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The Farmer and the Snake
One winter a Farmer found a Snake
stiff and frozen with cold. He had compassion on it, and taking it
up, placed it in his bosom. The Snake was quickly revived by the
warmth, and resuming its natural instincts, bit its benefactor, inflicting
on him a mortal wound. 'Oh,' cried the Farmer with his last breath,
'I am rightly served for pitying a scoundrel.'
The greatest kindness will not bind
The Fawn and His Mother
A young fawn once said to his Mother,
'You are larger than a dog, and swifter, and more used to running, and
you have your horns as a defense; why, then, O Mother! do the hounds frighten
you so?' She smiled, and said: 'I know full well, my son, that all
you say is true. I have the advantages you mention, but when I hear
even the bark of a single dog I feel ready to faint, and fly away as fast
as I can.'
No arguments will give courage to
The Bear and the Fox
A bear boasted very much of his philanthropy,
saying that of all animals he was the most tender in his regard for man,
for he had such respect for him that he would not even touch his dead body.
A Fox hearing these words said with a smile to the Bear, 'Oh! that you
would eat the dead and not the living.'
The Swallow and the Crow
The Swallow and the Crow had a contention
about their plumage. The Crow put an end to the dispute by saying,
'Your feathers are all very well in the spring, but mine protect me against
Fair weather friends are not worth
The Mountain in Labor
A mountain was once greatly agitated.
Loud groans and noises were heard, and crowds of people came from all parts
to see what was the matter. While they were assembled in anxious
expectation of some terrible calamity, out came a Mouse.
Don't make much ado about nothing.
The Ass, the Fox, and
The ass and the fox, having entered
into partnership together for their mutual protection, went out into the
forest to hunt. They had not proceeded far when they met a Lion.
The Fox, seeing imminent danger, approached the Lion and promised to contrive
for him the capture of the Ass if the Lion would pledge his word not to
harm the Fox. Then, upon assuring the Ass that he would not be injured,
the Fox led him to a deep pit and arranged that he should fall into it.
The Lion, seeing that the Ass was secured, immediately clutched the Fox,
and attacked the Ass at his
The Tortoise and the Eagle
A tortoise, lazily basking in the
sun, complained to the sea-birds of her hard fate, that no one would teach
her to fly. An Eagle, hovering near, heard her lamentation and demanded
what reward she would give him if he would take her aloft and float her
in the air. 'I will give you,' she said, 'all the riches of the Red
Sea.' 'I will teach you to fly then,' said the Eagle; and taking
her up in his talons he carried her almost to the clouds suddenly
he let her go, and she fell on a lofty mountain, dashing her shell to pieces.
The Tortoise exclaimed in the moment of death: 'I have deserved my
present fate; for what had I to do with wings and clouds, who can with
difficulty move about on the earth?'
If men had all they wished, they
would be often ruined.
The Flies and the Honey-Pot
A number of Flies were attracted
to a jar of honey which had been overturned in a housekeeper's room, and
placing their feet in it, ate greedily. Their feet, however, became
so smeared with the honey that they could not use their wings, nor release
themselves, and were suffocated. Just as they were expiring, they
exclaimed, 'O foolish creatures that we are, for the sake of a little pleasure
we have destroyed ourselves.'
Pleasure bought with pains, hurts.
The Man and the Lion
A man and a Lion traveled together
through the forest. They soon began to boast of their respective
superiority to each other in strength and prowess. As they were disputing,
they passed a statue carved in stone, which represented 'a Lion strangled
by a Man.' The traveler pointed to it and said: 'See there!
How strong we are, and how we prevail over even the king of beasts.'
The Lion replied: 'This statue was made by one of you men.
If we Lions knew how to erect statues, you would see the Man placed under
the paw of the Lion.'
One story is good, till another is
The Farmer and the Cranes
Some cranes made their feeding grounds
on some plowlands newly sown with wheat. For a long time the Farmer,
brandishing an empty sling, chased them away by the terror he inspired;
but when the birds found that the sling was only swung in the air, they
ceased to take any notice of it and would not move. The Farmer, on
seeing this, charged his sling with stones, and killed a great number.
The remaining birds at once forsook his fields, crying to each other, 'It
is time for us to be off to Liliput: for this man is no longer content
to scare us, but begins to show us in earnest what he can do.'
If words suffice not, blows must
The Dog in the Manger
A dog lay in a manger, and by his
growling and snapping prevented the oxen from eating the hay which had
been placed for them. 'What a selfish Dog!' said one of them
to his companions; 'he cannot eat the hay himself, and yet refuses to allow
those to eat who can.'
The Fox and the Goat
A fox one day fell into a deep well
and could find no means of escape. A Goat, overcome with thirst,
came to the same well, and seeing the Fox, inquired if the water was good.
Concealing his sad plight under a merry guise, the Fox indulged in a lavish
praise of the water, saying it was excellent beyond measure, and encouraging
him to descend. The Goat, mindful only of his thirst, thoughtlessly
jumped down, but just as he drank, the Fox informed him of the difficulty
they were both in and suggested a scheme for their common escape.
'If,' said he, 'you will place your forefeet upon the wall and bend your
head, I will run up your back and escape, and will help you out afterwards.'
The Goat readily assented and the Fox leaped upon his back. Steadying
himself with the Goat's horns, he safely reached the mouth of the well
and made off as fast as he could. When the Goat upbraided him for
breaking his promise, he turned around and cried out, 'You foolish old
fellow! If you had as many brains in your head as you have hairs in your
beard, you would never have gone down before you had inspected the way
up, nor have exposed yourself to dangers from which you had no means of
Look before you leap.
The Bear and the Two Travelers
Two men were traveling together,
when a Bear suddenly met them on their path. One of them climbed
up quickly into a tree and concealed himself in the branches. The
other, seeing that he must be attacked, fell flat on the ground, and when
the Bear came up and felt him with his snout, and smelt him all over, he
held his breath, and feigned the appearance of death as much as he could.
The Bear soon left him, for it is said he will not touch a dead body.
When he was quite gone, the other Traveler descended from the tree, and
jocularly inquired of his friend what it was the Bear had whispered in
his ear. 'He gave me this advice,' his companion replied. 'Never
travel with a friend who deserts you at the approach of danger.'
Misfortune tests the sincerity of
The Oxen and the Axle-Trees
A heavy wagon was being dragged along
a country lane by a team of Oxen. The Axle-trees groaned and creaked
terribly; whereupon the Oxen, turning round, thus addressed the wheels:
'Hullo there! why do you make so much noise? We bear all the labor, and
we, not you, ought to cry out.'
Those who suffer most cry out the
The Thirsty Pigeon
A pigeon, oppressed by excessive
thirst, saw a goblet of water painted on a signboard. Not supposing
it to be only a picture, she flew towards it with a loud whir and unwittingly
dashed against the signboard, jarring herself terribly. Having broken
her wings by the blow, she fell to the ground, and was caught by one of
Zeal should not outrun discretion.
The Raven and the Swan
A raven saw a Swan and desired to
secure for himself the same beautiful plumage. Supposing that the
Swan's splendid white color arose from his washing in the water in which
he swam, the Raven left the altars in the neighborhood where he picked
up his living, and took up residence in the lakes and pools. But
cleansing his feathers as often as he would, he could not change their
color, while through want of food he perished.
Change of habit cannot alter Nature.
The Goat and the Goatherd
A goatherd had sought to bring back
a stray goat to his flock. He whistled and sounded his horn in vain;
the straggler paid no attention to the summons. At last the Goatherd
threw a stone, and breaking its horn, begged the Goat not to tell his master.
The Goat replied, 'Why, you silly fellow, the horn will speak though I
Do not attempt to hide things which
cannot be hid.
A miser sold all that he had and
bought a lump of gold, which he buried in a hole in the ground by the side
of an old wall and went to look at daily. One of his workmen observed
his frequent visits to the spot and decided to watch his movements.
He soon discovered the secret of the hidden treasure, and digging down,
came to the lump of gold, and stole it. The Miser, on his next visit,
found the hole empty and began to tear his hair and to make loud lamentations.
A neighbor, seeing him overcome with grief and learning the cause, said,
'Pray do not grieve so; but go and take a stone, and place it in the hole,
and fancy that the gold is still lying there. It will do you quite
the same service; for when the gold was there, you had it not, as you did
not make the slightest use of it.'
The Sick Lion
A lion, unable from old age and infirmities
to provide himself with food by force, resolved to do so by artifice.
He returned to his den, and lying down there, pretended to be sick, taking
care that his sickness should be publicly known. The beasts expressed
their sorrow, and came one by one to his den, where the Lion devoured them.
After many of the beasts had thus disappeared, the Fox discovered the trick
and presenting himself to the Lion, stood on the outside of the cave, at
a respectful distance, and asked him how he was. 'I am very middling,'
replied the Lion, 'but why do you stand without? Pray enter within to talk
with me.' 'No, thank you,' said the Fox. 'I notice that there
are many prints of feet entering your cave, but I see no trace of any returning.'
He is wise who is warned by the misfortunes
The Horse and Groom
A groom used to spend whole days
in currycombing and rubbing down his Horse, but at the same time stole
his oats and sold them for his own profit. 'Alas!' said the
Horse, 'if you really wish me to be in good condition, you should groom
me less, and feed me more.'