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The Wolves and the Sheep
'Why should there always be this
fear and slaughter between us?' said the Wolves to the Sheep. 'Those
evil-disposed Dogs have much to answer for. They always bark whenever
we approach you and attack us before we have done any harm. If you
would only dismiss them from your heels, there might soon be treaties of
peace and reconciliation between us.' The Sheep, poor silly creatures,
were easily beguiled and dismissed the Dogs, whereupon the Wolves destroyed
the unguarded flock at their own pleasure.
The Old Woman and the
An old woman having lost the use
of her eyes, called in a Physician to heal them, and made this bargain
with him in the presence of witnesses: that if he should cure her
blindness, he should receive from her a sum of money; but if her infirmity
remained, she should give him nothing. This agreement being made,
the Physician, time after time, applied his salve to her eyes, and on every
visit took something away, stealing all her property little by little.
And when he had got all she had, he healed her and demanded the promised
payment. The Old Woman, when she recovered her sight and saw none
of her goods in her house, would give him nothing. The Physician
insisted on his claim, and. as she still refused, summoned her before
the Judge. The Old Woman, standing up in the Court, argued:
'This man here speaks the truth in what he says; for I did promise to give
him a sum of money if I should recover my sight: but if I continued
blind, I was to give him nothing. Now he declares that I am healed.
I on the contrary affirm that I am still blind; for when I lost the use
of my eyes, I saw in my house various chattels and valuable goods:
but now, though he swears I am cured of my blindness, I am not able to
see a single thing in it.'
The Fighting Cocks and
Two game cocks were fiercely fighting
for the mastery of the farmyard. One at last put the other to flight.
The vanquished Cock skulked away and hid himself in a quiet corner, while
the conqueror, flying up to a high wall, flapped his wings and crowed exultingly
with all his might. An Eagle sailing through the air pounced upon
him and carried him off in his talons. The vanquished Cock immediately
came out of his corner, and ruled henceforth with undisputed mastery.
Pride goes before destruction.
The Charger and the Miller
A charger, feeling the infirmities
of age, was sent to work in a mill instead of going out to battle.
But when he was compelled to grind instead of serving in the wars, he bewailed his change of fortune and called to mind his former state, saying, 'Ah! Miller, I had indeed to go campaigning before, but I was barbed from counter to tail, and a man went along to groom me; and now I cannot understand what ailed me to prefer the mill before the battle.' 'Forbear,' said the Miller to him, 'harping on what was of yore, for it is the common lot of mortals to sustain the ups
and downs of fortune.'
The Fox and the Monkey
A monkey once danced in an assembly
of the Beasts, and so pleased them all by his performance that they elected
him their King. A Fox, envying him the honor, discovered a piece
of meat lying in a trap, and leading the Monkey to the place where it was,
said that she had found a store, but had not used it, she had kept it for
him as treasure trove of his kingdom, and counseled him to lay hold of
it. The Monkey approached carelessly and was caught in the trap;
and on his accusing the Fox of purposely leading him into the snare, she
replied, 'O Monkey, and are you, with such a mind as yours, going to be
King over the Beasts?'
The Horse and His Rider
A horse soldier took the utmost pains
with his charger. As long as the war lasted, he looked upon him as
his fellow-helper in all emergencies and fed him carefully with hay and
corn. But when the war was over, he only allowed him chaff to eat
and made him carry heavy loads of wood, subjecting him to much slavish
drudgery and ill-treatment. War was again proclaimed, however, and
when the trumpet summoned him to his standard, the Soldier put on his charger
its military trappings, and mounted, being clad in his heavy coat of mail.
The Horse fell down straightway under the weight, no longer equal to the
burden, and said to his master, 'You must now go to the war on foot, for
you have transformed me from a Horse into an Ass; and how can you expect
that I can again turn in a moment from an Ass to a Horse?'
The Belly and the Members
The members of the Body rebelled
against the Belly, and said, 'Why should we be perpetually engaged in administering
to your wants, while you do nothing but take your rest, and enjoy yourself
in luxury and self-indulgence?' The Members carried out their resolve
and refused their assistance to the Belly. The whole Body quickly
became debilitated, and the hands, feet, mouth, and eyes, when too late,
repented of their folly.
The Vine and the Goat
A vine was luxuriant in the time
of vintage with leaves and grapes. A Goat, passing by, nibbled its
young tendrils and its leaves. The Vine addressed him and said:
'Why do you thus injure me without a cause, and crop my leaves? Is there
no young grass left? But I shall not have to wait long for my just revenge;
for if you now should crop my leaves, and cut me down to my root, I shall
provide the wine to pour over you when you are led as a victim to the sacrifice.'
Jupiter and the Monkey
Jupiter issued a proclamation to
all the beasts of the forest and promised a royal reward to the one whose
offspring should be deemed the handsomest. The Monkey came with the
rest and presented, with all a mother's tenderness, a flat-nosed, hairless,
ill-featured young Monkey as a candidate for the promised reward.
A general laugh saluted her on the presentation of her son. She resolutely
said, 'I know not whether Jupiter will allot the prize to my son, but this
I do know, that he is at least in the eyes of me his mother, the dearest,
most beautiful of all.'
The Widow and Her Little
A widow who was fond of cleaning
had two little maidens to wait on her. She was in the habit of waking
them early in the morning, at cockcrow. The maidens, aggravated by
such excessive labor, resolved to kill the cock who roused their mistress
so early. When they had done this, they found that they had only
prepared for themselves greater troubles, for their mistress, no longer
hearing the hour from the cock, woke them up to their work in the middle
of the night.
The Shepherd's Boy and
A sheperd boy, who watched a flock
of sheep near a village, brought out the villagers three or four times
by crying out, 'Wolf! Wolf!' and when his neighbors came to help
him, laughed at them for their pains. The Wolf, however, did truly
come at last. The Shepherd-boy, now really alarmed, shouted in an
agony of terror: 'Pray, do come and help me; the Wolf is killing
the sheep'; but no one paid any heed to his cries, nor rendered any assistance.
The Wolf, having no cause of fear, at his leisure lacerated or destroyed
the whole flock.
There is no believing a liar, even
when he speaks the truth.
The Cat and the Birds
A cat, hearing that the Birds in
a certain aviary were ailing dressed himself up as a physician, and, taking
his cane and a bag of instruments becoming his profession, went to call
on them. He knocked at the door and inquired of the inmates how they
all did, saying that if they were ill, he would be happy to prescribe for
them and cure them. They replied, 'We are all very well, and shall
continue so, if you will only be good enough to go away, and leave us as
The Kid and the Wolf
A kid standing on the roof of a house,
out of harm's way, saw a Wolf passing by and immediately began to taunt
and revile him. The Wolf, looking up, said, 'Sirrah! I hear thee:
yet it is not thou who mockest me, but the roof on which thou art standing.'
Time and place often give the advantage
to the weak over the strong.
The Ox and the Frog
An ox drinking at a pool trod on
a brood of young frogs and crushed one of them to death. The Mother
coming up, and missing one of her sons, inquired of his brothers what had
become of him. 'He is dead, dear Mother; for just now a very huge
beast with four great feet came to the pool and crushed him to death with
his cloven heel.' The Frog, puffing herself out, inquired, 'if the
beast was as big as that in size.' 'Cease, Mother, to puff yourself
out,' said her son, 'and do not be angry; for you would, I assure you,
sooner burst than successfully imitate the hugeness
of that monster.'
The Shepherd and the Wolf
A shepherd once found the whelp of
a Wolf and brought it up, and after a while taught it to steal lambs from
the neighboring flocks. The Wolf, having shown himself an apt pupil,
said to the Shepherd, 'Since you have taught me to steal, you must keep
a sharp lookout, or you will lose some of your own flock.'
The Father and His Two
A man had two daughters, the one
married to a gardener, and the other to a tile-maker. After a time
he went to the daughter who had married the gardener, and inquired how
she was and how all things went with her. She said, 'All things are
prospering with me, and I have only one wish, that there may be a heavy
fall of rain, in order that the plants may be well watered.' Not
long after, he went to the daughter who had married the tilemaker, and
likewise inquired of her how she fared; she replied, 'I want for nothing,
and have only one wish, that the dry weather may continue, and the sun
shine hot and bright, so that the bricks might be dried.' He said
to her, 'If your sister wishes for rain, and you for dry weather, with
which of the two am I to join my wishes?'
The Farmer and His Sons
A father, being on the point of death,
wished to be sure that his sons would give the same attention to his farm
as he himself had given it. He called them to his bedside and said,
'My sons, there is a great treasure hid in one of my vineyards.'
The sons, after his death, took their spades and mattocks and carefully
dug over every portion of their land. They found no treasure, but
the vines repaid their labor by an extraordinary and superabundant crop.
The Crab and Its Mother
A crab said to her son, 'Why do you
walk so one-sided, my child? It is far more becoming to go straight forward.'
The young Crab replied: 'Quite true, dear Mother; and if you will
show me the straight way, I will promise to walk in it.' The Mother
tried in vain, and submitted without remonstrance to the reproof of her
Example is more powerful than precept.
The Heifer and the Ox
A heifer saw an Ox hard at work harnessed
to a plow, and tormented him with reflections on his unhappy fate in being
compelled to labor. Shortly afterwards, at the harvest festival,
the owner released the Ox from his yoke, but bound the Heifer with cords
and led him away to the altar to be slain in honor of the occasion.
The Ox saw what was being done, and said with a smile to the Heifer:
'For this you were allowed to live in idleness, because you were presently
to be sacrificed.'
The Swallow, the Serpent,
and the Court of Justice
A swallow, returning from abroad
and especially fond of dwelling with men, built herself a nest in the wall
of a Court of Justice and there hatched seven young birds. A Serpent
gliding past the nest from its hole in the wall ate up the young unfledged
nestlings. The Swallow, finding her nest empty, lamented greatly
and exclaimed: 'Woe to me a stranger! that in this place where all
others' rights are protected, I alone should suffer wrong.'