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The Kingdom of the Lion
THE beasts of the field and forest
had a Lion as their king. He was neither wrathful, cruel, nor tyrannical,
but just and gentle as a king could be. During his reign he made
a royal proclamation for a general assembly of all the birds and beasts,
and drew up conditions for a universal league, in which the Wolf and the
Lamb, the Panther and the Kid, the Tiger and the Stag, the Dog and the
Hare, should live together in perfect peace and amity. The Hare said,
'Oh, how I have longed to see this day, in which the weak shall take their
place with impunity by the side of the strong.' And after the Hare
said this, he ran for his life.
The Wolf and the Lamb
WOLF, meeting with a Lamb astray
from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some
plea to justify to the Lamb the Wolf's right to eat him. He thus
addressed him: 'Sirrah, last year you grossly insulted me.' 'Indeed,'
bleated the Lamb in a mournful tone of voice, 'I was not then born.'
Then said the Wolf, 'You feed in my pasture.' 'No, good sir,' replied
the Lamb, 'I have not yet tasted grass.' Again said the Wolf, 'You
drink of my well.' 'No,' exclaimed the Lamb, 'I never yet drank water,
for as yet my mother's milk is both food and drink
to me.' Upon which the Wolf
seized him and ate him up, saying, 'Well! I won't remain supperless, even
though you refute every one of my imputations.' The tyrant will always
find a pretext for his tyranny.
The Bat and the Weasels
A BAT who fell upon the ground and
was caught by a Weasel pleaded
to be spared his life. The
Weasel refused, saying that he was by
nature the enemy of all birds.
The Bat assured him that he was
not a bird, but a mouse, and thus
was set free. Shortly
afterwards the Bat again fell to
the ground and was caught by
another Weasel, whom he likewise
entreated not to eat him. The
Weasel said that he had a special
hostility to mice. The Bat
assured him that he was not a mouse,
but a bat, and thus a second
It is wise to turn circumstances
to good account.
The Ass and the Grasshopper
An Ass having heard some Grasshoppers
chirping, was highly enchanted; and, desiring to possess the same charms
of melody, demanded what sort of food they lived on to give them such beautiful
voices. They replied, 'The dew.' The Ass resolved that he would
live only upon dew, and in a short time died of hunger.
The Lion and the Mouse
A LION was awakened from sleep by
a Mouse running over his face. Rising up angrily, he caught him and
was about to kill him, when the Mouse piteously entreated, saying:
'If you would only spare my life, I would be sure to repay your kindness.'
The Lion laughed and let him go. It happened shortly after this that
Lion was caught by some hunters,
who bound him by st ropes to the ground. The Mouse, recognizing his
roar, came gnawed the rope with his teeth, and set him free, exclaim
'You ridiculed the idea of my ever
being able to help you, expecting to receive from me any repayment of your
favor; I now you know that it is possible for even a Mouse to con benefits
on a Lion.'
The Charcoal-Burner and
A CHARCOAL-BURNER carried on his
trade in his own house. One day he met a friend, a Fuller, and entreated
him to come and live with him, saying that they should be far better neighbors
and that their housekeeping expenses would be lessened. The Fuller
replied, 'The arrangement is impossible as far as I am concerned, for whatever
I should whiten, you would immediately blacken again
with your charcoal.'
Moral: Like will draw like.
The Father and His Sons
A father had a family of sons who
were perpetually quarreling among themselves. When he failed to heal
their disputes by his exhortations, he determined to give them a practical
illustration of the evils of disunion; and for this purpose he one day
told them to bring him a bundle of sticks. When they had done so,
he placed the faggot into the hands of each of them in succession, and
ordered them to break it in pieces. They tried with all their strength,
and were not able to do it. He next opened the faggot, took the sticks
separately, one by one, and again put them into his sons' hands, upon which
they broke them easily. He then addressed them in these words:
'My sons, if you are of one mind, and unite to assist each other, you will
be as this faggot, uninjured by all the attempts of your enemies; but if
you are divided among yourselves, you will be broken as easily as these
The Boy Hunting Locusts
A boy was hunting for locusts.
He had caught a goodly number, when he saw a Scorpion, and mistaking him
for a locust, reached out his hand to take him. The Scorpion, showing
his sting, said: If you had but touched me, my friend, you would have lost
me, and all your locusts too!'
The Cock and the Jewel
A COCK, scratching for food for himself
and his hens, found a precious stone and exclaimed: 'If your owner
had found thee, and not I, he would have taken thee up, and have set thee
in thy first estate; but I have found thee for no purpose. I would
rather have one barleycorn than all the jewels in the world.'
The Wolf and the Crane
A WOLF who had a bone stuck in his
throat hired a Crane, for a large sum, to put her head into his mouth and
draw out the bone. When the Crane had extracted the bone and demanded
the promised payment, the Wolf, grinning and grinding his teeth, exclaimed:
'Why, you have surely already had a sufficient recompense, in having been
permitted to draw out your head in safety from the mouth and jaws of a
In serving the wicked, expect no
reward, and be thankful if you
escape injury for your pains.
The Fisherman Piping
A fisherman skilled in music took
his flute and his nets to the seashore. Standing on a projecting
rock, he played several tunes in the hope that the fish, attracted by his
melody, would of their own accord dance into his net, which he had placed
below. At last, having long waited in vain, he laid aside his flute,
and casting his net into the sea, made an excellent haul of fish.
When he saw them leaping about in the net upon the rock he said: 'O you
most perverse creatures, when I piped you would not dance, but now that
I have ceased you do so merrily.'
Hercules and the Wagoner
A CARTER was driving a wagon along
a country lane, when the wheels sank down deep into a rut. The rustic
driver, stupefied and aghast, stood looking at the wagon, and did nothing
but utter loud cries to Hercules to come and help him. Hercules,
it is said, appeared and thus addressed him: 'Put your shoulders
to the wheels, my man. Goad on your bullocks, and never more pray
to me for help, until you have done your best to help yourself, or depend
upon it you will henceforth pray in vain.'
Self-help is the best help.
The Ants and the Grasshopper
The Ants were spending a fine winter's
day drying grain collected in the summertime. A Grasshopper, perishing
with famine, passed by and earnestly begged for a little food. The
Ants inquired of him, 'Why did you not treasure up food during the summer?'
He replied, 'I had not leisure enough. I passed the days in singing.'
They then said in derision: 'If you were foolish enough to sing all
the summer, you must dance supperless to bed in the winter.'
The Traveler and His Dog
A Traveler about to set out on a
journey saw his Dog stand at the door stretching himself. He asked
him sharply: 'Why do you stand there gaping? Everything is ready
but you, so come with me instantly.' The Dog, wagging his tail, replied:
'O, master! I am quite ready; it is you for whom I am waiting.'
The loiterer often blames delay on
his more active friend.
The Dog and the Shadow
A DOG, crossing a bridge over a stream
with a piece of flesh in his mouth, saw his own shadow in the water and
took it for that of another Dog, with a piece of meat double his own in
size. He immediately let go of his own, and fiercely attacked the
other Dog to get his larger piece from him. He thus lost both:
that which he grasped at in the water, because it was a shadow; and his
own, because the stream swept it away.
The Mole and His Mother
A mole, a creature blind from birth,
once said to his Mother: 'I am sure than I can see, Mother!'
In the desire to prove to him his mistake, his Mother placed before him
a few grains of frankincense, and asked, 'What is it?' The young
Mole said, 'It is a pebble.' His Mother exclaimed: 'My son,
I am afraid that you are not only blind, but that you have lost your sense
The Herdsman and the Lost
A herdsman tending his flock in a
forest lost a Bull-calf from the fold. After a long and fruitless
search, he made a vow that, if he could only discover the thief who had
stolen the Calf, he would offer a lamb in sacrifice to Hermes, Pan, and
the Guardian Deities of the forest. Not long afterwards, as he ascended
a small hillock, he saw at its foot a Lion feeding on the Calf. Terrified
at the sight, he lifted his eyes and his hands to heaven, and said:
'Just now I vowed to offer a lamb to the Guardian Deities of the forest
if I could only find out who had robbed me; but now that I have discovered
the thief, I would willingly add a full-grown Bull to the Calf I have lost,
if I may only secure my own escape from him in safety.'
The Hare and the Tortoise
A hare one day ridiculed the short
feet and slow pace of the Tortoise, who replied, laughing: 'Though
you be swift as the wind, I will beat you in a race.' The Hare, believing
her assertion to be simply impossible, assented to the proposal; and they
agreed that the Fox should choose the course and fix the goal. On
the day appointed for the race the two started together. The Tortoise
never for a moment stopped, but went on with a slow but steady pace straight
to the end of the course. The Hare, lying down by the wayside, fell
fast asleep. At last waking up, and moving as fast as he could, he
saw the Tortoise had reached the goal, and was comfortably dozing after
Slow but steady wins the race.
The Pomegranat, Apple-Tree
The pomegranate and Apple-Tree disputed
as to which was the most beautiful. When their strife was at its
height, a Bramble from the neighboring hedge lifted up its voice, and said
in a boastful tone: 'Pray, my dear friends, in my presence at least
cease from such vain disputings.'
The Farmer and the Stork
A farmer placed nets on his newly-sown
plowlands and caught a number of Cranes, which came to pick up his seed.
With them he trapped a Stork that had fractured his leg in the net and
was earnestly beseeching the Farmer to spare his life. 'Pray save
me, Master,' he said, 'and let me go free this once. My broken limb
should excite your pity. Besides, I am no Crane, I am a Stork, a
bird of excellent character; and see how I love and slave for my father
and mother. Look too, at my feathers-- they are not the least like
those of a Crane.' The Farmer laughed aloud and said,
'It may be all as you say, I only know this: I have taken you
with these robbers, the Cranes, and you must die in their company.'
Birds of a feather flock together.