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THE FABLES OF ÆSOP.
THE LION AND THE MOUSE.
A LlON was awakened from sleep by a Mouse running over his face. Rising up in anger, he caught him and was about to kill him, when the Mouse piteously entreated, saying: "If you would only spare my life, I would be sure to repay your kindness." The Lion laughed and let him go. It happened shortly after this that the Lion was caught by some hunters, who bound him by strong ropes to the ground. The Mouse, recognizing his roar, came up, and gnawed the rope with his teeth, and setting him free, exclaimed: "You ridiculed the idea of my ever being able to help you, not expecting to receive from me any repayment of your favour; but now you know that it is possible for even a Mouse to confer benefits on a Lion."
THE FATHER AND
A FATHER had a family of sons who were perpetually quarrelling among themselves. When he failed to heal their disputes by his exhortations, he determined to give them a practical illustration of the evils of disunion; and for this purpose he one day told them to bring him a bundle of sticks. When they had done so, he placed the faggot into the hands of each of them in succession, and ordered them to break it in pieces. They each tried with all their strength, and were not able to do it. He next unclosed the faggot, and took the sticks separately, one by one, and again put them into their hands, on which they broke them easily. He then addressed them in these words: "My sons, if you are of one mind, and unite to assist each other, you will be as this faggot, uninjured by all the attempts of your enemies; but if you are divided among yourselves, you will be broken as easily as these sticks."
THE WOLF AND THE LAMB.
A WOLF meeting with a Lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea, which should justify to the Lamb himself his right to eat him. He thus addressed him: "Sirrah, last year you grossly insulted me." "Indeed," bleated the Lamb in a mournful tone of voice, "I was not then born." Then said the Wolf, "You feed in my pasture." "No, good sir," replied the Lamb, "I have not yet tasted grass." Again said the Wolf, "You drink of my well." "No," exclaimed the Lamb, "I never yet drank water, for as yet my mother's milk is both food and drink to me." On which the Wolf seized him. and ate him up, saying, "Well! I won't remain supperless, even though you refute every one of my imputations."
The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny.
THE BAT AND THE WEASELS.
A Bat falling upon the ground was caught by a Weasel, of whom he earnestly sought his life. The Weasel refused, saying, that he was by nature the enemy of all birds. The Bat assured him that he was not a bird, but a mouse, and thus saved his life. Shortly afterwards the Bat again fell on the ground, and was caught by another Weasel, whom he likewise entreated not to eat him. The Weasel said that he had a special hostility to mice. The Bat assured him that he was not a mouse, but a bat; and thus a second time escaped.
It is wise to turn circumstances to good account.
THE ASS AND THE GRASSHOPPER.
An Ass having heard some Grasshoppers chirping, was highly enchanted; and, desiring to possess the same charms of melody, demanded what sort of food they lived on, to give them such beautiful voices. They replied, "The dew." The Ass resolved that he would only live upon dew, and in a short time died of hunger.
THE WOLF AND THE CRANE.
A Wolf, having a bone stuck in his throat, hired a Crane, for a large sum, to put her head into his throat and draw out the bone. When the Crane had extracted the bone, and demanded the promised payment, the Wolf, grinning and grinding his teeth, exclaimed: "Why, you have surely already a sufficient recompense, in having been permitted to draw out your head in safety from the mouth and jaws of a wolf."
In serving the wicked, expect no reward, and be thankful if you escape injury for your pains.
THE CHARCOAL-BURNER AND THE FULLER.
A CHARCOAL-BURNER carried on his trade in his own house. One day he met a friend, a Fuller, and entreated him to come and live with him, saying, that they should be far better neighbours, and that their housekeeping expenses would be lessened. The Fuller replied, "The arrangement is impossible as far as I am concerned, for whatever I should whiten, you would immediately blacken again with your charcoal."
Like will draw like.
THE BOY HUNTING LOCUSTS.
A Boy was hunting for locusts. He had caught a goodly number, when he saw a Scorpion, and, mistaking him for a locust, reached out his hand to take him. The Scorpion, showing his sting, said: " If you had but touched me, my friend, you would have lost me, and all your locusts too! "
THE ANTS AND THE GRASSHOPPER.
The Ants were employing a fine winter's day in drying grain collected in the summer time. A Grasshopper, perishing with famine, passed by and earnestly begged for a little food. The Ants inquired of him, "Why did you not treasure up food during the summer?" He replied, "I had not leisure enough. I passed the days in singing." They then said in derision: "If you were foolish enough to sing all the summer, you must dance supperless to bed in the winter."
THE COCK AND THE JEWEL.
A COCK, scratching for food for himself and his hens, found a precious stone; on which he said: "If your owner had found thee, and not I, he would have taken thee up, and have set thee in thy first estate; but I have found thee for no purpose. I would rather have one barleycorn than all the jewels in the world."
THE KINGDOM OF THE LION.
The beasts of the field and forest had a Lion as their king. He was neither wrathful, cruel, nor tyrannical, but just and gentle as a king could be. He made during his reign a royal proclamation for a general assembly of all the birds and beasts, and drew up conditions for an universal league, in which the Wolf and the Lamb, the Panther and the Kid, the Tiger and the Stag, the Dog and the Hare, should live together in perfect peace and amity. The Hare said, "Oh, how I have longed to see this day, in which the weak shall take their place with impunity by the side of the strong."
THE FISHERMAN PIPING.
A FISHERMAN skilled in music took his flute and his nets to the sea-shore. Standing on a projecting rock he played several tunes, in the hope that the fish, attracted by his melody, would of their own accord dance into his net, which he had placed below. At last, having long waited in vain, he laid aside his flute, and casting his net into the sea, made an excellent haul of fish. When he saw them leaping about in the net upon the rock he said: "O you most perverse creatures, when I piped you would not dance, but now that I have ceased you do so merrily."
THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE.
A HARE one day ridiculed the short feet and slow pace of the Tortoise. The latter, laughing, said: "Though you be swift as the wind, I will beat you in a race." The Hare, deeming her assertion to be simply impossible, assented to the proposal; and they agreed that the Fox should choose the course, and fix the goal. On the day appointed for the race they started together. The Tortoise never for a moment stopped, but went on with a slow but steady pace straight to the end of the course. The Hare, trusting to his native swiftness, cared little about the race, and lying down by the wayside, fell fast asleep. At last waking up, and moving as fast as he could, he saw the Tortoise had reached the goal, and was comfortably dozing after her fatigue.
THE TRAVELLER AND HIS DOG.
A TRAVELLER, about to set out on his journey, saw his Dog stand at the door stretching himself. He asked him sharply: "What do you stand gaping there for? Everything is ready but you; so come with me instantly." The Dog, wagging his tail, replied: "O, master! I am quite ready; it is you for whom I am waiting."
The loiterer often imputes delay to his more active friend.
HERCULES AND THE WAGGONER.
A CARTER was driving a waggon along a country lane, when the wheels sank down deep into a rut. The rustic driver, stupified and aghast, stood looking at the waggon, and did nothing but utter loud cries to Hercules to come and help him. Hercules, it is said, appeared, and thus addressed him: — "Put your shoulders to the wheels, my man. Goad on your bullocks, and never more pray to me for help, until you have done your best to help yourself, or depend upon it you will henceforth pray in vain."
Self-help is the best help
THE DOG AND HIS SHADOW.
A Dog, crossing a bridge over a stream with a piece of flesh in his mouth, saw his own shadow in the water, and took it for that of another Dog, with a piece of meat double his own in size. He therefore let go his own, and fiercely attacked the other Dog, to get his larger piece from him. He thus lost both: that which he grasped at in the water, because it was a shadow; and his own, because the stream swept it away.
THE MOLE AND HIS MOTHER.
A Mole, a creature blind from its birth, once said to his mother: "I am sure that I can see, mother!" In the desire to prove to him his mistake, his mother placed before him a few grains of frankincense, and asked, "What is it?" The young Mole said, "It is a pebble." His mother exclaimed: "My son, I am afraid that you are not only blind, but that you have lost your sense of smell."
THE SWALLOW AND THE CROW.
The Swallow and the Crow had a contention about their plumage. The Crow put an end to the dispute by saying: "Your feathers are all very well in the spring, but mine protect me against the winter."
Fine weather friends are not worth much.
THE FARMER AND THE SNAKE.
A Farmer found in the winter time a Snake stiff and frozen with cold. He had compassion on it, and taking it up placed it in his bosom. The Snake on being thawed by the warmth quickly revived, when, resuming its natural instincts, he bit his benefactor, inflicting on him a mortal wound. The Farmer said with his latest breath, "I am rightly served for pitying a scoundrel! "
The greatest benefits will not bind the ungrateful.
THE HERDSMAN AND THE LOST BULL.
A HERDSMAN tending kine in a forest, lost a Bull-calf from the fold. After a Ions and fruitless search, he made a vow that, if he could only discover the thief who had stolen the Calf, he would offer a lamb in sacrifice to Hermes, Pan, and the Guardian Deities of the forest. Not long afterwards, as he ascended a small hillock, he saw at its foot a Lion feeding on the Calf. Terrified at the sight, he lifted his eyes and his hands to heaven, and said: "Just now I vowed to offer a lamb to the Guardian Deities of the forest if I could only find out who had robbed me; but now that I have discovered the thief, I would willingly add a full-grown Bull to the Calf I have lost, if I may only secure my own escape from him in safety."
THE FARMER AND THE STORK.
A FARMER placed nets on his newly-sown plough lands, and caught a quantity of Cranes, which came to pick up his seed. With them he trapped a Stork also. The Stork having his leg fractured by the net, earnestly besought the Farmer to spare his life. "Pray, save me, Master," he said, " and let me go free this once. My broken limb should excite your pity. Besides, I am no Crane, I am a Stork, a bird of excellent character; and see how I love and slave for my father and mother. Look too, at my feathers, they are not the least like to those of a Crane." The Farmer laughed aloud, and said, "It may be all as you say; I only know this, I have taken you with these robbers, the Cranes, and you must die in their company."
Birds of a feather flock together.
THE FAWN AND HIS MOTHER.
A YOUNG Fawn once said to his mother, "You are larger than a dog, and swifter, and more used to running, and you have too your horns as a defence; why, then, Mother! are you always in such a terrible fright of the hounds?" She smiled, and said: "I know full well, my son, that all you say is true. I have the advantages you mention, but yet when I hear only the bark of a single dog I feel ready to faint, and fly away as fast as I can."
No arguments will give courage to the coward.
THE POMEGRANATE, APPLE TREE, AND BRAMBLE.
THE Pomegranate and Apple-tree disputed as to which was the most beautiful. When their strife was at its height, a Bramble from the neighbouring hedge lifted up its voice, and said in a boastful tone: "Pray, my dear friends, in my presence at least cease from such vain disputings."
THE MOUNTAIN IN LABOUR.
A Mountain was once greatly agitated. Loud groans and noises were heard; and crowds of people came from all parts to see what was the matter. While they were assembled in anxious expectation of some terrible calamity, out came a Mouse.
Don't make much ado about nothing.
THE BEAR AND THE FOX.
A BEAR boasted very much of his philanthropy, saying "that of all animals he was the most tender in his regard for man, for he had such respect for him, that he would not even touch his dead body." A Fox hearing these words said with a smile to the Bear, "Oh! that you would eat the dead and not the living."
THE ASS, THE FOX, AND THE LION.
The Ass and the Fox having entered into partnership together for their mutual protection, went out into the forest to hunt. They had not proceeded far, when they met a Lion. The Fox, seeing the imminency of the danger, approached the Lion, and promised to contrive for him the capture of the Ass, if he would pledge his word that his own life should not be endangered. On his assuring him that he would not injure him, the Fox led the Ass to a deep pit, and contrived that he should fall into it. The Lion seeing that the Ass was secured, immediately clutched the Fox, and then attacked the Ass at his leisure
THE FLIES AND THE HONEY-POT.
A JAR of Honey having been upset in a housekeeper's room, a number of flies were attracted by its sweetness, and placing their feet in it, ate it greedily. Their feet however became so smeared with the honey that they could not use their wings, nor release themselves, and were suffocated. Just as they were expiring, they exclaimed, "O foolish creatures that we are, for the sake of a little pleasure we have destroyed ourselves."
Pleasure bought with pains, hurts
THE MAN AND THE LION.
A Man and a Lion travelled together through the forest. They soon began to boast of their respective superiority to each other in strength and prowess. As they were disputing, they passed a statue, carved in stone, which represented "a Lion strangled by a Man." The traveller pointed to it and said: "See there! How strong we are, and how we prevail over even the king of beasts." The Lion replied: "This statue was made by one of you men. If we Lions knew how to erect statues, you would see the Man placed under the paw of the Lion."
One story is good, till another is told.
THE TORTOISE AND THE EAGLE.
A TORTOISE, lazily basking in the sun, complained to the sea-birds of her hard fate, that no one would teach her to fly. An Eagle hovering near, heard her lamentation, and demanded what reward she would give him, if he would er aloft, and float her in the air. "I will give you," she said, "all the riches of the Red Sea." "I will teach you to fly then," said the Eagle; and taking her up in his talons, he carried her almost to the clouds, — when suddenly letting her go, she fell on a lofty mountain, and dashed her shell to pieces. The Tortoise exclaimed in the moment of death: "I have deserved my present fate; for what had I to do with wings and clouds, who can with difficulty move about on the earth?"
If men had all they wished, they would be often ruined.
THE FARMER AND THE CRANES.
SOME Cranes made their feeding grounds on some plough-lands newly sown with wheat. For a long time the Farmer, brandishing an empty sling, chased them away by the terror he inspired; but when the birds found that the sling was only swung in the air, they ceased to take any notice of it, and would not move. The farmer on seeing this, charged his sling with stones, and killed a great number. They at once forsook his plough-lands, and cried to each other, "It is time for us to be off to Liliput: for this man is no longer content to scare us, but begins to show us in earnest what he can do."
If words suffice not, blows must follow.
THE FOX AND THE GOAT.
A Fox having fallen into a deep well, was detained a prisoner there, as he could find no means of escape. A Goat, overcome with thirst, came to the same well, and, seeing the Fox, inquired if the water was good. The Fox, concealing his sad plight under a merryguise, indulged in a lavish praise of the water, saying it was beyond measure excellent, and encouraged him to descend. The Goat, mindful only of his thirst, thoughtlessly jumped down, when just as he quenched his thirst, the Fox informed him of the difficulty they were both in, and suggested a scheme for their common escape. "If," said he, "you will place your fore-feet upon the wall, and bend your head, I will run up your back and escape, and will help you out afterwards." On the Goat readily assenting to this second proposal, the Fox leapt upon his back, and steadying himself with the Goat's horns, reached in safety the mouth of the well, when he immediately made off as fast as he could. The Goat upbraided him with the breach of his bargain, when he turned round and cried out: "You foolish old fellow! If you had as many brains in your head as you have hairs in your beard, you would never have gone down before you had inspected the way up, nor have exposed yourself to dangers from which you had no means of escape."
Look before you leap.
A CONTROVERSY prevailed among the beasts of the field, as to which of the animals deserved the most credit for producing the greatest number of whelps at a birth. They rushed clamorously into the presence of the Lioness, and demanded of her the settlement of the dispute. "And you," they said, "how many sons have you at a birth?" The Lioness laughed at them, and said: "Why! I have only one; but that one is altogether a thorough-bred Lion."
The value is in the worth, not in the number.
THE BEAR AND TWO TRAVELLERS.
Two men were travelling together, when a Bear suddenly met them on their path. One of them climbed up quickly into a tree, and concealed himself in the branches. The other, seeing that he must be attacked, fell flat on the ground, and when the Bear came up and felt him with his snout, and smelt him all over, he held his breath, and feigned the appearance of death as much as he could. The Bear soon left him, for it is said he will not touch a dead body. When he was quite gone, the other traveller descended from the tree, and accosting his friend, jocularly inquired "what it was the Bear had whispered in his ear?" he replied, "He gave me this advice: Never travel with a friend who deserts you at the approach of danger."
Misfortune tests the sincerity of friends.
THE THIRSTY PIGEON.
A PIGEON, oppressed by excessive thirst, saw a goblet of water painted on a sign-board. Not supposing it to be only a picture, she flew towards it with a loud whirr, and unwittingly dashed against the sign-board and jarred herself terribly. Having broken her wings by the blow, she fell to the ground, and was caught by one of the bystanders.
Zeal should not outrun discretion.
THE OXEN AND THE AXLE-TREES.
A HEAVY wagon was being dragged along a country lane by a team of oxen. The axle-trees groaned and creaked terribly: when the oxen turning round, thus addressed the wheels. "Hullo there! why do you make so much noise? We bear all the labour, and we, not you, ought to cry out."
Those who suffer most cry out the least.
THE DOG IN THE MANGER.
A DOG lay in a manger, and by his growling and snapping prevented the oxen from eating the hay which had been placed for them. "What a selfish Dog!" said one of them to his companions; "he cannot eat the hay himself, and yet refuses to allow those to eat who can."
THE SICK LION.
A LlON being unable from old age and infirmities to provide himself with food by force, resolved to do so by artifice. He betook himself to his den, and lying down there, pretended to be sick, taking care that his sickness should be publicly known. The beasts expressed their sorrow, and came one by one to his den to visit him, when the Lion devoured them. After many of the beasts had thus disappeared, the Fox discovered the trick, and presenting himself to the Lion, stood on the outside of the cave, at a respectful distance, and asked of him how he did; to whom he replied, "I am very middling, but why do you stand without? pray enter within to talk with me." The Fox replied, "No, thank you, I notice that there are many prints of feet entering your cave, but I see no trace of any returning."
He is wise who is warned by the misfortunes of others.
THE RAVEN AND THE SWAN.
A Raven saw a Swan, and desired to secure for himself a like beauty of plumage. Supposing that his splendid white colour arose from his washing in the water in which he swam, the Raven left the altars in the neighbourhood of which he picked up his living, and took up his abode in the lakes and pools. But cleansing his feathers as often as he would, he could not change their colour, while through want of food he perished.
Change of habit cannot alter Nature.
THE CAT AND THE COCK.
A Cat caught a Cock, and took counsel with himself how he might find a reasonable excuse for eating him. He accused him as being a nuisance to men, by crowing in the night time, and not permitting them to sleep. The Cock defended himself by saying, that he did this for the benefit of men, that they might rise betimes for their labours. The Cat replied, "Although you abound in specious apologies, I shall not remain supperless;" and he made a meal of him.
THE BOASTING TRAVELLER.
A MAN who had travelled in foreign lands, boasted very much, on returning to his own country, of the many wonderful and heroic things he had done in the different places he had visited. Among other things, he said that when he was at Rhodes he had leapt to such a distance that no man of his day could leap anywhere near him — and as to that, there were in Rhodes many persons who saw him do it, and whom he could call as witnesses. One of the bystanders interrupting him, said: "Now, my good man, if this be all true there is no need of witnesses. Suppose this to be Rhodes; and now for your leap."
THE WOLF IN SHEEP'S
ONCE upon a time a Wolf resolved to disguise his nature by his habit, that so he might get food without stint. Encased in the skin of a sheep, he pastured with the flock, beguiling the shepherd by his artifice. In the evening he was shut up by the shepherd in the fold; the gate was closed, and the entrance made thoroughly secure. The shepherd coming into the fold during the night to provide food for the morrow, caught up the Wolf, instead of a sheep, and killed him with his knife in the fold.
Harm seek, harm find.
THE LION IN LOVE.
A LlON demanded the daughter of a woodcutter in marriage. The Father, unwilling to grant, and yet afraid to refuse his request, hit upon this expedient to rid himself of his importunities. He expressed his willingness to accept him as the suitor of his daughter on one condition; that he should allow him to extract his teeth, and cut off his claws, as his daughter was fearfully afraid of both. The Lion cheerfully assented to the proposal: when however he next repeated his request, the woodman, no longer afraid, set upon him with his club, and drove him away into the forest.
THE GOAT AND THE GOATHERD.
A Goatherd had sought to bring back a stray goat to his flock. He whistled and sounded his horn in vain; the straggler paid no attention to the summons. At last the Goatherd threw a stone, and breaking its horn, besought the Goat not to tell his master. The Goat replied, "Why, you silly fellow, the horn will speak though I be silent."
Do not attempt to hide things which cannot be hid.
A Miser sold all that he had, and bought a lump of gold, which he took and buried in a hole dug in the ground by the side of an old wall, and went daily to look at it. One of his workmen, observing his frequent visits to the spot, watched his movements, discovered the secret of the hidden treasure, and digging down, came to the lump of gold, and stole it. The Miser, on his next visit, found the hole empty, and began to tear his hair, and to make loud lamentations. A neighbour, seeing him overcome with grief, and learning the cause, said, "Pray do not grieve so; but go and take a stone, and place it in the hole, and fancy that the gold is still lying there. It will do you quite the same service; for when the gold was there, you had it not, as you did not make the slightest use of it."
THE FROGS ASKING FOR A KING.
The Frogs, grieved at having no established Ruler, sent ambassadors to Jupiter entreating for a King. He, perceiving their simplicity, cast down a huge log into the lake. The Frogs, terrified at the splash occasioned by its fall, hid themselves in the depths of the pool. But no sooner did they see that the huge log continued motionless, than they swam again to the top of the water, dismissed their fears, and came so to despise it as to climb up, and to squat upon it. After some time they began to think themselves ill-treated in the appointment of so inert a Ruler, and sent a second deputation to Jupiter to pray that he would set over them another sovereign. He then gave them an Eel to govern them. When the Frogs discovered his easy good nature, they yet a third time sent to Jupiter to see that he would once more choose for them another King. Jupiter, displeased at their complaints, sent a Heron, who preyed upon the Frogs day by day till there were none left to croak upon the Lake.
THE PORKER, THE SHEEP, AND THE GOAT.
A YOUNG Pig was shut up in a fold-yard with a Goat and a Sheep. On one occasion the Shepherd laid hold of him, when he grunted, and squeaked, and resisted violently. The Sheep and the Goat complained of his distressing cries, and said, "he often handles us, and we do not cry out." To this he replied, "Your handling and mine are very different things. He catches you only for your wool, or your milk, but he lays hold on me for my very life."
THE BOY AND THE FILBERTS.
A BOY put his hand into a pitcher full of filberts. He grasped as many as he could possibly hold, but when he endeavoured to pull out his hand, he was prevented from doing so by the neck of the pitcher. Unwilling to lose his filberts, and yet unable to withdraw his hand, he burst into tears, and bitterly lamented his disappointment. A bystander said to him, "Be satisfied with half the quantity, and you will readily draw out your hand."
Do not attempt too much at once.
THE LABOURER AND THE SNAKE.
A Snake, having made his hole close to the porch of a cottage, inflicted a severe bite on the Cottager's infant son, of which he died, to the great grief of his parents. The father resolved to kill the Snake, and the next day, on its coming out of its hole for food, took up his axe; but, making too much haste to hit him as he wriggled away, missed his head, and cut off only the end of his tail. After some time the Cottager, afraid lest the Snake should bite him also, endeavoured to make peace, and placed some bread and salt in his hole. The Snake, slightly hissing, said: "There can henceforth be no peace between us; for whenever I see you I shall remember the loss of my tail, and whenever you see me you will be thinking of the death of your son."
No one truly forgets injuries in the presence of him who caused the injury.
THE ASS AND THE MULE.
A MULETEER set forth on a journey, driving before him an Ass and a Mule, both well laden. The Ass, as long as he travelled along the plain, carried his load with ease; but when he began to ascend the steep path of the mountain, he felt his load to be more than he could bear. He entreated his companion to relieve him of a small portion, that he might carry home the rest; but the Mule paid no attention to the request. The Ass shortly afterwards fell down dead under his burden. The Muleteer, not knowing what else to do in so wild a region, placed upon the Mule the load carried by the Ass in addition to his own, and at the top of all placed the hide of the Ass, after he had flayed him. The Mule, groaning beneath his heavy burden, said thus to himself: "I am treated according to my deserts. If I had only been willing to assist the Ass a little in his need, I should not now be bearing, together with his burden, himself as well.''
THE HORSE AND GROOM.
A GROOM used to spend whole days in currycombing and rubbing down his Horse, but at the same time stole his oats, and sold them for his own profit. "Alas!" said the Horse, "if you really wish me to be in good condition, you should groom me less, and feed me more."
Honesty is the best policy.
THE ASS AND THE LAP-DOG.
A Man had an Ass, and a Maltese Lap-dog, a very great beauty. The Ass was left in a stable, and had plenty of oats and hay to eat, just as any other Ass would. The Lap-dog knew many tricks, and was a great favourite with his master, who often fondled him, and seldom went out to dine or to sup without bringing him home some tit-bit to eat, when he frisked and jumped about him in a manner pleasant to see. The Ass, on the contrary, had much work to do, in grinding the corn-mill, and in carrying wood from the forest or burdens from the farm. He often lamented his own hard fate, and contrasted it with the luxury and idleness of the Lap-dog, till at last one day he broke his cords and halter, and galloped into his master's house, kicking up his heels without measure, and frisking and fawning as well as he could. He next tried to jump about his master as he had seen the Lap-dog do, but he broke the table, and smashed all the dishes upon it to atoms. He then attempted to lick his master, and jumped upon his back. The servants hearing the strange hubbub, and perceiving the danger of their master, quickly relieved him, and drove out the Ass to his stable, with kicks, and clubs and cuffs. The Ass, as he returned to his stall beaten nearly to death, thus lamented: "I have brought it all on myself! Why could I not have been contented to labour with my companions, and not wish to be idle all the day like that useless little Lap-dog!"
THE OXEN AND THE BUTCHERS.
The Oxen once on a time sought to destroy the Butchers, who practised a trade destructive to their race. They assembled on a certain day to carry out their purpose, and sharpened their horns for the contest. One of them, an exceedingly old one (for many a field had he ploughed), thus spoke: "These Butchers, it is true, slaughter us, but they do so with skilful hands, and with no unnecessary pain. If we get rid of them, we shall fall into the hands of unskilful operators, and thus suffer a double death: for you may be assured, that though all the Butchers should perish, yet will men never want beef."
Do not be in a hurry to change one evil for another.
THE LION, THE MOUSE, AND THE FOX.
A Liox, fatigued by the heat of a summer's day, fell fast asleep in his den. A Mouse ran over his mane and ears, and woke him from his slumbers. He rose up and shook himself in great wrath, and searched every corner of his den to find the Mouse. A Fox seeing him, said: "A fine Lion you are, to be frightened of a Mouse." "'Tis not the Mouse I fear," said the Lion; "I resent his familiarity and ill-breeding."
Little liberties are great offences.
THE SHEPHERD'S BOY AND WOLF.
A Shepherd-boy, who watched a flock of sheep near a village, brought out the villagers three or four times by crying out, "Wolf! Wolf!' and when his neighbours came to help him, laughed at them for their pains. The Wolf, however, did truly come at last. The Shepherd-boy, now really alarmed, shouted in an agony of terror: "Pray, do come and help me; the Wolf is killing the sheep;" but no one paid any heed to his cries, nor rendered any assistance. The Wolf, having no cause of fear, took it easily, and lacerated or destroyed the whole flock.
There is no believing a liar, even when he speaks the truth.
THE MISCHIEVOUS DOG.
A Dog used to run up quietly to the heels of everyone he met, and to bite them without notice. His master suspended a bell about his neck, that he might give notice of his presence wherever he went. The Dog grew proud of his bell, and went tinkling it all over the market-place. An old hound said to him: "Why do you make such an exhibition of yourself? That bell that you carry is not, believe me, any order of merit, but, on the contrary a mark of disgrace, a public notice to all men to avoid you as an ill-mannered dog."
Notoriety is often mistaken for fame
THE BOYS AND THE FROGS.
Some Boys, playing near a pond, saw a number of Frogs in the water, and began to pelt them with stones. They killed several of them, when one of the Frogs, lifing his head out of the water, cried out: "Pray stop, my boys: what is sport to you, is death to us."
THE SALT MERCHANT AND HIS ASS.
A Pedlar, dealing in salt, drove his Ass to the seashore to buy salt. His road home lay across a stream, in passing which his Ass, making a false step, fell by accident into the water, and rose up again with his load considerably lighter, as the water melted the salt. The Pedlar retraced his steps, and refilled his panniers with a larger quantity of salt than before. When he came again to the stream, the Ass fell down on purpose in the same spot, and, regaining his feet with the weight of his load much diminished, brayed triumphantly as if he had obtained what he desired. The Pedlar saw through his trick, and drove him for the third time to the coast, where he bought a cargo of sponges instead of salt. The Ass, again playing the knave, when he reached the stream, fell down on purpose, when the sponges becoming swollen with the water, his load was very greatly increased; and thus his trick recoiled on himself in fitting to his back a doubled burden.
THE SICK STAG.
A SICK Stag lay down in a quiet corner of its pastureground. His companions came in great numbers to inquire after his health, and each one helped himself to a share of the food which had been placed for his use; so that he died, not from his sickness, but from the failure of the means of living.
Evil companions bring more hurt than profit.
THE GOATHERD AND THE WILD GOATS.
A GOATHERD, driving his flock from their pasture at eventide, found some wild goats mingled among them, and shut them up together with his own for the night.
On the morrow it snowed very hard, so that he could not take the herd to their usual feeding-places, but was obliged to keep them in the fold. He gave his own goats just sufficient food to keep them alive, but fed the strangers more abundantly, in the hope of enticing them to stay with him, and of making them his own. When the thaw set in, he led them all out to feed, and the wild goats scampered away as fast as they could to the mountains. The Goatherd taxed them with their ingratitude in leaving him, when during the storm he had taken more care of them than of his own herd. One of them turning about said to him, "That is the very reason why we are so cautious; for if you yesterday treated us better than the Goats you have had so long, it is plain also that if others came after us, you would, in the same manner, prefer them to ourselves."
Old friends cannot with impunity be sacrificed for new ones.
THE BOY AND THE NETTLES.
A Boy was stung by a Nettle. He ran home and told his mother, saying, "Although it pains me so much, I did but touch it ever so gently." "That was just it," said his mother, "which caused it to sting you. The next time you touch a Nettle, grasp it boldly, and it will be soft as silk to your hand, and not in the least hurt you."
Whatever you do, do with all your might.
THE FOX WHO HAD LOST HIS TAIL.
A Fox caught in a trap, escaped with the loss of his "brush." Henceforth feeling his life a burden from the shame and ridicule to which he was exposed, he schemed to bring all the other Foxes into a like condition with himself, that in the common loss he might the better conceal his own deprivation. He assembled a good many Foxes, and publicly advised them to cut off their tails, saying "that they would not only look much better without them, but that they would get rid of the weight of the brush, which was a very great inconvenience." One of them interrupting him said, " If you had not yourself lost your tail, my friend, you would not thus counsel us."
THE MAN AND HIS TWO SWEETHEARTS.
A MIDDLE-AGED man, whose hair had begun to turn grey, courted two women at the same time. One of them was young; and the other, well advanced in years. The elder woman, ashamed to be courted by a man younger than herself, made a point, whenever her admirer visited her, to pull out some portion of his black hairs. The younger, on the contrary, not wishing to become the wife of an old man, was equally zealous in removing every grey hair she could find. Thus it came to pass, that between them both he very soon found that he had not a hair left on his head.
Those who seek to please everybody please nobody.
An Astronomer used to go out of a night to observe the stars. One evening, as he wandered through the suburbs with his whole attention fixed on the sky, he fell unawares into a deep well. While he lamented and bewailed his sores and bruises, and cried loudly for help, a neighbour ran to the well, and learning what had happened said: "Hark ye, old fellow, why, in striving to pry into what is in heaven, do you not manage to see what is on earth?"
THE VAIN JACKDAW.
JUPITER determined, it is said, to create a sovereign over the birds; and made proclamation that, on a certain day, they should all present themselves before him, when he would himself choose the most beautiful among them to be king. The Jackdaw, knowing his own ugliness, searched through the woods and fields, and collected the feathers which had fallen from the wings of his companions, and stuck them in all parts of his body, hoping thereby to make himself the most beautiful of all. When the appointed day arrived, and the birds had assembled before Jupiter, the Jackdaw also made his appearance in his many-feathered finery. On Jupiter proposing to make him king, on account of the beauty of his plumage, the birds indignantly protested, and each plucking from him his own feathers, the Jackdaw was again nothing but a Jackdaw.
THE WOLVES AND THE SHEEP.
"Why should there always be this internecine and implacable warfare between us?" said the Wolves to the Sheep. "Those evil-disposed Dogs have much to answer for. They always bark whenever we approach you, and attack us before we have done any harm. If you would only dismiss them from your heels, there might soon be treaties of peace and of reconciliation between us." The Sheep, poor silly creatures! were easily beguiled, and dismissed the Dogs. The Wolves destroyed the unguarded flock at their own pleasure.
THE CAT AND THE BIRDS.
A Cat, hearing that the Birds in a certain aviary were ailing, dressed himself up as a physician, and, taking with him his cane and the instruments becoming his profession, went to the aviary, knocked at the door, and inquired of the inmates how they all did, saying that if they were ill, he would be happy to prescribe for them and cure them. They replied, "We are all very well, and shall continue so, if you will only be good enough to go away, and leave us as we are."
THE KID AND THE WOLF.
A KlD standing on the roof of a house, out of harm's way, saw a Wolf passing by: and immediately began to taunt and revile him. The Wolf, looking up, said: "Sirrah! I hear thee: yet it is not thou who mockest me, but the roof on which thou art standing."
Time and place often give the advantage to the weak over the strong.
THE FARMER AND HIS SONS.
A Farmer being on the point of death wished to ensure from his sons the same attention to his farm as he had himself given it. He called them to his bedside, and said, "My sons, there is a great treasure hid in one of my vineyards." The sons after his death took their spades and mattocks, and carefully dug over every portion of their land. They found no treasure, but the vines repaid their labour by an extraordinary and superabundant crop.
THE HEIFER AND THE OX.
A HEIFER saw an Ox hard at work harnessed to a plough, and tormented him with reflections on his unhappy fate in being compelled to labour. Shortly afterwards, at the harvest home, the owner released the Ox from his yoke, but bound the Heifer with cords, and led him away to the altar to be slain in honour ot the festival. The Ox saw what was being done, and said with a smile to the Heifer: "For this you were allowed to live in idleness, because you were presently to be sacrificed."
THE OX AND THE FROG.
An Ox drinking at a pool, trod on a brood of young frogs, and crushed one of them to death. The mother coming up, and missing one of her sons, inquired of his brothers what had become of him. "He is dead, dear mother; for just now a very huge beast with four great feet came to the pool, and crushed him to death with his cloven heel." The Frog, puffing herself out, inquired, "if the beast was as big as that in size." "Cease, mother, to puff yourself out," said her son, "and do not be angry; for you would, I assure you, sooner burst than successfully imitate the hugeness of that monster."
THE OLD WOMAN AND THE PHYSICIAN.
An old woman having lost the use of her eyes, called in a Physician to heal them, and made this bargain with him in the presence of witnesses: that if he should cure her blindness, he should receive from her a sum of money; but if her infirmity remained, she should give him nothing. This agreement being entered into, the Physician, time after time, applied his salve to her eyes, and on every visit taking something away, stole by little and little all her property: and when he had got all she had, he healed her, and demanded the promised payment. The old woman, when she recovered her sight and saw none of her goods in her house, would give him nothing. The Physician insisted on his claim, and, as she still refused, summoned her before the Archons. The old woman standing up in the Court thus spoke: — "This man here speaks the truth in what he says; for I did promise to give him a sum of money, if I should recover my sight: but if I continued blind, I was to give him nothing. Now he declares 'that I am healed! I on the contrary affirm 'that I am still blind;' for when I lost the use of my eyes, I saw in my house various chattels and valuable goods: but now, though he swears I am cured of my blindness, I am not able to see a single thing in it."
THE FIGHTING COCKS AND THE EAGLE.
Two Game Cocks were fiercely fighting for the mastery of the farm-yard. One at last put the other to flight. The vanquished Cock skulked away and hid himself in a quiet corner. The conqueror, flying up to a high wall, flapped his wings and crowed exultingly with all his might. An Eagle sailing through the air pounced upon him, and carried him off in his talons. The vanquished Cock immediately came out of his corner, and ruled henceforth with undisputed mastery.
Pride goes before destruction.
THE CHARGER AND THE MILLER.
A CHARGER, feeling the infirmities of age, betook him to a mill instead of going out to battle. But when he was compelled to grind instead of serving in the wars, he bewailed his change of fortune, and called to mind his former state, saying, "Ah! Miller, I had indeed to go a campaigning before, but I was barbed from counter to tail, and a man went along to groom me; and now, I cannot tell what ailed me to prefer the mill before the battle." "Forbear," said the Miller to him, "harping on what was of yore, for it is the common lot of mortals to sustain the ups and downs of fortune."
THE FOX AND THE MONKEY.
A Monkey once danced in an assembly of the Beasts, and so pleased them all by his performance that they elected him their King. A Fox envying him the honour, discovered a piece of meat lying in a trap, and leading the Monkey to the place where it was said, "that she had found a store, but had not used it, but had kept it for him as treasure trove of his kingdom, and counselled him to lay hold of it." The Monkey approached carelessly, and was caught in the trap; and on his accusing the Fox of purposely leading him into the snare, she replied, "O Monkey, and are you, with such a mind as yours, going to be King over the Beasts?"
THE HORSE AND HIS RIDER.
A HORSE Soldier took the utmost pains with his charger. As long as the war lasted, he looked upon him as his fellow-helper in all emergencies, and fed him carefully with hay and corn.
When the war was over, he only allowed him chaff to eat, and made him carry heavy loads of wood, and subjected him to much slavish drudgery and ill-treatment. War, however, being again proclaimed, and the trumpet summoning him to his standard, the Soldier put on his charger its military trappings, and mounted, being clad in his heavy coat of mail. The Horse fell down straightway under the weight, no longer equal to the burden, and said to his master, "You must now e'en go to the war on foot, for you have transformed me from a Horse into an Ass; and how can you expect that I can again turn in a moment from an Ass to a Horse?"
THE BELLY AND THE MEMBERS.
The members of the Body rebelled against the Belly, and said, "Why should we be perpetually engaged in administering to your wants, while you do nothing but take your rest, and enjoy yourself in luxury and selfindulgence ?" The members carried out their resolve, and refused their assistance to the Body. The whole Body quickly became debilitated, and the hands, feet, mouth, and eyes, when too late, repented of their folly.
THE VINE AND THE GOAT.
A Vine was luxuriant in the time of vintage with leaves and grapes. A Goat, passing by, nibbled its young tendrils and its leaves. The Vine addressed him, and said: "Why do you thus injure me without a cause, and crop my leaves? Is there no young grass left? But I shall not have to wait long for my just revenge; for if you now should crop my leaves, and cut me down to my root, I shall provide the wine to pour over you when you are led as a victim to the sacrifice."
JUPITER AND THE MONKEY.
Jupiter issued a proclamation to all the beasts of the forest, and promised a royal reward to the one whose offspring should be deemed the handsomest. The Monkey came with the rest, and presented, with all a mother's tenderness, a flat-nosed, hairless, ill-featured young Monkey as a candidate for the promised reward. A general laugh saluted her on the presentation of her son. She resolutely said, "I know not whether Jupiter will allot the prize to my son; but this I do know, that he is at least in the eyes of me his mother, the dearest, handsomest, and most beautiful of all."
THE WIDOW AND HER LITTLE MAIDENS.
A WIDOW woman, fond of cleaning, had two little maidens to wait on her. She was in the habit of waking them early in the morning, at cockcrow. The maidens being aggrieved by such excessive labour, resolved to kill the cock who roused their mistress so early. When they had done this, they found that they had only prepared for themselves greater troubles, for their mistress, no longer hearing the hour from the cock, woke them up to their work in the middle of the night.
THE HAWK, THE KITE, AND THE PIGEONS.
THE Pigeons, terrified by the appearance of a Kite, called upon the Hawk to defend them. He at once consented. When they had admitted him into the cote, they found that he made more havoc and slew a larger number of them in one day, than the Kite could pounce upon in a whole year.
Avoid a remedy that is worse than the disease.
THE DOLPHINS, THE WHALES, AND THE SPRAT.
The Dolphins and Whales waged a fierce warfare with each other. When the battle was at its height, a Sprat lifted its head out of the waves, and said that he would reconcile their differences, if they would accept him as an umpire. One of the Dolphins replied, "We would far rather be destroyed in our battle with each other, than admit any interference from you in our affairs."
SWALLOW, THE SERPENT, AND THE COURT OF JUSTICE.
A Swallow, returning from abroad, and ever fond of dwelling with men, built herself a nest in the wall of a Court of Justice, and there hatched seven young birds. A Serpent gliding past the nest, from its hole in the wall, ate up the young unfledged nestlings. The Swallow finding her nest empty, lamented greatly, and exclaimed: "Woe to me a stranger! that in this place where all others' rights are protected, I alone should suffer wrong."
THE TWO POTS.
A RIVER carried down in its stream two Pots, one made of earthenware, and the other of brass. The Earthen Pot said to the Brass Pot, "Pray keep at a distance, and do not come near me: for if you touch me ever so slightly, I shall be broken in pieces; and besides, I by no means wish to come near you."
Equals make the best friends.
THE SHEPHERD AND THE WOLF.
A Shepherd once found the whelp of a Wolf, and brought it up, and after a while taught it to steal lambs from the neighbouring flocks. The Wolf having shown himself an apt pupil, said to the Shepherd, "Since you have taught me to steal, you must keep a sharp look-out, or you will lose some of your own flock."
THE CRAB AND ITS MOTHER.
A Crab said to her son, "Why do you walk so one-sided, my child? It is far more becoming to go straightforward." The young Crab replied: "Quite true, dear mother; and if you will show me the straight way, I will promise to walk in it." The mother tried in vain, and submitted without remonstrance to the reproof of her child.
Example is more powerful than precept.
THE FATHER AND HIS TWO DAUGHTERS.
A MAN had two daughters, the one married to a gardener, and the other to a tile-maker. After a time he went to the daughter who had married the gardener, and inquired how she was, and how all things went with her. She said, "All things are prospering with me, and I have only one wish, that there may be a heavy fall of rain, in order that the plants may be well watered." Not long after he went to the daughter who had married the tile-maker, and likewise inquired of her how she fared; she replied, "I want for nothing, and have only one wish, that the dry weather may continue, and the sun shine hot and bright, so that the bricks might be dried." He said to her, "If your sister wishes for rain, and you for dry weather, with which of the two am I to join my wishes?"
THE THIEF AND HIS MOTHER.
A Boy stole a lesson-book from one of his schoolfellows, and took it home to his mother. She not only abstained from beating him, but encouraged him. He next time stole a cloak and brought it to her, when she yet further commended him. The Youth, advanced to man's estate, proceeded to steal things of greater value. At last he was taken in the very act, and, having his hands bound behind him, was led away to the place of public execution. His mother followed in the crowd and violently beat her breast in sorrow, whereon the young man said, "I wish to say something to my mother in her ear." She came close to him, when he quickly seized her ear with his teeth and bit it off. The Mother upbraided him as an unnatural child, whereon he replied, "Ah! if you had beaten me, when I first stole and brought to you that lessonbook, I should not have come to this, nor have been thus led to a disgraceful death."
THE OLD MAN AND DEATH.
An old man was employed in cutting wood in the forest, and, in carrying the faggots into the city for sale one day, being very wearied with his long journey, he sat down by the wayside, and, throwing down his load, besought "Death to come." Death immediately appeared, in answer to his summons, and asked for what reason he had called him. The old man replied, "That, lifting up the load, you may place it again upon my shoulders."
THE FIR TREE AND THE BRAMBLE.
A FlR Tree said boastingly to the Bramble, "You are useful for nothing at all; while I am everywhere used for roofs and houses." The Bramble made answer: "You poor creature, if you would only call to mind the axes and saws which are about to hew you down, you would have reason to wish that you had grown up a Bramble, not a Fir Tree."
Better poverty without care, than riches with.
THE MOUSE, THE FROG, AND THE HAWK.
A Mouse who always lived on the land, by an unlucky chance formed an intimate acquaintance with a Frog, who lived for the most part in the water. The Frog, one day intent on mischief, bound the foot of the Mouse tightly to his own. Thus joined together, the Frog first of all led his friend the Mouse to the meadow where they were accustomed to find their food. After this, he gradually led him towards the pool in which he lived, until he reached the very brink, when suddenly jumping in he dragged the Mouse in with him. The Frog enjoyed the water amazingly, and swam croaking about, as if he had done a meritorious action. The unhappy Mouse was soon suffocated with the water, and his dead body floated about on the surface, tied to the foot of the Frog. A Hawk observed it, and, pouncing upon it with his talons, carried it up aloft. The Frog being still fastened to the leg of the Mouse, was also carried off a prisoner, and was eaten by the Hawk.
Harm hatch, harm catch.
The purchaser of a black servant was persuaded that the colour of his skin arose from dirt contracted through the neglect of his former masters. On bringing him home he resorted to every means of cleaning, and subjected him to incessant scrubbings. He caught a severe cold, but he never changed his colour or complexion.
What's bred in the bone will stick to the flesh.
THE FISHERMAN AND HIS NETS.
A Fisherman, engaged in his calling, made a very successful cast, and captured a great haul of fish. He managed by a skilful handling of his net to retain all the large fish, and to draw them to the shore; but he could not prevent the smaller fish from falling back through the meshes of the net into the sea.
THE WOLF AND THE SHEEP.
A WOLF, sorely wounded and bitten by dogs, lay sick and maimed in his lair. Being in want of food, he called to a Sheep, who was passing, and asked him to fetch some water from a stream flowing close beside him. "For," he said, "if you will bring me drink, I will find means to provide myself with meat." "Yes," said the Sheep, "if I should bring you the draught, you would doubtless make me provide the meat also."
Hypocritical speeches are easily seen through.
THE MAN BITTEN BY A DOG.
A Man who had been bitten by a Dog, went about in quest of some one who might heal him. A friend meeting him, and learning what he wanted, said, "If you would be cured, take a piece of bread, and dip it in the blood from your wound, and go and give it to the Dog that bit you." The Man who had been bitten, laughed at this advice, and said, "Why? If I should do so, it would be as if I should pray every Dog in the town to bite me."
Benefits bestowed upon the evil-disposed, increase their means of injuring you.
THE HUNTSMAN AND THE FISHERMAN.
A HUNTSMAN, returning with his dogs from the field, fell in by chance with a Fisherman, bringing home a basket well laden with fish. The Huntsman wished to have the fish; and their owner experienced an equal longing for the contents of the game-bag. They quickly agreed to exchange the produce of their day's sport. Each was so well pleased with his bargain, that they made for some time the same exchange day after day. A neighbour said to them, "If you go on in this way, you will soon destroy, by frequent use, the pleasure of your exchange, and each will again wish to retain the fruits of his own sport."
Abstain and enjoy.
THE FOX AND THE CROW.
A CROW having stolen a bit of flesh, perched in a tree, and held it in her beak. A Fox seeing her, longed to possess himself of the flesh: and by a wily stratagem succeeded. "How handsome is the Crow," he exclaimed, "in the beauty of her shape and in the fairness of her complexion! Oh, if her voice were only equal to her beauty, she would deservedly be considered the Queen of Birds!" This he said deceitfully; but the Crow, anxious to refute the reflection cast upon her voice, set up a loud caw, and dropped the flesh. The Fox quickly picked it up, and thus addressed the Crow: "My good Crow, your voice is right enough, but your wit is wanting."
THE TWO DOGS.
A Man had two dogs; a Hound, trained to assist him in his sports, and a House-dog, taught to watch the house. When he returned home after a good day's sport, he always gave the House-dog a large share of his spoil. The Hound feeling much aggrieved at this reproached his companion, saying, "It is very hard to have all this labour, while you, who do not assist in the chase, luxuriate on the fruits of my exertions." The House-dog replied, "Do not blame me, my friend, but find fault with the master, who has not taught me to labour, but to depend for subsistence on the labour of others."
Children are not to be blamed for the faults of their parents.
THE OLD WOMAN AND THE WINE-JAR.
An Old Woman found an empty jar which had lately been full of prime old wine, and which still retained the fragrant smell of its former contents. She greedily placed it several times to her nose, and drawing it backwards and forwards said, "O most delicious! How nice must the Wine itself have been, when it leaves behind in the very vessel which contained it so sweet a perfume!"
The memory of a good deed lives.
THE WIDOW AND THE SHEEP.
A CERTAIN poor Widow had one solitary Sheep. At shearing time, wishing to take his fleece, and to avoid expense, she sheared him herself, but used the shears so unskilfully, that with the fleece she sheared the flesh. The Sheep, writhing with pain, said, "Why do you hurt me so, Mistress? What weight can my blood add to the wool? If you want my flesh, there is the butcher, who will kill me in a trice; but if you want my fleece and wool, there is the shearer, who will shear and not hurt me."
The least outlay is not always the greatest gain.
THE WILD ASS AND THE LION.
A WILD Ass and a Lion entered into an alliance that they might capture the beasts of the forest with the greater ease. The Lion agreed to assist the Wild Ass with his strength, while the Wild Ass gave the Lion the benefit of his greater speed. When they had taken as many beasts as their necessities required, the Lion undertook to distribute the prey, and for this purpose divided it into three shares. "I will take the first share," he said, "because I am King: and the second share, as a partner with you in the chase: and the third share (believe me) will be a source of great evil to you, unless you willingly resign it to me, and set off as fast as you can."
Might makes right.
THE STAG IN THE OX-STALL.
A Stag, hardly pressed by the hounds, and blind through fear to the danger he was running into, took shelter in a farm-yard, and hid himself in a shed among the oxen. An Ox gave him this kindly warning: "O unhappy creature! why should you thus, of your own accord, incur destruction, and trust yourself in the house of your enemy?" The Stag replied: "Do you only suffer me, friend, to stay where I am, and I will undertake to find some favourable opportunity of effecting my escape." At the approach of the evening the herdsman came to feed his cattle, but did not see the Stag; and even the farm-bailiff, with several labourers, passed through the shed, and failed to notice him. The Stag, congratulating himself on his safety, began to express his sincere thanks to the Oxen who had kindly afforded him help in the hour of need. One of them again answered him: "We indeed wish you well, but the danger is not over. There is one other yet to pass through the shed, who has as it were a hundred eyes, and, until he has come and gone, your life is still in peril." At that moment the master himself entered, and having had to complain that his oxen had not been properly fed, he went up to their racks, and cried out: "Why is there such a scarcity of fodder? There is not half enough straw for them to lie on. Those lazy fellows have not even swept the cobwebs away." While he thus examined everything in turn, he spied the tips of the antlers of the Stag peeping out of the straw. Then summoning his labourers, he ordered that the Stag should be seized, and killed.
THE PLAYFUL ASS.
An Ass climbed up to the roof of a building, and, frisking about there, broke in the tiling. The owner went up after him, and quickly drove him down, beating him severely with a thick wooden cudgel. The Ass said, "Why, I saw the Monkey do this very thing yesterday, and you all laughed heartily, as if it afforded you very great amusement."
Those who do not know their right place must be taught it.
THE EAGLE AND THE ARROW.
An Eagle sat on a lofty rock, watching the movements of a Hare, whom he sought to make his prey. An archer who saw him from a place of concealment, took an accurate aim, and wounded him mortally. The Eagle gave one look at the arrow that had entered his heart, and saw in that single glance that its feathers had been furnished by himself. "It is a double grief to me," he exclaimed, "that I should perish by an arrow feathered from my own wings."
A consciousness of misfortunes arising from a man's own misconduct aggravates their bitterness.
THE SICK KITE.
A Kite, sick unto death, said to his mother: "Mother! do not mourn, but at once invoke the gods that my life may be prolonged." She replied, "Alas! my son, which of the gods do you think will pity you? Is there one whom you have not outraged by filching from their very altars a part of the sacrifice offered up to them?"
We must make friends in prosperity, if we would have their help in adversity.
THE LION AND THE DOLPHIN.
A LlON roaming by the sea-shore, saw a Dolphin lift up its head out of the waves, and asked him to contract an alliance with him; saying that of all the animals they ought to be the best friends, since the one was the king of beasts on the earth, and the other was the sovereign ruler of all the inhabitants of the ocean. The Dolphin gladly consented to this request. Not long afterwards the Lion had a combat with a wild bull, and called on the Dolphin to help him. The Dolphin, though quite willing to give him assistance, was unable to do so, as he could not by any means reach the land. The Lion abused him as a traitor. The Dolphin replied, "Nay, my friend, blame not me, but Nature, which, while giving me the sovereignty of the sea, has quite denied me the power of living upon the land."
THE LION AND THE BOAR.
On a summer day, when the great heat induced a general thirst, a Lion and a Boar came at the same moment to a small well to drink. They fiercely disputed which of them should drink first, and were soon engaged in the agonies of a mortal combat. On their stopping on a sudden to take breath for the fiercer renewal of the strife, they saw some Vultures waiting in the distance to feast on the one which should fall first. They at once made up their quarrel, saying, "It is better for us to make friends, than to become the food of Crows or Vultures."
THE MICE AND
The Weasels and the Mice waged a perpetual warfare with each other, in which much blood was shed. The Weasels were always the victors. The Mice thought that the cause of their frequent defeats was, that they had not leaders set apart from the general army to command them, and that they were exposed to dangers from want of discipline. They chose therefore such mice as were most renowned for their family descent, strength, and counsel, as well as most noted for their courage in the fight, that they might marshal them in battle array, and form them into troops, regiments, and battalions. When all this was done, and the army disciplined, and the herald Mouse had duly proclaimed war by challenging the Weasels, the newly chosen generals bound their heads with straws, that they might be more conspicuous to all their troops. Scarcely had the battle commenced, when a great rout overwhelmed the Mice, who scampered off as fast as they could to their holes. The generals not being able to get in on account of the ornaments on their heads, were all captured and eaten by the Weasels.
The more honour the more danger.