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Title: The Aesop for Children - With pictures by Milo Winter
Author: Aesop, 620 BC-563 BC
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Aesop for Children - With pictures by Milo Winter" ***

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[Illustration: THE COCK AND THE FOX Fable, Page 58]

The ÆSOP for







_Copyright, 1919, by_


  The Wolf and the Kid                           11
  The Tortoise and the Ducks                     12
  The Young Crab and His Mother                  13
  The Frogs and the Ox                           13
  The Dog, the Cock, and the Fox                 14
  Belling the Cat                                15
  The Eagle and the Jackdaw                      16
  The Boy and the Filberts                       16
  Hercules and the Wagoner                       17
  The Kid and the Wolf                           17
  The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse           18
  The Fox and the Grapes                         20
  The Bundle of Sticks                           20
  The Wolf and the Crane                         21
  The Ass and His Driver                         22
  The Oxen and the Wheels                        22
  The Lion and the Mouse                         23
  The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf                  24
  The Gnat and the Bull                          25
  The Plane Tree                                 25
  The Farmer and the Stork                       26
  The Sheep and the Pig                          26
  The Travelers and the Purse                    28
  The Lion and the Ass                           28
  The Frogs Who Wished for a King                29
  The Owl and the Grasshopper                    30
  The Wolf and His Shadow                        31
  The Oak and the Reeds                          32
  The Rat and the Elephant                       33
  The Boys and the Frogs                         33
  The Crow and the Pitcher                       34
  The Ants and the Grasshopper                   34
  The Ass Carrying the Image                     35
  A Raven and a Swan                             35
  The Two Goats                                  36
  The Ass and the Load of Salt                   36
  The Lion and the Gnat                          38
  The Leap at Rhodes                             38
  The Cock and the Jewel                         39
  The Monkey and the Camel                       39
  The Wild Boar and the Fox                      40
  The Ass, the Fox, and the Lion                 40
  The Birds, the Beasts, and the Bat             41
  The Lion, the Bear, and the Fox                41
  The Wolf and the Lamb                          42
  The Wolf and the Sheep                         43
  The Hares and the Frogs                        43
  The Fox and the Stork                          44
  The Travelers and the Sea                      45
  The Wolf and the Lion                          45
  The Stag and His Reflection                    46
  The Peacock                                    46
  The Mice and the Weasels                       48
  The Wolf and the Lean Dog                      48
  The Fox and the Lion                           49
  The Lion and the Ass                           50
  The Dog and His Master's Dinner                50
  The Vain Jackdaw and his Borrowed Feathers     51
  The Monkey and the Dolphin                     52
  The Wolf and the Ass                           53
  The Monkey and the Cat                         54
  The Dogs and the Fox                           54
  The Dogs and the Hides                         55
  The Rabbit, the Weasel, and the Cat            55
  The Bear and the Bees                          56
  The Fox and the Leopard                        56
  The Heron                                      58
  The Cock and the Fox                           58
  The Dog in the Manger                          59
  The Wolf and the Goat                          60
  The Ass and the Grasshoppers                   60
  The Mule                                       61
  The Fox and the Goat                           61
  The Cat, the Cock, and the Young Mouse         62
  The Wolf and the Shepherd                      63
  The Peacock and the Crane                      64
  The Farmer and the Cranes                      64
  The Farmer and His Sons                        65
  The Two Pots                                   66
  The Goose and the Golden Egg                   66
  The Fighting Bulls and the Frog                68
  The Mouse and the Weasel                       68
  The Farmer and the Snake                       69
  The Goatherd and the Wild Goats                69
  The Spendthrift and the Swallow                70
  The Cat and the Birds                          70
  The Dog and the Oyster                         71
  The Astrologer                                 71
  Three Bullocks and a Lion                      72
  Mercury and the Woodman                        72
  The Frog and the Mouse                         74
  The Fox and the Crab                           74
  The Serpent and the Eagle                      75
  The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing                   75
  The Bull and the Goat                          76
  The Eagle and the Beetle                       76
  The Old Lion and the Fox                       78
  The Man and the Lion                           78
  The Ass and the Lap Dog                        79
  The Milkmaid and Her Pail                      80
  The Wolf and the Shepherd                      80
  The Goatherd and the Goat                      81
  The Miser                                      81
  The Wolf and the House Dog                     82
  The Fox and the Hedgehog                       83
  The Bat and the Weasels                        84
  The Quack Toad                                 84
  The Fox Without a Tail                         85
  The Mischievous Dog                            86
  The Rose and the Butterfly                     86
  The Cat and the Fox                            88
  The Boy and the Nettles                        88
  The Old Lion                                   89
  The Fox and the Pheasants                      89
  Two Travelers and a Bear                       90
  The Porcupine and the Snakes                   91
  The Fox and the Monkey                         91
  The Mother and the Wolf                        92
  The Flies and the Honey                        92
  The Eagle and the Kite                         93
  The Stag, the Sheep, and the Wolf              93
  The Animals and the Plague                     94
  The Shepherd and the Lion                      95
  The Dog and His Reflection                     96
  The Hare and the Tortoise                      96
  The Bees and Wasps, and the Hornet             98
  The Lark and Her Young Ones                    99
  The Cat and the Old Rat                       100
  The Fox and the Crow                          101
  The Ass and His Shadow                        102
  The Miller, His Son, and the Ass              102
  The Ant and the Dove                          104
  The Man and the Satyr                         104
  The Wolf, the Kid, and the Goat               106
  The Swallow and the Crow                      106
  Jupiter and the Monkey                        107
  The Lion, the Ass, and the Fox                107
  The Lion's Share                              108
  The Mole and his Mother                       108
  The North Wind and the Sun                    109
  The Hare and His Ears                         110
  The Wolves and the Sheep                      110
  The Fox and the Cock                          111
  The Ass in the Lion's Skin                    111
  The Fisherman and the Little Fish             112
  The Fighting Cocks and the Eagle              112

[Illustration: THE WOLF AND THE KID]



There was once a little Kid whose growing horns made him think he
was a grown-up Billy Goat and able to take care of himself. So
one evening when the flock started home from the pasture and his
mother called, the Kid paid no heed and kept right on nibbling
the tender grass. A little later when he lifted his head, the
flock was gone.

He was all alone. The sun was sinking. Long shadows came creeping
over the ground. A chilly little wind came creeping with them
making scary noises in the grass. The Kid shivered as he thought
of the terrible Wolf. Then he started wildly over the field,
bleating for his mother. But not half-way, near a clump of trees,
there was the Wolf!

The Kid knew there was little hope for him.

"Please, Mr. Wolf," he said trembling, "I know you are going to
eat me. But first please pipe me a tune, for I want to dance and
be merry as long as I can."

The Wolf liked the idea of a little music before eating, so he
struck up a merry tune and the Kid leaped and frisked gaily.

Meanwhile, the flock was moving slowly homeward. In the still
evening air the Wolf's piping carried far. The Shepherd Dogs
pricked up their ears. They recognized the song the Wolf sings
before a feast, and in a moment they were racing back to the
pasture. The Wolf's song ended suddenly, and as he ran, with the
Dogs at his heels, he called himself a fool for turning piper to
please a Kid, when he should have stuck to his butcher's trade.

_Do not let anything turn you from your purpose._



The Tortoise, you know, carries his house on his back. No matter
how hard he tries, he cannot leave home. They say that Jupiter
punished him so, because he was such a lazy stay-at-home that he
would not go to Jupiter's wedding, even when especially invited.

After many years, Tortoise began to wish he had gone to that
wedding. When he saw how gaily the birds flew about and how the
Hare and the Chipmunk and all the other animals ran nimbly by,
always eager to see everything there was to be seen, the Tortoise
felt very sad and discontented. He wanted to see the world too,
and there he was with a house on his back and little short legs
that could hardly drag him along.

One day he met a pair of Ducks and told them all his trouble.

"We can help you to see the world," said the Ducks. "Take hold of
this stick with your teeth and we will carry you far up in the
air where you can see the whole countryside. But keep quiet or
you will be sorry."

The Tortoise was very glad indeed. He seized the stick firmly
with his teeth, the two Ducks took hold of it one at each end,
and away they sailed up toward the clouds.

Just then a Crow flew by. He was very much astonished at the
strange sight and cried:

"This must surely be the King of Tortoises!"

"Why certainly----" began the Tortoise.

But as he opened his mouth to say these foolish words he lost his
hold on the stick, and down he fell to the ground, where he was
dashed to pieces on a rock.

_Foolish curiosity and vanity often lead to misfortune._


"Why in the world do you walk sideways like that?" said a Mother
Crab to her son. "You should always walk straight forward with
your toes turned out."

"Show me how to walk, mother dear," answered the little Crab
obediently, "I want to learn."

So the old Crab tried and _tried_ to walk straight forward. But
she could walk sideways only, like her son. And when she wanted
to turn her toes out she tripped and fell on her nose.

_Do not tell others how to act unless you can set a good




An Ox came down to a reedy pool to drink. As he splashed heavily
into the water, he crushed a young Frog into the mud. The old
Frog soon missed the little one and asked his brothers and
sisters what had become of him.

"A _great big_ monster," said one of them, "stepped on little
brother with one of his huge feet!"

"Big, was he!" said the old Frog, puffing herself up. "Was he as
big as this?"

"Oh, _much_ bigger!" they cried.

The Frog puffed up still more.

"He could not have been bigger than this," she said. But the
little Frogs all declared that the monster was _much, much_
bigger and the old Frog kept puffing herself out more and more
until, all at once, she burst.

_Do not attempt the impossible._



A Dog and a Cock, who were the best of friends, wished very much
to see something of the world. So they decided to leave the
farmyard and to set out into the world along the road that led to
the woods. The two comrades traveled along in the very best of
spirits and without meeting any adventure to speak of.

At nightfall the Cock, looking for a place to roost, as was his
custom, spied nearby a hollow tree that he thought would do very
nicely for a night's lodging. The Dog could creep inside and the
Cock would fly up on one of the branches. So said, so done, and
both slept very comfortably.

With the first glimmer of dawn the Cock awoke. For the moment he
forgot just where he was. He thought he was still in the farmyard
where it had been his duty to arouse the household at daybreak.
So standing on tip-toes he flapped his wings and crowed lustily.
But instead of awakening the farmer, he awakened a Fox not far
off in the wood. The Fox immediately had rosy visions of a very
delicious breakfast. Hurrying to the tree where the Cock was
roosting, he said very politely:

"A hearty welcome to our woods, honored sir. I cannot tell you
how glad I am to see you here. I am quite sure we shall become
the closest of friends."

"I feel highly flattered, kind sir," replied the Cock slyly. "If
you will please go around to the door of my house at the foot of
the tree, my porter will let you in."

The hungry but unsuspecting Fox, went around the tree as he was
told, and in a twinkling the Dog had seized him.

_Those who try to deceive may expect to be paid in their own



The Mice once called a meeting to decide on a plan to free
themselves of their enemy, the Cat. At least they wished to find
some way of knowing when she was coming, so they might have time
to run away. Indeed, something had to be done, for they lived in
such constant fear of her claws that they hardly dared stir from
their dens by night or day.

Many plans were discussed, but none of them was thought good
enough. At last a very young Mouse got up and said:

"I have a plan that seems very simple, but I know it will be
successful. All we have to do is to hang a bell about the Cat's
neck. When we hear the bell ringing we will know immediately that
our enemy is coming."

All the Mice were much surprised that they had not thought of
such a plan before. But in the midst of the rejoicing over their
good fortune, an old Mouse arose and said:

"I will say that the plan of the young Mouse is very good. But
let me ask one question: Who will bell the Cat?"

_It is one thing to say that something should be done, but quite
a different matter to do it._


An Eagle, swooping down on powerful wings, seized a lamb in her
talons and made off with it to her nest. A Jackdaw saw the deed,
and his silly head was filled with the idea that he was big and
strong enough to do as the Eagle had done. So with much rustling
of feathers and a fierce air, he came down swiftly on the back of
a large Ram. But when he tried to rise again he found that he
could not get away, for his claws were tangled in the wool. And
so far was he from carrying away the Ram, that the Ram hardly
noticed he was there.


The Shepherd saw the fluttering Jackdaw and at once guessed what
had happened. Running up, he caught the bird and clipped its
wings. That evening he gave the Jackdaw to his children.

"What a funny bird this is!" they said laughing, "what do you
call it, father?"

"That is a Jackdaw, my children. But if you should ask him, _he_
would say he is an Eagle."

_Do not let your vanity make you overestimate your powers._


A Boy was given permission to put his hand into a pitcher to get
some filberts. But he took such a great fistful that he could not
draw his hand out again. There he stood, unwilling to give up a
single filbert and yet unable to get them all out at once. Vexed
and disappointed he began to cry.

"My boy," said his mother, "be satisfied with half the nuts you
have taken and you will easily get your hand out. Then perhaps
you may have some more filberts some other time."

_Do not attempt too much at once._


A Farmer was driving his wagon along a miry country road after a
heavy rain. The horses could hardly drag the load through the
deep mud, and at last came to a standstill when one of the wheels
sank to the hub in a rut.

The farmer climbed down from his seat and stood beside the wagon
looking at it but without making the least effort to get it out
of the rut. All he did was to curse his bad luck and call loudly
on Hercules to come to his aid. Then, it is said, Hercules really
did appear, saying:

"Put your shoulder to the wheel, man, and urge on your horses. Do
you think you can move the wagon by simply looking at it and
whining about it? Hercules will not help unless you make some
effort to help yourself."

And when the farmer put his shoulder to the wheel and urged on
the horses, the wagon moved very readily, and soon the Farmer was
riding along in great content and with a good lesson learned.

_Self help is the best help._

_Heaven helps those who help themselves._



A frisky young Kid had been left by the herdsman on the thatched
roof of a sheep shelter to keep him out of harm's way. The Kid
was browsing near the edge of the roof, when he spied a Wolf and
began to jeer at him, making faces and abusing him to his heart's

"I hear you," said the Wolf, "and I haven't the least grudge
against you for what you say or do. When you are up there it is
the roof that's talking, not you."

_Do not say anything at any time that you would not say at all



A Town Mouse once visited a relative who lived in the country.
For lunch the Country Mouse served wheat stalks, roots, and
acorns, with a dash of cold water for drink. The Town Mouse ate
very sparingly, nibbling a little of this and a little of that,
and by her manner making it very plain that she ate the simple
food only to be polite.

After the meal the friends had a long talk, or rather the Town
Mouse talked about her life in the city while the Country Mouse
listened. They then went to bed in a cozy nest in the hedgerow
and slept in quiet and comfort until morning. In her sleep the
Country Mouse dreamed she was a Town Mouse with all the luxuries
and delights of city life that her friend had described for her.
So the next day when the Town Mouse asked the Country Mouse to go
home with her to the city, she gladly said yes.

When they reached the mansion in which the Town Mouse lived, they
found on the table in the dining room the leavings of a very fine
banquet. There were sweetmeats and jellies, pastries, delicious
cheeses, indeed, the most tempting foods that a Mouse can
imagine. But just as the Country Mouse was about to nibble a
dainty bit of pastry, she heard a Cat mew loudly and scratch at
the door. In great fear the Mice scurried to a hiding place,
where they lay quite still for a long time, hardly daring to
breathe. When at last they ventured back to the feast, the door
opened suddenly and in came the servants to clear the table,
followed by the House Dog.

The Country Mouse stopped in the Town Mouse's den only long
enough to pick up her carpet bag and umbrella.

"You may have luxuries and dainties that I have not," she said as
she hurried away, "but I prefer my plain food and simple life in
the country with the peace and security that go with it."

_Poverty with security is better than plenty in the midst of fear
and uncertainty._




A Fox one day spied a beautiful bunch of ripe grapes hanging from
a vine trained along the branches of a tree. The grapes seemed
ready to burst with juice, and the Fox's mouth watered as he
gazed longingly at them.

The bunch hung from a high branch, and the Fox had to jump for
it. The first time he jumped he missed it by a long way. So he
walked off a short distance and took a running leap at it, only
to fall short once more. Again and again he tried, but in vain.

Now he sat down and looked at the grapes in disgust.

"What a fool I am," he said. "Here I am wearing myself out to get
a bunch of sour grapes that are not worth gaping for."

And off he walked very, very scornfully.

_There are many who pretend to despise and belittle that which is
beyond their reach._


A certain Father had a family of Sons, who were forever
quarreling among themselves. No words he could say did the least
good, so he cast about in his mind for some very striking example
that should make them see that discord would lead them to

One day when the quarreling had been much more violent than usual
and each of the Sons was moping in a surly manner, he asked one
of them to bring him a bundle of sticks. Then handing the bundle
to each of his Sons in turn he told them to try to break it. But
although each one tried his best, none was able to do so.

The Father then untied the bundle and gave the sticks to his Sons
to break one by one. This they did very easily.

"My Sons," said the Father, "do you not see how certain it is
that if you agree with each other and help each other, it will be
impossible for your enemies to injure you? But if you are divided
among yourselves, you will be no stronger than a single stick in
that bundle."

_In unity is strength._


A Wolf had been feasting too greedily, and a bone had stuck
crosswise in his throat. He could get it neither up nor down, and
of course he could not eat a thing. Naturally that was an awful
state of affairs for a greedy Wolf.

So away he hurried to the Crane. He was sure that she, with her
long neck and bill, would easily be able to reach the bone and
pull it out.

"I will reward you very handsomely," said the Wolf, "if you pull
that bone out for me."

The Crane, as you can imagine, was very uneasy about putting her
head in a Wolf's throat. But she was grasping in nature, so she
did what the Wolf asked her to do.


When the Wolf felt that the bone was gone, he started to walk

"But what about my reward!" called the Crane anxiously.

"What!" snarled the Wolf, whirling around. "Haven't you got it?
Isn't it enough that I let you take your head out of my mouth
without snapping it off?"

_Expect no reward for serving the wicked._



An Ass was being driven along a road leading down the mountain
side, when he suddenly took it into his silly head to choose his
own path. He could see his stall at the foot of the mountain, and
to him the quickest way down seemed to be over the edge of the
nearest cliff. Just as he was about to leap over, his master
caught him by the tail and tried to pull him back, but the
stubborn Ass would not yield and pulled with all his might.

"Very well," said his master, "go your way, you willful beast,
and see where it leads you."

With that he let go, and the foolish Ass tumbled head over heels
down the mountain side.

_They who will not listen to reason but stubbornly go their own
way against the friendly advice of those who are wiser than they,
are on the road to misfortune._


A pair of Oxen were drawing a heavily loaded wagon along a miry
country road. They had to use all their strength to pull the
wagon, but they did not complain.

The Wheels of the wagon were of a different sort. Though the task
they had to do was very light compared with that of the Oxen,
they creaked and groaned at every turn. The poor Oxen, pulling
with all their might to draw the wagon through the deep mud, had
their ears filled with the loud complaining of the Wheels. And
this, you may well know, made their work so much the harder to

"Silence!" the Oxen cried at last, out of patience. "What have
you Wheels to complain about so loudly? We are drawing all the
weight, not you, and we are keeping still about it besides."

_They complain most who suffer least._



A Lion lay asleep in the forest, his great head resting on his
paws. A timid little Mouse came upon him unexpectedly, and in her
fright and haste to get away, ran across the Lion's nose. Roused
from his nap, the Lion laid his huge paw angrily on the tiny
creature to kill her.

"Spare me!" begged the poor Mouse. "Please let me go and some day
I will surely repay you."

The Lion was much amused to think that a Mouse could ever help
him. But he was generous and finally let the Mouse go.

Some days later, while stalking his prey in the forest, the Lion
was caught in the toils of a hunter's net. Unable to free
himself, he filled the forest with his angry roaring. The Mouse
knew the voice and quickly found the Lion struggling in the net.
Running to one of the great ropes that bound him, she gnawed it
until it parted, and soon the Lion was free.

"You laughed when I said I would repay you," said the Mouse. "Now
you see that even a Mouse can help a Lion."

_A kindness is never wasted._



A Shepherd Boy tended his master's Sheep near a dark forest not
far from the village. Soon he found life in the pasture very
dull. All he could do to amuse himself was to talk to his dog or
play on his shepherd's pipe.

One day as he sat watching the Sheep and the quiet forest, and
thinking what he would do should he see a Wolf, he thought of a
plan to amuse himself.

His Master had told him to call for help should a Wolf attack the
flock, and the Villagers would drive it away. So now, though he
had not seen anything that even looked like a Wolf, he ran toward
the village shouting at the top of his voice, "Wolf! Wolf!"

As he expected, the Villagers who heard the cry dropped their
work and ran in great excitement to the pasture. But when they
got there they found the Boy doubled up with laughter at the
trick he had played on them.

A few days later the Shepherd Boy again shouted, "Wolf! Wolf!"
Again the Villagers ran to help him, only to be laughed at again.

Then one evening as the sun was setting behind the forest and the
shadows were creeping out over the pasture, a Wolf really did
spring from the underbrush and fall upon the Sheep.

In terror the Boy ran toward the village shouting "Wolf! Wolf!"
But though the Villagers heard the cry, they did not run to help
him as they had before. "He cannot fool us again," they said.

The Wolf killed a great many of the Boy's sheep and then slipped
away into the forest.

_Liars are not believed even when they speak the truth._


A Gnat flew over the meadow with much buzzing for so small a
creature and settled on the tip of one of the horns of a Bull.
After he had rested a short time, he made ready to fly away. But
before he left he begged the Bull's pardon for having used his
horn for a resting place.

"You must be very glad to have me go now," he said.

"It's all the same to me," replied the Bull. "I did not even know
you were there."

_We are often of greater importance in our own eyes than in the
eyes of our neighbor._

_The smaller the mind the greater the conceit._




Two Travellers, walking in the noonday sun, sought the shade of a
widespreading tree to rest. As they lay looking up among the
pleasant leaves, they saw that it was a Plane Tree.

"How useless is the Plane!" said one of them. "It bears no fruit
whatever, and only serves to litter the ground with leaves."

"Ungrateful creatures!" said a voice from the Plane Tree. "You
lie here in my cooling shade, and yet you say I am useless! Thus
ungratefully, O Jupiter, do men receive their blessings!"

_Our best blessings are often the least appreciated._



A Stork of a very simple and trusting nature had been asked by a
gay party of Cranes to visit a field that had been newly planted.
But the party ended dismally with all the birds entangled in the
meshes of the Farmer's net.

The Stork begged the Farmer to spare him.

"Please let me go," he pleaded. "I belong to the Stork family who
you know are honest and birds of good character. Besides, I did
not know the Cranes were going to steal."

"You may be a very good bird," answered the Farmer, "but I caught
you with the thieving Cranes and you will have to share the same
punishment with them."

_You are judged by the company you keep._


One day a shepherd discovered a fat Pig in the meadow where his
Sheep were pastured. He very quickly captured the porker, which
squealed at the top of its voice the moment the Shepherd laid his
hands on it. You would have thought, to hear the loud squealing,
that the Pig was being cruelly hurt. But in spite of its squeals
and struggles to escape, the Shepherd tucked his prize under his
arm and started off to the butcher's in the market place.

The Sheep in the pasture were much astonished and amused at the
Pig's behavior, and followed the Shepherd and his charge to the
pasture gate.

"What makes you squeal like that?" asked one of the Sheep. "The
Shepherd often catches and carries off one of us. But we should
feel very much ashamed to make such a terrible fuss about it like
you do."

"That is all very well," replied the Pig, with a squeal and a
frantic kick. "When he catches you he is only after your wool.
But he wants my bacon! gree-ee-ee!"

_It is easy to be brave when there is no danger._

[Illustration: THE SHEEP AND THE PIG]



Two men were traveling in company along the road when one of them
picked up a well-filled purse.

"How lucky I am!" he said. "I have found a purse. Judging by its
weight it must be full of gold."

"Do not say '_I_ have found a purse,'" said his companion. "Say
rather '_we_ have found a purse' and 'how lucky _we_ are.'
Travelers ought to share alike the fortunes or misfortunes of the

"No, no," replied the other angrily. "_I_ found it and _I_ am
going to keep it."

Just then they heard a shout of "Stop, thief!" and looking
around, saw a mob of people armed with clubs coming down the

The man who had found the purse fell into a panic.

"We are lost if they find the purse on us," he cried.

"No, no," replied the other, "You would not say 'we' before, so
now stick to your 'I'. Say '_I_ am lost.'"

_We cannot expect any one to share our misfortunes unless we are
willing to share our good fortune also._


One day as the Lion walked proudly down a forest aisle, and the
animals respectfully made way for him, an Ass brayed a scornful
remark as he passed.

The Lion felt a flash of anger. But when he turned his head and
saw who had spoken, he walked quietly on. He would not honor the
fool with even so much as a stroke of his claws.

_Do not resent the remarks of a fool. Ignore them._


The Frogs were tired of governing themselves. They had so much
freedom that it had spoiled them, and they did nothing but sit
around croaking in a bored manner and wishing for a government
that could entertain them with the pomp and display of royalty,
and rule them in a way to make them know they were being ruled.
No milk and water government for them, they declared. So they
sent a petition to Jupiter asking for a king.

Jupiter saw what simple and foolish creatures they were, but to
keep them quiet and make them think they had a king he threw down
a huge log, which fell into the water with a great splash. The
Frogs hid themselves among the reeds and grasses, thinking the
new king to be some fearful giant. But they soon discovered how
tame and peaceable King Log was. In a short time the younger
Frogs were using him for a diving platform, while the older Frogs
made him a meeting place, where they complained loudly to Jupiter
about the government.


To teach the Frogs a lesson the ruler of the gods now sent a
Crane to be king of Frogland. The Crane proved to be a very
different sort of king from old King Log. He gobbled up the poor
Frogs right and left and they soon saw what fools they had been.
In mournful croaks they begged Jupiter to take away the cruel
tyrant before they should all be destroyed.

"How now!" cried Jupiter "Are you not yet content? You have what
you asked for and so you have only yourselves to blame for your

_Be sure you can better your condition before you seek to



The Owl always takes her sleep during the day. Then after
sundown, when the rosy light fades from the sky and the shadows
rise slowly through the wood, out she comes ruffling and blinking
from the old hollow tree. Now her weird "hoo-hoo-hoo-oo-oo"
echoes through the quiet wood, and she begins her hunt for the
bugs and beetles, frogs and mice she likes so well to eat.

Now there was a certain old Owl who had become very cross and
hard to please as she grew older, especially if anything
disturbed her daily slumbers. One warm summer afternoon as she
dozed away in her den in the old oak tree, a Grasshopper nearby
began a joyous but very raspy song. Out popped the old Owl's head
from the opening in the tree that served her both for door and
for window.

"Get away from here, sir," she said to the Grasshopper. "Have you
no manners? You should at least respect my age and leave me to
sleep in quiet!"

But the Grasshopper answered saucily that he had as much right to
his place in the sun as the Owl had to her place in the old oak.
Then he struck up a louder and still more rasping tune.


The wise old Owl knew quite well that it would do no good to
argue with the Grasshopper, nor with anybody else for that
matter. Besides, her eyes were not sharp enough by day to permit
her to punish the Grasshopper as he deserved. So she laid aside
all hard words and spoke very kindly to him.

"Well sir," she said, "if I must stay awake, I am going to settle
right down to enjoy your singing. Now that I think of it, I have
a wonderful wine here, sent me from Olympus, of which I am told
Apollo drinks before he sings to the high gods. Please come up
and taste this delicious drink with me. I know it will make you
sing like Apollo himself."

The foolish Grasshopper was taken in by the Owl's flattering
words. Up he jumped to the Owl's den, but as soon as he was near
enough so the old Owl could see him clearly, she pounced upon him
and ate him up.

_Flattery is not a proof of true admiration._

_Do not let flattery throw you off your guard against an enemy._



A Wolf left his lair one evening in fine spirits and an excellent
appetite. As he ran, the setting sun cast his shadow far out on
the ground, and it looked as if the wolf were a hundred times
bigger than he really was.

"Why," exclaimed the Wolf proudly, "see how big I am! Fancy _me_
running away from a puny Lion! I'll show him who is fit to be
king, he or I."

Just then an immense shadow blotted him out entirely, and the
next instant a Lion struck him down with a single blow.

_Do not let your fancy make you forget realities._



A Giant Oak stood near a brook in which grew some slender Reeds.
When the wind blew, the great Oak stood proudly upright with its
hundred arms uplifted to the sky. But the Reeds bowed low in the
wind and sang a sad and mournful song.

"You have reason to complain," said the Oak. "The slightest
breeze that ruffles the surface of the water makes you bow your
heads, while I, the mighty Oak, stand upright and firm before the
howling tempest."

"Do not worry about us," replied the Reeds. "The winds do not
harm us. We bow before them and so we do not break. You, in all
your pride and strength, have so far resisted their blows. But
the end is coming."

As the Reeds spoke a great hurricane rushed out of the north. The
Oak stood proudly and fought against the storm, while the
yielding Reeds bowed low. The wind redoubled in fury, and all at
once the great tree fell, torn up by the roots, and lay among the
pitying Reeds.

_Better to yield when it is folly to resist, than to resist
stubbornly and be destroyed._


A Rat was traveling along the King's highway. He was a very proud
Rat, considering his small size and the bad reputation all Rats
have. As Mr. Rat walked along--he kept mostly to the ditch--he
noticed a great commotion up the road, and soon a grand
procession came in view. It was the King and his retinue.

The King rode on a huge Elephant adorned with the most gorgeous
trappings. With the King in his luxurious howdah were the royal
Dog and Cat. A great crowd of people followed the procession.
They were so taken up with admiration of the Elephant, that the
Rat was not noticed. His pride was hurt.

"What fools!" he cried. "Look at me, and you will soon forget
that clumsy Elephant! Is it his great size that makes your eyes
pop out? Or is it his wrinkled hide? Why, I have eyes and ears
and as many legs as he! I am of just as much importance, and"--

But just then the royal Cat spied him, and the next instant, the
Rat knew he was _not_ quite so important as an Elephant.

_A resemblance to the great in some things does not make us


Some Boys were playing one day at the edge of a pond in which
lived a family of Frogs. The Boys amused themselves by throwing
stones into the pond so as to make them skip on top of the water.

The stones were flying thick and fast and the Boys were enjoying
themselves very much; but the poor Frogs in the pond were
trembling with fear.

At last one of the Frogs, the oldest and bravest, put his head
out of the water, and said, "Oh, please, dear children, stop your
cruel play! Though it may be fun for you, it means death to us!"

_Always stop to think whether your fun may not be the cause of
another's unhappiness._



In a spell of dry weather, when the Birds could find very little
to drink, a thirsty Crow found a pitcher with a little water in
it. But the pitcher was high and had a narrow neck, and no matter
how he tried, the Crow could not reach the water. The poor thing
felt as if he must die of thirst.

Then an idea came to him. Picking up some small pebbles, he
dropped them into the pitcher one by one. With each pebble the
water rose a little higher until at last it was near enough so he
could drink.

_In a pinch a good use of our wits may help us out._




One bright day in late autumn a family of Ants were bustling
about in the warm sunshine, drying out the grain they had stored
up during the summer, when a starving Grasshopper, his fiddle
under his arm, came up and humbly begged for a bite to eat.

"What!" cried the Ants in surprise, "haven't you stored anything
away for the winter? What in the world were you doing all last

"I didn't have time to store up any food," whined the
Grasshopper; "I was so busy making music that before I knew it
the summer was gone."

The Ants shrugged their shoulders in disgust.

"Making music, were you?" they cried. "Very well; now dance!" And
they turned their backs on the Grasshopper and went on with their

_There's a time for work and a time for play._


A sacred Image was being carried to the temple. It was mounted on
an Ass adorned with garlands and gorgeous trappings, and a grand
procession of priests and pages followed it through the streets.
As the Ass walked along, the people bowed their heads reverently
or fell on their knees, and the Ass thought the honor was being
paid to himself.

With his head full of this foolish idea, he became so puffed up
with pride and vanity that he halted and started to bray loudly.
But in the midst of his song, his driver guessed what the Ass had
got into his head, and began to beat him unmercifully with a

"Go along with you, you stupid Ass," he cried. "The honor is not
meant for you but for the image you are carrying."

_Do not try to take the credit to yourself that is due to


A Raven, which you know is black as coal, was envious of the
Swan, because her feathers were as white as the purest snow. The
foolish bird got the idea that if he lived like the Swan,
swimming and diving all day long and eating the weeds and plants
that grow in the water, his feathers would turn white like the

So he left his home in the woods and fields and flew down to live
on the lakes and in the marshes. But though he washed and washed
all day long, almost drowning himself at it, his feathers
remained as black as ever. And as the water weeds he ate did not
agree with him, he got thinner and thinner, and at last he died.

_A change of habits will not alter nature._




Two Goats, frisking gayly on the rocky steeps of a mountain
valley, chanced to meet, one on each side of a deep chasm through
which poured a mighty mountain torrent. The trunk of a fallen
tree formed the only means of crossing the chasm, and on this not
even two squirrels could have passed each other in safety. The
narrow path would have made the bravest tremble. Not so our
Goats. Their pride would not permit either to stand aside for the

One set her foot on the log. The other did likewise. In the
middle they met horn to horn. Neither would give way, and so they
both fell, to be swept away by the roaring torrent below.

_It is better to yield than to come to misfortune through


A Merchant, driving his Ass homeward from the seashore with a
heavy load of salt, came to a river crossed by a shallow ford.
They had crossed this river many times before without accident,
but this time the Ass slipped and fell when halfway over. And
when the Merchant at last got him to his feet, much of the salt
had melted away. Delighted to find how much lighter his burden
had become, the Ass finished the journey very gayly.

Next day the Merchant went for another load of salt. On the way
home the Ass, remembering what had happened at the ford,
purposely let himself fall into the water, and again got rid of
most of his burden.

The angry Merchant immediately turned about and drove the Ass
back to the seashore, where he loaded him with two great baskets
of sponges. At the ford the Ass again tumbled over; but when he
had scrambled to his feet, it was a very disconsolate Ass that
dragged himself homeward under a load ten times heavier than

_The same measures will not suit all circumstances._




"Away with you, vile insect!" said a Lion angrily to a Gnat that
was buzzing around his head. But the Gnat was not in the least

"Do you think," he said spitefully to the Lion, "that I am afraid
of you because they call you king?"

The next instant he flew at the Lion and stung him sharply on the
nose. Mad with rage, the Lion struck fiercely at the Gnat, but
only succeeded in tearing himself with his claws. Again and again
the Gnat stung the Lion, who now was roaring terribly. At last,
worn out with rage and covered with wounds that his own teeth and
claws had made, the Lion gave up the fight.

The Gnat buzzed away to tell the whole world about his victory,
but instead he flew straight into a spider's web. And there, he
who had defeated the King of beasts came to a miserable end, the
prey of a little spider.

_The least of our enemies is often the most to be feared._

_Pride over a success should not throw us off our guard._


A certain man who visited foreign lands could talk of little when
he returned to his home except the wonderful adventures he had
met with and the great deeds he had done abroad.

One of the feats he told about was a leap he had made in a city
Called Rhodes. That leap was so great, he said, that no other man
could leap anywhere near the distance. A great many persons in
Rhodes had seen him do it and would prove that what he told was

"No need of witnesses," said one of the hearers. "Suppose this
city is Rhodes. Now show us how far you can jump."

_Deeds count, not boasting words._


A Cock was busily scratching and scraping about to find something
to eat for himself and his family, when he happened to turn up a
precious jewel that had been lost by its owner.

"Aha!" said the Cock. "No doubt you are very costly and he who
lost you would give a great deal to find you. But as for me, I
would choose a single grain of barleycorn before all the jewels
in the world."

_Precious things are without value to those who cannot prize


At a great celebration in honor of King Lion, the Monkey was
asked to dance for the company. His dancing was very clever
indeed, and the animals were all highly pleased with his grace
and lightness.

The praise that was showered on the Monkey made the Camel
envious. He was very sure that he could dance quite as well as
the Monkey, if not better, so he pushed his way into the crowd
that was gathered around the Monkey, and rising on his hind legs,
began to dance. But the big hulking Camel made himself very
ridiculous as he kicked out his knotty legs and twisted his long
clumsy neck. Besides, the animals found it hard to keep their
toes from under his heavy hoofs.

At last, when one of his huge feet came within an inch of King
Lion's nose, the animals were so disgusted that they set upon the
Camel in a rage and drove him out into the desert.

Shortly afterward, refreshments, consisting mostly of Camel's
hump and ribs, were served to the company.

_Do not try to ape your betters._



A Wild Boar was sharpening his tusks busily against the stump of
a tree, when a Fox happened by. Now the Fox was always looking
for a chance to make fun of his neighbors. So he made a great
show of looking anxiously about, as if in fear of some hidden
enemy. But the Boar kept right on with his work.

"Why are you doing that?" asked the Fox at last with a grin.
"There isn't any danger that I can see."

"True enough," replied the Boar, "but when danger does come there
will not be time for such work as this. My weapons will have to
be ready for use then, or I shall suffer for it."

_Preparedness for war is the best guarantee of peace._



An Ass and a Fox had become close comrades, and were constantly
in each other's company. While the Ass cropped a fresh bit of
greens, the Fox would devour a chicken from the neighboring
farmyard or a bit of cheese filched from the dairy. One day the
pair unexpectedly met a Lion. The Ass was very much frightened,
but the Fox calmed his fears.

"I will talk to him," he said.

So the Fox walked boldly up to the Lion.

"Your highness," he said in an undertone, so the Ass could not
hear him, "I've got a fine scheme in my head. If you promise not
to hurt me, I will lead that foolish creature yonder into a pit
where he can't get out, and you can feast at your pleasure."

The Lion agreed and the Fox returned to the Ass.

"I made him promise not to hurt us," said the Fox. "But come, I
know a good place to hide till he is gone."

So the Fox led the Ass into a deep pit. But when the Lion saw
that the Ass was his for the taking, he first of all struck down
the traitor Fox.

_Traitors may expect treachery._


The Birds and the Beasts declared war against each other. No
compromise was possible, and so they went at it tooth and claw.
It is said the quarrel grew out of the persecution the race of
Geese suffered at the teeth of the Fox family. The Beasts, too,
had cause for fight. The Eagle was constantly pouncing on the
Hare, and the Owl dined daily on Mice.

It was a terrible battle. Many a Hare and many a Mouse died.
Chickens and Geese fell by the score--and the victor always
stopped for a feast.

Now the Bat family had not openly joined either side. They were a
very politic race. So when they saw the Birds getting the better
of it, they were Birds for all there was in it. But when the tide
of battle turned, they immediately sided with the Beasts.

When the battle was over, the conduct of the Bats was discussed
at the peace conference. Such deceit was unpardonable, and Birds
and Beasts made common cause to drive out the Bats. And since
then the Bat family hides in dark towers and deserted ruins,
flying out only in the night.

_The deceitful have no friends._



Just as a great Bear rushed to seize a stray kid, a Lion leaped
from another direction upon the same prey. The two fought
furiously for the prize until they had received so many wounds
that both sank down unable to continue the battle.

Just then a Fox dashed up, and seizing the kid, made off with it
as fast as he could go, while the Lion and the Bear looked on in
helpless rage.

"How much better it would have been," they said, "to have shared
in a friendly spirit."

_Those who have all the toil do not always get the profit._



A stray Lamb stood drinking early one morning on the bank of a
woodland stream. That very same morning a hungry Wolf came by
farther up the stream, hunting for something to eat. He soon got
his eyes on the Lamb. As a rule Mr. Wolf snapped up such
delicious morsels without making any bones about it, but this
Lamb looked so very helpless and innocent that the Wolf felt he
ought to have some kind of an excuse for taking its life.

"How dare you paddle around in my stream and stir up all the
mud!" he shouted fiercely. "You deserve to be punished severely
for your rashness!"

"But, your highness," replied the trembling Lamb, "do not be
angry! I cannot possibly muddy the water you are drinking up
there. Remember, you are upstream and I am downstream."

"You _do_ muddy it!" retorted the Wolf savagely. "And besides, I
have heard that you told lies about me last year!"

"How could I have done so?" pleaded the Lamb. "I wasn't born
until this year."

"If it wasn't you, it was your brother!"

"I have no brothers."

"Well, then," snarled the Wolf, "It was someone in your family
anyway. But no matter who it was, I do not intend to be talked
out of my breakfast."

And without more words the Wolf seized the poor Lamb and carried
her off to the forest.

_The tyrant can always find an excuse for his tyranny._

_The unjust will not listen to the reasoning of the innocent._


A Wolf had been hurt in a fight with a Bear. He was unable to
move and could not satisfy his hunger and thirst. A Sheep passed
by near his hiding place, and the Wolf called to him.

"Please fetch me a drink of water," he begged, "that might give
me strength enough so I can get me some solid food."

"Solid food!" said the Sheep. "That means me, I suppose. If I
should bring you a drink, it would only serve to wash me down
your throat. Don't talk to me about a drink!"

_A knave's hypocrisy is easily seen through._


Hares, as you know, are very timid. The least shadow, sends them
scurrying in fright to a hiding place. Once they decided to die
rather than live in such misery. But while they were debating how
best to meet death, they thought they heard a noise and in a
flash were scampering off to the warren. On the way they passed a
pond where a family of Frogs was sitting among the reeds on the
bank. In an instant the startled Frogs were seeking safety in the

"Look," cried a Hare, "things are not so bad after all, for here
are creatures who are even afraid of us!"

_However unfortunate we may think we are there is always someone
worse off than ourselves._




The Fox one day thought of a plan to amuse himself at the expense
of the Stork, at whose odd appearance he was always laughing.

"You must come and dine with me today," he said to the Stork,
smiling to himself at the trick he was going to play. The Stork
gladly accepted the invitation and arrived in good time and with
a very good appetite.

For dinner the Fox served soup. But it was set out in a very
shallow dish, and all the Stork could do was to wet the very tip
of his bill. Not a drop of soup could he get. But the Fox lapped
it up easily, and, to increase the disappointment of the Stork,
made a great show of enjoyment.


The hungry Stork was much displeased at the trick, but he was a
calm, even-tempered fellow and saw no good in flying into a rage.
Instead, not long afterward, he invited the Fox to dine with him
in turn. The Fox arrived promptly at the time that had been set,
and the Stork served a fish dinner that had a very appetizing
smell. But it was served in a tall jar with a very narrow neck.
The Stork could easily get at the food with his long bill, but
all the Fox could do was to lick the outside of the jar, and
sniff at the delicious odor. And when the Fox lost his temper,
the Stork said calmly:

_Do not play tricks on your neighbors unless you can stand the
same treatment yourself._


Two Travelers were walking along the seashore. Far out they saw
something riding on the waves.

"Look," said one, "a great ship rides in from distant lands,
bearing rich treasures!"

The object they saw came ever nearer the shore.

"No," said the other, "that is not a treasure ship. That is some
fisherman's skiff, with the day's catch of savoury fish."

Still nearer came the object. The waves washed it up on shore.

"It is a chest of gold lost from some wreck," they cried. Both
Travelers rushed to the beach, but there they found nothing but a
water-soaked log.

_Do not let your hopes carry you away from reality._



A Wolf had stolen a Lamb and was carrying it off to his lair to
eat it. But his plans were very much changed when he met a Lion,
who, without making any excuses, took the Lamb away from him.

The Wolf made off to a safe distance, and then said in a much
injured tone:

"You have no right to take my property like that!"

The Lion looked back, but as the Wolf was too far away to be
taught a lesson without too much inconvenience, he said:

"Your property? Did you buy it, or did the Shepherd make you a
gift of it? Pray tell me, how did you get it?"

_What is evil won is evil lost._



A Stag, drinking from a crystal spring, saw himself mirrored in
the clear water. He greatly admired the graceful arch of his
antlers, but he was very much ashamed of his spindling legs.

"How can it be," he sighed, "that I should be cursed with such
legs when I have so magnificent a crown."

At that moment he scented a panther and in an instant was bounding
away through the forest. But as he ran his wide-spreading antlers
caught in the branches of the trees, and soon the Panther overtook
him. Then the Stag perceived that the legs of which he was so
ashamed would have saved him had it not been for the useless
ornaments on his head.

_We often make much of the ornamental and despise the useful._


The Peacock, they say, did not at first have the beautiful
feathers in which he now takes so much pride. These, Juno, whose
favorite he was, granted to him one day when he begged her for a
train of feathers to distinguish him from the other birds. Then,
decked in his finery, gleaming with emerald, gold, purple, and
azure, he strutted proudly among the birds. All regarded him with
envy. Even the most beautiful pheasant could see that his beauty
was surpassed.

Presently the Peacock saw an Eagle soaring high up in the blue
sky and felt a desire to fly, as he had been accustomed to do.
Lifting his wings he tried to rise from the ground. But the
weight of his magnificent train held him down. Instead of flying
up to greet the first rays of the morning sun or to bathe in the
rosy light among the floating clouds at sunset, he would have to
walk the ground more encumbered and oppressed than any common
barnyard fowl.

_Do not sacrifice your freedom for the sake of pomp and show._

[Illustration: THE PEACOCK]



The Weasels and the Mice were always up in arms against each
other. In every battle the Weasels carried off the victory, as
well as a large number of the Mice, which they ate for dinner
next day. In despair the Mice called a council, and there it was
decided that the Mouse army was always beaten because it had no
leaders. So a large number of generals and commanders were
appointed from among the most eminent Mice.

To distinguish themselves from the soldiers in the ranks, the new
leaders proudly bound on their heads lofty crests and ornaments
of feathers or straw. Then after long preparation of the Mouse
army in all the arts of war, they sent a challenge to the

The Weasels accepted the challenge with eagerness, for they were
always ready for a fight when a meal was in sight. They
immediately attacked the Mouse army in large numbers. Soon the
Mouse line gave way before the attack and the whole army fled for
cover. The privates easily slipped into their holes, but the
Mouse leaders could not squeeze through the narrow openings
because of their head-dresses. Not one escaped the teeth of the
hungry Weasels.

_Greatness has its penalties._


A Wolf prowling near a village one evening met a Dog. It happened
to be a very lean and bony Dog, and Master Wolf would have turned
up his nose at such meager fare had he not been more hungry than
usual. So he began to edge toward the Dog, while the Dog backed

"Let me remind your lordship," said the Dog, his words
interrupted now and then as he dodged a snap of the Wolf's teeth,
"how unpleasant it would be to eat me now. Look at my ribs. I am
nothing but skin and bone. But let me tell you something in
private. In a few days my master will give a wedding feast for
his only daughter. You can guess how fine and fat I will grow on
the scraps from the table. _Then_ is the time to eat me."

The Wolf could not help thinking how nice it would be to have a
fine fat Dog to eat instead of the scrawny object before him. So
he went away pulling in his belt and promising to return.

Some days later the Wolf came back for the promised feast. He
found the Dog in his master's yard, and asked him to come out and
be eaten.

"Sir," said the Dog, with a grin, "I shall be delighted to have
you eat me. I'll be out as soon as the porter opens the door."

But the "porter" was a huge Dog whom the Wolf knew by painful
experience to be very unkind toward wolves. So he decided not to
wait and made off as fast as his legs could carry him.

_Do not depend on the promises of those whose interest it is to
deceive you._

_Take what you can get when you can get it._



A very young Fox, who had never before seen a Lion, happened to
meet one in the forest. A single look was enough to send the Fox
off at top speed for the nearest hiding place.

The second time the Fox saw the Lion he stopped behind a tree to
look at him a moment before slinking away. But the third time,
the Fox went boldly up to the Lion and, without turning a hair,
said, "Hello, there, old top."

_Familiarity breeds contempt._

_Acquaintance with evil blinds us to its dangers._


A Lion and an Ass agreed to go hunting together. In their search
for game the hunters saw a number of Wild Goats run into a cave,
and laid plans to catch them. The Ass was to go into the cave and
drive the Goats out, while the Lion would stand at the entrance
to strike them down.

The plan worked beautifully. The Ass made such a frightful din in
the cave, kicking and braying with all his might, that the Goats
came running out in a panic of fear, only to fall victim to the

The Ass came proudly out of the cave.

"Did you see how I made them run?" he said.


"Yes, indeed," answered the Lion, "and if I had not known you and
your kind I should certainly have run, too."

_The loud-mouthed boaster does not impress nor frighten those who
know him._


A Dog had learned to carry his master's dinner to him every day.
He was very faithful to his duty, though the smell of the good
things in the basket tempted him.

The Dogs in the neighborhood noticed him carrying the basket and
soon discovered what was in it. They made several attempts to
steal it from him. But he always guarded it faithfully.

Then one day all the Dogs in the neighborhood got together and
met him on his way with the basket. The Dog tried to run away
from them. But at last he stopped to argue.

That was his mistake. They soon made him feel so ridiculous that
he dropped the basket and seized a large piece of roast meat
intended for his master's dinner.

"Very well," he said, "you divide the rest."

_Do not stop to argue with temptation._



A Jackdaw chanced to fly over the garden of the King's palace.
There he saw with much wonder and envy a flock of royal Peacocks
in all the glory of their splendid plumage.

Now the black Jackdaw was not a very handsome bird, nor very
refined in manner. Yet he imagined that all he needed to make
himself fit for the society of the Peacocks was a dress like
theirs. So he picked up some castoff feathers of the Peacocks and
stuck them among his own black plumes.

Dressed in his borrowed finery he strutted loftily among the
birds of his own kind. Then he flew down into the garden among
the Peacocks. But they soon saw who he was. Angry at the cheat,
they flew at him, plucking away the borrowed feathers and also
some of his own.

The poor Jackdaw returned sadly to his former companions. There
another unpleasant surprise awaited him. They had not forgotten
his superior airs toward them, and, to punish him, they drove him
away with a rain of pecks and jeers.

_Borrowed feathers do not make fine birds._




It happened once upon a time that a certain Greek ship bound for
Athens was wrecked off the coast close to Piraeus, the port of
Athens. Had it not been for the Dolphins, who at that time were
very friendly toward mankind and especially toward Athenians, all
would have perished. But the Dolphins took the shipwrecked people
on their backs and swam with them to shore.

Now it was the custom among the Greeks to take their pet monkeys
and dogs with them whenever they went on a voyage. So when one of
the Dolphins saw a Monkey struggling in the water, he thought it
was a man, and made the Monkey climb up on his back. Then off he
swam with him toward the shore.

The Monkey sat up, grave and dignified, on the Dolphin's back.

"You are a citizen of illustrious Athens, are you not?" asked the
Dolphin politely.

"Yes," answered the Monkey, proudly. "My family is one of the
noblest in the city."

"Indeed," said the Dolphin. "Then of course you often visit

"Yes, yes," replied the Monkey. "Indeed, I do. I am with him
constantly. Piraeus is my very best friend."

This answer took the Dolphin by surprise, and, turning his head,
he now saw what it was he was carrying. Without more ado, he
dived and left the foolish Monkey to take care of himself, while
he swam off in search of some human being to save.

_One falsehood leads to another._



An Ass was feeding in a pasture near a wood when he saw a Wolf
lurking in the shadows along the hedge. He easily guessed what
the Wolf had in mind, and thought of a plan to save himself. So
he pretended he was lame, and began to hobble painfully.

When the Wolf came up, he asked the Ass what had made him lame,
and the Ass replied that he had stepped on a sharp thorn.

"Please pull it out," he pleaded, groaning as if in pain. "If you
do not, it might stick in your throat when you eat me."

The Wolf saw the wisdom of the advice, for he wanted to enjoy his
meal without any danger of choking. So the Ass lifted up his foot
and the Wolf began to search very closely and carefully for the

Just then the Ass kicked out with all his might, tumbling the
Wolf a dozen paces away. And while the Wolf was getting very
slowly and painfully to his feet, the Ass galloped away in

"Serves me right," growled the Wolf as he crept into the bushes.
"I'm a butcher by trade, not a doctor."

_Stick to your trade._



Once upon a time a Cat and a Monkey lived as pets in the same
house. They were great friends and were constantly in all sorts
of mischief together. What they seemed to think of more than
anything else was to get something to eat, and it did not matter
much to them how they got it.

One day they were sitting by the fire, watching some chestnuts
roasting on the hearth. How to get them was the question.

"I would gladly get them," said the cunning Monkey, "but you are
much more skillful at such things than I am. Pull them out and
I'll divide them between us."

Pussy stretched out her paw very carefully, pushed aside some of
the cinders, and drew back her paw very quickly. Then she tried
it again, this time pulling a chestnut half out of the fire. A
third time and she drew out the chestnut. This performance she
went through several times, each time singeing her paw severely.
As fast as she pulled the chestnuts out of the fire, the Monkey
ate them up.

Now the master came in, and away scampered the rascals, Mistress
Cat with a burnt paw and no chestnuts. From that time on, they
say, she contented herself with mice and rats and had little to
do with Sir Monkey.

_The flatterer seeks some benefit at your expense._


Some Dogs found the skin of a Lion and furiously began to tear it
with their teeth. A Fox chanced to see them and laughed

"If that Lion had been alive," he said, "it would have been a
very different story. He would have made you feel how much
sharper his claws are than your teeth."

_It is easy and also contemptible to kick a man that is down._


Some hungry Dogs saw a number of hides at the bottom of a stream
where the Tanner had put them to soak. A fine hide makes an
excellent meal for a hungry Dog, but the water was deep and the
Dogs could not reach the hides from the bank. So they held a
council and decided that the very best thing to do was to drink
up the river.

All fell to lapping up the water as fast as they could. But
though they drank and drank until, one after another, all of them
had burst with drinking, still, for all their effort, the water
in the river remained as high as ever.

_Do not try to do impossible things._


A Rabbit left his home one day for a dinner of clover. But he
forgot to latch the door of his house and while he was gone a
Weasel walked in and calmly made himself at home. When the Rabbit
returned, there was the Weasel's nose sticking out of the
Rabbit's own doorway, sniffing the fine air.

The Rabbit was quite angry--for a Rabbit--, and requested the
Weasel to move out. But the Weasel was perfectly content. He was
settled down for good.


A wise old Cat heard the dispute and offered to settle it.

"Come close to me," said the Cat, "I am very deaf. Put your
mouths close to my ears while you tell me the facts."

The unsuspecting pair did as they were told and in an instant the
Cat had them both under her claws. No one could deny that the
dispute had been definitely settled.

_The strong are apt to settle questions to their own advantage._



A Bear roaming the woods in search of berries happened on a
fallen tree in which a swarm of Bees had stored their honey. The
Bear began to nose around the log very carefully to find out if
the Bees were at home. Just then one of the swarm came home from
the clover field with a load of sweets. Guessing what the Bear
was after, the Bee flew at him, stung him sharply and then
disappeared into the hollow log.

The Bear lost his temper in an instant, and sprang upon the log
tooth and claw, to destroy the nest. But this only brought out
the whole swarm. The poor Bear had to take to his heels, and he
was able to save himself only by diving into a pool of water.

_It is wiser to bear a single injury in silence than to provoke a
thousand by flying into a rage._


A Fox and a Leopard, resting lazily after a generous dinner,
amused themselves by disputing about their good looks. The
Leopard was very proud of his glossy, spotted coat and made
disdainful remarks about the Fox, whose appearance he declared
was quite ordinary.

The Fox prided himself on his fine bushy tail with its tip of
white, but he was wise enough to see that he could not rival the
Leopard in looks. Still he kept up a flow of sarcastic talk, just
to exercise his wits and to have the fun of disputing. The
Leopard was about to lose his temper when the Fox got up, yawning

"You may have a very smart coat," he said, "but you would be a
great deal better off if you had a little more smartness inside
your head and less on your ribs, the way I am. That's what I call
real beauty."

_A fine coat is not always an indication of an attractive mind._




A Heron was walking sedately along the bank of a stream, his eyes
on the clear water, and his long neck and pointed bill ready to
snap up a likely morsel for his breakfast. The clear water
swarmed with fish, but Master Heron was hard to please that

"No small fry for me," he said. "Such scanty fare is not fit for
a Heron."

Now a fine young Perch swam near.

"No indeed," said the Heron. "I wouldn't even trouble to open my
beak for anything like that!"

As the sun rose, the fish left the shallow water near the shore
and swam below into the cool depths toward the middle. The Heron
saw no more fish, and very glad was he at last to breakfast on a
tiny Snail.

_Do not be too hard to suit or you may have to be content with
the worst or with nothing at all._


One bright evening as the sun was sinking on a glorious world a
wise old Cock flew into a tree to roost. Before he composed
himself to rest, he flapped his wings three times and crowed
loudly. But just as he was about to put his head under his wing,
his beady eyes caught a flash of red and a glimpse of a long
pointed nose, and there just below him stood Master Fox.

"Have you heard the wonderful news?" cried the Fox in a very
joyful and excited manner.

"What news?" asked the Cock very calmly. But he had a queer,
fluttery feeling inside him, for, you know, he was very much
afraid of the Fox.

"Your family and mine and all other animals have agreed to
forget their differences and live in peace and friendship from
now on forever. Just think of it! I simply cannot wait to embrace
you! Do come down, dear friend, and let us celebrate the joyful

"How grand!" said the Cock. "I certainly am delighted at the
news." But he spoke in an absent way, and stretching up on
tiptoes, seemed to be looking at something afar off.

"What is it you see?" asked the Fox a little anxiously.

"Why, it looks to me like a couple of Dogs coming this way. They
must have heard the good news and--"

But the Fox did not wait to hear more. Off he started on a run.

"Wait," cried the Cock. "Why do you run? The Dogs are friends of
yours now!"

"Yes," answered the Fox. "But they might not have heard the news.
Besides, I have a very important errand that I had almost
forgotten about."

The Cock smiled as he buried his head in his feathers and went to
sleep, for he had succeeded in outwitting a very crafty enemy.

_The trickster is easily tricked._



A Dog asleep in a manger filled with hay, was awakened by the
Cattle, which came in tired and hungry from working in the field.
But the Dog would not let them get near the manger, and snarled
and snapped as if it were filled with the best of meat and bones,
all for himself.

The Cattle looked at the Dog in disgust. "How selfish he is!"
said one. "He cannot eat the hay and yet he will not let us eat
it who are so hungry for it!"

Now the farmer came in. When he saw how the Dog was acting, he
seized a stick and drove him out of the stable with many a blow
for his selfish behavior.

_Do not grudge others what you cannot enjoy yourself._



A hungry Wolf spied a Goat browsing at the top of a steep cliff
where he could not possibly get at her.

"That is a very dangerous place for you," he called out,
pretending to be very anxious about the Goat's safety. "What if
you should fall! Please listen to me and come down! Here you can
get all you want of the finest, tenderest grass in the country."

The Goat looked over the edge of the cliff.

"How very, very anxious you are about me," she said, "and how
generous you are with your grass! But I know you! It's your _own_
appetite you are thinking of, not mine!"

_An invitation prompted by selfishness is not to be accepted._


One day as an Ass was walking in the pasture, he found some
Grasshoppers chirping merrily in a grassy corner of the field.

He listened with a great deal of admiration to the song of the
Grasshoppers. It was such a joyful song that his pleasure-loving
heart was filled with a wish to sing as they did.

"What is it?" he asked very respectfully, "that has given you
such beautiful voices? Is there any special food you eat, or is
it some divine nectar that makes you sing so wonderfully?"

"Yes," said the Grasshoppers, who were very fond of a joke; "it
is the dew we drink! Try some and see."

So thereafter the Ass would eat nothing and drink nothing but

Naturally, the poor foolish Ass soon died.

_The laws of nature are unchangeable._


A Mule had had a long rest and much good feeding. He was feeling
very vigorous indeed, and pranced around loftily, holding his
head high.

"My father certainly was a full-blooded racer," he said. "I can
feel that distinctly."

Next day he was put into harness again and that evening he was
very downhearted indeed.

"I was mistaken," he said. "My father was an Ass after all."

_Be sure of your pedigree before you boast of it._


A Fox fell into a well, and though it was not very deep, he found
that he could not get out again. After he had been in the well a
long time, a thirsty Goat came by. The Goat thought the Fox had
gone down to drink, and so he asked if the water was good.

"The finest in the whole country," said the crafty Fox, "jump in
and try it. There is more than enough for both of us."

The thirsty Goat immediately jumped in and began to drink. The
Fox just as quickly jumped on the Goat's back and leaped from the
tip of the Goat's horns out of the well.

The foolish Goat now saw what a plight he had got into, and
begged the Fox to help him out. But the Fox was already on his
way to the woods.

"If you had as much sense as you have beard, old fellow," he said
as he ran, "you would have been more cautious about finding a way
to get out again before you jumped in."

_Look before you leap._




A very young Mouse, who had never seen anything of the world,
almost came to grief the very first time he ventured out. And
this is the story he told his mother about his adventures.

"I was strolling along very peaceably when, just as I turned the
corner into the next yard, I saw two strange creatures. One of
them had a very kind and gracious look, but the other was the
most fearful monster you can imagine. You should have seen him.

"On top of his head and in front of his neck hung pieces of raw
red meat. He walked about restlessly, tearing up the ground with
his toes, and beating his arms savagely against his sides. The
moment he caught sight of me he opened his pointed mouth as if to
swallow me, and then he let out a piercing roar that frightened
me almost to death."

Can you guess who it was that our young Mouse was trying to
describe to his mother? It was nobody but the Barnyard Cock and
the first one the little Mouse had ever seen.

"If it had not been for that terrible monster," the Mouse went
on, "I should have made the acquaintance of the pretty creature,
who looked so good and gentle. He had thick, velvety fur, a meek
face, and a look that was very modest, though his eyes were
bright and shining. As he looked at me he waved his fine long
tail and smiled.

"I am sure he was just about to speak to me when the monster I
have told you about let out a screaming yell, and I ran for my

"My son," said the Mother Mouse, "that gentle creature you saw
was none other than the Cat. Under his kindly appearance, he
bears a grudge against every one of us. The other was nothing but
a bird who wouldn't harm you in the least. As for the Cat, he
eats us. So be thankful, my child, that you escaped with your
life, and, as long as you live, never judge people by their

_Do not trust alone to outward appearances._



A Wolf had been prowling around a flock of Sheep for a long time,
and the Shepherd watched very anxiously to prevent him from
carrying off a Lamb. But the Wolf did not try to do any harm.
Instead he seemed to be helping the Shepherd take care of the
Sheep. At last the Shepherd got so used to seeing the Wolf about
that he forgot how wicked he could be.

One day he even went so far as to leave his flock in the Wolf's
care while he went on an errand. But when he came back and saw
how many of the flock had been killed and carried off, he knew
how foolish to trust a Wolf.

_Once a wolf, always a wolf._



A Peacock, puffed up with vanity, met a Crane one day, and to
impress him spread his gorgeous tail in the Sun.

"Look," he said. "What have you to compare with this? I am
dressed in all the glory of the rainbow, while your feathers are
gray as dust!"

The Crane spread his broad wings and flew up toward the sun.

"Follow me if you can," he said. But the Peacock stood where he
was among the birds of the barnyard, while the Crane soared in
freedom far up into the blue sky.

_The useful is of much more importance and value, than the


Some Cranes saw a farmer plowing a large field. When the work of
plowing was done, they patiently watched him sow the seed. It was
their feast, they thought.

So, as soon as the Farmer had finished planting and had gone
home, down they flew to the field, and began to eat as fast as
they could.

The Farmer, of course, knew the Cranes and their ways. He had had
experience with such birds before. He soon returned to the field
with a sling. But he did not bring any stones with him. He
expected to scare the Cranes just by swinging the sling in the
air, and shouting loudly at them.

At first the Cranes flew away in great terror. But they soon
began to see that none of them ever got hurt. They did not even
hear the noise of stones whizzing through the air, and as for
words, they would kill nobody. At last they paid no attention
whatever to the Farmer.

The Farmer saw that he would have to take other measures. He
wanted to save at least some of his grain. So he loaded his sling
with stones and killed several of the Cranes. This had the effect
the Farmer wanted, for from that day the Cranes visited his field
no more.

_Bluff and threatening words are of little value with rascals._

_Bluff is no proof that hard fists are lacking._


A rich old farmer, who felt that he had not many more days to
live, called his sons to his bedside.

"My sons," he said, "heed what I have to say to you. Do not on
any account part with the estate that has belonged to our family
for so many generations. Somewhere on it is hidden a rich
treasure. I do not know the exact spot, but it is there, and you
will surely find it. Spare no energy and leave no spot unturned
in your search."

The father died, and no sooner was he in his grave than the sons
set to work digging with all their might, turning up every foot
of ground with their spades, and going over the whole farm two or
three times.


No hidden gold did they find; but at harvest time when they had
settled their accounts and had pocketed a rich profit far greater
than that of any of their neighbors, they understood that the
treasure their father had told them about was the wealth of a
bountiful crop, and that in their industry had they found the

_Industry is itself a treasure._



Two Pots, one of brass and the other of clay, stood together on
the hearthstone. One day the Brass Pot proposed to the Earthen
Pot that they go out into the world together. But the Earthen Pot
excused himself, saying that it would be wiser for him to stay in
the corner by the fire.

"It would take so little to break me," he said. "You know how
fragile I am. The least shock is sure to shatter me!"

"Don't let that keep you at home," urged the Brass Pot. "I shall
take very good care of you. If we should happen to meet anything
hard I will step between and save you."

So the Earthen Pot at last consented, and the two set out side by
side, jolting along on three stubby legs first to this side, then
to that, and bumping into each other at every step.

The Earthen Pot could not survive that sort of companionship very
long. They had not gone ten paces before the Earthen Pot cracked,
and at the next jolt he flew into a thousand pieces.

_Equals make the best friends._


There was once a Countryman who possessed the most wonderful
Goose you can imagine, for every day when he visited the nest,
the Goose had laid a beautiful, glittering, golden egg.

The Countryman took the eggs to market and soon began to get
rich. But it was not long before he grew impatient with the Goose
because she gave him only a single golden egg a day. He was not
getting rich fast enough.

Then one day, after he had finished counting his money, the idea
came to him that he could get all the golden eggs at once by
killing the Goose and cutting it open. But when the deed was
done, not a single golden egg did he find, and his precious Goose
was dead.

_Those who have plenty want more and so lose all they have._




Two Bulls were fighting furiously in a field, at one side of
which was a marsh. An old Frog living in the marsh, trembled as
he watched the fierce battle.

"What are _you_ afraid of?" asked a young Frog.

"Do you not see," replied the old Frog, "that the Bull who is
beaten, will be driven away from the good forage up there to the
reeds of this marsh, and we shall all be trampled into the mud?"

It turned out as the Frog had said. The beaten Bull was driven to
the marsh, where his great hoofs crushed the Frogs to death.

_When the great fall out, the weak must suffer for it._


A little hungry Mouse found his way one day into a basket of
corn. He had to squeeze himself a good deal to get through the
narrow opening between the strips of the basket. But the corn was
tempting and the Mouse was determined to get in. When at last he
had succeeded, he gorged himself to bursting. Indeed he he became
about three times as big around the middle as he was when he went

At last he felt satisfied and dragged himself to the opening to
get out again. But the best he could do was to get his head out.
So there he sat groaning and moaning, both from the discomfort
inside him and his anxiety to escape from the basket.

Just then a Weasel came by. He understood the situation quickly.

"My friend," he said, "I know what you've been doing. You've been
stuffing. That's what you get. You will have to stay there till
you feel just like you did when you went in. Good night, and good
enough for you."

And that was all the sympathy the poor Mouse got.

_Greediness leads to misfortune._


A Farmer walked through his field one cold winter morning. On the
ground lay a Snake, stiff and frozen with the cold. The Farmer
knew how deadly the Snake could be, and yet he picked it up and
put it in his bosom to warm it back to life.

The Snake soon revived, and when it had enough strength, bit the
man who had been so kind to it. The bite was deadly and the
Farmer felt that he must die. As he drew his last breath, he said
to those standing around:

_Learn from my fate not to take pity on a scoundrel._


A Stag had fallen sick. He had just strength enough to gather
some food and find a quiet clearing in the woods, where he lay
down to wait until his strength should return. The Animals heard
about the Stag's illness and came to ask after his health. Of
course, they were all hungry, and helped themselves freely to the
Stag's food; and as you would expect, the Stag soon starved to

_Good will is worth nothing unless it is accompanied by good



One cold stormy day a Goatherd drove his Goats for shelter into a
cave, where a number of Wild Goats had also found their way. The
Shepherd wanted to make the Wild Goats part of his flock; so he
fed them well. But to his own flock, he gave only just enough
food to keep them alive. When the weather cleared, and the
Shepherd led the Goats out to feed, the Wild Goats scampered off
to the hills.

"Is that the thanks I get for feeding you and treating you so
well?" complained the Shepherd.

"Do not expect us to join your flock," replied one of the Wild
Goats. "We know how you would treat us later on, if some
strangers should come as we did."

_It is unwise to treat old friends badly for the sake of new



A young fellow, who was very popular among his boon companions as
a good spender, quickly wasted his fortune trying to live up to
his reputation. Then one fine day in early spring he found
himself with not a penny left, and no property save the clothes
he wore.

He was to meet some jolly young men that morning, and he was at
his wits' end how to get enough money to keep up appearances.
Just then a Swallow flew by, twittering merrily, and the young
man, thinking summer had come, hastened off to a clothes dealer,
to whom he sold all the clothes he wore down to his very tunic.

A few days later a change in weather brought a severe frost; and
the poor swallow and that foolish young man in his light tunic,
and with his arms and knees bare, could scarcely keep life in
their shivering bodies.

_One swallow does not make a summer._


A Cat was growing very thin. As you have guessed, he did not get
enough to eat. One day he heard that some Birds in the neighborhood
were ailing and needed a doctor. So he put on a pair of spectacles,
and with a leather box in his hand, knocked at the door of the
Bird's home.

The Birds peeped out, and Dr. Cat, with much solicitude, asked
how they were. He would be very happy to give them some medicine.

"Tweet, tweet," laughed the Birds. "Very smart, aren't you? We
are very well, thank you, and more so, if _you_ only keep away
from here."

_Be wise and shun the quack._


There was once a Dog who was very fond of eggs. He visited the
hen house very often and at last got so greedy that he would
swallow the eggs whole.

One day the Dog wandered down to the seashore. There he spied an
Oyster. In a twinkling the Oyster was resting in the Dog's
stomach, shell and all.

It pained the Dog a good deal, as you can guess.

"I've learned that all round things are not eggs," he said

_Act in haste and repent at leisure--and often in pain._


A man who lived a long time ago believed that he could read the
future in the stars. He called himself an Astrologer, and spent
his time at night gazing at the sky.

One evening he was walking along the open road outside the
village. His eyes were fixed on the stars. He thought he saw
there that the end of the world was at hand, when all at once,
down he went into a hole full of mud and water.


There he stood up to his ears, in the muddy water, and madly
clawing at the slippery sides of the hole in his effort to climb

His cries for help soon brought the villagers running. As they
pulled him out of the mud, one of them said:

"You pretend to read the future in the stars, and yet you fail to
see what is at your feet! This may teach you to pay more
attention to what is right in front of you, and let the future
take care of itself."

"What use is it," said another, "to read the stars, when you
can't see what's right here on the earth?"

_Take care of the little things and the big things will take care
of themselves._



A Lion had been watching three Bullocks feeding in an open field.
He had tried to attack them several times, but they had kept
together, and helped each other to drive him off. The Lion had
little hope of eating them, for he was no match for three strong
Bullocks with their sharp horns and hoofs. But he could not keep
away from that field, for it is hard to resist watching a good
meal, even when there is little chance of getting it.

Then one day the Bullocks had a quarrel, and when the hungry Lion
came to look at them and lick his chops as he was accustomed to
do, he found them in separate corners of the field, as far away
from one another as they could get.

It was now an easy matter for the Lion to attack them one at a
time, and this he proceeded to do with the greatest satisfaction
and relish.

_In unity is strength._


A poor Woodman was cutting down a tree near the edge of a deep
pool in the forest. It was late in the day and the Woodman was
tired. He had been working since sunrise and his strokes were not
so sure as they had been early that morning. Thus it happened
that the axe slipped and flew out of his hands into the pool.

The Woodman was in despair. The axe was all he possessed with
which to make a living, and he had not money enough to buy a new
one. As he stood wringing his hands and weeping, the god Mercury
suddenly appeared and asked what the trouble was. The Woodman
told what had happened, and straightway the kind Mercury dived
into the pool. When he came up again he held a wonderful golden

"Is this your axe?" Mercury asked the Woodman.

"No," answered the honest Woodman, "that is not my axe."

Mercury laid the golden axe on the bank and sprang back into the
pool. This time he brought up an axe of silver, but the Woodman
declared again that his axe was just an ordinary one with a
wooden handle.

Mercury dived down for the third time, and when he came up again
he had the very axe that had been lost.

The poor Woodman was very glad that his axe had been found and
could not thank the kind god enough. Mercury was greatly pleased
with the Woodman's honesty.

"I admire your honesty," he said, "and as a reward you may have
all three axes, the gold and the silver as well as your own."

The happy Woodman returned to his home with his treasures, and
soon the story of his good fortune was known to everybody in the
village. Now there were several Woodmen in the village who
believed that they could easily win the same good fortune. They
hurried out into the woods, one here, one there, and hiding their
axes in the bushes, pretended they had lost them. Then they wept
and wailed and called on Mercury to help them.


And indeed, Mercury did appear, first to this one, then to that.
To each one he showed an axe of gold, and each one eagerly
claimed it to be the one he had lost. But Mercury did not give
them the golden axe. Oh no! Instead he gave them each a hard
whack over the head with it and sent them home. And when they
returned next day to look for their own axes, they were nowhere
to be found.

_Honesty is the best policy._



A young Mouse in search of adventure was running along the bank
of a pond where lived a Frog. When the Frog saw the Mouse, he
swam to the bank and croaked:

"Won't you pay me a visit? I can promise you a good time if you

The Mouse did not need much coaxing, for he was very anxious to
see the world and everything in it. But though he could swim a
little, he did not dare risk going into the pond without some

The Frog had a plan. He tied the Mouse's leg to his own with a
tough reed. Then into the pond he jumped, dragging his foolish
companion with him.

The Mouse soon had enough of it and wanted to return to shore;
but the treacherous Frog had other plans. He pulled the Mouse
down under the water and drowned him. But before he could untie
the reed that bound him to the dead Mouse, a Hawk came sailing
over the pond. Seeing the body of the Mouse floating on the
water, the Hawk swooped down, seized the Mouse and carried it
off, with the Frog dangling from its leg. Thus at one swoop he
had caught both meat and fish for his dinner.

_Those who seek to harm others often come to harm themselves
through their own deceit._


A Crab one day grew disgusted with the sands in which he lived.
He decided to take a stroll to the meadow not far inland. There
he would find better fare than briny water and sand mites. So off
he crawled to the meadow. But there a hungry Fox spied him, and
in a twinkling, ate him up, both shell and claw.

_Be content with your lot._


A Serpent had succeeded in surprising an Eagle and had wrapped
himself around the Eagle's neck. The Eagle could not reach the
Serpent, neither with beak nor claws. Far into the sky he soared
trying to shake off his enemy. But the Serpent's hold only
tightened, and slowly the Eagle sank back to earth, gasping for

A Countryman chanced to see the unequal combat. In pity for the
noble Eagle he rushed up and soon had loosened the coiling
Serpent and freed the Eagle.

The Serpent was furious. He had no chance to bite the watchful
Countryman. Instead he struck at the drinking horn, hanging at
the Countryman's belt, and into it let fly the poison of his

The Countryman now went on toward home. Becoming thirsty on the
way, he filled his horn at a spring, and was about to drink.
There was a sudden rush of great wings. Sweeping down, the Eagle
seized the poisoned horn from out his savior's hands, and flew
away with it to hide it where it could never be found.

_An act of kindness is well repaid._



A certain Wolf could not get enough to eat because of the
watchfulness of the Shepherds. But one night he found a sheep
skin that had been cast aside and forgotten. The next day,
dressed in the skin, the Wolf strolled into the pasture with the
Sheep. Soon a little Lamb was following him about and was quickly
led away to slaughter.

That evening the Wolf entered the fold with the flock. But it
happened that the Shepherd took a fancy for mutton broth that
very evening, and, picking up a knife, went to the fold. There
the first he laid hands on and killed was the Wolf.

_The evil doer often comes to harm through his own deceit._



A Bull once escaped from a Lion by entering a cave which the
Goatherds used to house their flocks in stormy weather and at
night. It happened that one of the Goats had been left behind,
and the Bull had no sooner got inside than this Goat lowered his
head and made a rush at him, butting him with his horns. As the
Lion was still prowling outside the entrance to the cave, the
Bull had to submit to the insult.

"Do not think," he said, "that I submit to your cowardly
treatment because I am afraid of you. When that Lion leaves, I'll
teach you a lesson you won't forget."

_It is wicked to take advantage of another's distress._


A Beetle once begged the Eagle to spare a Hare which had run to
her for protection. But the Eagle pounced upon her prey, the
sweep of her great wings tumbling the Beetle a dozen feet away.
Furious at the disrespect shown her, the Beetle flew to the
Eagle's nest and rolled out the eggs. Not one did she spare. The
Eagle's grief and anger knew no bounds, but who had done the
cruel deed she did not know.

Next year the Eagle built her nest far up on a mountain crag; but
the Beetle found it and again destroyed the eggs. In despair the
Eagle now implored great Jupiter to let her place her eggs in his
lap. There none would dare harm them. But the Beetle buzzed about
Jupiter's head, and made him rise to drive her away; and the eggs
rolled from his lap.

Now the Beetle told the reason for her action, and Jupiter had to
acknowledge the justice of her cause. And they say that ever
after, while the Eagle's eggs lie in the nest in spring, the
Beetle still sleeps in the ground. For so Jupiter commanded.

_Even the weakest may find means to avenge a wrong._




An old Lion, whose teeth and claws were so worn that it was not
so easy for him to get food as in his younger days, pretended
that he was sick. He took care to let all his neighbors know
about it, and then lay down in his cave to wait for visitors. And
when they came to offer him their sympathy, he ate them up one by

The Fox came too, but he was very cautious about it. Standing at
a safe distance from the cave, he inquired politely after the
Lion's health. The Lion replied that he was very ill indeed, and
asked the Fox to step in for a moment. But Master Fox very wisely
stayed outside, thanking the Lion very kindly for the invitation.

"I should be glad to do as you ask," he added, "but I have
noticed that there are many footprints leading into your cave and
none coming out. Pray tell me, how do your visitors find their
way out again?"

_Take warning from the misfortunes of others._


A Lion and a Man chanced to travel in company through the forest.
They soon began to quarrel, for each of them boasted that he and
his kind were far superior to the other both in strength and

Now they reached a clearing in the forest and there stood a
statue. It was a representation of Heracles in the act of tearing
the jaws of the Nemean Lion.

"See," said the man, "that's how strong _we_ are! The King of
Beasts is like wax in our hands!"

"Ho!" laughed the Lion, "a Man made that statue. It would have
been quite a different scene had a Lion made it!"

_It all depends on the point of view, and who tells the story._


There was once an Ass whose Master also owned a Lap Dog. This Dog
was a favorite and received many a pat and kind word from his
Master, as well as choice bits from his plate. Every day the Dog
would run to meet the Master, frisking playfully about and
leaping up to lick his hands and face.

All this the Ass saw with much discontent. Though he was well
fed, he had much work to do; besides, the Master hardly ever took
any notice of him.

Now the jealous Ass got it into his silly head that all he had to
do to win his Master's favor was to act like the Dog. So one day
he left his stable and clattered eagerly into the house.

Finding his Master seated at the dinner table, he kicked up his
heels and, with a loud bray, pranced giddily around the table,
upsetting it as he did so. Then he planted his forefeet on his
Master's knees and rolled out his tongue to lick the Master's
face, as he had seen the Dog do. But his weight upset the chair,
and Ass and man rolled over together in the pile of broken dishes
from the table.


The Master was much alarmed at the strange behavior of the Ass,
and calling for help, soon attracted the attention of the
servants. When they saw the danger the Master was in from the
clumsy beast, they set upon the Ass and drove him with kicks and
blows back to the stable. There they left him to mourn the
foolishness that had brought him nothing but a sound beating.

_Behavior that is regarded as agreeable in one is very rude and
impertinent in another._

_Do not try to gain favor by acting in a way that is contrary to
your own nature and character._


A Milkmaid had been out to milk the cows and was returning from
the field with the shining milk pail balanced nicely on her head.
As she walked along, her pretty head was busy with plans for the
days to come.

"This good, rich milk," she mused, "will give me plenty of cream
to churn. The butter I make I will take to market, and with the
money I get for it I will buy a lot of eggs for hatching. How
nice it will be when they are all hatched and the yard is full of
fine young chicks. Then when May day comes I will sell them, and
with the money I'll buy a lovely new dress to wear to the fair.
All the young men will look at me. They will come and try to make
love to me,--but I shall very quickly send them about their


As she thought of how she would settle that matter, she tossed
her head scornfully, and down fell the pail of milk to the
ground. And all the milk flowed out, and with it vanished butter
and eggs and chicks and new dress and all the milkmaid's pride.

_Do not count your chickens before they are hatched._


A Wolf, lurking near the Shepherd's hut, saw the Shepherd and his
family feasting on a roasted lamb.

"Aha!" he muttered. "What a great shouting and running about
there would have been, had they caught me at just the very thing
they are doing with so much enjoyment!"

_Men often condemn others for what they see no wrong in doing


A Goat strayed away from the flock, tempted by a patch of clover.
The Goatherd tried to call it back, but in vain. It would not
obey him. Then he picked up a stone and threw it, breaking the
Goat's horn.

The Goatherd was frightened.

"Do not tell the master," he begged the Goat.

"No," said the Goat, "that broken horn can speak for itself!"

_Wicked deeds will not stay hid._


A Miser had buried his gold in a secret place in his garden.
Every day he went to the spot, dug up the treasure and counted it
piece by piece to make sure it was all there. He made so many
trips that a Thief, who had been observing him, guessed what it
was the Miser had hidden, and one night quietly dug up the
treasure and made off with it.

When the Miser discovered his loss, he was overcome with grief
and despair. He groaned and cried and tore his hair.

A passerby heard his cries and asked what had happened.

"My gold! O my gold!" cried the Miser, wildly, "someone has
robbed me!"


"Your gold! There in that hole? Why did you put it there? Why did
you not keep it in the house where you could easily get it when
you had to buy things?"

"Buy!" screamed the Miser angrily. "Why, I never touched the
gold. I couldn't think of spending any of it."

The stranger picked up a large stone and threw it into the hole.

"If that is the case," he said, "cover up that stone. It is worth
just as much to you as the treasure you lost!"

_A possession is worth no more than the use we make of it._



There was once a Wolf who got very little to eat because the Dogs
of the village were so wide awake and watchful. He was really
nothing but skin and bones, and it made him very downhearted to
think of it.

One night this Wolf happened to fall in with a fine fat House Dog
who had wandered a little too far from home. The Wolf would
gladly have eaten him then and there, but the House Dog looked
strong enough to leave his marks should he try it. So the Wolf
spoke very humbly to the Dog, complimenting him on his fine

"You can be as well-fed as I am if you want to," replied the Dog.
"Leave the woods; there you live miserably. Why, you have to
fight hard for every bite you get. Follow my example and you will
get along beautifully."

"What must I do?" asked the Wolf.

"Hardly anything," answered the House Dog. "Chase people who
carry canes, bark at beggars, and fawn on the people of the
house. In return you will get tidbits of every kind, chicken
bones, choice bits of meat, sugar, cake, and much more beside,
not to speak of kind words and caresses."

The Wolf had such a beautiful vision of his coming happiness that
he almost wept. But just then he noticed that the hair on the
Dog's neck was worn and the skin was chafed.

"What is that on your neck?"

"Nothing at all," replied the Dog.

"What! nothing!"

"Oh, just a trifle!"

"But please tell me."

"Perhaps you see the mark of the collar to which my chain is

"What! A chain!" cried the Wolf. "Don't you go wherever you

"Not always! But what's the difference?" replied the Dog.

"All the difference in the world! I don't care a rap for your
feasts and I wouldn't take all the tender young lambs in the
world at that price." And away ran the Wolf to the woods.

_There is nothing worth so much as liberty._



A Fox, swimming across a river, was barely able to reach the
bank, where he lay bruised and exhausted from his struggle with
the swift current. Soon a swarm of blood-sucking flies settled on
him; but he lay quietly, still too weak to run away from them.

A Hedgehog happened by. "Let me drive the flies away," he said

"No, no!" exclaimed the Fox, "do not disturb them! They have
taken all they can hold. If you drive them away, another greedy
swarm will come and take the little blood I have left."

_Better to bear a lesser evil than to risk a greater in removing



A Bat blundered into the nest of a Weasel, who ran up to catch
and eat him. The Bat begged for his life, but the Weasel would
not listen.

"You are a Mouse," he said, "and I am a sworn enemy of Mice.
Every Mouse I catch, I am going to eat!"

"But I am not a Mouse!" cried the Bat. "Look at my wings. Can
Mice fly? Why, I am only a Bird! Please let me go!"

The Weasel had to admit that the Bat was not a Mouse, so he let
him go. But a few days later, the foolish Bat went blindly into
the nest of another Weasel. This Weasel happened to be a bitter
enemy of Birds, and he soon had the Bat under his claws, ready to
eat him.

"You are a Bird," he said, "and I am going to eat you!"

"What," cried the Bat, "I, a Bird! Why, all Birds have feathers!
I am nothing but a Mouse. 'Down with all Cats,' is _my_ motto!"

And so the Bat escaped with his life a second time.

_Set your sails with the wind._


An old Toad once informed all his neighbors that he was a learned
doctor. In fact he could cure anything. The Fox heard the news
and hurried to see the Toad. He looked the Toad over very

"Mr. Toad," he said, "I've been told that you cure anything! But
just take a look at yourself, and then try some of your own
medicine. If you can cure yourself of that blotchy skin and that
rheumatic gait, someone might believe you. Otherwise, I should
advise you to try some other profession."

_Those who would mend others, should first mend themselves._


A Fox that had been caught in a trap, succeeded at last, after
much painful tugging, in getting away. But he had to leave his
beautiful bushy tail behind him.

For a long time he kept away from the other Foxes, for he knew
well enough that they would all make fun of him and crack jokes
and laugh behind his back. But it was hard for him to live alone,
and at last he thought of a plan that would perhaps help him out
of his trouble.

He called a meeting of all the Foxes, saying that he had
something of great importance to tell the tribe.

When they were all gathered together, the Fox Without a Tail got
up and made a long speech about those Foxes who had come to harm
because of their tails.

This one had been caught by hounds when his tail had become
entangled in the hedge. That one had not been able to run fast
enough because of the weight of his brush. Besides, it was well
known, he said, that men hunt Foxes simply for their tails, which
they cut off as prizes of the hunt. With such proof of the danger
and uselessness of having a tail, said Master Fox, he would
advise every Fox to cut it off, if he valued life and safety.


When he had finished talking, an old Fox arose, and said,

"Master Fox, kindly turn around for a moment, and you shall have
your answer."

When the poor Fox Without a Tail turned around, there arose such
a storm of jeers and hooting, that he saw how useless it was to
try any longer to persuade the Foxes to part with their tails.

_Do not listen to the advice of him who seeks to lower you to his
own level._



There was once a Dog who was so ill-natured and mischievous that
his Master had to fasten a heavy wooden clog about his neck to
keep him from annoying visitors and neighbors. But the Dog seemed
to be very proud of the clog and dragged it about noisily as if
he wished to attract everybody's attention. He was not able to
impress anyone.

"You would be wiser," said an old acquaintance, "to keep quietly
out of sight with that clog. Do you want everybody to know what a
disgraceful and ill-natured Dog you are?"

_Notoriety is not fame._


A Butterfly once fell in love with a beautiful Rose. The Rose was
not indifferent, for the Butterfly's wings were powdered in a
charming pattern of gold and silver. And so, when he fluttered
near and told how he loved her, she blushed rosily and said yes.
After much pretty love-making and many whispered vows of
constancy, the Butterfly took a tender leave of his sweetheart.

But alas! It was a long time before he came back to her.

"Is this your constancy?" she exclaimed tearfully. "It is ages
since you went away, and all the time, you have been carrying on
with all sorts of flowers. I saw you kiss Miss Geranium, and you
fluttered around Miss Mignonette until Honey Bee chased you away.
I wish he had stung you!"

"Constancy!" laughed the Butterfly. "I had no sooner left you
than I saw Zephyr kissing you. You carried on scandalously with
Mr. Bumble Bee and you made eyes at every single Bug you could
see. You can't expect any constancy from me!"

_Do not expect constancy in others if you have none yourself._




Once a Cat and a Fox were traveling together. As they went along,
picking up provisions on the way--a stray mouse here, a fat
chicken there--they began an argument to while away the time
between bites. And, as usually happens when comrades argue, the
talk began to get personal.

"You think you are extremely clever, don't you?" said the Fox.
"Do you pretend to know more than I? Why, I know a whole sackful
of tricks!"

"Well," retorted the Cat, "I admit I know one trick only, but
that one, let me tell you, is worth a thousand of yours!"

Just then, close by, they heard a hunter's horn and the yelping
of a pack of hounds. In an instant the Cat was up a tree, hiding
among the leaves.

"This is my trick," he called to the Fox. "Now let me see what
yours are worth."

But the Fox had so many plans for escape he could not decide
which one to try first. He dodged here and there with the hounds
at his heels. He doubled on his tracks, he ran at top speed, he
entered a dozen burrows,--but all in vain. The hounds caught him,
and soon put an end to the boaster and all his tricks.

_Common sense is always worth more than cunning._


A Boy, stung by a Nettle, ran home crying, to get his mother to
blow on the hurt and kiss it.

"Son," said the Boy's mother, when she had comforted him, "the
next time you come near a Nettle, grasp it firmly, and it will be
as soft as silk."

_Whatever you do, do with all your might._


A Lion had grown very old. His teeth were worn away. His limbs
could no longer bear him, and the King of Beasts was very pitiful
indeed as he lay gasping on the ground, about to die.

Where now his strength and his former graceful beauty?

Now a Boar spied him, and rushing at him, gored him with his
yellow tusk. A Bull trampled him with his heavy hoofs. Even a
contemptible Ass let fly his heels and brayed his insults in the
face of the Lion.

_It is cowardly to attack the defenseless, though he be an


One moonlight evening as Master Fox was taking his usual stroll
in the woods, he saw a number of Pheasants perched quite out of
his reach on a limb of a tall old tree. The sly Fox soon found a
bright patch of moonlight, where the Pheasants could see him
clearly; there he raised himself up on his hind legs, and began a
wild dance. First he whirled 'round and 'round like a top, then
he hopped up and down, cutting all sorts of strange capers. The
Pheasants stared giddily. They hardly dared blink for fear of
losing him out of their sight a single instant.


Now the Fox made as if to climb a tree, now he fell over and lay
still, playing dead, and the next instant he was hopping on all
fours, his back in the air, and his bushy tail shaking so that it
seemed to throw out silver sparks in the moonlight.

By this time the poor birds' heads were in a whirl. And when the
Fox began his performance all over again, so dazed did they
become, that they lost their hold on the limb, and fell down one
by one to the Fox.

_Too much attention to danger may cause us to fall victims to



Two Men were traveling in company through a forest, when, all at
once, a huge Bear crashed out of the brush near them.

One of the Men, thinking of his own safety, climbed a tree.

The other, unable to fight the savage beast alone, threw himself
on the ground and lay still, as if he were dead. He had heard
that a Bear will not touch a dead body.

It must have been true, for the Bear snuffed at the Man's head
awhile, and then, seeming to be satisfied that he was dead,
walked away.

The Man in the tree climbed down.

"It looked just as if that Bear whispered in your ear," he said.
"What did he tell you?"

"He said," answered the other, "that it was not at all wise to
keep company with a fellow who would desert his friend in a
moment of danger."

_Misfortune is the test of true friendship._


A Porcupine was looking for a good home. At last he found a
little sheltered cave, where lived a family of Snakes. He asked
them to let him share the cave with them, and the Snakes kindly

The Snakes soon wished they had not given him permission to stay.
His sharp quills pricked them at every turn, and at last they
politely asked him to leave.

"I am very well satisfied, thank you," said the Porcupine. "I
intend to stay right here." And with that, he politely escorted
the Snakes out of doors. And to save their skins, the Snakes had
to look for another home.

_Give a finger and lose a hand._


At a great meeting of the Animals, who had gathered to elect a
new ruler, the Monkey was asked to dance. This he did so well,
with a thousand funny capers and grimaces, that the Animals were
carried entirely off their feet with enthusiasm, and then and
there, elected him their king.


The Fox did not vote for the Monkey and was much disgusted with
the Animals for electing so unworthy a ruler.

One day he found a trap with a bit of meat in it. Hurrying to
King Monkey, he told him he had found a rich treasure, which he
had not touched because it belonged by right to his majesty the

The greedy Monkey followed the Fox to the trap. As soon as he saw
the meat he grasped eagerly for it, only to find himself held
fast in the trap. The Fox stood off and laughed.

"You pretend to be our king," he said, "and cannot even take care
of yourself!"

Shortly after that, another election among the Animals was held.

_The true leader proves himself by his qualities._



Early one morning a hungry Wolf was prowling around a cottage at
the edge of a village, when he heard a child crying in the house.
Then he heard the Mother's voice say:

"Hush, child, hush! Stop your crying, or I will give you to the

Surprised but delighted at the prospect of so delicious a meal,
the Wolf settled down under an open window, expecting every
moment to have the child handed out to him. But though the little
one continued to fret, the Wolf waited all day in vain. Then,
toward nightfall, he heard the Mother's voice again as she sat
down near the window to sing and rock her baby to sleep.

"There, child, there! The Wolf shall not get you. No, no! Daddy
is watching and Daddy will kill him if he should come near!"

Just then the Father came within sight of the home, and the Wolf
was barely able to save himself from the Dogs by a clever bit of

_Do not believe everything you hear._


A jar of honey was upset and the sticky sweetness flowed out on
the table. The sweet smell of the honey soon brought a large
number of Flies buzzing around. They did not wait for an
invitation. No, indeed; they settled right down, feet and all, to
gorge themselves. The Flies were quickly smeared from head to
foot with honey. Their wings stuck together. They could not pull
their feet out of the sticky mass. And so they died, giving their
lives for the sake of a taste of sweetness.

_Be not greedy for a little passing pleasure. It may destroy


An Eagle sat high in the branches of a great Oak. She seemed very
sad and drooping for an Eagle. A Kite saw her.

"Why do you look so woebegone?" asked the Kite.

"I want to get married," replied the Eagle, "and I can't find a
mate who can provide for me as I should like."

"Take me," said the Kite; "I am very strong, stronger even than

"Do you really think you can provide for me?" asked the Eagle

"Why, of course," replied the Kite. "That would be a very simple
matter. I am so strong I can carry away an Ostrich in my talons
as if it were a feather!"

The Eagle accepted the Kite immediately. But after the wedding,
when the Kite flew away to find something to eat for his bride,
all he had when he returned, was a tiny Mouse.

"Is that the Ostrich you talked about?" said the Eagle in

"To win you I would have said and promised anything," replied the

_Everything is fair in love._



One day a Stag came to a Sheep and asked her to lend him a
measure of wheat. The Sheep knew him for a very swift runner, who
could easily take himself out of reach, were he so inclined. So
she asked him if he knew someone who would answer for him.

"Yes, yes," answered the Stag confidently, "the Wolf has promised
to be my surety."

"The Wolf!" exclaimed the Sheep indignantly. "Do you think I
would trust you on such security? I know the Wolf! He takes what
he wants and runs off with it without paying. As for you, you can
use your legs so well that I should have little chance of
collecting the debt if I had to catch you for it!"

_Two blacks do not make a white._



Once upon a time a severe plague raged among the animals. Many
died, and those who lived were so ill, that they cared for
neither food nor drink, and dragged themselves about listlessly.
No longer could a fat young hen tempt Master Fox to dinner, nor a
tender lamb rouse greedy Sir Wolf's appetite.

At last the Lion decided to call a council. When all the animals
were gathered together he arose and said:

"Dear friends, I believe the gods have sent this plague upon us
as a punishment for our sins. Therefore, the most guilty one of
us must be offered in sacrifice. Perhaps we may thus obtain
forgiveness and cure for all.

"I will confess all _my_ sins first. I admit that I have been
very greedy and have devoured many sheep. They had done me no
harm. I have eaten goats and bulls and stags. To tell the truth,
I even ate up a shepherd now and then.

"Now, if I am the most guilty, I am ready to be sacrificed. But I
think it best that each one confess his sins as I have done. Then
we can decide in all justice who is the most guilty."

"Your majesty," said the Fox, "you are too good. Can it be a
crime to eat sheep, such stupid mutton heads? No, no, your
majesty. You have done them great honor by eating them up.

"And so far as shepherds are concerned, we all know they belong
to that puny race that pretends to be our masters."

All the animals applauded the Fox loudly. Then, though the Tiger,
the Bear, the Wolf, and all the savage beasts recited the most
wicked deeds, all were excused and made to appear very saint-like
and innocent.

It was now the Ass's turn to confess.

"I remember," he said guiltily, "that one day as I was passing a
field belonging to some priests, I was so tempted by the tender
grass and my hunger, that I could not resist nibbling a bit of
it. I had no right to do it, I admit--"

A great uproar among the beasts interrupted him. Here was the
culprit who had brought misfortune on all of them! What a
horrible crime it was to eat grass that belonged to someone else!
It was enough to hang anyone for, much more an Ass.

Immediately they all fell upon him, the Wolf in the lead, and
soon had made an end to him, sacrificing him to the gods then and
there, and without the formality of an altar.

_The weak are made to suffer for the misdeeds of the powerful._


A Shepherd, counting his Sheep one day, discovered that a number
of them were missing.

Much irritated, he very loudly and boastfully declared that he
would catch the thief and punish him as he deserved. The Shepherd
suspected a Wolf of the deed and so set out toward a rocky region
among the hills, where there were caves infested by Wolves. But
before starting out he made a vow to Jupiter that if he would
help him find the thief he would offer a fat Calf as a sacrifice.


The Shepherd searched a long time without finding any Wolves, but
just as he was passing near a large cave on the mountain side, a
huge Lion stalked out, carrying a Sheep. In great terror the
Shepherd fell on his knees.

"Alas, O Jupiter, man does not know what he asks! To find the
thief I offered to sacrifice a fat Calf. Now I promise you a
full-grown Bull, if you but make the thief go away!"

_We are often not so eager for what we seek, after we have found

_Do not foolishly ask for things that would bring ruin if they
were granted._



A Dog, to whom the butcher had thrown a bone, was hurrying home
with his prize as fast as he could go. As he crossed a narrow
footbridge, he happened to look down and saw himself reflected in
the quiet water as if in a mirror. But the greedy Dog thought he
saw a real Dog carrying a bone much bigger than his own.

If he had stopped to think he would have known better. But
instead of thinking, he dropped his bone and sprang at the Dog in
the river, only to find himself swimming for dear life to reach
the shore. At last he managed to scramble out, and as he stood
sadly thinking about the good bone he had lost, he realized what
a stupid Dog he had been.

_It is very foolish to be greedy._


A Hare was making fun of the Tortoise one day for being so slow.

"Do you ever get anywhere?" he asked with a mocking laugh.

"Yes," replied the Tortoise, "and I get there sooner than you
think. I'll run you a race and prove it."

The Hare was much amused at the idea of running a race with the
Tortoise, but for the fun of the thing he agreed. So the Fox, who
had consented to act as judge, marked the distance and started
the runners off.

The Hare was soon far out of sight, and to make the Tortoise feel
very deeply how ridiculous it was for him to try a race with a
Hare, he lay down beside the course to take a nap until the
Tortoise should catch up.

The Tortoise meanwhile kept going slowly but steadily, and, after
a time, passed the place where the Hare was sleeping. But the
Hare slept on very peacefully; and when at last he did wake up,
the Tortoise was near the goal. The Hare now ran his swiftest,
but he could not overtake the Tortoise in time.

_The race is not always to the swift._



A store of honey had been found in a hollow tree, and the Wasps
declared positively that it belonged to them. The Bees were just
as sure that the treasure was theirs. The argument grew very
pointed, and it looked as if the affair could not be settled
without a battle, when at last, with much good sense, they
_agreed_ to let a judge decide the matter. So they brought the
case before the Hornet, justice of the peace in that part of the

When the Judge called the case, witnesses declared that they had
seen certain winged creatures in the neighborhood of the hollow
tree, who hummed loudly, and whose bodies were striped, yellow
and black, like Bees.


Counsel for the Wasps immediately insisted that this description
fitted his clients exactly.

Such evidence did not help Judge Hornet to any decision, so he
adjourned court for six weeks to give him time to think it over.
When the case came up again, both sides had a large number of
witnesses. An Ant was first to take the stand, and was about to
be cross-examined, when a wise old Bee addressed the Court.

"Your honor," he said, "the case has now been pending for six
weeks. If it is not decided soon, the honey will not be fit for
anything. I move that the Bees and the Wasps be both instructed
to build a honey comb. Then we shall soon see to whom the honey
really belongs."

The Wasps protested loudly. Wise Judge Hornet quickly understood
why they did so: They knew they could not build a honey comb and
fill it with honey.

"It is clear," said the Judge, "who made the comb and who could
not have made it. The honey belongs to the Bees."

_Ability proves itself by deeds._


A Lark made her nest in a field of young wheat. As the days
passed, the wheat stalks grew tall and the young birds, too, grew
in strength. Then one day, when the ripe golden grain waved in
the breeze, the Farmer and his son came into the field.

"This wheat is now ready for reaping," said the Farmer. "We must
call in our neighbors and friends to help us harvest it."

The young Larks in their nest close by were much frightened, for
they knew they would be in great danger if they did not leave the
nest before the reapers came. When the Mother Lark returned with
food for them, they told her what they had heard.

"Do not be frightened, children," said the Mother Lark. "If the
Farmer said he would call in his neighbors and friends to help
him do his work, this wheat will not be reaped for a while yet."

A few days later, the wheat was so ripe, that when the wind shook
the stalks, a hail of wheat grains came rustling down on the
young Larks' heads.

"If this wheat is not harvested at once," said the Farmer, "we
shall lose half the crop. We cannot wait any longer for help from
our friends. Tomorrow we must set to work, ourselves."


When the young Larks told their mother what they had heard that
day, she said:

"Then we must be off at once. When a man decides to do his own
work and not depend on any one else, then you may be sure there
will be no more delay."

There was much fluttering and trying out of wings that afternoon,
and at sunrise next day, when the Farmer and his son cut down the
grain, they found an empty nest.

_Self-help is the best help._



There was once a Cat who was so watchful, that a Mouse hardly
dared show the tip of his whiskers for fear of being eaten alive.
That Cat seemed to be everywhere at once with his claws all ready
for a pounce. At last the Mice kept so closely to their dens,
that the Cat saw he would have to use his wits well to catch one.
So one day he climbed up on a shelf and hung from it, head
downward, as if he were dead, holding himself up by clinging to
some ropes with one paw.

When the Mice peeped out and saw him in that position, they
thought he had been hung up there in punishment for some misdeed.
Very timidly at first they stuck out their heads and sniffed
about carefully. But as nothing stirred, all trooped joyfully out
to celebrate the death of the Cat.

Just then the Cat let go his hold, and before the Mice recovered
from their surprise, he had made an end of three or four.

Now the Mice kept more strictly at home than ever. But the Cat,
who was still hungry for Mice, knew more tricks than one. Rolling
himself in flour until he was covered completely, he lay down in
the flour bin, with one eye open for the Mice.

Sure enough, the Mice soon began to come out. To the Cat it was
almost as if he already had a plump young Mouse under his claws,
when an old Rat, who had had much experience with Cats and traps,
and had even lost a part of his tail to pay for it, sat up at a
safe distance from a hole in the wall where he lived.

"Take care!" he cried. "That may be a heap of meal, but it looks
to me very much like the Cat. Whatever it is, it is wisest to
keep at a safe distance."

_The wise do not let themselves be tricked a second time._


One bright morning as the Fox was following his sharp nose
through the wood in search of a bite to eat, he saw a Crow on the
limb of a tree overhead. This was by no means the first Crow the
Fox had ever seen. What caught his attention this time and made
him stop for a second look, was that the lucky Crow held a bit of
cheese in her beak.

"No need to search any farther," thought sly Master Fox. "Here is
a dainty bite for my breakfast."

Up he trotted to the foot of the tree in which the Crow was
sitting, and looking up admiringly, he cried, "Good-morning,
beautiful creature!"

The Crow, her head cocked on one side, watched the Fox
suspiciously. But she kept her beak tightly closed on the cheese
and did not return his greeting.

"What a charming creature she is!" said the Fox. "How her
feathers shine! What a beautiful form and what splendid wings!
Such a wonderful Bird should have a very lovely voice, since
everything else about her is so perfect. Could she sing just one
song, I know I should hail her Queen of Birds."


Listening to these flattering words, the Crow forgot all her
suspicion, and also her breakfast. She wanted very much to be
called Queen of Birds.

So she opened her beak wide to utter her loudest caw, and down
fell the cheese straight into the Fox's open mouth.

"Thank you," said Master Fox sweetly, as he walked off. "Though
it is cracked, you have a voice sure enough. But where are your

_The flatterer lives at the expense of those who will listen to



A Traveler had hired an Ass to carry him to a distant part of the
country. The owner of the Ass went with the Traveler, walking
beside him to drive the Ass and point out the way.

The road led across a treeless plain where the Sun beat down
fiercely. So intense did the heat become, that the Traveler at
last decided to stop for a rest, and as there was no other shade
to be found, the Traveler sat down in the shadow of the Ass.

Now the heat had affected the Driver as much as it had the
Traveler, and even more, for he had been walking. Wishing also to
rest in the shade cast by the Ass, he began to quarrel with the
Traveler, saying he had hired the Ass and not the shadow it cast.

The two soon came to blows, and while they were fighting, the Ass
took to its heels.

_In quarreling about the shadow we often lose the substance._


One day, a long time ago, an old Miller and his Son were on their
way to market with an Ass which they hoped to sell. They drove
him very slowly, for they thought they would have a better chance
to sell him if they kept him in good condition. As they walked
along the highway some travelers laughed loudly at them.

"What foolishness," cried one, "to walk when they might as well
ride. The most stupid of the three is not the one you would
expect it to be."

The Miller did not like to be laughed at, so he told his son to
climb up and ride.

They had gone a little farther along the road, when three
merchants passed by.

"Oho, what have we here?" they cried. "Respect old age, young
man! Get down, and let the old man ride."

Though the Miller was not tired, he made the boy get down and
climbed up himself to ride, just to please the Merchants.

At the next turnstile they overtook some women carrying market
baskets loaded with vegetables and other things to sell.

"Look at the old fool," exclaimed one of them. "Perched on the
Ass, while that poor boy has to walk."

The Miller felt a bit vexed, but to be agreeable he told the Boy
to climb up behind him.

They had no sooner started out again than a loud shout went up
from another company of people on the road.

"What a crime," cried one, "to load up a poor dumb beast like
that! They look more able to carry the poor creature, than he to
carry them."



"They must be on their way to sell the poor thing's hide," said

The Miller and his Son quickly scrambled down, and a short time
later, the market place was thrown into an uproar as the two came
along carrying the Donkey slung from a pole. A great crowd of
people ran out to get a closer look at the strange sight.

The Ass did not dislike being carried, but so many people came up
to point at him and laugh and shout, that he began to kick and
bray, and then, just as they were crossing a bridge, the ropes
that held him gave way, and down he tumbled into the river.

The poor Miller now set out sadly for home. By trying to please
everybody, he had pleased nobody, and lost his Ass besides.

_If you try to please all, you please none._



A Dove saw an Ant fall into a brook. The Ant struggled in vain to
reach the bank, and in pity, the Dove dropped a blade of straw
close beside it. Clinging to the straw like a shipwrecked sailor
to a broken spar, the Ant floated safely to shore.

Soon after, the Ant saw a man getting ready to kill the Dove with
a stone. But just as he cast the stone, the Ant stung him in the
heel, so that the pain made him miss his aim, and the startled
Dove flew to safety in a distant wood.

_A kindness is never wasted._


A long time ago a Man met a Satyr in the forest and succeeded in
making friends with him. The two soon became the best of
comrades, living together in the Man's hut. But one cold winter
evening, as they were walking homeward, the Satyr saw the Man
blow on his fingers.

"Why do you do that?" asked the Satyr.

"To warm my hands," the Man replied.

When they reached home the Man prepared two bowls of porridge.
These he placed steaming hot on the table, and the comrades sat
down very cheerfully to enjoy the meal. But much to the Satyr's
surprise, the Man began to blow into his bowl of porridge.

"Why do you do that?" he asked.

"To cool my porridge," replied the Man.

The Satyr sprang hurriedly to his feet and made for the door.

"Goodby," he said, "I've seen enough. A fellow that blows hot and
cold in the same breath cannot be friends with me!"

_The man who talks for both sides is not to be trusted by

[Illustration: THE MAN AND THE SATYR]



Mother Goat was going to market one morning to get provisions for
her household, which consisted of but one little Kid and herself.

"Take good care of the house, my son," she said to the Kid, as
she carefully latched the door. "Do not let anyone in, unless he
gives you this password: 'Down with the Wolf and all his race!'"

Strangely enough, a Wolf was lurking near and heard what the Goat
had said. So, as soon as Mother Goat was out of sight, up he
trotted to the door and knocked.

"Down with the Wolf and all his race," said the Wolf softly.

It was the right password, but when the Kid peeped through a
crack in the door and saw the shadowy figure outside, he did not
feel at all easy.

"Show me a white paw," he said, "or I won't let you in."

A white paw, of course, is a feature few Wolves can show, and so
Master Wolf had to go away as hungry as he had come.

"You can never be too sure," said the Kid, when he saw the Wolf
making off to the woods.

_Two sureties are better than one._


The Swallow and the Crow had an argument one day about their

Said the Swallow: "Just look at my bright and downy feathers.
Your black stiff quills are not worth having. Why don't you dress
better? Show a little pride!"

"Your feathers may do very well in spring," replied the Crow,
"but--I don't remember ever having seen you around in winter, and
that's when I enjoy myself most."

_Friends in fine weather only, are not worth much._



There was once a baby show among the Animals in the forest.
Jupiter provided the prize. Of course all the proud mammas from
far and near brought their babies. But none got there earlier
than Mother Monkey. Proudly she presented her baby among the
other contestants.

As you can imagine, there was quite a laugh when the Animals saw
the ugly flat-nosed, hairless, pop-eyed little creature.

"Laugh if you will," said the Mother Monkey. "Though Jupiter may
not give him the prize, I know that he is the prettiest, the
sweetest, the dearest darling in the world."

_Mother love is blind._


A Lion, an Ass, and a Fox were hunting in company, and caught a
large quantity of game. The Ass was asked to divide the spoil.
This he did very fairly, giving each an equal share.

The Fox was well satisfied, but the Lion flew into a great rage
over it, and with one stroke of his huge paw, he added the Ass to
the pile of slain.

Then he turned to the Fox.

"You divide it," he roared angrily.

The Fox wasted no time in talking. He quickly piled all the game
into one great heap. From this he took a very small portion for
himself, such undesirable bits as the horns and hoofs of a
mountain goat, and the end of an ox tail.

The Lion now recovered his good humor entirely.

"Who taught you to divide so fairly?" he asked pleasantly.

"I learned a lesson from the Ass," replied the Fox, carefully
edging away.

_Learn from the misfortunes of others._



A long time ago, the Lion, the Fox, the Jackal, and the Wolf
agreed to go hunting together, sharing with each other whatever
they found.

One day the Wolf ran down a Stag and immediately called his
comrades to divide the spoil.

Without being asked, the Lion placed himself at the head of the
feast to do the carving, and, with a great show of fairness,
began to count the guests.

"One," he said, counting on his claws, "that is myself the Lion.
Two, that's the Wolf, three, is the Jackal, and the Fox makes


He then very carefully divided the Stag into four equal parts.

"I am King Lion," he said, when he had finished, "so of course I
get the first part. This next part falls to me because I am the
strongest; and _this_ is mine because I am the bravest."

He now began to glare at the others very savagely. "If any of you
have any claim to the part that is left," he growled, stretching
his claws meaningly, "now is the time to speak up."

_Might makes right._


A little Mole once said to his Mother:

"Why, Mother, you said I was blind! But I am sure I can see!"

Mother Mole saw she would have to get such conceit out of his
head. So she put a bit of frankincense before him and asked him
to tell what it was.

The little Mole peered at it.

"Why, that's a pebble!"

"Well, my son, that proves you've lost your sense of smell as
well as being blind."

_Boast of one thing and you will be found lacking in that and a
few other things as well._



The North Wind and the Sun had a quarrel about which of them was
the stronger. While they were disputing with much heat and
bluster, a Traveler passed along the road wrapped in a cloak.

"Let us agree," said the Sun, "that he is the stronger who can
strip that Traveler of his cloak."

"Very well," growled the North Wind, and at once sent a cold,
howling blast against the Traveler.

With the first gust of wind the ends of the cloak whipped about
the Traveler's body. But he immediately wrapped it closely around
him, and the harder the Wind blew, the tighter he held it to him.
The North Wind tore angrily at the cloak, but all his efforts
were in vain.

Then the Sun began to shine. At first his beams were gentle, and
in the pleasant warmth after the bitter cold of the North Wind,
the Traveler unfastened his cloak and let it hang loosely from
his shoulders. The Sun's rays grew warmer and warmer. The man
took off his cap and mopped his brow. At last he became so heated
that he pulled off his cloak, and, to escape the blazing
sunshine, threw himself down in the welcome shade of a tree by
the roadside.

_Gentleness and kind persuasion win where force and bluster




The Lion had been badly hurt by the horns of a Goat, which he was
eating. He was very angry to think that any animal that he chose
for a meal, should be so brazen as to wear such dangerous things
as horns to scratch him while he ate. So he commanded that all
animals with horns should leave his domains within twenty-four

The command struck terror among the beasts. All those who were so
unfortunate as to have horns, began to pack up and move out. Even
the Hare, who, as you know, has no horns and so had nothing to
fear, passed a very restless night, dreaming awful dreams about
the fearful Lion.

And when he came out of the warren in the early morning sunshine,
and there saw the shadow cast by his long and pointed ears, a
terrible fright seized him.

"Goodby, neighbor Cricket," he called. "I'm off. He will
certainly make out that my ears are horns, no matter what I say."

_Do not give your enemies the slightest reason to attack your

_Your enemies will seize any excuse to attack you._


A pack of Wolves lurked near the Sheep pasture. But the Dogs kept
them all at a respectful distance, and the Sheep grazed in
perfect safety. But now the Wolves thought of a plan to trick the

"Why is there always this hostility between us?" they said. "If
it were not for those Dogs who are always stirring up trouble, I
am sure we should get along beautifully. Send them away and you
will see what good friends we shall become."

The Sheep were easily fooled. They persuaded the Dogs to go away,
and that very evening the Wolves had the grandest feast of their

_Do not give up friends for foes._


A Fox was caught in a trap one fine morning, because he had got
too near the Farmer's hen house. No doubt he was hungry, but that
was not an excuse for stealing. A Cock, rising early, discovered
what had happened. He knew the Fox could not get at him, so he
went a little closer to get a good look at his enemy.

The Fox saw a slender chance of escape.

"Dear friend," he said, "I was just on my way to visit a sick
relative, when I stumbled into this string and got all tangled
up. But please do not tell anybody about it. I dislike causing
sorrow to anybody, and I am sure I can soon gnaw this string to

But the Cock was not to be so easily fooled. He soon roused the
whole hen yard, and when the Farmer came running out, that was
the end of Mr. Fox.

_The wicked deserve no aid._


An Ass found a Lion's skin left in the forest by a hunter. He
dressed himself in it, and amused himself by hiding in a thicket
and rushing out suddenly at the animals who passed that way. All
took to their heels the moment they saw him.


The Ass was so pleased to see the animals running away from him,
just as if he were King Lion himself, that he could not keep from
expressing his delight by a loud, harsh bray. A Fox, who ran with
the rest, stopped short as soon as he heard the voice. Approaching
the Ass, he said with a laugh:

"If you had kept your mouth shut you might have frightened me,
too. But you gave yourself away with that silly bray."

_A fool may deceive by his dress and appearance, but his words
will soon show what he really is._



A poor Fisherman, who lived on the fish he caught, had bad luck
one day and caught nothing but a very small fry. The Fisherman
was about to put it in his basket when the little Fish said:

"Please spare me, Mr. Fisherman! I am so small it is not worth
while to carry me home. When I am bigger, I shall make you a much
better meal."

But the Fisherman quickly put the fish into his basket.

"How foolish I should be," he said, "to throw you back. However
small you may be, you are better than nothing at all."

_A small gain is worth more than a large promise._


Once there were two Cocks living in the same farmyard who could
not bear the sight of each other. At last one day they flew up to
fight it out, beak and claw. They fought until one of them was
beaten and crawled off to a corner to hide.

The Cock that had won the battle flew to the top of the
hen-house, and, proudly flapping his wings, crowed with all his
might to tell the world about his victory. But an Eagle, circling
overhead, heard the boasting chanticleer and, swooping down,
carried him off to his nest.

His rival saw the deed, and coming out of his corner, took his
place as master of the farmyard.

_Pride goes before a fall._


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