

They did not like to give their daughter to the Lion, yet they did

not wish to enrage the King of Beasts. At last the father said:

"We feel highly honoured by your Majesty's proposal, but you see

our daughter is a tender young thing, and we fear that in the

vehemence of your affection you might possibly do her some injury.

Might I venture to suggest that your Majesty should have your

claws removed, and your teeth extracted, then we would gladly

consider your proposal again." The Lion was so much in love that

he had his claws trimmed and his big teeth taken out. But when he

came again to the parents of the young girl they simply laughed in

his face, and bade him do his worst.

Love can tame the wildest.

 

The Bundle of Sticks

 An old man on the point of death summoned his sons around him

to give them some parting advice. He ordered his servants to

bring in a faggot of sticks, and said to his eldest son: "Break

it." The son strained and strained, but with all his efforts was

unable to break the Bundle. The other sons also tried, but none

of them was successful. "Untie the faggots," said the father,

"and each of you take a stick." When they had done so, he called

out to them: "Now, break," and each stick was easily broken. "You

see my meaning," said their father.

Union gives strength.

 

The Lion, the Fox, and the Beasts

The Lion once gave out that he was sick unto death and

summoned the animals to come and hear his last Will and Testament.

So the Goat came to the Lion's cave, and stopped there listening

for a long time. Then a Sheep went in, and before she came out a

Calf came up to receive the last wishes of the Lord of the Beasts.

But soon the Lion seemed to recover, and came to the mouth of his

cave, and saw the Fox, who had been waiting outside for some time.

"Why do you not come to pay your respects to me?" said the Lion to

the Fox.

 "I beg your Majesty's pardon," said the Fox, "but I noticed

the track of the animals that have already come to you; and while

I see many hoof-marks going in, I see none coming out. Till the

animals that have entered your cave come out again I prefer to

remain in the open air."

It is easier to get into the enemy's toils than out again.

 

The Ass's Brains

 The Lion and the Fox went hunting together. The Lion, on the

advice of the Fox, sent a message to the Ass, proposing to make an

alliance between their two families. The Ass came to the place of

meeting, overjoyed at the prospect of a royal alliance. But when

he came there the Lion simply pounced on the Ass, and said to the

Fox: "Here is our dinner for to-day. Watch you here while I go

and have a nap. Woe betide you if you touch my prey." The Lion

went away and the Fox waited; but finding that his master did not

return, ventured to take out the brains of the Ass and ate them

up. When the Lion came back he soon noticed the absence of the

brains, and asked the Fox in a terrible voice: "What have you done

with the brains?"

"Brains, your Majesty! it had none, or it would never have

fallen into your trap."

Wit has always an answer ready.

 

The Eagle and the Arrow

 An Eagle was soaring through the air when suddenly it heard

the whizz of an Arrow, and felt itself wounded to death. Slowly

it fluttered down to the earth, with its life-blood pouring out of

it. Looking down upon the Arrow with which it had been pierced,

it found that the shaft of the Arrow had been feathered with one

of its own plumes. "Alas!" it cried, as it died,

 

"We often give our enemies the means for our own destruction."

 

The Milkmaid and Her Pail

 Patty the Milkmaid was going to market carrying her milk in a

Pail on her head. As she went along she began calculating what

she would do with the money she would get for the milk. "I'll buy

some fowls from Farmer Brown," said she, "and they will lay eggs

each morning, which I will sell to the parson's wife. With the

money that I get from the sale of these eggs I'll buy myself a new

dimity frock and a chip hat; and when I go to market, won't all

the young men come up and speak to me! Polly Shaw will be that

jealous; but I don't care. I shall just look at her and toss my

head like this. As she spoke she tossed her head back, the Pail

fell off it, and all the milk was spilt. So she had to go home

and tell her mother what had occurred.

 "Ah, my child," said the mother,

"Do not count your chickens before they are hatched."

 

The Cat-Maiden

 The gods were once disputing whether it was possible for a

living being to change its nature. Jupiter said "Yes," but Venus

said "No." So, to try the question, Jupiter turned a Cat into a

Maiden, and gave her to a young man for a wife. The wedding was

duly performed and the young couple sat down to the wedding-feast.

"See," said Jupiter, to Venus, "how becomingly she behaves. Who

could tell that yesterday she was but a Cat? Surely her nature is

changed?"

 "Wait a minute," replied Venus, and let loose a mouse into the

room. No sooner did the bride see this than she jumped up from

her seat and tried to pounce upon the mouse. "Ah, you see," said

Venus,

"Nature will out."

 

The Horse and the Ass

 A Horse and an Ass were travelling together, the Horse

prancing along in its fine trappings, the Ass carrying with

difficulty the heavy weight in its panniers. "I wish I were you,"

sighed the Ass; "nothing to do and well fed, and all that fine

harness upon you." Next day, however, there was a great battle,

and the Horse was wounded to death in the final charge of the day.

His friend, the Ass, happened to pass by shortly afterwards and

found him on the point of death. "I was wrong," said the Ass:

"Better humble security than gilded danger."

 

The Trumpeter Taken Prisoner

 A Trumpeter during a battle ventured too near the enemy and

was captured by them. They were about to proceed to put him to

death when he begged them to hear his plea for mercy. "I do not

fight," said he, "and indeed carry no weapon; I only blow this

trumpet, and surely that cannot harm you; then why should you kill

me?"

 "You may not fight yourself," said the others, "but you

encourage and guide your men to the fight."

Words may be deeds.

 

The Buffoon and the Countryman

 At a country fair there was a Buffoon who made all the people

laugh by imitating the cries of various animals. He finished off

by squeaking so like a pig that the spectators thought that he had

a porker concealed about him. But a Countryman who stood by said:

"Call that a pig s squeak! Nothing like it. You give me till

tomorrow and I will show you what it's like." The audience

laughed, but next day, sure enough, the Countryman appeared on the

stage, and putting his head down squealed so hideously that the

spectators hissed and threw stones at him to make him stop. "You

fools!" he cried, "see what you have been hissing," and held up a

little pig whose ear he had been pinching to make him utter the

squeals.

Men often applaud an imitation and hiss the real thing.

 

The Old Woman and the Wine-Jar

 You must know that sometimes old women like a glass of wine.

One of this sort once found a Wine-jar lying in the road, and

eagerly went up to it hoping to find it full. But when she took

it up she found that all the wine had been drunk out of it. Still

she took a long sniff at the mouth of the Jar. "Ah," she cried,

"What memories cling 'round the instruments of our pleasure."

The Fox and the Goat

 By an unlucky chance a Fox fell into a deep well from which he

could not get out. A Goat passed by shortly afterwards, and asked

the Fox what he was doing down there. "Oh, have you not heard?"

said the Fox; "there is going to be a great drought, so I jumped

down here in order to be sure to have water by me. Why don't you

come down too?" The Goat thought well of this advice, and jumped

down into the well. But the Fox immediately jumped on her back,

and by putting his foot on her long horns managed to jump up to

the edge of the well. "Good-bye, friend," said the Fox, "remember

next time,

"Never trust the advice of a man in difficulties."

 

END.

.

 

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