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Title: Aesop's Fables - A New Revised Version From Original Sources
Author: Aesop, 620 BC-563 BC
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Aesop's Fables - A New Revised Version From Original Sources" ***










[Transcriber's note A: Original had "WIER".]


The Life and History of Æsop is involved, like that of Homer, the most
famous of Greek poets, in much obscurity. Sardis, the capital of Lydia;
Samos, a Greek island; Mesembria, an ancient colony in Thrace; and
Cotiæum, the chief city of a province of Phrygia, contend for the
distinction of being the birthplace of Æsop. Although the honor thus
claimed cannot be definitely assigned to any one of these places, yet
there are a few incidents now generally accepted by scholars as
established facts, relating to the birth, life, and death of Æsop. He
is, by an almost universal consent, allowed to have been born about the
year 620 B.C., and to have been by birth a slave. He was owned
by two masters in succession, both inhabitants of Samos, Xanthus and
Jadmon, the latter of whom gave him his liberty as a reward for his
learning and wit. One of the privileges of a freedman in the ancient
republics of Greece was the permission to take an active interest in
public affairs; and Æsop, like the philosophers Phædo, Menippus, and
Epictetus, in later times, raised himself from the indignity of a
servile condition to a position of high renown. In his desire alike to
instruct and to be instructed, he travelled through many countries, and
among others came to Sardis, the capital of the famous king of Lydia,
the great patron in that day, of learning and of learned men. He met at
the court of Crœsus with Solon, Thales, and other sages, and is
related so to have pleased his royal master, by the part he took in the
conversations held with these philosophers, that he applied to him an
expression which has since passed into a proverb, "μᾶλλον ὁ Φρύξ"--"The
Phrygian has spoken better than all."

On the invitation of Crœsus he fixed his residence at Sardis, and was
employed by that monarch in various difficult and delicate affairs of
state. In his discharge of these commissions he visited the different
petty republics of Greece. At one time he is found in Corinth, and at
another in Athens, endeavoring, by the narration of some of his wise
fables, to reconcile the inhabitants of those cities to the
administration of their respective rulers, Pariander and Pisistratus.
One of these ambassadorial missions, undertaken at the command of
Crœsus, was the occasion of his death. Having been sent to Delphi
with a large sum of gold for distribution among the citizens, he was so
provoked at their covetousness that he refused to divide the money, and
sent it back to his master. The Delphians, enraged at this treatment,
accused him of impiety, and, in spite of his sacred character as
ambassador, executed him as a public criminal. This cruel death of Æsop
was not unavenged. The citizens of Delphi were visited with a series of
calamities, until they made a public reparation of their crime; and "The
blood of Æsop" became a well-known adage, bearing witness to the truth
that deeds of wrong would not pass unpunished. Neither did the great
fabulist lack posthumous honors; for a statue was erected to his memory
at Athens, the work of Lysippus, one of the most famous of Greek
sculptors. Phædrus thus immortalizes the event:--

  Æsopo ingentem statuam posuere Attici,
  Servumque collocarunt æterna in basi:
  Patere honoris scirent ut cuncti viam;
  Nec generi tribui sed virtuti gloriam.

These few facts are all that can be relied on with any degree of
certainty, in reference to the birth, life, and death of Æsop. They were
first brought to light, after a patient search and diligent perusal of
ancient authors, by a Frenchman, M. Claude Gaspard Bachet de Mezeriac,
who declined the honor of being tutor to Louis XIII. of France, from his
desire to devote himself exclusively to literature. He published his
life of Æsop, Anno Domini 1632. The later investigations of a host of
English and German scholars have added very little to the facts given by
M. Mezeriac. The substantial truth of his statements has been confirmed
by later criticism and inquiry.

It remains to state, that prior to this publication of M. Mezeriac, the
life of Æsop was from the pen of Maximus Planudes, a monk of
Constantinople, who was sent on an embassy to Venice by the Byzantine
Emperor Andronicus the elder, and who wrote in the early part of the
fourteenth century. His life was prefixed to all the early editions of
these fables, and was republished as late as 1727 by Archdeacon Croxall
as the introduction to his edition of Æsop. This life by Planudes
contains, however, so small an amount of truth, and is so full of absurd
pictures of the grotesque deformity of Æsop, of wondrous apocryphal
stories, of lying legends, and gross anachronisms, that it is now
universally condemned as false, puerile, and unauthentic. It is given up
in the present day, by general consent, as unworthy of the slightest




The Wolf Turned Shepherd.

A wolf, finding that the sheep were so afraid of him that he could not
get near them, disguised himself in the dress of a shepherd, and thus
attired approached the flock. As he came near, he found the shepherd
fast asleep. As the sheep did not run away, he resolved to imitate the
voice of the shepherd. In trying to do so, he only howled, and awoke the
shepherd. As he could not run away, he was soon killed.

Those who attempt to act in disguise are apt to overdo it.

The Stag at the Pool.


A stag saw his shadow reflected in the water, and greatly admired the
size of his horns, but felt angry with himself for having such weak
feet. While he was thus contemplating himself, a Lion appeared at the
pool. The Stag betook himself to flight, and kept himself with ease at a
safe distance from the Lion, until he entered a wood and became
entangled with his horns. 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 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."


A fair face is of little use without sense.

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!"

We should not wait till a person is dead, to give him our respect.

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 then 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

The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny, and it is useless
for the innocent to try by reasoning to get justice, when the oppressor
intends to be unjust.


The One-Eyed Doe.


A Doe, blind of an eye, was accustomed to graze as near to the edge of
the sea as she possibly could, to secure greater safety. She turned her
eye towards the land, that she might perceive the approach of a hunter
or hound, and her injured eye towards the sea, from which she
entertained no anticipation of danger. Some boatmen, sailing by, saw
her, and, taking a successful aim, mortally wounded her. Said she: "O
wretched creature that I am! to take such precaution against the land,
and, after all, to find this seashore, to which I had come for safety,
so much more perilous."

Danger sometimes comes from a source that is least suspected.

The Dog, Cock and Fox.

A Dog and a Cock, traveling together, took shelter at night in a thick
wood. The Cock perched himself on a high branch, while the Dog found a
bed at the foot of the tree. When morning dawned, the Cock, as usual,
crowed very loudly. 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 sweet a

"If you will admit me," said he, "I should very much like to spend the
day with you."

The Cock said: "Sir, do me the favor to go round and wake up my porter,
that he may open the door, and let you in." On the Fox approaching the
tree, the Dog sprang out and caught him and quickly tore him in pieces.


Those who try to entrap others are often caught by their own schemes.

The Mouse, the Frog, and the Hawk.


A Mouse, by an unlucky chance, formed an intimate acquaintance with a
Frog. The Frog one day, intent on mischief, bound the foot of the Mouse
tightly to his own. Thus joined together, the Frog led his friend toward
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, 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 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."

Who acts in haste repents at leisure.

The Wolf and the Shepherds.

A Wolf passing by, saw some shepherds in a hut eating for their dinner a
haunch of mutton. Approaching them, he said: "What a clamor you would
raise, if I were to do as you are doing!"

Men are too apt to condemn in others the very things they practice

The Hares and the Frogs.


The Hares, oppressed with a sense of their own exceeding timidity, and
weary of the perpetual alarm to which they were exposed, with one accord
determined to put an end to themselves and their troubles, by jumping
from a lofty precipice into a deep lake below. As they scampered off in
a very numerous body to carry out their resolve, the Frogs lying on the
banks of the lake heard the noise of their feet, and rushed
helter-skelter to the deep water for safety. On seeing the rapid
disappearance of the Frogs, one of the Hares cried out to his
companions: "Stay, my friends, do not do as you intended; for you now
see that other creatures who yet live are more timorous than ourselves."


We are encouraged by seeing others that are worse off than ourselves.

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, as
will certainly happen if we are disabled."

Those who strive are often watched by others who will take advantage of
their defeat to benefit themselves.

The Mischievous Dog.


A Dog used to run up quietly to the heels of those he met, and to bite
them without notice. His master sometimes suspended a bell about his
neck, that he might give notice of his presence wherever he went, and
sometimes he fastened a chain about his neck, to which was attached a
heavy clog, so that he could not be so quick at biting people's heels.

The Dog grew proud of his bell and clog, and went with them all over the
market-place. An old hound said to him: "Why do you make such an
exhibition of yourself? That bell and clog that you carry are not,
believe me, orders of merit, but, on the contrary, marks of disgrace, a
public notice to all men to avoid you as an ill-mannered dog."

Those who achieve notoriety often mistake it for fame.


The Quack Frog.


A Frog once made proclamation to all the beasts that he was a learned
physician, and able to heal all diseases. A Fox asked him: "How can you
pretend to prescribe for others, and you are unable to heal your own
lame gait and wrinkled skin?"

Those who pretend that they can mend others should first mend
themselves, and then they will be more readily believed.

The Ass, the Fox, and the Lion.


The Ass and the Fox, having entered into a partnership together, went
out into the forest to hunt. They had not proceeded far, when they met a
Lion. The Fox 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
be spared. 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.

Traitors must expect treachery.

The Wolf and the Sheep.


A Wolf, being sick and maimed, called to a Sheep, who was passing, and
asked him to fetch some water from the stream. "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 Cock and the Jewel.


A Cock, scratching for food for himself and his hens, found a precious
stone; on which he said: "If thy 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 Two Pots.


A river carried down in its stream two Pots, one made of earthenware,
and the other of brass. As they floated along on the surface of the
stream, 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 Gnat and the Lion.

A Gnat came and said to a Lion: "I do not the least fear you, nor are
you stronger than I am. For in what does your strength consist? You can
scratch with your claws, and bite with your teeth--so can a woman in her
quarrels. I repeat that I am altogether more powerful than you; and if
you doubt it, let us fight and see who will conquer." The Gnat, having
sounded his horn, fastened itself upon the Lion, and stung him on the
nostrils. The Lion, trying to crush him, tore himself with his claws,
until he punished himself severely. The Gnat thus prevailed over the
Lion, and buzzing about in a song of triumph, flew away. But shortly
afterwards he became entangled in the meshes of a cobweb, and was eaten
by a spider. He greatly lamented his fate, saying: "Woe is me, that I,
who can wage war successfully with the hugest beasts, should perish
myself from this spider."

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 labor, 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 cock, was unable to tell the
time, and so, woke them up to their work in the middle of the night.

Unlawful acts to escape trials only increase our troubles.

The Fox and the Lion.


A Fox who had never yet seen a Lion, when he fell in with him by a
certain chance for the first time in the forest, was so frightened that
he was near dying with fear. On his meeting with him for the second
time, he was still much alarmed, but not to the same extent as at first.
On seeing him the third time, he so increased in boldness that he went
up to him, and commenced a familiar conversation with him.

Acquaintance softens prejudices.


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."


Better a little in safety, than an abundance surrounded by danger.

The Monkey and the Dolphin.


A Sailor, bound on a long voyage, took with him a Monkey to amuse him
while on shipboard. As he sailed off the coast of Greece, a violent
tempest arose, in which the ship was wrecked, and he, his Monkey and all
the crew were obliged to swim for their lives. A Dolphin saw the Monkey
contending with the waves, and supposing him to be a man (whom he is
always said to befriend), came and placed himself under him, to convey
him on his back in safety to the shore. When the Dolphin arrived with
his burden in sight of land not far from Athens, he demanded of the
Monkey if he were an Athenian, who answered that he was, and that he was
descended from one of the noblest families in that city.

The Dolphin then inquired if he knew the Piræus (the famous harbor of
Athens). The Monkey, supposing that a man was meant, and being obliged
to support his previous lie, answered that he knew him very well, and
that he was an intimate friend, who would, no doubt, be very glad to see
him. The Dolphin, indignant at these falsehoods, dipped the Monkey under
the water, and drowned him.

He who once begins to tell falsehoods is obliged to tell others to make
them appear true, and, sooner or later, they will get him into trouble.

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 badly 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 quarreling with each other."

Strangers should avoid those who quarrel among themselves.

The Boy and the Nettle.

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 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 injury. 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 loud trumpet stirs up
all the other soldiers to battle."

He who incites strife is as guilty as they who strive.

The Fatal Marriage.

The Lion, touched with gratitude by the noble procedure of a Mouse, and
resolving not to be outdone in generosity by any wild beast whatsoever,
desired his little deliverer to name his own terms, for that he might
depend upon his complying with any proposal he should make. The Mouse,
fired with ambition at this gracious offer, did not so much consider
what was proper for him to ask, as what was in the powers of his prince
to grant; and so demanded his princely daughter, the young lioness, in
marriage. The Lion consented; but, when he would have given the royal
virgin into his possession, she, like a giddy thing as she was, not
minding how she walked, by chance set her paw upon her spouse, who was
coming to meet her, and crushed him to pieces.

Beware of unequal matches. Alliances prompted by ambition often prove

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, the heavy armed soldier
mounted the Horse, and 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,
saying: "How much more fortunate am I than a charger. I can remain at
home in safety while he is exposed to all the perils of war."

Be not hasty to envy the condition of others.

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. 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

Hope not to succeed in borrowed plumes.

The Milkmaid and her Pot of Milk.


A Maid was carrying her pail of milk to the farm-house, when she fell
a-musing. "The money for which this milk will be sold will buy at least
three hundred eggs. The eggs, allowing for all mishaps, will produce two
hundred and fifty chickens. The chickens will become ready for market
when poultry will fetch the highest price; so that by the end of the
year I shall have money enough to buy a new gown. In this dress I will
go to the Christmas junketings, when all the young fellows will propose
to me, but I will toss my head, and refuse them every one." At this
moment she tossed her head in unison with her thoughts, when down fell
the Milk-pot to the ground, and broke into a hundred pieces, and all
her fine schemes perished in a moment.

Count not your chickens before they are hatched.


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 Man and the Satyr.


A Man and a Satyr once formed a bond of alliance. 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, he told him that he did
it to warm his hands. Later on in the day they sat down to eat, the food
prepared being quite scalding. The Man raised one of his dishes towards
his mouth and blew in it. On the Satyr again inquiring the reason, he
said that he did it to cool the meat. "I can no longer consider you as
a friend," said the Satyr; "a fellow who with the same breath blows hot
and cold I could never trust."

A man who talks for both sides is not to be trusted by either.

The Oak and the Reeds.


A very large Oak was uprooted by the wind, and thrown across a stream.
It fell among some Reeds, which it thus addressed: "I wonder how you,
who are so light and weak, are not entirely crushed by these strong
winds." They replied:

"You fight and contend with the wind, and consequently you are
destroyed; while we, on the contrary, bend before the least breath of
air, and therefore remain unbroken."

Stoop to conquer.

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 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 neighbor
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."

Pleasures are heightened by abstinence.

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.

Be not in haste to believe what is said in anger or thoughtlessness.


The Shepherd[B] and the Wolf.

A Shepherd once found a young Wolf, and brought it up, and after a while
taught it to steal lambs from the neighboring 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 vices we teach may be practiced against us.

[Transcriber's note B: Original had "Sheperd".]

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 unreasonable boasting. The larger the number of your
family, the greater your cause of sorrow, in seeing them shut up in this

To enjoy our blessings we must have freedom.

The Old Man and the Three Young Men.


As an old man was planting a tree, three young men came along and began
to make sport of him, saying: "It shows your foolishness to be planting
a tree at your age. The tree cannot bear fruit for many years, while you
must very soon die. What is the use of your wasting your time in
providing pleasure for others to share long after you are dead?" The old
man stopped in his labor and replied: "Others before me provided for my
happiness, and it is my duty to provide for those who shall come after
me. As for life, who is sure of it for a day? You may all die before
me." The old man's words came true; one of the young men went on a
voyage at sea and was drowned, another went to war and was shot, and the
third fell from a tree and broke his neck.

We should not think wholly of ourselves, and we should remember that
life is uncertain.

The Lion and the Fox.


A Fox entered into partnership with a Lion, on the pretense 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 sprang 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
huntsman and his hounds.

Keep to your place, if you would succeed.

The Horse and the Stag.


The Horse had the plain entirely to himself. A Stag intruded into his
domain and shared his pasture. The Horse, desiring to revenge himself
on the stranger, requested a man, if he were willing, to help him in
punishing the Stag. The man replied, that if the Horse would receive a
bit in his mouth, and agree to carry him, he would contrive very
effectual weapons against the Stag. The Horse consented, and allowed the
man to mount him. From that hour he found that, instead of obtaining
revenge on the Stag, he had enslaved himself to the service of man.

He who seeks to injure others often injures only himself.

The Lion and the Dolphin.

A Lion, 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."

Let every one stick to his own element.

The Mice in Council.


The Mice summoned a council to decide how they might best devise means
for obtaining notice of the approach of their great enemy the Cat. Among
the many plans devised, the one that found most favor was the proposal
to tie a bell to the neck of the Cat, that the Mice, being warned by
the sound of the tinkling, might run away and hide themselves in their
holes at his approach. But when the Mice further debated who among them
should thus "bell the Cat," there was no one found to do it.

Let those who propose be willing to perform.

The Camel and the Arab.


An Arab Camel-driver having completed the lading of his Camel, asked him
which he would like best, to go up hill or down hill. The poor beast
replied, not without a touch of reason: "Why do you ask me? Is it that
the level way through the desert is closed?"

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 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, lifting his head out of the water, cried out: "Pray stop, my
boys; what is sport to you is death to us."

What we do in sport often makes great trouble for others.

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 straight forward." 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 Wolf and the Shepherd.


A Wolf followed a flock of sheep for a long time, and did not attempt to
injure one of them. The Shepherd at first stood on his guard against
him, as against an enemy, and kept a strict watch over his movements.
But when the Wolf, day after day, kept in the company of the sheep, and
did not make the slightest effort to seize them, the Shepherd began to
look upon him as a guardian of his flock rather than as a plotter of
evil against it; and when occasion called him one day into the city, he
left the sheep entirely in his charge. The Wolf, now that he had the
opportunity, fell upon the sheep, and destroyed the greater part of the
flock. The Shepherd, on his return, finding his flock destroyed,
exclaimed: "I have been rightly served; why did I trust my sheep to a


An evil mind will show in evil action, sooner or later.

The Man and the Lion.

A Man and a Lion traveled 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 traveler 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 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."

Impossible things we cannot hope to attain, and it is of no use to try.

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;
he was driven forth from the light of day, and henceforth concealed
himself in dark hiding-places, flying always alone and at night.

Those who practice deceit must expect to be shunned.

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 neighbors, 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 Bull and the Goat.


A Bull, escaping from a Lion, entered a cave, which some shepherds had
lately occupied. A He-goat was left in it, who sharply attacked him with
his horns. The Bull quietly addressed him--"Butt away as much as you
will. I have no fear of you, but of the Lion. Let that monster once go,
and I will soon let you know what is the respective strength of a Goat
and a Bull."

It shows an evil disposition to take advantage of a friend in distress.

The Lion and the Mouse.


A Lion 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 favor; but
now you know that it is possible for even a Mouse to confer benefits on
a Lion."

No one is too weak to do good.

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
afterward, the Horse, having become broken-winded, was sent by his owner
to the farm. The Ass, seeing him drawing a dung-cart, 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 Old Hound.


A Hound, who in the days of his youth and strength had never yielded to
any beast of the forest, encountered in his old age a boar in the chase.
He seized him boldly by the ear, but could not retain his hold because
of the decay of his teeth, so that the boar escaped. His master, quickly
coming up, was very much disappointed, and fiercely abused the dog. The
Hound looked up and said: "It was not my fault, master; my spirit was as
good as ever, but I could not help mine infirmities. I rather deserve
to be praised for what I have been, than to be blamed for what I am."

No one should be blamed for his infirmities.

The Crow and the Pitcher.


A Crow, perishing with thirst, saw a pitcher, and, hoping to find water,
flew to it with great delight. When he reached it, he discovered to his
grief that it contained so little water that he could not possibly get
at it. He tried everything he could think of to reach the water, but
all his efforts were in vain. At last he collected as many stones as he
could carry, and dropped them one by one with his beak into the pitcher,
until he brought the water within his reach, and thus saved his life.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

The Ass Eating Thistles.

An Ass was loaded with good provisions of several sorts, which, in time
of harvest, he was carrying into the field for his master and the
reapers to dine upon. By the way he met with a fine large Thistle, and,
being very hungry, began to mumble it; and while he was doing so he
entered into this reflection: "How many greedy epicures would think
themselves happy, amidst such a variety of delicate viands as I now
carry! But to me this bitter, prickly Thistle is more savory and
relishing than the most exquisite and sumptuous banquet. Let others
choose what they may for food, but give me, above everything, a fine
juicy thistle like this and I will be content."

Every one to his taste: one man's meat is another man's poison, and one
man's poison is another man's meat; what is rejected by one person may
be valued very highly by another.

The Wolf and the Lion.


A Wolf, having stolen a lamb from a fold, was carrying him off to his
lair. A Lion met him in the path, and, seizing the lamb, took it from
him. The Wolf, standing at a safe distance, exclaimed: "You have
unrighteously taken from me that which was mine." The Lion jeeringly
replied: "It was righteously yours, eh? Was it the gift of a friend, or
did you get it by purchase? If you did not get it in one way or the
other, how then did you come by it?"

One thief is no better than another.

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 Trees and the Axe.


A Man came into a forest, and made a petition to the Trees to provide
him a handle for his axe. The Trees consented to his request, and gave
him a young ash-tree. No sooner had the man fitted from it a new handle
to his axe, than he began to use it, and quickly felled with his strokes
the noblest giants of the forest. An old oak, lamenting when too late
the destruction of his companions, said to a neighboring cedar: "The
first step has lost us all. If we had not given up the rights of the
ash, we might yet have retained our own privileges and have stood for

In yielding the rights of others, we may endanger our own.

The Seaside Travelers.

Some travelers, journeying along the sea-shore, climbed to the summit of
a tall cliff, and from thence looking over the sea, saw in the distance
what they thought was a large ship, and waited in the hope of seeing it
enter the harbor. But as the object on which they looked was driven by
the wind nearer to the shore, they found that it could at the most be a
small boat, and not a ship. When, however, it reached the beach, they
discovered that it was only a large fagot of sticks, and one of them
said to his companions: "We have waited for no purpose, for after all
there is nothing to see but a fagot."

Our mere anticipations of life outrun its realities.

The Sea-gull and the Kite.


A Sea-gull, who was more at home swimming on the sea than walking on the
land, was in the habit of catching live fish for its food. One day,
having bolted down too large a fish, it burst its deep gullet-bag, and
lay down on the shore to die. A Kite, seeing him, and thinking him a
land bird like itself, exclaimed: "You richly deserve your fate; for a
bird of the air has no business to seek its food from the sea."

Every man should be content to mind his own business.

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 favor of
the guests, proposed to stand up in his turn, and dance for their
amusement. He moved about in so very 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 Rat and the Elephant.


A Rat, traveling on the highway, met a huge elephant, bearing his royal
master and his suite, and also his favorite cat and dog, and parrot and
monkey. The great beast and his attendants were followed by an admiring
crowd, taking up all of the road. "What fools you are," said the Rat to
the people, "to make such a hubbub over an elephant. Is it his great
bulk that you so much admire? It can only frighten little boys and
girls, and I can do that as well. I am a beast; as well as he, and have
as many legs and ears and eyes. He has no right to take up all the
highway, which belongs as much to me as to him." At this moment, the cat
spied the rat, and, jumping to the ground, soon convinced him that he
was not an elephant.

Because we are like the great in one respect we must not think we are
like them in all.

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.

The Wolf and the House-dog.


A Wolf, meeting with a big, well-fed Mastiff, having a wooden collar
about his neck, inquired of him who it was that fed him so well, and yet
compelled him to drag that heavy log about wherever he went. "The
master," he replied. Then, said the Wolf: "May no friend of mine ever be
in such a plight; for the weight of this chain is enough to spoil the

Nothing can compensate us for the loss of our liberty.

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. "Is this," said the Eagle,
"the faithful fulfillment 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

Promises of a suitor must be taken with caution.

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 Fisherman and the Little Fish


A Fisherman who lived on the produce of his nets, one day caught a
single small fish as the result of his day's labor. The fish, panting
convulsively, thus entreated for his life: "O Sir, what good can I be
to you, and how little am I worth! I am not yet come to my full size.
Pray spare my life, and put me back into the sea. I shall soon become a
large fish, fit for the tables of the rich; and then you can catch me
again, and make a handsome profit of me." The fisherman replied: "I
should be a very simple fellow, if I were to forego my certain gain for
an uncertain profit."


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, saying: "I do not need a trial; I know that he will be just such
another as the one whom he chose for his companion."

A man is known by the company he keeps.

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, 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 basest ingratitude is that which injures those who serve us.

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, having greater
admiration for the meat than for the crow. But the Crow, all her vanity
aroused by the cunning flattery, and 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."

He who listens to flattery is not wise, for it has no good purpose.

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 Hen and the Golden Eggs.


A Cottager and his wife had a Hen, which laid every day a golden egg.
They supposed that it must contain a great lump of gold in its inside,
and killed it in order that they might get it, when, to their surprise,
they found that the Hen differed in no respect from their other hens.
The foolish pair, thus hoping to become rich all at once, deprived
themselves of the gain of which they were day by day assured.


The Old Man and Death.

An old man was employed in cutting wood in the forest, and, in carrying
the fagots 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

We do not always like to be taken at our word.

The Fox and the Leopard.


The Fox and the Leopard disputed which was the more beautiful of the
two. The Leopard exhibited one by one the various spots which decorated
his skin. The Fox, interrupting him, said: "And how much more beautiful
than you am I, who am decorated, not in body, but in mind."

People are not to be judged by their coats.

The Mountain in Labor.

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 Two Travelers.


Two men were traveling 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 traveler
descended from the tree, and, accosting his friend, jocularly inquired
"what it was the Bear had whispered in his ear?" His friend 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 Sick Kite.

A Kite, sick unto death, said to his mother: "O 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 which had been offered up to them?"

We must make friends in prosperity, if we would have their help in

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 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 labors. The Cat replied:
"Although you abound in specious apologies, I shall not remain
supperless;" and he made a meal of him.

It does no good to deny those who make false accusations knowingly.

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 for 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 Soldiers and the Robber.


Two Soldiers, traveling 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 traveling 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 ran away, know right
well that no dependence can be placed on your valor."

When a coward is once found out, his pretensions of valor are useless.

The Monkey and the Cat.

A Monkey and a Cat lived in the same family, and it was hard to tell
which was the greatest thief. One day, as they were roaming about
together, they spied some chestnuts roasting in the ashes. "Come," said
the cunning Monkey, "we shall not go without our dinner to-day. Your
claws are better than mine for the purpose; you pull them out of the
hot ashes and you shall have half." Pussy pulled them out one by one,
burning her claws very much in doing so. When she had stolen them all,
she found that the Monkey had eaten every one.

A thief cannot be trusted, even by another thief.

The Two Frogs.


Two frogs dwelt in the same pool. The pool being dried up under the
summer's heat, they left it and set out together for another home. As
they went along they chanced to pass a deep well, amply supplied with
water, on seeing which, one of the Frogs said to the other: "Let us
descend and make our abode in this well." The other replied with greater
caution: "But suppose the water should fail us, how can we get out again
from so great a depth?"

Do nothing without a regard to the consequences.

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
said: "Why do you thus injure me 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 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

Retribution is certain.

The Mouse and the Boasting Rat.


A Mouse lived in a granary which became, after a while, the frequent
resort of a Cat. The Mouse was in great fear and did not know what to
do. In her strait, she bethought herself of a Rat who lived not far
away, and who had said in her hearing a hundred times that he was not
afraid of any cat living. She resolved to visit the bold Rat and ask
him to drive the Cat away. She found the Rat in his hole and relating
her story, besought his help. "Pooh!" said the Rat, "You should be bold
as I am; go straight about your affairs, and do not mind the Cat. I will
soon follow you, and drive him away." He thought, now, he must do
something to make good his boast. So he collected all the Rats in the
neighborhood, resolved to frighten the Cat by numbers. But when they all
came to the granary, they found that the Cat had already caught the
foolish Mouse, and a single growl from him sent them all scampering to
their holes.

Do not rely upon a boaster.

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 Thief and the House-Dog.


A Thief came in the night to break into a house. He brought with him
several slices of meat, that he might pacify the House-dog, so that he
should not alarm his master by barking. As the Thief threw him the
pieces of meat, the Dog said: "If you think to stop my mouth, to relax
my vigilance, or even to gain my regard by these gifts, you will be
greatly mistaken. This sudden kindness at your hands will only make me
more watchful, lest under these unexpected favors to myself you have
some private ends to accomplish for your own benefit, and for my
master's injury. Besides, this is not the time that I am usually fed,
which makes me all the more suspicions of your intentions."

He who offers bribes needs watching, for his intentions are not honest.

The Sick Stag.


A sick Stag lay down in a quiet corner of his pasture-ground. 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 Fowler and the Ringdove.

A Fowler took his gun, and went into the woods a shooting. He spied a
Ringdove among the branches of an oak, and intended to kill it. He
clapped the piece to his shoulder, and took his aim accordingly. But,
just as he was going to pull the trigger, an adder, which he had trod
upon under the grass, stung him so painfully in the leg that he was
forced to quit his design, and threw his gun down in a passion. The
poison immediately infected his blood, and his whole body began to
mortify; which, when he perceived, he could not help owning it to be
just. "Fate," said he, "has brought destruction upon me while I was
contriving the death of another."

Men often fall into the trap which they prepare for others.

The Kid and the Wolf.


A Kid, returning without protection from the pasture, was pursued by a
Wolf. He turned round, and said to the Wolf: "I know, friend Wolf, that
I must be your prey; but before I die, I would ask of you one favor,
that you will play me a tune, to which I may dance." The Wolf complied,
and while he was piping, and the Kid was dancing, the hounds, hearing
the sound, came up and gave chase to the Wolf. The Wolf, turning to the
Kid, said: "It is just what I deserve; for I, who am only a butcher,
should not have turned piper to please you."

Every one should keep his own colors.

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 early in life.

The Geese and the Cranes.


The Geese and the Cranes fed in the same meadow. A bird-catcher 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.

Those who are caught are not always the most guilty.

The North Wind and the Sun.


The North Wind and the Sun disputed which was the more 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 Traveler 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 Traveler 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 Laborer 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, endeavored to make
peace, and placed some bread and salt in his hole. The Snake 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."

It is hard to forget injuries in the presence of him who caused the

The Bull and the Calf.

A Bull was striving with all his might to squeeze himself through a
narrow passage which led to his stall. A young Calf came up and offered
to go before and show him the way by which he could manage to pass.
"Save yourself the trouble," said the Bull; "I knew that way long before
you were born."

Do not presume to teach your elders.

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 deep 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 blood of a Goat. They at once killed the Goat, and so
healed the Ass.

In injuring others we are apt to receive a greater injury.

The Boasting Traveler.

A Man who had traveled 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 leaped 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."

Cure a boaster by putting his words to the test.


The Ass, the Cock, and the Lion.

An Ass and a Cock were together, when a Lion, desperate from hunger,
approached. He was about to spring upon the Ass, when the Cock (to the
sound of whose voice the Lion, it is said, has a singular aversion)
crowed loudly, and the Lion fled away. The Ass, observing his
trepidation at the mere crowing of a cock, summoned courage to attack
him, and galloped after him for that purpose. He had run no long
distance when the Lion, turning about, seized him and tore him to

False confidence often leads into danger.

The Stag and the Fawn.

A Stag, grown old and mischievous, was, according to custom, stamping
with his foot, making offers with his head, and bellowing so terribly
that the whole herd quaked for fear of him; when one of the little
Fawns, coming up, addressed him thus: "Pray, what is the reason that
you, who are so formidable at all other times, if you do but hear the
cry of the hounds, are ready to fly out of your skin for fear?" "What
you observe is true," replied the Stag, "though I know not how to
account for it. I am indeed vigorous and able, and often resolve that
nothing shall ever dismay my courage; but, alas! I no sooner hear the
voice of a hound but my spirits fail me, and I cannot help making off as
fast as my legs can carry me."

The greatest braggarts are the greatest cowards.

The Partridge and the Fowler.


A Fowler caught a Partridge, and was about to kill him. 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;" and without more ado he
twisted his neck and put him in his bag with his other game.

Those who would sacrifice their friends to save themselves from harm are
not entitled to mercy.

The Farmer and the Stork.

A Farmer placed his 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

Birds of a feather flock together.

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, endeavored to
pull him back. The Ass persisting in his effort, the man let him go,
and said: "Conquer; but conquer to your cost."

The perverse generally come to harm.

The Hare and the Hound


A Hound having started a Hare from his form, after a long run, gave up
the chase. A Goat-herd, seeing him stop, mocked him, saying: "The little
one is the best runner of the two." The hound replied; "You do not see
the difference between us; I was only running for a dinner, but he for
his life."

Incentive spurs effort.

The Kites and the Swans.

The Kites of old time had, equally with the Swans, the privilege of
song. But having heard the neigh of the horse, they were so enchanted
with the sound, that they tried to imitate it; and, in trying to neigh,
they forgot how to sing.

The desire for imaginary benefits often involves the loss of present

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."

We should not deprive others of blessings because we cannot enjoy them

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 most happy windfall
the source of my certain destruction."

What seem to be blessings are not always so.

The Cat and the Fox.


As the Cat and the Fox were talking politics together, Reynard said:
"Let things turn out ever so bad, he did not care, for he had a thousand
tricks for them yet, before they should hurt him." "But pray," says he,
"Mrs. Puss, suppose there should be an invasion, what course do you
design to take?" "Nay," says the Cat, "I have but one shift for it, and
if that won't do, I am undone." "I am sorry for you," replies Reynard,
"with all my heart, and would gladly help you, but indeed, neighbor, as
times go, it is not good to trust; we must even be every one for
himself, as the saying is." These words were scarcely out of his mouth,
when they were alarmed with a pack of hounds, that came upon them in
full cry. The Cat, by the help of her single shift, ran up a tree, and
sat securely among the top branches; from whence she beheld Reynard,
who had not been able to get out of sight, overtaken with his thousand
tricks, and torn in as many pieces by the dogs which had surrounded him.

A little common sense is often of more value than much cunning.

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."

The misfortunes arising from a man's own misconduct are the hardest to

The Dog Invited to Supper.


A Gentleman, having prepared a great feast, invited a Friend to supper;
and the Gentleman's Dog, meeting the Friend's Dog, "Come," said he, "my
good fellow, and sup with us to-night." The Dog was delighted with the
invitation, and as he stood by and saw the preparations for the feast,
said to himself: "Capital fare indeed! this is, in truth, good luck. I
shall revel in dainties, and I will take good care to lay in an ample
stock to-night, for I may have nothing to eat to-morrow." As he said
this to himself, he wagged his tail, and gave a sly look at his friend
who had incited him. But his tail wagging to and fro caught the cook's
eye, who, seeing a stranger, straightway seized him by the legs, and
threw him out the window to the street below. When he reached the
ground, he set off yelping down the street; upon which the neighbors'
dogs ran up to him and asked him how he liked his supper. "In faith,"
said he, with a sorry smile, "I hardly know, for we drank so deeply,
that I can't even tell you which way I got out."

Those who enter by the back stairs must not complain if they are thrown
out by the window.

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 depth 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 beg 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 complain.

When you seek to change your condition, be sure that you can better it.

The Prophet.

A Wizard, sitting in the market-place, told the fortunes of the
passers-by. A person ran up in great haste, and announced to him that
the doors of his house had been broken open, and that all his goods
were being stolen. He sighed heavily, and hastened away as fast as he
could run. A neighbor saw him running, and said: "Oh! you follow those?
you say you can foretell the fortunes of others; how is it you did not
foresee your own?"

The Dog and his Master's Dinner.


A Dog had been taught to take his master's dinner to him every day. As
he smelled the good things in the basket, he was sorely tempted to taste
them, but he resisted the temptation and continued day after day to
carry the basket faithfully. One day all the dogs in the neighborhood
followed him with longing eyes and greedy jaws, and tried to steal the
dinner from the basket. At first the faithful dog tried to run away
from them, but they pressed him so close that at last he stopped to
argue with them. This was what the thieves desired, and they soon
ridiculed him to that extent that he said: "Very well, I will divide
with you," and he seized the best piece of chicken in the basket, and
left the rest for the others to enjoy.

He who stops to parley with temptation, will be very likely to yield.

The Buffoon and the Countryman.


A rich nobleman once opened the theater to the public without charge,
and gave notice that he would handsomely reward any one who would
produce a new amusement. A Buffoon, well known for his jokes, said that
he had a kind of entertainment that had never been produced in a
theater. This report, being spread about, created a great stir in the
place, and the theater was crowded to see the new entertainment. The
Buffoon appeared, 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, with
the loudest applause. A countryman in the crowd proclaimed that he would
do the same thing on the next day. On the morrow a still larger crowd
assembled in the theater. Both of the performers appeared on the stage.
The Buffoon grunted and squeaked, 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), contrived to lay hold of and to pull
his ear, when he began to squeak. The crowd, however, cried out that the
Buffoon had given a far more exact imitation. On this the Rustic
produced the pig, and showed them the greatness of their mistake.

Critics are not always to be depended upon.

The Boar and the Ass.


A little scoundrel of an Ass, happening to meet with a Boar, had a mind
to be arch upon him, and so, says he: "Your humble servant." The Boar,
somewhat nettled at his familiarity, bristled up to him, and told him he
was surprised to hear him utter so impudent an untruth, and was just
going to show his resentment by giving him a rip in the flank; but
wisely stifling his passion, he contented himself with saying: "Go, you
sorry beast! I do not care to foul my tusks with the blood of so base a

Dignity cannot afford to quarrel with its inferiors.

The Fox and the Goat.


A Fox, having fallen into a well, could find no means of escape. A Goat,
overcome with thirst, came to the well, and, seeing the Fox, inquired if
the water was good. The Fox, concealing his sad plight under a merry
guise, indulged in 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." On the Goat readily
assenting to this proposal, the Fox leaped upon his back, and steadying
himself with the goat's horns reached in safety the mouth of the well,
and 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 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 determined upon no means of escape."

Look before you leap.

The Oxen and the Butchers.


The Oxen, once on a time, sought to destroy the Butchers, who practiced
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
skillful hands, and with no unnecessary pain. If we get rid of them, we
shall fall into the hands of unskillful 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 Horse and his Rider.


A Horse-soldier took great 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, 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."

He who slights his friends when they are not needed must not expect them
to serve him when he needs them.

The Dog and the Hare.

A Hound, having started a Hare on the hill-side, pursued her for some
distance, at one time biting her with his teeth as if he would take her
life, and at another time fawning upon her, as if in play with another
dog. The Hare said to him: "I wish you would act sincerely by me, and
show yourself in your true colors. If you are a friend, why do you bite
me so hard? If an enemy, why do you fawn on me?"

They are no friends whom you know not whether to trust or to distrust.

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; why, then, O 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 the bark of a single dog I feel ready to

No arguments will give courage to the coward.

The Lark and her Young Ones.


A Lark had made her nest in the young green wheat. The brood had almost
grown, when the owner of the field, overlooking his crop, said: "I must
send to all my neighbors to help me with my harvest." One of the young
Larks heard him, and asked his mother to what place they should move for
safety. "There is no occasion to move yet, my son," she replied. The
owner of the field came a few days later, and said: "I will come myself
to-morrow, and will get in the harvest." Then the Lark said to her
brood: "It is time now to be off--he no longer trusts to his friends,
but will reap the field himself."

Self-help is the best help.

The Bowman and the Lion.


A very skillful Bowman went to the mountains in search of game. All the
beasts of the forest fled at his approach. The Lion alone challenged him
to combat. The Bowman immediately let fly an arrow; and said to the
Lion: "I send thee my messenger, that from him thou mayest learn what I
myself shall be when I assail thee." The Lion, thus wounded, rushed,
away in great fear, and on a Fox exhorting him to be of good courage,
and not to run away at the first attack, he replied: "You counsel me in
vain, for if he sends so fearful a messenger, how shall I abide the
attack of the man himself?"

A man who can strike from a distance is no pleasant neighbor.

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 endeavored to pull out his hand,
he was prevented from doing so by the neck of the pitcher, which was
much smaller than his closed hand. 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 Woman and her Hen.


A Woman possessed a Hen that gave her an egg every day. She often
thought with herself how she might obtain two eggs daily instead of
one, and at last, to gain her purpose, determined to give the Hen a
double allowance of barley. From that day the Hen became fat and sleek,
and never once laid another egg.

Covetousness overreacheth itself.

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

It is safer to be among friends than enemies.

The Bear and the Gardener.


A Gardener, who lived alone, became discontented, and set out, one day,
to seek a friend who would be a suitable companion. He had not gone far
when he met a Bear, whom he invited to come and live with him. The Bear
was a very silly one, who was also discontented with living alone, so he
went home with the Gardener very willingly. The Gardener provided all
the food, and the only service he required of the Bear was to keep the
flies off his face while he slept in the shade. One day, a fly insisted
upon lighting on the Gardener's face, although he was brushed off again
and again. The silly Bear finally became so enraged that he threw a
heavy stone upon it. He killed the fly, but, alas! he also killed his

Better have no friend at all than a foolish one.

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 labor.
Shortly afterward, at the harvest home, the owner released the Ox from
his yoke, but bound the Heifer with cords, and led her away to the altar
to be slain in honor of the festival. The Ox saw what was being done,
and said to the Heifer: "For this you were allowed to live in idleness,
because you were presently to be sacrificed."

The lives of the idle can best be spared.

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 a tall tree, while the Fox
crept into the underwood and there produced her young. Not long after,
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 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 tyrant is never safe from those whom he oppresses.

The Hawk and the Nightingale.

A Nightingale, sitting aloft upon an oak, was seen by a Hawk, who made a
swoop down, and seized him. The Nightingale earnestly besought the Hawk
to let him go, saying that he was not big enough to satisfy the hunger
of a Hawk, who ought to pursue the larger birds. The Hawk 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

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

The Hen and the Swallow.

A Hen finding the eggs of 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 surely inflict injury on all of us, beginning
with yourself?"

If we nourish evil, it will sooner or later turn upon us.

The Herdsman and the Lost Bull.


A Herdsman, tending kine in a forest, lost a Bull-calf from the fold.
After a long 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 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, and give them both to the guardians of the
forest, if I may only secure my own escape from this terrible Lion in


That which we are anxious to find, we are sometimes even more anxious to
escape from, when we have succeeded in finding it.

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 neighbors 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.

There is no believing a liar, even when he speaks the truth.

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 a single day, than the Kite could possibly pounce upon in a
whole year.

Avoid a remedy that is worse than the disease.

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, 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 Cat and the Mice.


A certain house was overrun with Mice. A Cat, discovering this, made her
way into it, and began to catch and eat them one by one. The Mice, being
continually devoured, kept themselves close in their holes. The Cat, no
longer able to get at them, perceived that she must tempt them forth by
some device. For this purpose she jumped upon a peg, and, suspending
herself from it, pretended to be dead. When the Mice came near she
pounced among them and killed a great number. Pleased with the success
of the trick, she tried another. She whitened herself with flour, and
lay still on the heap of bags, as though she was one of them. The young
Mice crept dangerously near her, but an old one peeping stealthily out
said: "Ah, my good madam, though you should turn into a real flour-bag,
I will not come too near you."

Avoid even appearances of danger.

The Father and his Sons.

A Father had a family of sons who were perpetually quarreling among
themselves. When he failed to heal their disputes by his exhortations,
he one day told them to bring him a bundle of sticks. When they had done
so, he placed the bundle 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 attempts of your enemies;
but if you are divided among yourselves, you will be broken as easily
as these sticks."

Disunited families are easily injured by others.

The Owl and the Grasshopper.

An Owl who was sitting in a hollow tree, dozing away a summer's
afternoon, was very much disturbed by a rogue of a Grasshopper singing
in the grass beneath. So far from keeping quiet, or moving away at the
request of the Owl, the Grasshopper sang all the more, and called her an
old blinker, that only came out at night when all honest people had gone
to bed. The Owl waited in silence for a time, and then artfully
addressed the Grasshopper as follows: "Well, my dear, if one cannot be
allowed to sleep, it is something to be kept awake by such a pleasant
voice. And now I think of it, I have a bottle of delicious nectar. If
you will come up, you shall have a drop." The silly Grasshopper, came
hopping up to the Owl, who at once caught and killed him, and finished
her nap in comfort.

Flattery is not a proof of admiration.

The Fox and the Grapes.


A famished Fox saw some clusters of ripe black grapes hanging from a
trellised vine. She resorted to all her tricks to get at them, but
wearied herself in vain, for she could not reach them. At last she
turned away, beguiling herself of her disappointment, and saying: "The
Grapes are sour, and not ripe as I thought."

Revile not things beyond your reach.

The Ass carrying the Image.


An Ass once carried through the streets of the city a famous wooden
Image, to be placed in one of its temples. The crowd as he passed along
made lowly prostration before the Image. The Ass, thinking that they
bowed their heads in token of respect for him, bristled up with pride
and gave himself airs, and refused to move another step. The driver,
seeing him thus stop, laid his whip lustily about his shoulders and
said: "O you perverse dull-head! it is not yet come to this, that men
pay worship to an Ass."

They are not wise who take to themselves the credit due to others.

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 was a great favorite with his master, and
he frisked and jumped about him in a manner pleasant to see. The Ass 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 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, beaten nearly to
death, thus lamented: "I have brought it all on myself! Why could I not
have been contented to labor with my companions, and not try to live by

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 take her 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

If men had all they wished, they would be often ruined.

The Porcupine and the Snakes.

A Porcupine, wanting to shelter himself, desired a nest of Snakes to
give him admittance into their cave. They were prevailed upon, and let
him in accordingly; but were so annoyed with his sharp prickly quills
that they soon repented of their easy compliance, and entreated the
Porcupine to withdraw, and leave them their hole to themselves. "No,"
says he, "let them quit the place that don't like it; for my part, I am
well enough satisfied as I am."

Hospitality is a virtue, but should be wisely exercised; we may by
thoughtlessness entertain foes instead of friends.

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. He 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." One of them
said: "If you had not yourself lost your tail, my friend, you would not
thus counsel us."

Advice prompted by selfishness should not be heeded.


The Old Lion.

A Lion, worn out with years, lay on the ground at the point of death. A
Boar rushed upon him, and avenged with a stroke of his tusks a long
remembered injury. Shortly afterwards the Bull with his horns gored him
as if he were an enemy. When the Ass saw that the huge beast could be
assailed with impunity, he let drive at his forehead with his heels.

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 he had a thorn in his foot, and
requested the Wolf to pull it out. The Wolf consenting, the Ass with his
heels kicked his teeth into his mouth, and galloped away. The Wolf
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?"

Every one to his trade.

The Horse and the 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."

If you wish to do a service, do it right.

The Ass and his Shadow.


A traveler hired an Ass to convey him to a distant place. The day being
intensely hot, and the sun shining in its strength, the traveler stopped
to rest, and sought shelter from the heat under the Shadow of the Ass.
As this afforded only protection for one, and as the traveler and the
owner of the Ass both claimed it, a violent dispute arose between them
as to which of them had the right to it. The owner maintained that he
had let the Ass only, and not his Shadow. The traveler asserted that he
had, with the hire of the Ass, hired his Shadow also. The quarrel
proceeded from words to blows, and while the men fought the Ass galloped

In quarreling about the shadow we often lose the substance.

The Horse and the Loaded Ass.


An idle Horse, and an Ass laboring under a heavy burden, were traveling
the road together. The Ass, ready to faint under his heavy load,
entreated the Horse to assist him, and lighten his burden, by taking
some of it upon his back. The Horse was ill-natured and refused to do
it; upon which the poor Ass tumbled down in the midst of the highway,
and expired. The countryman then took the whole burden, and laid it
upon the Horse, together with the skin of the dead Ass.

Laziness often prepares a burden for its own back.


The Mules and the Robbers.

Two Mules laden with packs were trudging along. One carried panniers
filled with money, the other sacks of grain. The Mule carrying the
treasure walked with head erect, and tossed up and down the 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 the Mule carrying the treasure,
which they greedily seized upon, while they took no notice of the grain.
The Mule which had been wounded bewailed his misfortunes. The other
replied: "I am glad that I was thought so little of, for I have lost
nothing, nor am I hurt with any wound."

The conspicuous run the greatest risk.

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.

In union is strength.

The Dog and the 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 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.

It is not wise to be too greedy.


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; I passed the days in singing." They then said: "If you were
foolish enough to sing all the summer, you must dance supperless to bed
in the winter."

Idleness brings want.

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 toward
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 Flies and the Honey.

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."

The Great and the Little Fishes.


A Fisherman was drawing up a net which he had cast into the sea, full of
all sorts of fish. The Little Fish escaped through the meshes of the
net, and got back into the deep, but the Great Fish were all caught and
hauled into the ship.

Our insignificance is often the cause of our safety.

The Wolves and the Sheep.


"Why should there always be this 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 between us." The sheep, poor
silly creatures! were easily beguiled, and dismissed the Dogs. The
Wolves destroyed the unguarded flock at their pleasure.

Change not friends for foes.

The Fox and the Stork.


The Fox invited the Stork to dinner, and provided nothing but a soup, in
a wide, shallow dish. This he could lap up with ease; but the Stork, who
could but just dip in the point of his bill, was not a bit better. A few
days after, he returned the compliment, and invited the Fox; but
suffered nothing to be brought to the table but some minced meat in a
glass jar, the neck of which was so deep and so narrow, that, though the
Stork with his long bill could eat very well, all that the Fox could do
was to lick the brims. Reynard was heartily vexed, but owned that he had
been used as he deserved.

Those who practice cunning must expect to suffer by it.

The Bat and the Weasels.

A Bat, falling upon the ground, was caught by a Weasel, of whom he
earnestly besought 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 afterward 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.

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.

Perseverance is surer than swiftness.

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
the dearest, handsomest, and most beautiful of all who are here."

A mother's love blinds her to many imperfections.

The Lion in Love.


A Lion demanded the daughter of a woodcutter in marriage. The Father,
unwilling to grant and yet afraid to refuse his request, hit upon this
expedient. 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. The Lion cheerfully assented to the
proposal: when, however, he next repeated his request, the woodman set
upon him with his club.

The Miser.


A Miser had a lump of gold which he buried in the ground, coming to look
at the spot every day. One day he found that it was stolen, and he began
to tear his hair and loudly lament. A neighbor, seeing him, said: "Pray
do not grieve so; bury a stone in the hole, and fancy it is the gold. It
will serve you just as well, for when the gold was there you made no use
of it."

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 of
me you are thinking, but of yourself."

Invitations prompted by selfishness are not to be accepted.

The Bald Knight.


A Bald Knight, who wore a wig, went out to hunt. A sudden puff of wind
blew off his hat and wig, at which a loud laugh rang forth from his
companions. He joined in the joke by saying: "What marvel that hairs
which are not mine should fly from me, when my own have forsaken even
the man with whom they were born."

Those who cannot take care of their own, should not be entrusted with
the care of another's property.

The Fox and the Wood-Cutter.


A Fox, running before the hounds, came across a Wood-cutter felling an
oak, and besought him to show him a safe hiding-place. The Wood-cutter
advised him to take shelter in his own hut. The Fox crept in, and hid
himself in a corner. The Huntsman came up, with his hounds, in a few
minutes, and inquired of the Wood-cutter if he had seen the Fox. He
declared that he had not seen him, and yet pointed, all the time he was
speaking, to the hut where the Fox lay hid. The Huntsman took no notice
of the signs, but, believing his word, hastened forward in the chase. As
soon as they were well away, the Fox departed without taking any notice
of the Wood-cutter; whereon he called to him, and reproached him,
saying: "You ungrateful fellow, you owe your life to me, and yet you
leave me without a word of thanks." The Fox replied: "Indeed, I should
have thanked you most fervently, if your deeds had been as good as your

The Kid and the Wolf.

A Kid, mounted on a high rock, bestowed all manner of abuse upon a Wolf
on the ground below. The Wolf, looking up, replied: "Do not think, vain
creature, that you annoy me. I regard this ill language as coming not
from you, but from the place on which you stand."

The Lion, the Bear, and the Fox.


A Lion and a Bear seized upon a kid at the same moment, and fought
fiercely for its possession. When they had fearfully lacerated each
other, and were faint from the long combat, they lay down exhausted with
fatigue. A Fox who had gone round them at a distance several times, saw
them both stretched on the ground, and the Kid lying untouched in the
middle, ran in between them, and seizing the Kid, scampered off as fast
as he could. The Lion and the Bear saw him, but not being able to get
up, said: "Woe betide us, that we should have fought and belabored
ourselves only to serve the turn of a Fox!"

It sometimes happens that one man has all the toil, and another all the

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 favorable opportunity of effecting my escape." At the approach
of the evening the herdsman came to feed his cattle, but did not see the
Stag. 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, he spied the antlers of the Stag peeping out of the
straw. Summoning his laborers, he ordered that the Stag should be

What is safety for one is not always safety for another.

The 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 sheep, with the intention of
carrying it off, but his claws becoming entangled in its fleece, he was
unable 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.

We should not permit our ambition to lead us beyond the limits of our

The Three Tradesmen.

A great city was besieged, and its inhabitants were called together to
consider the best means of protecting it from the enemy. A Bricklayer
present earnestly recommended bricks, as affording the best materials
for an effectual resistance. A Carpenter, with equal energy, proposed
timber, as providing a preferable method of defense. Upon which a
Currier stood up, and said: "Sirs, I differ from you altogether; there
is no material for resistance equal to a covering of hides; and nothing
so good as leather."

Every man for his trade.

The Dancing Monkeys.

A Prince had some Monkeys trained to dance. Being naturally great mimics
of men's actions, they showed themselves most apt pupils; and when
arrayed in their rich clothes and masks, they danced as well as any of
the courtiers. The spectacle was often repeated with great applause,
till on one occasion a courtier, bent on mischief, took from his pocket
a handful of nuts, and threw them upon the stage. The Monkeys, at the
sight of the nuts, forgot their dancing, and became (as indeed they
were) Monkeys instead of actors, and pulling off their masks and tearing
their robes, they fought with one another for the nuts. The dancing
spectacle thus came to an end, amidst the laughter and ridicule of the

They who assume a character will betray themselves by their actions.

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 live only upon dew, and in a
short time died of hunger.

Where one may live, another may starve.

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

No disguise will hide one's true character.

The Boy Bathing.


A Boy bathing in a river was in danger of being drowned. He called out
to a traveler passing by for help. The traveler, instead of holding out
a helping hand, stood up unconcernedly, and scolded the boy for his
imprudence. "Oh, sir!" cried the youth, "pray help me now, and scold me

Counsel, without help, is useless.

The Cock and the Fox.

The Fox, passing early one summer's morning near a farm-yard, was caught
in a springe, which the farmer had planted there for that end. The Cock,
at a distance, saw what happened, and, hardly yet daring to trust
himself too near so dangerous a foe, approached him cautiously, and
peeped at him. Reynard addressed himself to him, with all the designing
artifice imaginable. "Dear cousin," says he, "you see what an
unfortunate accident has befallen me here, and all upon your account:
for, as I was creeping through yonder hedge, in my way homeward, I heard
you crow, and was resolved to ask you how you did before I went any
farther; but I met with this disaster; and therefore now I must ask you
for a knife to cut this string; or, at least, to conceal my misfortune
till I have gnawed it asunder." The Cock, seeing how the case stood,
made no reply, but posted away as fast as he could, and told the farmer,
who came and killed the Fox.

To aid the vicious is to become a partner in their guilt.

The Viper and the File.


A Viper, 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 favor 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 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: "Hallo there! why do you make so much
noise? We bear all the labor, and we, not you, ought to cry out."

Those who suffer most cry out the least.

The Bear and the Bee-Hives.

A Bear that had found his way into a garden where Bees were kept began
to turn over the hives and devour the honey. The Bees settled in swarms
about his head, and stung his eyes and nose so much, that, maddened with
pain, he tore the skin from his head with his own claws.

The Thrush and the Swallow.

A young Thrush, who lived in an orchard once became acquainted with a
Swallow. A friendship sprang up between them; and the Swallow, after
skimming the orchard and the neighboring meadow, would every now and
then come and visit the Thrush. The Thrush, hopping from branch to
branch, would welcome him with his most cheerful note. "O mother!" said
he to his parent one day, "never had creature such a friend as I have in
this same Swallow."--"Nor ever any mother," replied the parent-bird,
"such a silly son as I have in this same Thrush. Long before the
approach of winter, your friend will have left you; and while you sit
shivering on a leafless bough he will be sporting under sunny skies
hundreds of miles away."

The Sensible Ass.


An Old Fellow, in time of war, was allowing his Ass to feed in a green
meadow, when he was alarmed by a sudden advance of the enemy. He tried
every means in his power to urge the Ass to fly, but in vain. "The
enemy are upon us!" said he. "And what will the enemy do?" asked the
Ass. "Will they put two pairs of panniers on my back, instead of
one?"--"No," answered the Man; "there is no fear of that."--"Why, then,"
replied the Ass, "I'll not stir an inch. I am born to be a slave; and my
greatest enemy is he who gives me most to carry."

The Lion and the Ass.


A Lion and an Ass made an agreement to go out hunting together.
By-and-by they came to a cave, where wild goats abode. The Lion took up
his station at the mouth of the cave, and the Ass, going within, kicked
and brayed, and made a mighty fuss to frighten them out. When the Lion
had caught them, the Ass came out and asked him if he had not made a
noble fight. "Yes, indeed," said the Lion; "and I assure you, you would
have frightened me too, if I had not known you to be an Ass."

The Fox and the Ape.


Upon the decease of the Lion, the beasts of the forest assembled to
choose another king. The Ape played so many grimaces, gambols, and antic
tricks, that he was elected by a large majority; and the crown was
placed upon his head. The Fox, envious of this distinction, seeing, soon
after, a trap baited with a piece of meat, approached the new king, and
said with mock humility: "May it please your majesty, I have found on
your domain a treasure, to which, if you will deign to accompany me, I
will conduct you." The Ape thereupon set off with the Fox, and, on
arriving at the spot, laid his paw upon the meat. Snap! went the trap,
and caught him by the fingers. Mad with the shame and the pain, he
reproached the Fox for a false thief and a traitor. Reynard laughed
heartily, and said, with a sneer: "You a king, and not understand a

The Lion and the Wolf.

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."

It is not wise, to hold too exalted an opinion of one's self.

The Miller, his Son and their Ass.


A miller and his Son were driving their Ass to a fair. On the way, they
met a troop of girls. "Look there!" cried one of them, "did you ever see
such fools, to be trudging along on foot when they might be riding?"
The old Man, hearing this, quietly bade his Son get on the Ass, and
walked along merrily by his side.


Presently they came to a group of old men in earnest debate. "There!"
said one of them, "it proves what I was saying. What respect is shown to
old age in these days? Do you see that idle young rogue riding, while
his old father has to walk?--Get down, you scapegrace! and let the old
Man rest his weary limbs." Upon this the Father made his Son dismount,
and got up himself. In this manner they had not proceeded far when they
met a company of women and children. "Why, you lazy old fellow!" cried
several tongues at once, "how can you ride upon the beast, while that
poor little lad there can hardly keep pace by the side of you." The
good-natured Miller immediately took up his Son behind him. They had now
almost reached the town. "Pray, honest friend," said a townsman, "is
that Ass your own?" "Yes," says the old Man. "Oh! One would not have
thought so by the way you load him. Why, you two fellows are better
able to carry the poor beast than he you!" "Anything to please you,"
said the old Man. So, alighting with his Son, they tied the Ass's legs
together, and by the help of a pole endeavored to carry him on their
shoulders over a bridge. The people ran out in crowds to laugh at the
sight; till the Ass, not liking the noise nor his situation, kicked
asunder the cords and, tumbling off the pole, fell into the river. Upon
this the old Man made the best of his way home with his Son--convinced
that, by endeavoring to please every-body, he had succeeded in pleasing
nobody, and lost his Ass into the bargain.


The Travelers and the Plane-Tree.

Two Travelers, worn out by the heat of the summer's sun, laid themselves
down at noon under the wide-spreading branches of a Plane-tree. As they
rested under its shade, one of the Travelers 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

Some men despise their best blessings because they come without cost.

The Tortoise and the Two Ducks.


A Tortoise, becoming tired of her humble home, resolved to visit foreign
lands, but she did not know which way to go. She repaired to two Ducks
to show her the road, and they told her that the best way to travel was
through the air. On her imploring their help, they made her grasp a
stick with her mouth, and so they bore her aloft. As they flew along,
the gaping people beneath shouted at sight of the spectacle. The vain
Tortoise mistook their shouts for applause. "I am surely a queen," said
she. But, alas! as she opened her mouth to speak she lost her hold of
the stick, and, falling to the ground, was dashed to pieces.

Those who are not able to roam should stay at home.

The Countryman and the Snake.


A Villager found a Snake under a hedge, almost dead with cold. He could
not help having a compassion for the poor creature, so he brought it
home, and laid it upon the hearth near the fire; but it had not lain
there long, before (being revived with the heat) it began to erect
itself, and fly at his wife and children. The Countryman, hearing an
outcry, and perceiving what the matter was, caught up a mattock, and
soon dispatched him, upbraiding him at the same time in these words: "Is
this, vile wretch, the reward you make to him that saved your life?"

Kindness to the ungrateful and the vicious is thrown away.

The Madman who Sold Wisdom.

A Madman once set himself up in the market place, and with loud cries
announced that he would sell Wisdom. The people at once crowded about
him, and some gave him gold for his wares, but they each got only a blow
on the ear and a bunch of thread, and were well laughed at by their
companions. One of them, however, took it more seriously than the
others, and asked a wise sage what it meant. "It means," said the sage,
"that if one would not be hurt by a Madman, he must put a bunch of
thread over his ears." So the Madman was really selling Wisdom.

The Leopard and the Fox.


A Leopard, being no longer able, by reason of old age, to pursue his
prey, feigned illness, and gave out that he would confer great favors
upon any animal that would cure him. A cunning Fox heard of the
proclamation, and lost no time in visiting the Leopard, first making
himself look as much like a physician as he could. On seeing him, the
Leopard declared that such a distinguished looking animal could not
fail to cure him. This so flattered the Fox that he came near, and at
once fell a victim to his vanity, being unable to flee because of the
disguise, which fettered his limbs.

Flattery is a dangerous weapon in the hands of an enemy.

The Hare afraid of his Ears.


The Lion, being badly hurt by the horns of a goat, swore in a great rage
that every animal with horns should be banished from his kingdom. A
silly Hare, seeing the shadow of his ears, was in great fear lest they
should be taken for horns, and scampered away.

The Peacock and the Crane.


A Peacock, spreading its gorgeous tail, mocked a Crane that passed by,
ridiculing the ashen hue of its plumage, and saying: "I am robed like a
king, in gold and purple, and all the colors of the rainbow; while you
have not a bit of color on your wings." "True," replied the Crane, "but
I soar to the heights of heaven, and lift up my voice to the stars,
while you walk below, like a cock, among the birds of the dunghill."

Fine feathers don't make fine birds.

The Mouse and the Weasel.


A little starveling Mouse had made his way with some difficulty into a
basket of corn, where, finding the entertainment so good, he stuffed and
crammed himself to such an extent, that when he would have got out again
he found the hole was too small to allow his puffed-up body to pass. As
he sat at the hole groaning over his fate, a Weasel, who was brought to
the spot by his cries, thus addressed him: "Stop there, my friend, and
fast till you are thin; for you will never come out till you reduce
yourself to the same condition as when you entered."

The Fox and the Tiger.


A skillful archer, coming into the woods, directed his arrows so
successfully that he slew many wild beasts, and pursued several others.
This put the whole savage kind into a fearful consternation, and made
them fly to the most retired thickets for refuge. At last, the Tiger
resumed courage, and, bidding them not be afraid, said that he alone
would engage the enemy; telling them they might depend upon his valor
and strength to revenge their wrongs. In the midst of these threats,
while he was lashing himself with his tail, and tearing up the ground
for anger, an arrow pierced his ribs, and hung by its barbed point in
his side. He set up an hideous and loud roar, occasioned by the anguish
which he felt, and endeavored to draw out the painful dart with his
teeth; when the Fox, approaching him, inquired with an air of surprise
who it was that could have strength and courage enough to wound so
mighty and valorous a beast! "Ah!" says the Tiger, "I was mistaken in my
reckoning: it was that invincible man yonder."

There is always some vulnerable point in the strongest armor.

The Fox and the Turkeys.


A Fox spied some turkeys roosting in a tree. He managed to attract
their attention and then ran about the tree, pretended to climb, walked
on his hind legs, and did all sorts of tricks. Filled with fear, the
Turkeys watched every one of his movements until they became dizzy, and,
one by one, fell from their safe perch.

By too much attention to danger, we may fall victims to it.

The Eagle, the Cat, and the Wild Sow.


An Eagle had made her nest at the top of a lofty oak. A Cat, having
found a convenient hole, lived with her kittens in the middle of the
trunk; and a Wild Sow with her young had taken shelter in a hollow at
its foot. The Cat resolved to destroy by her arts this chance-made
colony. She climbed to the nest of the Eagle, and said: "Destruction is
preparing for you, and for me too. The Wild Sow, whom you may see daily
digging up the earth, wishes to uproot the oak, that she may, on its
fall, seize our families as food." Then she crept down to the cave of
the Sow and said: "Your children are in great danger; for as soon as you
shall go out with your litter to find food, the Eagle is prepared to
pounce upon one of your little pigs." When night came, she went forth
with silent foot and obtained food for herself and her kittens; but,
feigning to be afraid, she kept a look-out all through the day.
Meanwhile, the Eagle, full of fear of the Sow, sat still on the
branches, and the Sow, terrified by the Eagle, did not dare to go out
from her cave; and thus they each, with their families, perished from

Those who stir up enmities are not to be trusted.

The Peacock and the Magpie.


The Birds once met together to choose a king; and, among others, the
Peacock was a candidate. Spreading his showy tail, and stalking up and
down with affected grandeur, he caught the eyes of the silly multitude
by his brilliant appearance, and was elected with acclamation. The
Magpie then stepped forth into the midst of the assembly, and thus
addressed the new king: "May it please your majesty, elect to permit a
humble admirer to propose a question. As our king, we put our lives and
fortunes in your hands. If, therefore, the Eagle, the Vulture, and the
Kite, should make a descent upon us, what means would you take for our
defense?" This pithy question opened the eyes of the Birds to the
weakness of their choice and they canceled the election.

The Two Goats.


Two Goats started at the same moment, from opposite ends, to cross a
rude bridge that was only wide enough for one to cross at a time.
Meeting at the middle of the bridge, neither would give way to the
other. They locked horns and fought for the right of way, until they
both fell into the torrent below and were drowned.

The Dove and the Ant.


An Ant went to the bank of a river to quench its thirst, and, being
carried away by the rush of the stream, was on the point of being
drowned. A Dove, sitting on a tree overhanging the water, plucked a
leaf, and let it fall into the stream close to her. The Ant, climbing on
to it, floated in safety to the bank. Shortly afterwards a bird catcher
came close and stood under the tree, and laid his lime-twigs for the
Dove, which sat in the branches. The Ant, perceiving his design, stung
him in the foot. He suddenly threw down the twigs, and thereupon made
the Dove take wing.

The grateful heart will always find opportunities to show its gratitude.

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 Mule.


A Mule, frolicsome from want of work and from overmuch corn, galloped
about in a very extravagant manner, and said to himself: "My father
surely was a high-mettled racer, and I am his own child in speed and
spirit." On the next day, being driven a long journey, and feeling very
weary, he exclaimed in a disconsolate tone: "I must have made a mistake;
my father, after all, could have been only an ass."

The Cat, the Weasel and the Rabbit.


While a Rabbit was absent from his hole one day, a Weasel took
possession of it. On the Rabbit's return, seeing the Weasel's nose
sticking out, he said: "You must leave this hole immediately. There is
only room for one, and it has always belonged to me and my fathers
before me." "The more reason that you should give it up now," said the
Weasel, "and leave its possession to me." As they could not settle the
dispute, they agreed to leave the question of ownership to a wise old
Cat, to whom they went without more ado. "I am deaf," said the Cat. "Put
your noses close to my ears." No sooner had they done so, than she
clapped a paw upon each of them, and killed them both.

The strong are apt to settle all questions by the rule of might.


The Rat and the Frog.


A Rat in an evil day made acquaintance with a Frog, and they set off on
their travels together. The Frog, on pretense of great affection, and of
keeping his companion out of harm's way, tied the Rat's foot to his own
hind-leg, and thus they proceeded for some distance by land. Presently
they came to some water, and the Frog, bidding the Rat have good
courage, began to swim across. They had scarcely, however, arrived
midway, when the Frog took a sudden plunge to the bottom, dragging the
unfortunate Rat after him. But the struggling and floundering of the Rat
made so great a commotion in the water that it attracted the attention
of a Kite, who, pouncing down and bearing off the Rat, carried away the
Frog at the same time in his train.

Inconsiderate and ill-matched alliances generally end in ruin; and the
man who compasses the destruction of his neighbor, is often caught in
his own snare.

The Widow and the Sheep.

There was a certain Widow who had an only Sheep, and, wishing to make
the most of his wool, she sheared him so closely that she cut his skin
as well as his fleece. The Sheep, smarting under this treatment, cried
out: "Why do you torture me thus? What will my blood add to the weight
of the wool? If you want my flesh, Dame, send for the Butcher, who will
put me out of my misery at once; but if you want my fleece, send for the
Shearer, who will clip my wool without drawing my blood."

Economy may be carried too far.

The Man Bitten by a Dog.

A Man who had been bitten by a Dog was going about asking who could cure
him. One that met him said: "Sir, if you would be cured, take a bit of
bread and dip it in the blood of the wound, and give it to the dog that
bit you." The Man smiled, and said: "If I were to follow your advice, I
should be bitten by all the dogs in the city."

He who proclaims himself ready to buy up his enemies will never want a
supply of them.

The Horse and the Wolf.


A Wolf saw a Horse grazing in a field. Putting on a grave air, he
approached him and said: "Sir, you must be very ill; I have some skill
as a physician, and if you will tell me where your ailment is, I shall
be glad to be of service." Said the horse: "If you will examine my foot,
you will find what ails me." But as the wily Wolf approached him, with a
kick he sent him flying into the air.

The Goatherd and the Goats.

It was a stormy day, and the snow was falling fast, when a Goatherd
drove his Goats, all white with snow, into a desert cave for shelter.
There he found that a herd of Wild Goats, more numerous and larger than
his own, had already taken possession. So, thinking to secure them all,
he left his own Goats to take care of themselves, and threw the branches
which he had brought for them to the Wild Goats to browse on. But when
the weather cleared up, he found his own Goats had perished from hunger,
while the Wild Goats were off and away to the hills and woods. So the
Goatherd returned a laughing-stock to his neighbors, having failed to
gain the Wild Goats, and having lost his own.

They who neglect their old friends for the sake of new ones, are rightly
served if they lose both.

The Goose with the Golden Eggs.


A certain man had the good fortune to possess a Goose that laid him a
Golden Egg every day. But dissatisfied with so slow an income, and
thinking to seize the whole treasure at once, he killed the Goose, and
cutting her open, found her--just what any other goose would be!

Much wants more, and loses all.

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 Ass Carrying Salt.


A certain Huckster who kept an Ass, hearing that Salt was to be had
cheap at the sea-side, drove down his Ass thither to buy some. Having
loaded the beast as much as he could bear, he was driving him home,
when, as they were passing a slippery ledge of rock, the Ass fell into
the stream below, and the Salt being melted, the Ass was relieved of his
burden, and having gained the bank with ease, pursued his journey
onward, light in body and in spirit. The Huckster soon afterwards set
off for the sea-shore for some more Salt, and loaded the Ass, if
possible, yet more heavily than before. On their return, as they crossed
the stream into which he had formerly fallen, the Ass fell down on
purpose, and by the dissolving of the Salt, was again released from his
load. The Master, provoked at the loss, and thinking how he might cure
him of this trick, on his next journey to the coast freighted the beast
with a load of sponges. When they arrived at the same stream as before,
the Ass was at his old tricks again, and rolled himself into the water;
but he found to his cost, as he proceeded homewards, that instead of
lightening his burden, he had more than doubled its weight.

The same measures will not suit all circumstances.

The Gnat and the Bull.

A Gnat that had been buzzing about the head of a Bull, at length
settling himself down upon his horn, begged his pardon for incommoding
him; "but if," says he, "my weight at all inconveniences you, pray say
so, and I will be off in a moment." "Oh, never trouble your head about
that," says the Bull, "for 'tis all one to me whether you go or stay;
and, to say the truth, I did not know you were there."

The smaller the Mind the greater the Conceit.

The Lion and the Gnat.


As a Gnat was buzzing around a Lion, the Lion said to him: "How dare you
approach so near? Be off, or I will kill you with the least stroke of
my paw." The Gnat, knowing the advantage of his small size, and his
alertness, immediately challenged the boaster to combat, and alighting
first upon his nose and then upon his tail, made the Lion so furious
that he injured himself grievously with his paws. As the Gnat flew away
he boasted of his own prowess in thus defeating the King of Beasts
without the slightest injury to himself. But, in his carelessness, he
flew directly into a spider's web, and the spider instantly seized and
killed him.

The Lion, the Ass and the Fox Hunting.

The Lion, the Ass and the Fox formed a party to go out hunting. They
took a large booty, and when the sport was ended, bethought themselves
of having a hearty meal. The Lion bade the Ass allot the spoil. So,
dividing it into three equal parts, the Ass begged his friends to make
their choice; at which the Lion, in great indignation, fell upon the Ass
and tore him to pieces. He then bade the Fox make a division; who,
gathering the whole into one great heap, reserved but the smallest mite
for himself. "Ah! friend," says the Lion, "who taught you to make so
equitable a division?" "I wanted no other lesson," replied the Fox,
"than the Ass's fate."

Better be wise by the misfortunes of others than by your own.

The Dog Whose Ears were Cropped.


A Dog complained of the cruelty of her master in cutting off her ears,
and was so ashamed of her appearance that she resolved to stay in her
kennel with her family. A friendly hunting dog said to her: "If you had
been peaceful, and not always fighting, you would have saved your ears
and your good looks. If you will fight, it is a kindness to crop your
ears, that they may not give your enemy the advantage."

The Wind and the Sun.


A dispute once arose between the Wind and the Sun, which was the
stronger of the two, and they agreed to settle the point upon this
issue--that whichever of the two soonest made a traveler take off his
cloak, should be accounted the more powerful. The Wind began, and blew
with all his might and main a blast, cold and fierce as a Thracian
storm; but the stronger he blew, the closer the traveler wrapped his
cloak around him, and the tighter he grasped it with his hands. Then
broke out the Sun. With his welcome beams he dispersed the vapor and the
cold; the traveler felt the genial warmth, and as the Sun shone brighter
and brighter, he sat down, quite overcome with the heat, and taking off
his cloak, cast it on the ground.

Thus the Sun was declared the conqueror; and it has ever been deemed
that persuasion is better than force; and that the sunshine of a kind
and gentle manner will sooner lay open a poor man's heart than all the
threatenings and force of blustering authority.

The Wild Boar and the Fox.

A Wild Boar was whetting his tusks against a tree, when a Fox coming by,
asked why he did so; "for," said he, "I see no reason for it; there is
neither hunter nor hound in sight, nor any other danger that I can see,
at hand." "True," replied the Boar; "but when that danger does arise, I
shall have something else to do than to sharpen my weapons."

It is too late to whet the sword when the trumpet sounds to draw it.

The Hunter and the Wolf.


A greedy Hunter one day shot a fine Deer, and ere he could dress it, a
pretty Fawn came that way, and an arrow brought it to the ground. A Boar
now chanced to be passing, and the Hunter wounded it so that it lay upon
the ground as if dead. Not satisfied with this game, he must needs
pursue a Partridge that came fluttering near, and while he was doing so
the wounded Boar regained enough strength to spring upon him and kill
him. A Wolf came that way, and seeing the four dead bodies, said: "Here
is food for a month; but I will save the best, and be content to-day
with the bow-string." But when he seized the string it loosened the
fixed arrow, which shot him through the heart.

The greedy man and the miser cannot enjoy their gains.

The Astronomer.

An Astronomer used to walk out every night to gaze upon the stars. It
happened one night that, with his whole thoughts rapt up in the skies,
he fell into a well. One who heard his cries ran up to him, and said:
"While you are trying to pry into the mysteries of heaven, you overlook
the common objects under your feet."

We should never look so high as to miss seeing the things that are
around us.

The Bulls and the Frogs.


Two Bulls lived in the same herd, and each aspiring to be the leader and
master, they finally engaged in a fierce battle. An old Frog, who sat on
the bank of a stream near by, began to groan and to quake with fear. A
thoughtless young Frog said to the old one: "Why need you be afraid?
What is it to you that the Bulls fight for supremacy?" "Do you not see,"
said the old Frog, "that one must defeat the other, and that the
defeated Bull, being driven from the field, will be forced to stay in
the marshes, and will thus trample us to death?"

The poor and weak are often made to suffer for the follies of the

The Thief and His Mother.


A Schoolboy stole a horn-book from one of his schoolfellows, and brought
it home to his mother. Instead of chastising him, she rather encouraged
him in the deed. In course of time the boy, now grown into a man, began
to steal things of greater value, until, at last, being caught in the
very act, he was brought to the Judge and sentenced to be hung. As he
was being led to the scaffold, the mother bowed herself to the ground
with grief. A neighbor seeing her thus, said to her: "It is too late for
you to moan and sob now. If you had been as much grieved when he
committed his first theft, you would have corrected him in time, and
thus have saved yourself this sorrowful day."

Nip evil in the bud.

The Man and His Two Wives.

In days when a man was allowed more wives than one, a middle-aged
bachelor, who could be called neither young nor old, and whose hair was
only just beginning to turn gray, must needs fall in love with two women
at once, and marry them both. The one was young and blooming, and wished
her husband to appear as youthful as herself; the other was somewhat
more advanced in age, and was as anxious that her husband should appear
a suitable match for her. So, while the young one seized every
opportunity of pulling out the good man's gray hairs, the old one was
as industrious in plucking out every black hair she could find, till he
found that, between the one and the other, he had not a hair left.

He that submits his principles to the influence and caprices of opposite
parties will end in having no principles at all.

The Heifer, the Goat, the Sheep and the Lion.


A Heifer, a Goat, a Sheep, and a Lion formed a partnership, and agreed
to divide their earnings. The Goat having snared a stag, they sent for
the Lion to divide it for them. The Lion said: "I will make four
parts--the first shall be mine as judge; the second, because I am
strongest; the third, because I am bravest; and the fourth--I will kill
any one who dares touch it."

He who will steal a part will steal the whole.

The Camel and the Travelers.


Two Travelers on a desert saw a Camel in the distance, and were greatly
frightened at his huge appearance, thinking it to be some huge monster.
While they hid behind some low shrubs, the animal came nearer, and they
discovered that it was only a harmless Camel which had excited their

Distance exaggerates dangers.

The Swan and the Goose.


A certain rich man bought in the market a Goose and a Swan. He fed the
one for his table, and kept the other for the sake of its song. When the
time came for killing the Goose, the cook went to take him at night,
when it was dark, and he was not able to distinguish one bird from the
other, and he caught the Swan instead of the Goose. The Swan, threatened
with death, burst forth into song, and thus made himself known by his
voice, and preserved his life by his melody.

Sweet words may deliver us from peril, when harsh words would fail.

The Dolphins and the Sprat.

The Dolphins and the Whales were at war with one another, and the Sprat
stepped in and endeavored to separate them. But one of the Dolphins
cried out: "We would rather perish in the contest, than be reconciled by

The Shepherd and the Sea.


A Shepherd moved down his flock to feed near the shore, and beholding
the Sea lying in a smooth calm, he was seized with a strong desire to
sail over it. So he sold all his sheep and bought a cargo of Dates, and
loaded a vessel, and set sail. He had not gone far when a storm arose;
his ship was wrecked, and his Dates and everything lost, and he himself
with difficulty escaped to land. Not long after, when the Sea was again
calm, and one of his friends came up to him and was admiring its repose,
he said: "Have a care, my good fellow, of that smooth surface, it is
only looking out for your Dates."

The Bees, the Drones, and the Wasp.

Some Bees had built their comb in the hollow trunk of an oak. The Drones
asserted that it was their doing, and belonged to them. The cause was
brought into court before Judge Wasp. Knowing something of the parties,
he thus addressed them: "The plaintiffs and defendants are so much alike
in shape and color as to render the ownership a doubtful matter. Let
each party take a hive to itself, and build up a new comb, that from the
shape of the cells and the taste of the honey, the lawful proprietors of
the property in dispute may appear." The Bees readily assented to the
Wasp's plan. The Drones declined it. Whereupon the Wasp gave judgment:
"It is clear now who made the comb, and who cannot make it; the Court
adjudges the honey to the Bees."

Professions are best tested by deeds.

The Wolf, the Goat and the Kid.


As an old Goat was going forth to pasture, she carefully latched her
door, and bid her kid not to open it to any one who could not give this
pass-word: "Beware of the Wolf and all his race." A Wolf happened to be
passing, and overheard what the old Goat said. When she was gone, he
went to the door, and, knocking, said: "Beware of the Wolf and all his
race." But the Kid, peeping through a crack, said: "Show me a white paw
and I will open the door." As the Wolf could not do this, he had to
depart, no better than he came.

Two sureties are better than one.

The Fox and the Hedgehog.


A Fox, while crossing over a river, was driven by the stream into a
narrow gorge, and lay there for a long time unable to get out, covered
with myriads of horse-flies that had fastened themselves upon him. A
Hedgehog, who was wandering in that direction, saw him, and taking
compassion on him, asked him if he should drive away the flies that were
so tormenting him. But the Fox begged him to do nothing of the sort.
"Why not?" asked the Hedgehog. "Because," replied the Fox, "these flies
that are upon me now are already full, and draw but little blood, but
should you remove them, a swarm of fresh and hungry ones will come, who
will not leave a drop of blood in my body."

When we throw off rulers or dependents, who have already made the most
of us, we do but, for the most part, lay ourselves open to others, who
will make us bleed yet more freely.

The Brazier and His Dog.

A Brazier had a little Dog, which was a great favorite with his master,
and his constant companion. While he hammered away at his metals the Dog
slept; but when, on the other hand, he went to dinner, and began to eat,
the Dog woke up, and wagged his tail, as if he would ask for a share of
his meal. His master one day, pretending to be angry, and shaking his
stick at him, said: "You wretched little sluggard! what shall I do to
you? While I am hammering on the anvil, you sleep on the mat, and when I
begin to eat after my toil, you wake up and wag your tail for food. Do
you not know that labor is the source of every blessing, and that none
but those who work are entitled to eat?"

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 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 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 Fir Tree and the Bramble.

A Fir 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 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 honor, 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 counseled 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 Farmer and His Sons.

A Farmer being on the point of death, wished to insure 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 labor by an extraordinary and
superabundant crop.

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 Stag, the Wolf and the Sheep.

A Stag asked a Sheep to lend him a measure of wheat, and said that the
Wolf would be his surety. The Sheep, fearing some fraud was intended,
excused herself, saying: "The Wolf is accustomed to seize what he wants,
and to run off, and you, too, can quickly out-strip me in your rapid
flight. How then shall I be able to find you when the day of payment

Two blacks do not make one white.

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 color arose from his washing
in the water in which he swam, the Raven left the altars in the
neighborhood 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 color, while through want of food he perished.

Change of habit cannot alter nature.

The Lioness.

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.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Aesop's Fables - A New Revised Version From Original Sources" ***

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