THE HARES AND THE LIONS.
The Hares harangued the assembly, and argued that all should be on an equality. The Lions made this reply: "Your words, O Hares! are good; but they lack both claws and teeth such as we have."
THE LARK AND HER YOUNG ONES.
A LARK had made her nest in the early spring on the young green wheat. The brood had almost grown to their proper strength, and attained the use of their wings and the full plumage of their feathers, when the owner of the field, overlooking his crop, now quite ripe, said, "The time is come when I must send to all my neighbours to help me with my harvest." One of the young Larks heard his speech, and related it to his mother, inquiring of her to what place they should move for safety. "There is no occasion to move yet, my son," she replied; "the man who only sends to his friends to help him with his harvest is not really in earnest." The owner of the field again came a few days later, and saw the wheat shedding the grain from excess of ripeness, and said, "I will come myself tomorrow with my labourers, and with as many reapers as I can hire, and will get in the harvest." The Lark on hearing these words said to her brood, "It is time now to be off, my little ones, for the man is in earnest this time; he no longer trusts to his friends, but will reap the field himself."
Self-help is the best help.
THE PEACOCK AND JUNO.
The Peacock made complaint to Juno that, while the nightingale pleased every ear with his song, he no sooner opened his mouth than he became a laughingstock to all who heard him. The Goddess, to console him, said, "But you far excel in beauty and in size. The splendour of the emerald shines in your neck, and you unfold a tail gorgeous with painted plumage." "But for what purpose have I," said the bird, "this dumb beauty so long as I am surpassed in song?" "The lot of each," replied Juno, "has been assigned by the will of the Fates — to thee, beauty; to the eagle, strength; to the nightingale, song; to the raven, favourable, and to the crow, unfavourable auguries. These are all contented with the endowments allotted to them."
THE ASS AND THE WOLF.
An Ass, feeding in a meadow, saw a Wolf approaching to seize him, and immediately pretended to be lame. The Wolf, coming up, inquired the cause of his lameness. The Ass said, that passing through a hedge he trod with his foot upon a sharp thorn, and requested the Wolf to pull it out, lest when he supped on him it should injure his throat. The Wolf consenting, and lifting up the foot, and giving his whole mind to the discovery of the thorn, the Ass with his heels kicked his teeth into his mouth, and galloped away. The Wolf, being thus fearfully mauled, said, "I am rightly served, for why did I attempt the art of healing, when my father only taught me the trade of a butcher?"
THE SELLER OF IMAGES.
A CERTAIN man made a wooden image of Mercury, and offered it for sale. When no one appeared willing to buy it, in order that he might attract purchasers, he cried out that he had the statue to sell of a benefactor, who bestowed wealth and helped to heap up riches. One of the bystanders said to him, "My good fellow, why do you sell him, being such a one as you describe, when you may yourself enjoy the good things he has to give?" "Why," he replied, "I am in want of immediate help, and he is wont to give his good gifts very slowly."
THE HAWK AND THE NIGHTINGALE.
A Nightingale sitting aloft upon an oak, and singing according to his wont, was seen by a Hawk, who, being in want of food, made a swoop down, and seized him. The Nightingale, about to lose his life, earnestly besought the Hawk to let him go, saying that he was not big enough to satisfy the hunger of a Hawk, who, if he wanted food, ought to pursue the larger birds. The Hawk, interrupting him, said: "I should indeed have lost my senses if I should let go food ready to my hand, for the sake of pursuing birds which are not yet even within sight."
THE DOG, THE COCK, AND THE FOX
A DOG and a Cock, being great friends, agreed to travel together. At nightfall they took shelter in a thick wood. The Cock, flying up, perched himself on the branches of a tree, while the Dog found a bed beneath the hollow trunk. When the morning dawned, the Cock, as usual, crowed very loudly several times. A Fox hearing the sound, and wishing to make a breakfast on him, came and stood under the branches, saying how earnestly he desired to make the acquaintance of the owner of so magnificent a voice. The Cock, suspecting his civilities, said: "Sir, I wish you would do me the favour to go round to the hollow trunk below me, and wake up my porter, that he may open the door, and let you in." On the Fox approaching the tree, the Dog sprung out and caught him, and tore him in pieces.
THE GOAT AND THE ASS.
A MAN once kept a Goat and an Ass. The Goat, envying the Ass on account of his greater abundance of food, said, "How shamefully you are treated: at one time grinding in the mill, and at another carrying heavy burdens;" and he further advised him that he should pretend to be epileptic, and fall into a ditch, and so obtain rest. The Ass gave credence to his words, and falling into a ditch, was very much bruised. His master, sending for a leech, asked his advice. He bade him pour upon the wounds the lights of a Goat. They at once killed the Goat, and so healed the Ass.
THE FOX AND THE MASK.
A Fox entered the house of an actor, and, rummaging through all his properties, came upon a Mask, an admirable imitation of a human head. He placed his paws on it, and said, "What a beautiful head! yet it is of no value, as it entirely wants brains."
THE LION AND THE BULL.
A LION, greatly desirous to capture a Bull, and yet afraid to attack him on account of his great size, resorted to a trick to ensure his destruction. He approached him and said, "I have slain a fine sheep, my friend; and if you will come home and partake of him with me, I shall be delighted to have your company." The Lion said this in the hope that, as the Bull was in the act of reclining to eat, he might attack him to advantage, and make his meal on him. The Bull, however, on his approach to his den, saw the huge spits and giant caldrons, and no sign whatever of the sheep, and, without saying a word, quietly took his departure. The Lion inquired why he went off so abruptly without a word of salutation to his host, who had not given him any cause of offence. "I have reasons enough," said the Bull. "I see no indication whatever of your having slaughtered a sheep, while I do see, very plainly, every preparation for your dining on a bull."
THE GRASSHOPPER AND THE OWL.
An Owl, accustomed to feed at night and to sleep during the day, was greatly disturbed by the noise of a Grasshopper, and earnestly besought her to leave off chirping. The Grasshopper refused to desist, and chirped louder and louder the more the Owl entreated. The Owl, when she saw that she could get no redress, and that her words were despised, attacked the chatterer by a stratagem. "Since I cannot sleep," she said, "on account of your song, which, believe me, is sweet as the lyre of Apollo, I shall indulge myself in drinking some nectar which Pallas lately gave me. If you do not dislike it, come to me, and we will drink it together." The Grasshopper, who was at once thirsty, and pleased with the praise of her voice, eagerly flew up. The Owl, coming forth from her hollow, seized her, and put her to death.
THE WOLF AND THE GOAT.
A Wolf saw a Goat feeding at the summit of a steep precipice, where he had not a chance of reaching her. He called to her, and earnestly besought her to come lower down, lest she should by some mishap get a fall; and he added that the meadows lay where he was standing, and that the herbage was most tender. She replied, "No, my friend, it is not me that you invite to the pasture, but you yourself are in want of food."
THE FOWLER AND THE VIPER.
A FOWLER, taking his bird-lime and his twigs, went out to catch birds. Seeing a thrush sitting upon a tree, he wished to take it, and fitting his twigs to a proper length, he watched intently, having his whole thoughts directed towards the sky. While thus looking upwards, he unawares trod upon a Viper asleep just before his feet. The Viper, turning towards him, stung him; and he, falling into a swoon, said to himself, "Woe is me! that while I purposed to hunt another, am myself fallen unawares into the snares of death."
THE HORSE AND THE ASS.
A Horse, proud of his fine trappings, met an Ass on the highway. The Ass being heavily laden moved slowly out of the way. "Hardly," said the Horse, "can I resist kicking you with my heels." The Ass held his peace, and made only a silent appeal to the justice of the gods. Not long afterwards the Horse, having become broken-winded, was sent by his owner to the farm. The Ass seeing him drawing a dungcart, thus derided him: "Where, O boaster, are now all thy gay trappings, thou who art thyself reduced to the condition you so lately treated with contempt?"
THE LION AND THE THREE BULLS.
Three Bulls for a long time pastured together. A Lion lay in ambush in the hope of making them his prey, but was afraid to attack them whilst they kept together. Having at last by guileful speeches succeeded in separating them, he attacked them without fear, as they fed alone, and feasted on them one by one at his own leisure.
Union is strength.
THE FLY AND THE DRAUGHT-MULE.
A FLY sat on the axle-tree of a chariot, and addressing the Draught-mule said, "How slow you are! Why do you not go faster? See if I do not prick your neck with my sting." The Draught-mule replied, "I do not heed your threats; I only care for him who sits above you, and who quickens my pace with his whip, or holds me back with the reins. Away, therefore, with your insolence, for I know well when to go fast, and when to go slow."
SOME Fishermen were out trawling their nets. Perceiving them to be very heavy, they danced about for joy, and supposed that they had taken a large draught of fish. When they had dragged the nets to the shore they found but few fish, and that the nets were full of sand and stones, and they were beyond measure cast down — not so much at the disappointment which had befallen them, as because they had formed such very different expectations. One of their company, an old man, said, "Let us cease lamenting, my mates, for, as it seems to me, sorrow is always the twin sister of joy; and it was only to be looked for that we, who just now were over-rejoiced, should next have something to make us sad."
THE TOWN MOUSE AND THE COUNTRY MOUSE.
A COUNTRY Mouse invited a Town Mouse, an intimate friend, to pay him a visit, and partake of his country fare. As they were on the bare plough-lands, eating their wheat-stalks and roots pulled up from the hedge-row, the Town Mouse said to his friend, "You live here the life of the ants: while in my house is the horn of plenty. I am surrounded with every luxury, and if you will come with me, as I much wish you would, you shall have an ample share of my dainties." The Country Mouse was easily persuaded, and returned to town with his friend. On his arrival, the Town Mouse placed before him bread, barley, beans, dried figs, honey, raisins, and, last of all, brought a dainty piece of cheese from a basket. The Country Mouse, being much delighted at the sight of such good cheer, expressed his satisfaction in warm terms, and lamented his own hard fate. Just as they were beginning to eat, some one opened the door, and they both ran off squeaking as fast as they could to a hole so narrow that two could only find room in it by squeezing. They had scarcely again begun their repast when some one else entered to take something out of a cupboard, on which the two Mice, more frightened than before, ran away and hid themselves. At last the Country Mouse, almost famished, thus addressed his friend: "Although you have prepared for me so dainty a feast, I must leave you to enjoy it by yourself. It is surrounded by too many dangers to please me. I prefer my bare plough-lands and roots from the hedge-row, so that I only can live in safety, and without fear."
THE WOLF, THE FOX, AND THE APE.
A Wolf accused a Fox of theft, but he entirely denied the charge. An Ape undertook to adjudge the matter between them. When each had fully stated his case, the Ape pronounced this sentence: "I do not think you, Wolf, ever lost what you claim; and I do believe you, Fox, to have stolen what you so stoutly deny."
The dishonest, if they act honestly, get no credit.
THE GEESE AND THE CRANES.
The Geese and the Cranes fed in the same meadow. A birdcatcher came to ensnare them in his nets. The Cranes being light of wing, fled away at his approach; while the Geese, being slower of flight and heavier in their bodies, were captured.
THE WASPS, THE PARTRIDGES, AND THE FARMER.
The Wasps and the Partridges, overcome with thirst, came to a Farmer and besought him to give them some water to drink. They promised amply to repay him the favour which they asked. The Partridges declared that they would dig around his vines, and make them produce finer grapes. The Wasps said that they would keep guard and drive off thieves with their stings. The Farmer, interrupting them, said: "I have already two oxen, who, without making any promises, do all these things. It is surely better for me to give the water to them than to you."
THE BROTHER AND THE SISTER.
A FATHER had one son and one daughter; the former remarkable for his good looks, the latter for her extraordinary ugliness. While they were playing one day as children, they happened by chance to look together into a mirror that was placed on their mother's chair. The boy congratulated himself on his good looks; the girl grew angry, and could not bear the selfpraises of her Brother; interpreting all he said (and how could she do otherwise?) into reflection on herself. She ran off to her father, to be avenged in her turn on her Brother, and spitefully accused him of having, as a boy, made use of that which belonged only to girls. The father embraced them both, and bestowing his kisses and affection impartially on each, said: "I wish you both every day to look into the mirror: you, my son, that you may not spoil your beauty by evil conduct; and you, my daughter, that you may make up for your want of beauty by your virtues."
THE BLIND MAN AND THE WHELP.
A Blind Man was accustomed to distinguish different animals by touching them with his hands. The whelp of a Wolf was brought him, with a request that he would feel it, and say what it was. He felt it, and being in doubt, said: "I do not quite know whether it is the cub of a Fox, or the whelp of a Wolf; but this I know full well, that it would not be safe to admit him to the sheepfold."
Evil tendencies are shown in early life.
THE DOGS AND THE FOX.
SOME Dogs, finding the skin of a lion, began to tear it in pieces with their teeth. A Fox, seeing them, said, "If this lion were alive, you would soon find out that his claws were stronger than your teeth."
It is easy to kick a man that is down.
THE COBBLER TURNED DOCTOR.
A COBBLER unable to make a living by his trade, rendered desperate by poverty, began to practise medicine in a town in which he was not known. He sold a drug, pretending that it was an antidote to all poisons, and obtained a great name for himself by long-winded puffs and advertisements. He happened to fall sick himself of a serious illness, on which the Governor of the town determined to test his skill. For this purpose he called for a cup, and while filling it with water, pretended to mix poison with the Cobbler's antidote, and commanded him to drink it, on the promise of a reward. The Cobbler, under the fear of death, confessed that he had no knowledge of medicine, and was only made famous by the stupid clamours of the crowd. The Governor called a public assembly, and thus addressed the citizens: "Of what folly have you been guilty? You have not hesitated to entrust your heads to a man, whom no one could employ to make even the shoes for their feet."
THE WOLF AND THE HORSE.
A Wolf coming out of a field of oats met with a Horse, and thus addressed him: "I would advise you to go into that field. It is full of capital oats, which I have left untouched for you, as you are a friend the very sound of whose teeth it will be a pleasure to me to hear." The Horse replied, "If oats had been the food of wolves, you would never have indulged your ears at the cost of your belly."
Men of evil reputation, when they perform a good deed, fail to get credit for it.
THE TWO MEN WHO WERE ENEMIES.
TWO Men, deadly enemies to each other, sailed in the same vessel. Determined to keep as far apart as possible, the one seated himself in the stern, and the other in the prow of the ship. A violent storm having arisen, and the vessel being in great danger of sinking, the one in the stern inquired of the pilot which of the two ends of the ship would go down first. On his replying that he supposed it would be the prow, then said the Man, "Death would not be grievous to me, if I could only see my Enemy die before me."
THE GAME-COCKS AND THE PARTRIDGE.
A MAN had two Game-cocks in his poultry-yard. One day by chance he fell in with a tame Partridge for sale. He purchased it, and brought it home that it might be reared with his Game-cocks. On its being put into the poultry-yard they struck at it, and followed it about, so that the Partridge was grievously troubled in mind, and supposed that he was thus evilly treated because he was a stranger. Not long afterwards he saw the Cocks fighting together, and not separating before one had well beaten the other. He then said to himself, "I shall no longer distress myself at being struck at by these Game-cocks, when I see that they cannot even refrain from quarrelling with each other."
THE QUACK FROG.
A FROG once on a time came forth from his home in the marsh, and made proclamation to all the beasts that he was a learned physician, skilled in the use of drugs, and able to heal all diseases. A Fox asked him, "How can you pretend to prescribe for others, who are unable to heal your own lame gait and wrinkled skin?"
THE LION, THE WOLF, AND THE FOX.
A LlON, growing old, lay sick in his cave. All the beasts came to visit their king, except the Fox. The Wolf therefore, thinking that he had a capital opportunity, accused the Fox to the Lion for not paying any respect to him who had the rule over them all, and for not coming to visit him. At that very moment the Fox came in, and heard these last words of the Wolf. The Lion roaring out in a rage against him, he sought an opportunity to defend himself, and said, "And who of all those who have come to you have benefited you so much as I, who have travelled from place to place in every direction, and have sought and learnt from the physicians the means of healing you?" The Lion commanded him immediately to tell him the cure, when he replied, "You must flay a wolf alive, and wrap his skin yet warm around you." The Wolf was at once taken and flayed; whereon the Fox, turning to him, said, with a smile, "You should have moved your master not to ill, but to good will."
THE DOG'S HOUSE.
A DOG, in the winter time, rolled together and coiled up in as small a space as possible on account of the cold, determined to make himself a house. When the summer returned again he lay asleep, stretched at his full length, and appeared to himself to be of a great size, and considered that it would be neither an easy nor a necessary work to make himself such a house as would accommodate him.
THE NORTH WIND AND THE SUN.
THE North Wind and the Sun disputed which was the most powerful, and agreed that he should be declared the victor, who could first strip a wayfaring man of his clothes. The North Wind first tried his power, and blew with all his might: but the keener became his blasts, the closer the Traveller wrapped his cloak around him; till at last, resigning all hope of victory, he called upon the Sun to see what he could do. The Sun suddenly shone out with all his warmth. The Traveller no sooner felt his genial rays than he took off one garment after another, and at last, fairly overcome with heat, undressed, and bathed in a stream, that lay in his path.
Persuasion is better than Force.
THE CROW AND MERCURY.
A CROW caught in a snare prayed to Apollo to release him, making a vow to offer some frankincense at his shrine. Being rescued from his danger, he forgot his promise. Shortly afterwards, on being again caught in a second snare, passing by Apollo he made the same promise to offer frankincense to Mercury, when he appeared, and said to him, "O thou most base fellow? how can I believe thee, who hast disowned and wronged thy former patron?"
THE FOX AND THE CRANE.
A Fox invited a Crane to supper, and provided nothing for his entertainment but some soup made of pulse, and poured out into a broad flat stone dish. The soup fell out of the long bill of the Crane at every mouthful, and his vexation at not being able to eat afforded the Fox most intense amusement. The Crane, in his turn, asked the Fox to sup with him, and set before her a flagon, with a long narrow mouth, so that he could easily insert his neck, and enjoy its contents at his leisure; while the Fox, unable even to taste it, met with a fitting requital, after the fashion of her own hospitality.
THE WOLF AND THE LION.
A Wolf, roaming by the mountain's side, saw his own shadow, as the sun was setting, become greatly extended and magnified, and he said to himself, "Why should I, being of such an immense size, and extending nearly an acre in length, be afraid of the Lion? Ought I not to be acknowledged as King of all the collected beasts?" While he was indulging in these proud thoughts, a Lion fell upon him, and killed him. He exclaimed with a too late repentance, "Wretched me! this over-estimation of myself is the cause of my destruction."
THE BIRDS, THE BEASTS, AND THE BAT.
THE Birds waged war with the Beasts, and each party were by turns the conquerors. A Bat, fearing the uncertain issues of the fight, always betook himself to that side which was the strongest. When peace was proclaimed, his deceitful conduct was apparent to both the combatants. Therefore being condemned by each for his treachery, he was driven forth from the light of day, and henceforth concealed himself in dark hiding-places, flying always alone and at night.
THE SPENDTHRIFT AND THE SWALLOW.
A YOUNG man, a great spendthrift, had run through all his patrimony, and had but one good cloak left. He happened to see a Swallow, which had appeared before its season, skimming along a pool and twittering gaily. He supposed that summer had come, and went and sold his cloak. Not many days after, the winter having set in again with renewed frost and cold, he found the unfortunate Swallow lifeless on the ground; and said, "Unhappy bird! what have you done? By thus appearing before the spring-time you have not only killed yourself, but you have wrought my destruction also."
THE TRUMPETER TAKEN PRISONER.
A Trumpeter, bravely leading on the soldiers, was captured by the enemy. He cried out to his captors, "Pray spare me, and do not take my life without cause or without inquiry. I have not slain a single man of your troop. I have no arms, and carry nothing but this one brass trumpet." "That is the very reason for which you should be put to death," they said; "for, while you do not fight yourself, your trumpet stirs up all the others to battle."
THE FOX AND THE LION.
A Fox saw a Lion confined in a cage, and, standing near him, bitterly reviled him. The Lion said to the Fox, "It is not thou who revilest me; but this mischance which has befallen me."
THE OWL AND THE BIRDS.
An Owl, in her wisdom, counselled the Birds, when the acorn first began to sprout, to pull it up by all means out of the ground, and not to allow it to grow, because it would produce the mistletoe, from which an irremediable poison, the bird-lime, would be extracted, by which they would be captured. The Owl next advised them to pluck up the seed of the flax, which men had sown, as it was a plant which boded no good to them. And, lastly, the Owl, seeing an archer approach, predicted that this man, being on foot, would contrive darts armed with feathers, which should fly faster than the wings of the Birds themselves. The Birds gave no credence to these warning words, but considered the Owl to be beside herself, and said that she was mad. But afterwards, finding her words were true, they wondered at her knowledge, and deemed her to be the wisest of birds. Hence it is that when she appears they resort to her as knowing all things; while she no longer gives them advice, but in solitude laments their past folly.
THE ASS IN THE LION'S SKIN.
An Ass, having put on the Lion's skin, roamed about in the forest, and amused himself by frightening all the foolish animals he met with in his wanderings. At last meeting a Fox, he tried to frighten him also, but the Fox no sooner heard the sound of his voice, than he exclaimed, "I might possibly have been frightened myself, if I had not heard your bray."
THE GOODS AND THE ILLS.
All the Goods were once driven out by the Ills from that common share which they each had in the affairs of mankind; for the Ills by reason of their numbers had prevailed to possess the earth. The Goods wafted themselves to heaven, and asked for a righteous vengeance on their persecutors. They entreated Jupiter that they might no longer be associated with the Ills, as thsy had nothing in common, and could not live together, but were engaged in unceasing warfare, and that an indissoluble law might be laid down, for their future protection. Jupiter granted their request, and decreed that henceforth the Ills should visit the earth in company with each other, but that the Goods should one by one enter the habitations of men. Hence it arises that Ills abound, for they come not one by one, but in troops, and by no means singly: while the Goods proceed from Jupiter, and are given, not alike to all, but singly, and separately; and one by one to those who are able to discern them.
THE SPARROW AND THE HARE.
A Hare pounced upon by an eagle sobbed very much, and uttered cries like a child. A Sparrow upbraided her, and said, "Where now is thy remarkable swiftness of foot? Why were your feet so slow?" While the Sparrow was thus speaking, a hawk seized him on a sudden, and killed him. The Hare was comforted in her death, and expiring said, "Ah! you who so lately, when you supposed yourself safe, exulted over my calamity, have now yourself reason to deplore a similar misfortune."
THE MAN AND THE SATYR.
A Man and a Satyr once poured out libations together in token of a bond of alliance being formed between them. One very cold wintry day, as they talked together, the Man put his fingers to his mouth and blew on them. On the Satyr inquiring the reason of this, he told him that he did it to warm his hands, they were so cold. Later on in the day they sat down to eat, the food prepared being quite scalding. The Man raised one of the dishes a little towards his mouth and blew in it. On the Satyr again inquiring the reason of this, he said that he did it to cool the meat, it was so hot. "I can no longer consider you as a friend," said the Satyr, "a fellow who with the same breath blows hot and cold."
THE ASS AND HIS PURCHASER.
A MAN wished to purchase an Ass, and agreed with its owner that he should try him before he bought him. He took the Ass home, and put him in the straw-yard with his other Asses, upon which he left all the others, and joined himself at once to the most idle and the greatest eater of them all. The man put a halter on him, and led him back to his owner; and on his inquiring how, in so short a time, he could have made a trial of him, "I do not need," he answered, "a trial; I know that he will be just such another as the one whom of all the rest he chose for his companion."
A man is known by the company he keeps.
THE FLEA AND THE OX.
A FLEA thus questioned the Ox: "What ails you, that, being so huge and strong, you submit to the wrongs you receive from men, and thus slave for them day by day; while I, being so small a creature, mercilessly feed on their flesh, and drink their blood without stint?" The Ox replied: "I do not wish to be ungrateful; for I am loved and well cared for by men, and they often pat my head and shoulders." "Woe's me!" said the Flea; "this very patting which you like, whenever it happens to me, brings with it my inevitable destruction."
THE DOVE AND THE CROW.
A DOVE shut up in a cage was boasting of the large number of the young ones which she had hatched. A Crow hearing her, said: "My good friend, cease from this unseasonable boasting. The larger the number of your family, the greater your cause of sorrow, in seeing them shut up in this prison-house."
MERCURY AND THE WORKMEN.
A Workman, felling wood by the side of a river, let his axe drop by accident into a deep pool. Being thus deprived of the means of his livelihood, he sat down on the bank, and lamented his hard fate. Mercury appeared, and demanded the cause of his tears. He told him his misfortune, when Mercury plunged into the stream, and, bringing up a golden axe, inquired if that were the one he had lost. On his saying that it was not his, Mercury disappeared beneath the water a second time, and returned with a silver axe in his hand, and again demanded of the Workman "if it were his." On the Workman saying it was not, he dived into the pool for the third time, and brought up the axe that had been lost. On the Workman claiming it, and expressing his joy at its recovery, Mercury, pleased with his honesty, gave him the golden and the silver axes in addition to his own.
The Workman, on his return to his house, related to his companions all that had happened. One of them at once resolved to try whether he could not also secure the same good fortune to himself. He ran to the river, and threw his axe on purpose into the pool at the same place, and sat down on the bank to weep. Mercury appeared to him just as he hoped he would; and having learned the cause of his grief, plunged into the stream, and brought up a golden axe, and inquired if he had lost it. The Workman seized it greedily, and declared that of a truth it was the very same axe that he had lost. Mercury, displeased at his knavery, not only took away the golden axe, but refused to recover for him the axe he had thrown into the pool.
EAGLE AND THE JACKDAW.
An Eagle flying down from his eyrie on a lofty rock, seized upon a lamb, and carried him aloft in his talons. A Jackdaw, who witnessed the capture of the lamb, was stirred with envy, and determined to emulate the strength and flight of the Eagle. He flew round with a great whirr of his wings, and settled upon a large ram, with the intention of carrying him off, but his claws becoming entangled in his fleece he was not able to release himself, although he fluttered with his feathers as much as he could. The shepherd, seeing what had happened, ran up and caught him. He at once clipped his wings, and taking him home at night, gave him to his children. On their saying, "Father, what kind of bird is it?" he replied, "To my certain knowledge he is a Daw; but he will have it that he is an Eagle."
JUPITER, NEPTUNE, MINERVA, AND MOMUS.
ACCORDING to an ancient legend, the first man was made by Jupiter, the first bull by Neptune, and the first house by Minerva. On the completion of their labours, a dispute arose as to which had made the most perfect work. They agreed to appoint Momus as judge, and to abide by his decision. Momus, however, being very envious of the handicraft of each, found fault with all. He first blamed the work of Neptune, because he had not made the horns of the bull below his eyes, that he might better see where to strike. He then condemned the work of Jupiter, because he had not placed the heart of man on the outside, that every one might read the thoughts of the evil disposed, and take precautions against the intended mischief. And, lastly, he inveighed against Minerva, because she had not contrived iron wheels in the foundation of her house, that its inhabitants might more easily remove if a neighbour should prove unpleasant. Jupiter, indignant at such inveterate fault-finding, drove him from his office of judge, and expelled him from the mansions of Olympus.
THE EAGLE AND THE FOX.
AN Eagle and a Fox formed an intimate friendship, and decided to live near each other. The Eagle built her nest in the branches of a tall tree, while the Fox crept into the underwood and there produced her young. Not long after they had agreed upon this plan, when the Fox was ranging for food, the Eagle, being in want of provision for her young ones, swooped down and seized upon one of the little cubs, and feasted herself and brood. The Fox on her return, discovering what had happened, was less grieved for the death of her young than for her inability to avenge them. A just retribution, however, quickly fell upon the Eagle. While hovering near an altar, on which some villagers were sacrificing a goat, she suddenly seized a piece of the flesh, and carried with it to her nest a burning cinder. A strong breeze soon fanned the spark into a flame, and the eaglets, as yet unfledged and helpless, were roasted in their nest and dropped down dead at the bottom of the tree. The Fox gobbled them up in the sight of the Eagle.
THE TWO BAGS.
EVERY man, according to an ancient legend, is born into the world with two bags suspended from his neck — a small bag in front full of his neighbours' faults, and a large bag behind filled with his own faults. Hence it is that men are quick to see the faults of others, and yet are often blind to their own failings.
THE STAG AT THE POOL.
A Stag overpowered by heat came to a spring to drink. Seeing his own shadow reflected in the water, he greatly admired the size and variety of his horns, but felt angry with himself for having such slender and weak feet. While he was thus contemplating himself, a Lion appeared at the pool and crouched to spring upon him. The Stag immediately betook himself to flight: and exerting his utmost speed, as long as the plain was smooth and open, kept himself with ease at a safe distance from the Lion. But entering a wood he became entangled by his horns: and the Lion quickly came up with him and caught him. When too late he thus reproached himself: "Woe is me! How have I deceived myself! These feet which would have saved me I despised, and I gloried in these antlers which have proved my destruction."
What is most truly valuable is often underrated.
THE BITCH AND HER WHELPS.
A Bitch ready to whelp, earnestly begged of a shepherd a place where she might litter. On her request being granted, she again besought permission to rear her puppies in the same spot. The shepherd again consented. But at last the Bitch, protected with the body-guard of her Whelps, who had now grown up, and were able to defend themselves, asserted her exclusive right to the place, and would not permit the shepherd to approach.
THE DOGS AND THE HIDES.
Some Dogs, famished with hunger, saw some cow hides steeping in a river. Not being able to reach them, they agreed to drink up the river: but it fell out that they burst themselves with drinking long before they reached the hides.
Attempt not impossibilities.
THE JACKDAW AND THE FOX.
A HALF-FAMISHED Jackdaw seated himself on a figtree, which had produced some fruit entirely out of season, and waited in the hope that the figs would ripen. A Fox seeing him sitting so long, and learning the reason of his doing so, said to him, "You are indeed, sir, sadly deceiving yourself; you are indulging a hope strong enough to cheat you, but which will never reward you with enjoyment."
THE LARK BURYING ITS FATHER.
The Lark (according to an ancient legend) was created before the earth itself: and when her father died by a fell disease, as there was no earth, she could find for him no place of burial. She let him lie uninterred for five days, and on the sixth day, being in perplexity, she buried him in her own head. Hence she obtained her crest, which is popularly said to be her father's grave-hillock.
Youth's first duty is reverence to parents.
THE GNAT AND THE BULL.
A Gnat settled on the horn of a Bull, and sat there a long time. Just as he was about to fly off, he made a buzzing noise, and inquired of the Bull if he would like him to go. The Bull replied, "I did not know you had come, and I shall not miss you when you go away."
Some men are of more consequence in their own eyes than in the eyes of their neighbours.
THE MONKEY AND THE CAMEL.
The beasts of the forest gave a splendid entertainment at which the Monkey stood up and danced. Having vastly delighted the assembly, he sat down amidst universal applause. The Camel, envious of the praises bestowed on the Monkey, and desirous to divert to himself the favour of the guests, proposed to stand up in his turn, and dance for their amusement. He moved about in so utterly ridiculous a manner, that the Beasts in a fit of indignation set upon him with clubs, and drove him out of the assembly.
It is absurd to ape our betters.
THE SHEPHERD AND THE SHEEP.
A Shepherd driving his Sheep to a wood, saw an oak of unusual size, full of acorns, and, spreading his cloak under the branches, he climbed up into the tree, and shook down the acorns. The Sheep eating the acorns, inadvertently frayed and tore the cloak. The Shepherd coming down, and seeing what was done, said, "O you most ungrateful creatures! you provide wool to make garments for all other men, but you destroy the clothes of him who feeds you."
THE PEASANT AND THE APPLE-TREE.
A PEASANT had in his garden an Apple-tree, which bore no fruit, but only served as a harbour for the sparrows and grasshoppers. He resolved to cut it down, and, taking his axe in his hand, made a bold stroke at its roots. The grasshoppers and sparrows entreated him not to cut down the tree that sheltered them, but to spare it, and they would sing to him and lighten his labours. He paid no attention to their request, but gave the tree a second and a third blow with his axe: when he reached the hollow of the tree, he found a hive full of honey. Having tasted the honeycomb, he threw down his axe, and, looking on the tree as sacred, took great care of it.
Self interest alone moves some men.
THE TWO SOLDIERS AND THE ROBBER.
Two Soldiers travelling together, were set upon by a Robber. The one fled away; the other stood his ground, and defended himself with his stout right hand. The Robber being slain, the timid companion runs up and draws his sword, and then, throwing back his travelling cloak, says, "I'll at him, and I'll take care he shall learn whom he has attacked." On this he who had fought with the Robber made answer, "I only wish that you had helped me just now, even if it had been only with those words, for I should have been the more encouraged, believing them to be true; but now put up your sword in its sheath and hold your equally useless tongue, till you can deceive others who do not know you. I, indeed, who have experienced with what speed you run away, know right well that no dependence can be placed on your valour."
THE TREES UNDER THE PROTECTION OF THE GODS.
The Gods, according to an ancient legend, made choice of certain trees to be under their special protection. Jupiter chose the oak, Venus the myrtle, Apollo the laurel, Cybele the pine, and Hercules the poplar. Minerva, wondering why they had preferred trees not yielding fruit, inquired the reason of their choice. Jupiter replied, "It is lest we should seem to covet the honour for the fruit." But said Minerva, "Let any one say what he will, the olive is more dear to me on account of its fruit." Then said Jupiter, "My daughter, you are rightly called wise; for unless what we do is useful, the glory of it is vain."
TRUTH AND THE TRAVELLER.
A WAYFARING Man, travelling in the desert, met a woman standing alone and terribly dejected. He inquired of her, "Who art thou?" "My name is Truth," she replied. "And for what cause," he asked, "have you left the city, to dwell alone here in the wilderness?" She made answer, "Because in former times, falsehood was with few, but is now with all men, whether you would hear or speak."
A MAN committed a murder, and was pursued by the relations of the man whom he murdered. On his reaching the river Nile he saw a Lion on its bank, and being fearfully afraid, climbed up a tree. He found a serpent in the upper branches of the tree, and again being greatly alarmed he threw himself into the river, when a crocodile caught him and ate him. Thus the earth, the air, and the water, alike refused shelter to a murderer.
THE LION AND THE FOX.
A Fox entered into partnership with a Lion, on the pretence of becoming his servant. Each undertook his proper duty in accordance with his own nature and powers. The Fox discovered and pointed out the prey, the Lion sprung on it, and seized it. The Fox soon became jealous of the Lion carrying off the Lion's share, and said that he would no longer find out the prey, but would capture it on his own account. The next day he attempted to snatch a lamb from the fold, but fell himself a prey to the huntsmen and hounds.
THE LION AND THE EAGLE.
An Eagle stayed his flight, and entreated a Lion to make an alliance with him to their mutual advantage. The Lion replied, "I have no objection, but you must excuse me for requiring you to find surety for your good faith; for how can I trust any one as a friend, who is able to fly away from his bargain whenever he pleases?"
Try before you trust.
THE HEN AND THE SWALLOW.
A Hen finding the eggs ot a viper, and carefully keeping them warm, nourished them into life. A Swallow observing what she had done, said, "You silly creature! why have you hatched these vipers, which, when they shall have grown, will inflict injury on all, beginning with yourself?"
THE FLEA AND THE WRESTLER.
A Flea settled upon the bare foot of a Wrestler, and bit him; on which he called loudly upon Hercules for help. The Flea a second time hopped upon his foot, when he groaned and said, "O Hercules! if you will not help me against a Flea, how can I hope for your assistance against greater antagonists?"
THE ASS AND HIS DRIVER.
An Ass being driven along the high road, suddenly started off, and bolted to the brink of a deep precipice. When he was in the act of throwing himself over, his owner, seizing him by the tail, endeavoured to pull him back. The Ass, persisting in his effort, the man let him go and said, "Conquer: but conquer to your cost."
THE THRUSH AND THE FOWLER.
A Thrush was feeding on a myrtle-tree, and did not move from it, on account of the deliciousness of its berries. A Fowler observing her staying so long in one spot, having well bird-limed his reeds, caught her. The Thrush, being at the point of death, exclaimed, "O foolish creature that I am! For the sake of a little pleasant food I have deprived myself of my life."
THE ROSE AND THE AMARANTH.
An Amaranth planted in a garden near a Rose-tree, thus addressed it: "What a lovely flower is the Rose, a favourite alike with Gods and with men. I envy you your beauty and your perfume." The Rose replied, "I indeed, dear Amaranth, flourish but for a brief season! If no cruel hand pluck me from my stem, yet I must perish by an early doom. But thou art immortal, and dost never fade, but bloomest for ever in renewed youth."
THE TRAVELLERS AND THE PLANE-TREE.
Two Travellers, worn out by the heat of the summer's sun, laid themselves down at noon under the widespreading branches of a Plane-tree. As they rested under its shade, one of the Travellers said to the other, "What a singularly useless tree is the Plane! It bears no fruit, and is not of the least service to man." The Plane-tree, interrupting him, said, "You ungrateful fellows! Do you, while receiving benefits from me, and resting under my shade, dare to describe me as useless, and unprofitable?"
Some men despise their best blessings.
THE MOTHER AND THE WOLF.
A FAMISHED Wolf was prowling about in the morning in search of food. As he passed the door of a cottage built in the forest, he heard a Mother say to her child, "Be quiet, or I will throw you out of the window, and the Wolf shall eat you." The Wolf sat all day waiting at the door. In the evening he heard the same woman, fondling her child and saying: "He is quiet now, and if the Wolf should come, we will kill him." The Wolf, hearing these words, went home, gaping with cold and hunger. On his reaching his den, Mistress Wolf inquired of him why he returned wearied and supperless, so contrary to his wont. He replied: "Why, forsooth! — because I gave credence to the words of a woman!"
THE ASS AND THE HORSE.
An Ass besought a Horse to spare him a small portion of his feed. "Yes," said he; "if any remains out of what I am now eating I will give it you, for the sake of my own superior dignity; and if you will come when I shall reach my own stall in the evening, I will give you a little sack full of barley." The Ass replied: "Thank you. I can't think that you, who refuse me a little matter now, will by and by confer on me a greater benefit."
THE CROW AND THE SHEEP.
A TROUBLESOME Crow seated herself on the back of a Sheep. The Sheep, much against his will, carried her backward and forward for a long time, and at last said, "If you had treated a dog in this way, you would have had your deserts from his sharp teeth." To this the Crow replied, "I despise the weak, and yield to the strong. I know whom I may bully, and whom I must flatter; and I thus prolong my life to a good old age."
THE PARTRIDGE AND THE FOWLER.
A FOWLER caught a Partridge, and was about to kill it. The Partridge earnestly besought him to spare his life, saying, "Pray, master, permit me to live, and I will entice many Partridges to you in recompense for your mercy to me." The Fowler replied, "I shall now with the less scruple take your life: because you are willing to save it at the cost of betraying your friends and relations."
THE FOX AND THE BRAMBLE.
A Fox, mounting a hedge, when he was about to fall caught hold of a Bramble. Having pricked and grievously torn the soles of his feet, he accused the Bramble, because, when he had fled to her for assistance, she had used him worse than the hedge itself. The Bramble, interrupting him, said, "But you really must have been out of your senses to fasten yourself on me, who am myself always accustomed to fasten upon others."
THE DOG AND THE OYSTER.
A DOG, used to eating eggs, saw an Oyster; and opening his mouth to its widest extent, swallowed it down with the utmost relish, supposing it to be an egg. Soon afterwards suffering great pain in his stomach, he said, "I deserve all this torment, for my folly in thinking that everything round must be an egg."
They who act without sufficient thought, will often fall into unsuspected danger.
THE FLEA AND THE MAN.
A Man, very much annoyed with a Flea, caught him at last, and said, "Who are you who dare to feed on my limbs, and to cost me so much trouble in catching you? " The Flea replied, "O my dear sir, pray spare my life, and destroy me not, for I cannot possibly do you much harm." The Man, laughing, replied, "Now you shall certainly die by mine own hands, for no evil, whether it be small or large, ought to be tolerated."
THE ASS AND THE CHARGER.
An Ass congratulated a Horse on being so ungrudgingly and carefully provided for, while he himself had scarcely enough to eat, nor even that without hard work. But when war broke out, and the heavy armed soldier mounted the Horse, and riding him to the charge, rushed into the very midst of the enemy, and the Horse, being wounded, fell dead on the battle-field; then the Ass, seeing all these things, changed his mind, and commiserated the Horse.
THE LION, JUPITER, AND THE ELEPHANT
THE Lion wearied Jupiter with his frequent complaints. "It is true," he said, "O Jupiter! that I am gigantic in strength, handsome in shape, and powerful in attack. I have jaws well provided with teeth, and feet furnished with claws, and I lord it over all the beasts of the forest; and what a disgrace it is, that being such as I am, I should be frightened by the crowing of a cock." Jupiter replied, "Why do you blame me without a cause? I have given you all the attributes which I possess myself, and your courage never fails you except in this one instance." On this the Lion groaned and lamented very much, and reproached himself with his cowardice, and wished that he might die. As these thoughts passed through his mind, he met an Elephant, and came near to hold a conversation with him. After a time he observed that the Elephant shook his ears very often, and he inquired what was the matter, and why his ears moved with such a tremor every now and then. Just at that moment a Gnat settled on the head of the Elephant, and he replied, "Do you see that little buzzing insect? If it enters my ear, my fate is sealed. I should die presently." The Lion said, "Well, since so huge a beast is afraid of a tiny gnat, I will no more complain, nor wish myself dead. I find myself, even as I am, better off than the Elephant, in that very same degree, that a Cock is greater than a Gnat."
THE LAMB AND THE WOLF.
A Wolf pursued a Lamb, which fled for refuge to a certain Temple. The Wolf called out to him and said, "The Priest will slay you in sacrifice, if he should catch you," on which the Lamb replied, "It would be better for me to be sacrificed in the Temple, than to be eaten by you."
THE RICH MAN AND THE TANNER.
A RICH man lived near a Tanner, and not being able to bear the unpleasant smell of the tan-yard, he pressed his neighbour to go away. The Tanner put off his departure from time to time, saying that he would remove soon. But as he still continued to stay, it came to pass, as time went on, the rich man became accustomed to the smell, and feeling no manner of inconvenience, made no further complaints.
THE MULES AND THE ROBBERS.
Two Mules well laden with packs were trudging along. One carried panniers filled with money, the other sacks weighted with grain. The Mule carrying the treasure walked with head erect, as if conscious of the value of his burden, and tossed up and down the clear toned bells fastened to his neck. His companion followed with quiet and easy step. All on a sudden Robbers rushed from their hiding-places upon them, and in the scuffle with their owners, wounded with a sword the Mule carrying the treasure, which they greedily seized upon, while they took no notice of the grain. The Mule which had been robbed and wounded, bewailed his misfortunes. The other replied, "I am indeed glad that I was thought so little of, for I have lost nothing, nor am I hurt with any wound."
THE VIPER AND THE FILE.
A VlPER entering the workshop of a smith, sought from the tools the means of satisfying his hunger. He more particularly addressed himself to a File, and asked of him the favour of a meal. The File replied, "You must indeed be a simple-minded fellow if you expect to get anything from me, who am accustomed to take from every one, and never to give anything in return."
The covetous are poor givers.
THE LION AND THE SHEPHERD.
A LION, roaming through a forest, trod upon a thorn, and soon after came up towards a Shepherd, and fawned upon him, wagging his tail, as if he would say, "I am a suppliant, and seek your aid." The Shepherd boldly examined, and discovered the thorn, and placing his foot upon his lap, pulled it out and relieved the Lion of his pain, who returned into the forest. Some time after, the Shepherd being imprisoned on a false accusation, is condemned "to be cast to the Lions," as the punishment of his imputed crime. The Lion, on being released from his cage, recognises the Shepherd as the man who healed him, and, instead of attacking him, approaches and places his foot upon his lap. The King, as soon as he heard the tale, ordered the Lion to be set free again in the forest, and the Shepherd to be pardoned and restored to his friends.
THE CAMEL AND JUPITER.
The Camel, when he saw the Bull adorned with horns, envied him, and wished that he himself could obtain the same honours. He went to Jupiter, and besought him to give him horns. Jupiter, vexed at his request, because he was not satisfied with his size and strength of body, and desired yet more, not only refused to give him horns, but even deprived him of a portion of his ears.
THE PANTHER AND THE SHEPHERDS.
A Panther, by some mischance, fell into a pit. The Shepherds discovered him, and threw sticks at him, and pelted him with stones, while some of them, moved with compassion towards one about to die even though no one should hurt him, threw in some food to prolong his life. At night they returned home, not dreaming of any danger, but supposing that on the morrow they should find him dead. The Panther, however, when he had recruited his feeble strength, freed himself with a sudden bound from the pit, and hastened home with rapid steps to his den. After a few days he came forth and slaughtered the cattle, and, killing the Shepherds who had attacked him, raged with angry fury. Then they who had spared his life, fearing for their safety, surrendered to him their flocks, and begged only for their lives; to whom the Panther made this reply: "I remember alike those who sought my life with stones, and those who gave me food — lay aside, therefore, your fears. I return as an enemy only to those who injured me."
THE EAGLE AND THE KITE.
An Eagle, overwhelmed with sorrow, sat upon the branches of a tree, in company with a Kite. "Why," said the Kite, "do I see you with such a rueful look?" "I seek," she replied, "for a mate suitable for me, and am not able to find one." "Take me," returned the Kite, "I am much stronger than you are." "Why, are you able to secure the means of living by your plunder?" "Well, I have often caught and carried away an ostrich in my talons." The Eagle, persuaded by these words, accepted him as her mate. Shortly after the nuptials, the Eagle said, "Fly off, and bring me back the ostrich you promised me." The Kite, soaring aloft into the air, brought back the shabbiest possible mouse, and stinking from the length of time it had lain about the fields. "Is this," said the Eagle, "the faithful fulfilment of your promise to me?" The Kite replied, "That I might attain to your royal hand, there is nothing that I would not have promised, however much I knew that I must fail in the performance."
THE EAGLE AND HIS CAPTOR.
An Eagle was once captured by a man, who at once clipped his wings, and put him into his poultry yard with the other birds; at which treatment the Eagle was weighed down with grief. Another neighbour having purchased him, suffered his feathers to grow again. The Eagle took flight, and pouncing upon a hare brought it at once as an offering to his benefactor. A Fox, seeing this, exclaimed, "Do not propitiate the favour of this man, but of your former owner, lest he should again hunt for you, and deprive you a second time of your wings."
THE KING'S SON AND THE PAINTED LION.
A King who had one only son, fond of martial exercises, had a dream in which he was warned that his son would be killed by a lion. Afraid lest the dream should prove true, he built for his son a pleasant palace, and adorned its walls for his amusement with all kinds of animals of the size of life, among which was the picture of a lion. When the young Prince saw this, his grief at being thus confined burst out afresh, and, standing near the lion, he thus spoke: "O you most detestable of animals! through a lying dream of my father's, which he saw in his sleep, I am shut up on your account in this palace as if I had been a girl: what shall I now do to you?" With these words he stretched out his hands toward a thorn-tree, meaning to cut a stick from its branches that he might beat the lion, when one of its sharp prickles pierced his finger, and caused great pain and inflammation, so that the young Prince fell down in a fainting fit. A violent fever suddenly set in, from which he died not many days after.
We had better bear our troubles bravely than try to escape them.
THE CAT AND VENUS.
A Cat fell in love with a handsome young man, and entreated Venus that she would change her into the form of a woman. Venus consented to her request, and transformed her into a beautiful damsel, so that the youth saw her, and loved her, and took her home as his bride. While they were reclining in their chamber, Venus, wishing to discover if the Cat in her change of shape had also altered her habits of life, let down a mouse in the middle of the room. She, quite forgetting her present condition, started up from the couch, and pursued the mouse, wishing to eat it. Venus, much disappointed, again caused her to return to her former shape.
Nature exceeds nurture.
THE EAGLE AND THE BEETLE.
The Eagle and the Beetle were at enmity together, and they destroyed one another's nests. The Eagle gave the first provocation in seizing upon, and in eating the young ones of the Beetle. The Beetle got by stealth at the Eagle's eggs, and rolled them out of the nest, and followed the Eagle even into the presence of Jupiter. On the Eagle making his complaint, Jupiter ordered him to make his nest in his lap; and while Jupiter had the eggs in his lap, the Beetle came flying about him, and Jupiter rising up unawares, to drive him away from his head, threw down the eggs, and broke them.
The weak often revenge themselves on those who use them ill, even though they be the more powerful.
THE SHE-GOATS AND THEIR BEARDS.
The She-goats having obtained by request from Jupiter the favour of a beard, the He-goats, sorely displeased, made complaint that the females equalled them in dignity. "Suffer them," said Jupiter, "to enjoy an empty honour, and to assume the badge of your nobler sex, so long as they are not your equals in strength or courage."
It matters little if those who are inferior to us in merit should be like us in outside appearances.
THE BALD MAN AND THE FLY.
A Fly bit the bare head of a Bald Man, who, endeavouring to destroy it, gave himself a heavy slap. Then said the Fly mockingly, "You who have wished to revenge, even with death, the prick of a tiny insect, what will you do to yourself, who have added insult to injury?" The Bald Man replied, "I can easily make peace with myself, because I know there was no intention to hurt. But you, an ill-favoured and contemptible insect, who delight in sucking human blood, I wish that I could have killed you, even if I had incurred a heavier penalty."
THE SHIPWRECKED MAN AND THE SEA.
A SHIPWRECKED Man, having been cast upon a certain shore, slept after his bufTetings with the deep. After a while waking up, when he looked upon the sea, he loaded it with reproaches that, enticing men with the calmness of its looks, when it had induced them to plough its waters, it grew rough and destroyed them utterly. The Sea, assuming the form of a woman, replied to him: "Blame not me, my good sir, but the winds, for I am by my own nature as calm and firm even as this earth; but the winds falling on me on a sudden, create these waves, and lash me into fury."
THE BUFFOON AND THE COUNTRYMAN.
A RICH nobleman once opened the theatres without charge to the people, and gave a public notice that he would handsomely reward any person who should invent a new amusement for the occasion. Various public performers contended for the prize. Among them came a Buffoon well known among the populace for his jokes, and said that he had a kind of entertainment which had never been brought out on any stage before. This report being spread about made a great stir in the place, and the theatre was crowded in every part. The Buffoon appeared alone upon the boards, without any apparatus or confederates, and the very sense of expectation caused an intense silence. The Buffoon suddenly bent his head towards his bosom, and imitated the squeaking of a little pig so admirably with his voice, that the audience declared that he had a porker under his cloak, and demanded that it should be shaken out. When that was done, and yet nothing was found, they cheered the actor, and loaded him with the loudest applause. A Countryman in the crowd, observing all that had passed, said, "So help me, Hercules, he shall not beat me at that trick!" and at once proclaimed that he would do the same thing on the next day, though in a much more natural way. On the morrow a still larger crowd assembled in the theatre; but now partiality for their favourite actor very generally prevailed, and the audience came rather to ridicule the Countryman than to see the spectacle. Both of the performers, however, appeared on the stage. The Buffoon grunted and squeaked away first, and obtained, as on the preceding day, the applause and cheers of the spectators. Next the Countryman commenced, and pretending that he concealed a little pig beneath his clothes (which in truth he did, but not suspected of the audience) contrived to lay hold of and to pull his ear, when he began to squeak, and to express in his pain the actual cry of the pig. The crowd, however, cried out with one consent that the Buffoon had given a far more exact imitation, and clamoured for the Countryman to be kicked out of the theatre. On this the rustic produced the little pig from his cloak, and showed by the most positive proof the greatness of their mistake. "Look here," he said, "this shows what sort of judges you are."
THE CROW AND THE SERPENT.
A CROW, in great want of food, saw a Serpent asleep in a sunny nook, and flying down, greedily seized him. The Serpent turning about, bit the Crow with a mortal wound; the Crow in the agony of death exclaimed: "O unhappy me! who have found in that which I deemed a happy windfall the source of my destruction."
THE HUNTER AND THE HORSEMAN.
A CERTAIN Hunter having snared a hare, placed it upon his shoulders, and set out homewards. He met on his way with a man on horseback who begged the hare of him, under the pretence of purchasing it. The Horseman having got the hare, rode off as fast as he could. The Hunter ran after him, as if he was sure of overtaking him. The Horseman, however, increasing more and more the distance between them, the Hunter, sorely against his will, called out to him, and said, "Get along with you! for I will now make you a present of the hare."
THE OLIVE-TREE AND THE FIG-TREE.
The Olive-tree ridiculed the Fig-tree because, while she was green all the year round, the Fig-tree changed its leaves with the seasons. A shower of snow fell upon them, and, finding the Olive full of foliage, it settled upon its branches, and, breaking them down with its weight, at once despoiled it of its beauty and killed the tree; but finding the Fig-tree denuded of leaves, it fell through to the ground, and did not injure it at all.
THE FROGS' COMPLAINT AGAINST THE SUN.
ONCE upon a time, when the Sun announced his intention to take a wife, the Frogs lifted up their voices in clamour to the sky. Jupiter, disturbed by the noise of their croaking, inquired the cause of their complaint. One of them said, "The Sun, now while he is single, parches up the marsh, and compels us to die miserably in our arid homes; what will be our future condition if he should beget other suns?"