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The Goatherd and the Wild
A goatherd, driving his flock from
their pasture at eventide, found some Wild Goats mingled among them, and
shut them up together with his own for the night. The next day it
snowed very hard, so that he could not take the herd to their usual feeding
places, but was obliged to keep them in the fold. He gave his own
goats just sufficient food to keep them alive, but fed the strangers more
abundantly in the hope of enticing them to stay with him and of making
them his own. When the thaw set in, he led them all out to feed,
and the Wild Goats scampered away as fast as they could to the mountains.
The Goatherd scolded them for their ingratitude in leaving him, when during
the storm he had taken more care of them than of his own herd. One
of them, turning about, said to him: 'That is the very reason why
we are so cautious; for if you yesterday treated us better than the Goats
you have had so long, it is plain also that if others came after us, you
would in the same manner prefer them to ourselves.'
Old friends cannot with impunity
be sacrificed for new ones.
The Mischievous Dog
A dog used to run up quietly to the
heels of everyone he met, and to bite them without notice. His master
suspended a bell about his neck so that the Dog might give notice of his
presence wherever he went. Thinking it a mark of distinction, the
Dog grew proud of his bell and went tinkling it all over the marketplace.
One day an old hound said to him: Why do you make such an exhibition
of yourself? That bell that you carry is not, believe me, any order of
merit, but on the contrary a mark of disgrace, a public notice to all men
to avoid you as an ill mannered dog.'
Notoriety is often mistaken for fame.
The Fox Who Had Lost His
A fox caught in a trap escaped, but
in so doing lost his tail. Thereafter, feeling his life a burden
from the shame and ridicule to which he was exposed, he schemed to convince
all the other Foxes that being tailless was much more attractive, thus
making up for his own deprivation. He assembled a good many Foxes
and publicly advised them to cut off their tails, saying that they would
not only look much better without them, but that they would get rid of
the weight of the brush, which was a very great inconvenience. One
of them interrupting him said, 'If you had not yourself lost your tail,
my friend, you would not thus counsel us.'
The Boy and the Nettles
A boy was stung by a Nettle.
He ran home and told his Mother, saying, 'Although it hurts me very much,
I only touched it gently.' 'That was just why it stung you,' said
his Mother. 'The next time you touch a Nettle, grasp it boldly, and
it will be soft as silk to your hand, and not in the least hurt you.'
Whatever you do, do with all your
The Man and His Two Sweethearts
A middle aged man, whose hair had
begun to turn gray, courted two women at the same time. One of them
was young, and the other well advanced in years. The elder woman,
ashamed to be courted by a man younger than herself, made a point, whenever
her admirer visited her, to pull out some portion of his black hairs.
The younger, on the contrary, not wishing to become the wife of an old
man, was equally zealous in removing every gray hair she could find.
Thus it came to pass that between them both he very soon found that he
had not a hair left on his head.
Those who seek to please everybody
An astronomer used to go out at night
to observe the stars. One evening, as he wandered through the suburbs
with his whole attention fixed on the sky, he fell accidentally into a
deep well. While he lamented and bewailed his sores and bruises,
and cried loudly for help, a neighbor ran to the well, and learning what
had happened said: 'Hark ye, old fellow, why, in striving to pry
into what is in heaven, do you not manage to see what is on earth?'
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.'