Part 2 out of 3
only to serve the turn of a Fox."
It sometimes happens that one man has all the toil, and another
all the profit.
The Doe and the Lion
A DOE hard pressed by hunters sought refuge in a cave belonging
to a Lion. The Lion concealed himself on seeing her approach,
but when she was safe within the cave, sprang upon her and tore
her to pieces. "Woe is me," exclaimed the Doe, "who have escaped
from man, only to throw myself into the mouth of a wild beast?'
In avoiding one evil, care must be taken not to fall into
The Farmer and the Fox
A FARMER, who bore a grudge against a Fox for robbing his poultry
yard, caught him at last, and being determined to take an ample
revenge, tied some rope well soaked in oil to his tail, and set
it on fire. The Fox by a strange fatality rushed to the fields
of the Farmer who had captured him. It was the time of the wheat
harvest; but the Farmer reaped nothing that year and returned
home grieving sorely.
The Seagull and the Kite
A SEAGULL having bolted down too large a fish, burst its deep
gullet-bag and lay down on the shore to die. A Kite saw him and
exclaimed: "You richly deserve your fate; for a bird of the air
has no business to seek its food from the sea."
Every man should be content to mind his own business.
The Philosopher, the Ants, and Mercury
A PHILOSOPHER witnessed from the shore the shipwreck of a vessel,
of which the crew and passengers were all drowned. He inveighed
against the injustice of Providence, which would for the sake of
one criminal perchance sailing in the ship allow so many innocent
persons to perish. As he was indulging in these reflections, he
found himself surrounded by a whole army of Ants, near whose nest
he was standing. One of them climbed up and stung him, and he
immediately trampled them all to death with his foot. Mercury
presented himself, and striking the Philosopher with his wand,
said, "And are you indeed to make yourself a judge of the
dealings of Providence, who hast thyself in a similar manner
treated these poor Ants?'
The Mouse and the Bull
A BULL was bitten by a Mouse and, angered by the wound, tried to
capture him. But the Mouse reached his hole in safety. Though
the Bull dug into the walls with his horns, he tired before he
could rout out the Mouse, and crouching down, went to sleep
outside the hole. The Mouse peeped out, crept furtively up his
flank, and again biting him, retreated to his hole. The Bull
rising up, and not knowing what to do, was sadly perplexed. At
which the Mouse said, "The great do not always prevail. There
are times when the small and lowly are the strongest to do
The Lion and the Hare
A LION came across a Hare, who was fast asleep. He was just in
the act of seizing her, when a fine young Hart trotted by, and he
left the Hare to follow him. The Hare, scared by the noise,
awoke and scudded away. The Lion was unable after a long chase
to catch the Hart, and returned to feed upon the Hare. On
finding that the Hare also had run off, he said, "I am rightly
served, for having let go of the food that I had in my hand for
the chance of obtaining more."
The Peasant and the Eagle
A PEASANT found an Eagle captured in a trap, and much admiring
the bird, set him free. The Eagle did not prove ungrateful to
his deliverer, for seeing the Peasant sitting under a wall which
was not safe, he flew toward him and with his talons snatched a
bundle from his head. When the Peasant rose in pursuit, the
Eagle let the bundle fall again. Taking it up, the man returned
to the same place, to find that the wall under which he had been
sitting had fallen to pieces; and he marveled at the service
rendered him by the Eagle.
The Image of Mercury and the Carpenter
A VERY POOR MAN, a Carpenter by trade, had a wooden image of
Mercury, before which he made offerings day by day, and begged
the idol to make him rich, but in spite of his entreaties he
became poorer and poorer. At last, being very angry, he took his
image down from its pedestal and dashed it against the wall.
When its head was knocked off, out came a stream of gold, which
the Carpenter quickly picked up and said, "Well, I think thou art
altogether contradictory and unreasonable; for when I paid you
honor, I reaped no benefits: but now that I maltreat you I am
loaded with an abundance of riches."
The Bull and the Goat
A BULL, escaping from a Lion, hid in a cave which some shepherds
had recently occupied. As soon as he entered, a He-Goat left in
the cave sharply attacked him with his horns. The Bull quietly
addressed him: "Butt away as much as you will. I have no fear of
you, but of the Lion. Let that monster go away and I will soon
let you know what is the respective strength of a Goat and a
It shows an evil disposition to take advantage of a friend in
The Dancing Monkeys
A PRINCE had some Monkeys trained to dance. Being naturally
great mimics of men's actions, they showed themselves most apt
pupils, and when arrayed in their rich clothes and masks, they
danced as well as any of the courtiers. The spectacle was often
repeated with great applause, till on one occasion a courtier,
bent on mischief, took from his pocket a handful of nuts and
threw them upon the stage. The Monkeys at the sight of the nuts
forgot their dancing and became (as indeed they were) Monkeys
instead of actors. Pulling off their masks and tearing their
robes, they fought with one another for the nuts. The dancing
spectacle thus came to an end amidst the laughter and ridicule of
The Fox and the Leopard
THE FOX and the Leopard disputed which was the more beautiful of
the two. The Leopard exhibited one by one the various spots
which decorated his skin. But the Fox, interrupting him, said,
"And how much more beautiful than you am I, who am decorated, not
in body, but in mind."
The Monkeys and Their Mother
THE MONKEY, it is said, has two young ones at each birth. The
Mother fondles one and nurtures it with the greatest affection
and care, but hates and neglects the other. It happened once
that the young one which was caressed and loved was smothered by
the too great affection of the Mother, while the despised one was
nurtured and reared in spite of the neglect to which it was
The best intentions will not always ensure success.
The Oaks and Jupiter
THE OAKS presented a complaint to Jupiter, saying, "We bear for
no purpose the burden of life, as of all the trees that grow we
are the most continually in peril of the axe." Jupiter made
answer: "You have only to thank yourselves for the misfortunes to
which you are exposed: for if you did not make such excellent
pillars and posts, and prove yourselves so serviceable to the
carpenters and the farmers, the axe would not so frequently be
laid to your roots."
The Hare and the Hound
A HOUND started a Hare from his lair, but after a long run, gave
up the chase. A goat-herd seeing him stop, mocked him, saying
"The little one is the best runner of the two." The Hound
replied, "You do not see the difference between us: I was only
running for a dinner, but he for his life."
The Traveler and Fortune
A TRAVELER wearied from a long journey lay down, overcome with
fatigue, on the very brink of a deep well. Just as he was about
to fall into the water, Dame Fortune, it is said, appeared to him
and waking him from his slumber thus addressed him: "Good Sir,
pray wake up: for if you fall into the well, the blame will be
thrown on me, and I shall get an ill name among mortals; for I
find that men are sure to impute their calamities to me, however
much by their own folly they have really brought them on
Everyone is more or less master of his own fate.
The Bald Knight
A BALD KNIGHT, who wore a wig, went out to hunt. A sudden puff
of wind blew off his hat and wig, at which a loud laugh rang
forth from his companions. He pulled up his horse, and with
great glee joined in the joke by saying, "What a marvel it is
that hairs which are not mine should fly from me, when they have
forsaken even the man on whose head they grew."
The Shepherd and the Dog
A SHEPHERD penning his sheep in the fold for the night was about
to shut up a wolf with them, when his Dog perceiving the wolf
said, "Master, how can you expect the sheep to be safe if you
admit a wolf into the fold?'
A LAMP, soaked with too much oil and flaring brightly, boasted
that it gave more light than the sun. Then a sudden puff of wind
arose, and the Lamp was immediately extinguished. Its owner lit
it again, and said: "Boast no more, but henceforth be content to
give thy light in silence. Know that not even the stars need to
The Lion, the Fox, and the Ass
THE LION, the Fox and the Ass entered into an agreement to assist
each other in the chase. Having secured a large booty, the Lion
on their return from the forest asked the Ass to allot his due
portion to each of the three partners in the treaty. The Ass
carefully divided the spoil into three equal shares and modestly
requested the two others to make the first choice. The Lion,
bursting out into a great rage, devoured the Ass. Then he
requested the Fox to do him the favor to make a division. The
Fox accumulated all that they had killed into one large heap and
left to himself the smallest possible morsel. The Lion said,
"Who has taught you, my very excellent fellow, the art of
division? You are perfect to a fraction." He replied, "I learned
it from the Ass, by witnessing his fate."
Happy is the man who learns from the misfortunes of others.
The Bull, the Lioness, and the Wild-Boar Hunter
A BULL finding a lion's cub asleep gored him to death with his
horns. The Lioness came up, and bitterly lamented the death of
her whelp. A wild-boar Hunter, seeing her distress, stood at a
distance and said to her, "Think how many men there are who have
reason to lament the loss of their children, whose deaths have
been caused by you."
The Oak and the Woodcutters
THE WOODCUTTER cut down a Mountain Oak and split it in pieces,
making wedges of its own branches for dividing the trunk. The
Oak said with a sigh, "I do not care about the blows of the axe
aimed at my roots, but I do grieve at being torn in pieces by
these wedges made from my own branches."
Misfortunes springing from ourselves are the hardest to bear.
The Hen and the Golden Eggs
A COTTAGER and his wife had a Hen that laid a golden egg every
day. They supposed that the Hen must contain a great lump of
gold in its inside, and in order to get the gold they killed it.
Having done so, they found to their surprise that the Hen
differed in no respect from their other hens. The foolish pair,
thus hoping to become rich all at once, deprived themselves of
the gain of which they were assured day by day.
The Ass and the Frogs
AN ASS, carrying a load of wood, passed through a pond. As he
was crossing through the water he lost his footing, stumbled and
fell, and not being able to rise on account of his load, groaned
heavily. Some Frogs frequenting the pool heard his lamentation,
and said, "What would you do if you had to live here always as we
do, when you make such a fuss about a mere fall into the water?"
Men often bear little grievances with less courage than they do
The Crow and the Raven
A CROW was jealous of the Raven, because he was considered a bird
of good omen and always attracted the attention of men, who noted
by his flight the good or evil course of future events. Seeing
some travelers approaching, the Crow flew up into a tree, and
perching herself on one of the branches, cawed as loudly as she
could. The travelers turned towards the sound and wondered what
it foreboded, when one of them said to his companion, "Let us
proceed on our journey, my friend, for it is only the caw of a
crow, and her cry, you know, is no omen."
Those who assume a character which does not belong to them, only
make themselves ridiculous.
The Trees and the Axe
A MAN came into a forest and asked the Trees to provide him a
handle for his axe. The Trees consented to his request and gave
him a young ash-tree. No sooner had the man fitted a new handle
to his axe from it, than he began to use it and quickly felled
with his strokes the noblest giants of the forest. An old oak,
lamenting when too late the destruction of his companions, said
to a neighboring cedar, "The first step has lost us all. If we
had not given up the rights of the ash, we might yet have
retained our own privileges and have stood for ages."
The Crab and the Fox
A CRAB, forsaking the seashore, chose a neighboring green meadow
as its feeding ground. A Fox came across him, and being very
hungry ate him up. Just as he was on the point of being eaten,
the Crab said, "I well deserve my fate, for what business had I
on the land, when by my nature and habits I am only adapted for
Contentment with our lot is an element of happiness.
The Woman and Her Hen
A WOMAN possessed a Hen that gave her an egg every day. She
often pondered how she might obtain two eggs daily instead of
one, and at last, to gain her purpose, determined to give the Hen
a double allowance of barley. From that day the Hen became fat
and sleek, and never once laid another egg.
The Ass and the Old Shepherd
A SHEPHERD, watching his Ass feeding in a meadow, was alarmed all
of a sudden by the cries of the enemy. He appealed to the Ass to
fly with him, lest they should both be captured, but the animal
lazily replied, "Why should I, pray? Do you think it likely the
conqueror will place on me two sets of panniers?' "No," rejoined
the Shepherd. "Then," said the Ass, "as long as I carry the
panniers, what matters it to me whom I serve?'
In a change of government the poor change nothing beyond the name
of their master.
The Kites and the Swans
TEE KITES of olden times, as well as the Swans, had the privilege
of song. But having heard the neigh of the horse, they were so
enchanted with the sound, that they tried to imitate it; and, in
trying to neigh, they forgot how to sing.
The desire for imaginary benefits often involves the loss of
The Wolves and the Sheepdogs
THE WOLVES thus addressed the Sheepdogs: "Why should you, who are
like us in so many things, not be entirely of one mind with us,
and live with us as brothers should? We differ from you in one
point only. We live in freedom, but you bow down to and slave
for men, who in return for your services flog you with whips and
put collars on your necks. They make you also guard their sheep,
and while they eat the mutton throw only the bones to you. If
you will be persuaded by us, you will give us the sheep, and we
will enjoy them in common, till we all are surfeited." The Dogs
listened favorably to these proposals, and, entering the den of
the Wolves, they were set upon and torn to pieces.
The Hares and the Foxes
THE HARES waged war with the Eagles, and called upon the Foxes to
help them. They replied, "We would willingly have helped you, if
we had not known who you were, and with whom you were fighting."
Count the cost before you commit yourselves.
The Bowman and Lion
A VERY SKILLFUL BOWMAN went to the mountains in search of game,
but all the beasts of the forest fled at his approach. The Lion
alone challenged him to combat. The Bowman immediately shot out
an arrow and said to the Lion: "I send thee my messenger, that
from him thou mayest learn what I myself shall be when I assail
thee." The wounded Lion rushed away in great fear, and when a Fox
who had seen it all happen told him to be of good courage and not
to back off at the first attack he replied: "You counsel me in
vain; for if he sends so fearful a messenger, how shall I abide
the attack of the man himself?'
Be on guard against men who can strike from a distance.
WHEN MAN first saw the Camel, he was so frightened at his vast
size that he ran away. After a time, perceiving the meekness and
gentleness of the beast's temper, he summoned courage enough to
approach him. Soon afterwards, observing that he was an animal
altogether deficient in spirit, he assumed such boldness as to
put a bridle in his mouth, and to let a child drive him.
Use serves to overcome dread.
The Wasp and the Snake
A WASP seated himself upon the head of a Snake and, striking him
unceasingly with his stings, wounded him to death. The Snake,
being in great torment and not knowing how to rid himself of his
enemy, saw a wagon heavily laden with wood, and went and
purposely placed his head under the wheels, saying, "At least my
enemy and I shall perish together."
The Dog and the Hare
A HOUND having started a Hare on the hillside pursued her for
some distance, at one time biting her with his teeth as if he
would take her life, and at another fawning upon her, as if in
play with another dog. The Hare said to him, "I wish you would
act sincerely by me, and show yourself in your true colors. If
you are a friend, why do you bite me so hard? If an enemy, why do
you fawn on me?'
No one can be a friend if you know not whether to trust or
The Bull and the Calf
A BULL was striving with all his might to squeeze himself through
a narrow passage which led to his stall. A young Calf came up,
and offered to go before and show him the way by which he could
manage to pass. "Save yourself the trouble," said the Bull; "I
knew that way long before you were born."
The Stag, the Wolf, and the Sheep
A STAG asked a Sheep to lend him a measure of wheat, and said
that the Wolf would be his surety. The Sheep, fearing some fraud
was intended, excused herself, saying, "The Wolf is accustomed to
seize what he wants and to run off; and you, too, can quickly
outstrip me in your rapid flight. How then shall I be able to
find you, when the day of payment comes?'
Two blacks do not make one white.
The Peacock and the Crane
A PEACOCK spreading its gorgeous tail mocked a Crane that passed
by, ridiculing the ashen hue of its plumage and saying, "I am
robed, like a king, in gold and purple and all the colors of the
rainbow; while you have not a bit of color on your wings."
"True," replied the Crane; "but I soar to the heights of heaven
and lift up my voice to the stars, while you walk below, like a
cock, among the birds of the dunghill."
Fine feathers don't make fine birds.
The Fox and the Hedgehog
A FOX swimming across a rapid river was carried by the force of
the current into a very deep ravine, where he lay for a long time
very much bruised, sick, and unable to move. A swarm of hungry
blood-sucking flies settled upon him. A Hedgehog, passing by,
saw his anguish and inquired if he should drive away the flies
that were tormenting him. "By no means," replied the Fox; "pray
do not molest them." "How is this?' said the Hedgehog; "do you
not want to be rid of them?' "No," returned the Fox, "for these
flies which you see are full of blood, and sting me but little,
and if you rid me of these which are already satiated, others
more hungry will come in their place, and will drink up all the
blood I have left."
The Eagle, the Cat, and the Wild Sow
AN EAGLE made her nest at the top of a lofty oak; a Cat, having
found a convenient hole, moved into the middle of the trunk; and
a Wild Sow, with her young, took shelter in a hollow at its foot.
The Cat cunningly resolved to destroy this chance-made colony.
To carry out her design, she climbed to the nest of the Eagle,
and said, "Destruction is preparing for you, and for me too,
unfortunately. The Wild Sow, whom you see daily digging up the
earth, wishes to uproot the oak, so she may on its fall seize our
families as food for her young." Having thus frightened the Eagle
out of her senses, she crept down to the cave of the Sow, and
said, "Your children are in great danger; for as soon as you go
out with your litter to find food, the Eagle is prepared to
pounce upon one of your little pigs." Having instilled these
fears into the Sow, she went and pretended to hide herself in the
hollow of the tree. When night came she went forth with silent
foot and obtained food for herself and her kittens, but feigning
to be afraid, she kept a lookout all through the day. Meanwhile,
the Eagle, full of fear of the Sow, sat still on the branches,
and the Sow, terrified by the Eagle, did not dare to go out from
her cave. And thus they both, along with their families,
perished from hunger, and afforded ample provision for the Cat
and her kittens.
The Thief and the Innkeeper
A THIEF hired a room in a tavern and stayed a while in the hope
of stealing something which should enable him to pay his
reckoning. When he had waited some days in vain, he saw the
Innkeeper dressed in a new and handsome coat and sitting before
his door. The Thief sat down beside him and talked with him. As
the conversation began to flag, the Thief yawned terribly and at
the same time howled like a wolf. The Innkeeper said, "Why do
you howl so fearfully?' "I will tell you," said the Thief, "but
first let me ask you to hold my clothes, or I shall tear them to
pieces. I know not, sir, when I got this habit of yawning, nor
whether these attacks of howling were inflicted on me as a
judgment for my crimes, or for any other cause; but this I do
know, that when I yawn for the third time, I actually turn into a
wolf and attack men." With this speech he commenced a second fit
of yawning and again howled like a wolf, as he had at first. The
Innkeeper. hearing his tale and believing what he said, became
greatly alarmed and, rising from his seat, attempted to run away.
The Thief laid hold of his coat and entreated him to stop,
saying, "Pray wait, sir, and hold my clothes, or I shall tear
them to pieces in my fury, when I turn into a wolf." At the same
moment he yawned the third time and set up a terrible howl. The
Innkeeper, frightened lest he should be attacked, left his new
coat in the Thief's hand and ran as fast as he could into the inn
for safety. The Thief made off with the coat and did not return
again to the inn.
Every tale is not to be believed.
A MULE, frolicsome from lack of work and from too much corn,
galloped about in a very extravagant manner, and said to himself:
"My father surely was a high-mettled racer, and I am his own
child in speed and spirit." On the next day, being driven a long
journey, and feeling very wearied, he exclaimed in a disconsolate
tone: "I must have made a mistake; my father, after all, could
have been only an ass."
The Hart and the Vine
A HART, hard pressed in the chase, hid himself beneath the large
leaves of a Vine. The huntsmen, in their haste, overshot the
place of his concealment. Supposing all danger to have passed,
the Hart began to nibble the tendrils of the Vine. One of the
huntsmen, attracted by the rustling of the leaves, looked back,
and seeing the Hart, shot an arrow from his bow and struck it.
The Hart, at the point of death, groaned: "I am rightly served,
for I should not have maltreated the Vine that saved me."
The Serpent and the Eagle
A SERPENT and an Eagle were struggling with each other in deadly
conflict. The Serpent had the advantage, and was about to
strangle the bird. A countryman saw them, and running up, loosed
the coil of the Serpent and let the Eagle go free. The Serpent,
irritated at the escape of his prey, injected his poison into the
drinking horn of the countryman. The rustic, ignorant of his
danger, was about to drink, when the Eagle struck his hand with
his wing, and, seizing the drinking horn in his talons, carried
The Crow and the Pitcher
A CROW perishing with thirst saw a pitcher, and hoping to find
water, flew to it with delight. When he reached it, he
discovered to his grief that it contained so little water that he
could not possibly get at it. He tried everything he could think
of to reach the water, but all his efforts were in vain. At last
he collected as many stones as he could carry and dropped them
one by one with his beak into the pitcher, until he brought the
water within his reach and thus saved his life.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
The Two Frogs
TWO FROGS were neighbors. One inhabited a deep pond, far removed
from public view; the other lived in a gully containing little
water, and traversed by a country road. The Frog that lived in
the pond warned his friend to change his residence and entreated
him to come and live with him, saying that he would enjoy greater
safety from danger and more abundant food. The other refused,
saying that he felt it so very hard to leave a place to which he
had become accustomed. A few days afterwards a heavy wagon
passed through the gully and crushed him to death under its
A willful man will have his way to his own hurt.
The Wolf and the Fox
AT ONE TIME a very large and strong Wolf was born among the
wolves, who exceeded all his fellow-wolves in strength, size, and
swiftness, so that they unanimously decided to call him "Lion."
The Wolf, with a lack of sense proportioned to his enormous size,
thought that they gave him this name in earnest, and, leaving his
own race, consorted exclusively with the lions. An old sly Fox,
seeing this, said, "May I never make myself so ridiculous as you
do in your pride and self-conceit; for even though you have the
size of a lion among wolves, in a herd of lions you are
definitely a wolf."
A WALNUT TREE standing by the roadside bore an abundant crop of
fruit. For the sake of the nuts, the passers-by broke its
branches with stones and sticks. The Walnut-Tree piteously
exclaimed, "O wretched me! that those whom I cheer with my fruit
should repay me with these painful requitals!"
The Gnat and the Lion
A GNAT came and said to a Lion, "I do not in the least fear you,
nor are you stronger than I am. For in what does your strength
consist? You can scratch with your claws and bite with your teeth
an a woman in her quarrels. I repeat that I am altogether more
powerful than you; and if you doubt it, let us fight and see who
will conquer." The Gnat, having sounded his horn, fastened
himself upon the Lion and stung him on the nostrils and the parts
of the face devoid of hair. While trying to crush him, the Lion
tore himself with his claws, until he punished himself severely.
The Gnat thus prevailed over the Lion, and, buzzing about in a
song of triumph, flew away. But shortly afterwards he became
entangled in the meshes of a cobweb and was eaten by a spider.
He greatly lamented his fate, saying, "Woe is me! that I, who can
wage war successfully with the hugest beasts, should perish
myself from this spider, the most inconsiderable of insects!"
The Monkey and the Dolphin
A SAILOR, bound on a long voyage, took with him a Monkey to amuse
him while on shipboard. As he sailed off the coast of Greece, a
violent tempest arose in which the ship was wrecked and he, his
Monkey, and all the crew were obliged to swim for their lives. A
Dolphin saw the Monkey contending with the waves, and supposing
him to be a man (whom he is always said to befriend), came and
placed himself under him, to convey him on his back in safety to
the shore. When the Dolphin arrived with his burden in sight of
land not far from Athens, he asked the Monkey if he were an
Athenian. The latter replied that he was, and that he was
descended from one of the most noble families in that city. The
Dolphin then inquired if he knew the Piraeus (the famous harbor
of Athens). Supposing that a man was meant, the Monkey answered
that he knew him very well and that he was an intimate friend.
The Dolphin, indignant at these falsehoods, dipped the Monkey
under the water and drowned him.
The Jackdaw and the Doves
A JACKDAW, seeing some Doves in a cote abundantly provided with
food, painted himself white and joined them in order to share
their plentiful maintenance. The Doves, as long as he was
silent, supposed him to be one of themselves and admitted him to
their cote. But when one day he forgot himself and began to
chatter, they discovered his true character and drove him forth,
pecking him with their beaks. Failing to obtain food among the
Doves, he returned to the Jackdaws. They too, not recognizing
him on account of his color. expelled him from living with them.
So desiring two ends, he obtained neither.
The Horse and the Stag
AT ONE TIME the Horse had the plain entirely to himself. Then a
Stag intruded into his domain and shared his pasture. The Horse,
desiring to revenge himself on the stranger, asked a man if he
were willing to help him in punishing the Stag. The man replied
that if the Horse would receive a bit in his mouth and agree to
carry him, he would contrive effective weapons against the Stag.
The Horse consented and allowed the man to mount him. From that
hour he found that instead of obtaining revenge on the Stag, he
had enslaved himself to the service of man.
The Kid and the Wolf
A KID, returning without protection from the pasture, was pursued
by a Wolf. Seeing he could not escape, he turned round, and
said: "I know, friend Wolf, that I must be your prey, but before
I die I would ask of you one favor you will play me a tune to
which I may dance." The Wolf complied, and while he was piping
and the Kid was dancing, some hounds hearing the sound ran up and
began chasing the Wolf. Turning to the Kid, he said, "It is just
what I deserve; for I, who am only a butcher, should not have
turned piper to please you."
A WIZARD, sitting in the marketplace, was telling the fortunes of
the passers-by when a person ran up in great haste, and
announced to him that the doors of his house had been broken open
and that all his goods were being stolen. He sighed heavily and
hastened away as fast as he could run. A neighbor saw him
running and said, "Oh! you fellow there! you say you can foretell
the fortunes of others; how is it you did not foresee your own?'
The Fox and the Monkey
A FOX and a Monkey were traveling together on the same road. As
they journeyed, they passed through a cemetery full of monuments.
"All these monuments which you see," said the Monkey, "are
erected in honor of my ancestors, who were in their day freedmen
and citizens of great renown." The Fox replied, "You have chosen
a most appropriate subject for your falsehoods, as I am sure none
of your ancestors will be able to contradict you."
A false tale often betrays itself.
The Thief and the Housedog
A THIEF came in the night to break into a house. He brought with
him several slices of meat in order to pacify the Housedog, so
that he would not alarm his master by barking. As the Thief
threw him the pieces of meat, the Dog said, "If you think to stop
my mouth, you will be greatly mistaken. This sudden kindness at
your hands will only make me more watchful, lest under these
unexpected favors to myself, you have some private ends to
accomplish for your own benefit, and for my master's injury."
The Man, the Horse, the Ox, and the Dog
A HORSE, Ox, and Dog, driven to great straits by the cold, sought
shelter and protection from Man. He received them kindly,
lighted a fire, and warmed them. He let the Horse make free with
his oats, gave the Ox an abundance of hay, and fed the Dog with
meat from his own table. Grateful for these favors, the animals
determined to repay him to the best of their ability. For this
purpose, they divided the term of his life between them, and each
endowed one portion of it with the qualities which chiefly
characterized himself. The Horse chose his earliest years and
gave them his own attributes: hence every man is in his youth
impetuous, headstrong, and obstinate in maintaining his own
opinion. The Ox took under his patronage the next term of life,
and therefore man in his middle age is fond of work, devoted to
labor, and resolute to amass wealth and to husband his resources.
The end of life was reserved for the Dog, wherefore the old man
is often snappish, irritable, hard to please, and selfish,
tolerant only of his own household, but averse to strangers and
to all who do not administer to his comfort or to his
The Apes and the Two Travelers
TWO MEN, one who always spoke the truth and the other who told
nothing but lies, were traveling together and by chance came to
the land of Apes. One of the Apes, who had raised himself to be
king, commanded them to be seized and brought before him, that he
might know what was said of him among men. He ordered at the
same time that all the Apes be arranged in a long row on his
right hand and on his left, and that a throne be placed for him,
as was the custom among men. After these preparations he
signified that the two men should be brought before him, and
greeted them with this salutation: "What sort of a king do I seem
to you to be, O strangers?' The Lying Traveler replied, "You seem
to me a most mighty king." "And what is your estimate of those
you see around me?' "These," he made answer, "are worthy
companions of yourself, fit at least to be ambassadors and
leaders of armies." The Ape and all his court, gratified with the
lie, commanded that a handsome present be given to the flatterer.
On this the truthful Traveler thought to himself, "If so great a
reward be given for a lie, with what gift may not I be rewarded,
if, according to my custom, I tell the truth?' The Ape quickly
turned to him. "And pray how do I and these my friends around me
seem to you?' "Thou art," he said, "a most excellent Ape, and all
these thy companions after thy example are excellent Apes too."
The King of the Apes, enraged at hearing these truths, gave him
over to the teeth and claws of his companions.
The Wolf and the Shepherd
A WOLF followed a flock of sheep for a long time and did not
attempt to injure one of them. The Shepherd at first stood on
his guard against him, as against an enemy, and kept a strict
watch over his movements. But when the Wolf, day after day, kept
in the company of the sheep and did not make the slightest effort
to seize them, the Shepherd began to look upon him as a guardian
of his flock rather than as a plotter of evil against it; and
when occasion called him one day into the city, he left the sheep
entirely in his charge. The Wolf, now that he had the
opportunity, fell upon the sheep, and destroyed the greater part
of the flock. When the Shepherd returned to find his flock
destroyed, he exclaimed: "I have been rightly served; why did I
trust my sheep to a Wolf?'
The Hares and the Lions
THE HARES harangued the assembly, and argued that all should be
equal. The Lions made this reply: "Your words, O Hares! are
good; but they lack both claws and teeth such as we have."
The Lark and Her Young Ones
A LARK had made her nest in the early spring on the young green
wheat. The brood had almost grown to their full strength and
attained the use of their wings and the full plumage of their
feathers, when the owner of the field, looking over his ripe
crop, said, "The time has come when I must ask all my neighbors
to help me with my harvest." One of the young Larks heard his
speech and related it to his mother, inquiring of her to what
place they should move for safety. "There is no occasion to move
yet, my son," she replied; "the man who only sends to his friends
to help him with his harvest is not really in earnest." The owner
of the field came again a few days later and saw the wheat
shedding the grain from excess of ripeness. He said, "I will
come myself tomorrow with my laborers, and with as many reapers
as I can hire, and will get in the harvest." The Lark on hearing
these words said to her brood, "It is time now to be off, my
little ones, for the man is in earnest this time; he no longer
trusts his friends, but will reap the field himself."
Self-help is the best help.
The Fox and the Lion
WHEN A FOX who had never yet seen a Lion, fell in with him by
chance for the first time in the forest, he was so frightened
that he nearly died with fear. On meeting him for the second
time, he was still much alarmed, but not to the same extent as at
first. On seeing him the third time, he so increased in boldness
that he went up to him and commenced a familiar conversation with
Acquaintance softens prejudices.
The Weasel and the Mice
A WEASEL, inactive from age and infirmities, was not able to
catch mice as he once did. He therefore rolled himself in flour
and lay down in a dark corner. A Mouse, supposing him to be
food, leaped upon him, and was instantly caught and squeezed to
death. Another perished in a similar manner, and then a third,
and still others after them. A very old Mouse, who had escaped
many a trap and snare, observed from a safe distance the trick of
his crafty foe and said, "Ah! you that lie there, may you prosper
just in the same proportion as you are what you pretend to be!"
The Boy Bathing
A BOY bathing in a river was in danger of being drowned. He
called out to a passing traveler for help, but instead of holding
out a helping hand, the man stood by unconcernedly, and scolded
the boy for his imprudence. "Oh, sir!" cried the youth, "pray
help me now and scold me afterwards."
Counsel without help is useless.
The Ass and the Wolf
AN ASS feeding in a meadow saw a Wolf approaching to seize him,
and immediately pretended to be lame. The Wolf, coming up,
inquired the cause of his lameness. The Ass replied that passing
through a hedge he had trod with his foot upon a sharp thorn. He
requested that the Wolf pull it out, lest when he ate him it
should injure his throat. The Wolf consented and lifted up the
foot, and was giving his whole mind to the discovery of the
thorn, when the Ass, with his heels, kicked his teeth into his
mouth and galloped away. The Wolf, being thus fearfully mauled,
said, "I am rightly served, for why did I attempt the art of
healing, when my father only taught me the trade of a butcher?'
The Seller of Images
A CERTAIN MAN made a wooden image of Mercury and offered it for
sale. When no one appeared willing to buy it, in order to
attract purchasers, he cried out that he had the statue to sell
of a benefactor who bestowed wealth and helped to heap up riches.
One of the bystanders said to him, "My good fellow, why do you
sell him, being such a one as you describe, when you may yourself
enjoy the good things he has to give?' "Why," he replied, "I am
in need of immediate help, and he is wont to give his good gifts
The Fox and the Grapes
A FAMISHED FOX saw some clusters of ripe black grapes hanging
from a trellised vine. She resorted to all her tricks to get at
them, but wearied herself in vain, for she could not reach them.
At last she turned away, hiding her disappointment and saying:
"The Grapes are sour, and not ripe as I thought."
The Man and His Wife
A MAN had a Wife who made herself hated by all the members of his
household. Wishing to find out if she had the same effect on the
persons in her father's house, he made some excuse to send her
home on a visit to her father. After a short time she returned,
and when he inquired how she had got on and how the servants had
treated her, she replied, "The herdsmen and shepherds cast on me
looks of aversion." He said, "O Wife, if you were disliked by
those who go out early in the morning with their flocks and
return late in the evening, what must have been felt towards you
by those with whom you passed the whole day!"
Straws show how the wind blows.
The Peacock and Juno
THE PEACOCK made complaint to Juno that, while the nightingale
pleased every ear with his song, he himself no sooner opened his
mouth than he became a laughingstock to all who heard him. The
Goddess, to console him, said, "But you far excel in beauty and
in size. The splendor of the emerald shines in your neck and you
unfold a tail gorgeous with painted plumage." "But for what
purpose have I," said the bird, "this dumb beauty so long as I am
surpassed in song?' "The lot of each," replied Juno, "has been
assigned by the will of the Fates--to thee, beauty; to the eagle,
strength; to the nightingale, song; to the raven, favorable,
and to the crow, unfavorable auguries. These are all contented
with the endowments allotted to them."
The Hawk and the Nightingale
A NIGHTINGALE, sitting aloft upon an oak and singing according to
his wont, was seen by a Hawk who, being in need of food, swooped
down and seized him. The Nightingale, about to lose his life,
earnestly begged the Hawk to let him go, saying that he was not
big enough to satisfy the hunger of a Hawk who, if he wanted
food, ought to pursue the larger birds. The Hawk, interrupting
him, said: "I should indeed have lost my senses if I should let
go food ready in my hand, for the sake of pursuing birds which
are not yet even within sight."
The Dog, the Cock, and the Fox
A DOG and a Cock being great friends, agreed to travel together.
At nightfall they took shelter in a thick wood. The Cock flying
up, perched himself on the branches of a tree, while the Dog
found a bed beneath in the hollow trunk. When the morning
dawned, the Cock, as usual, crowed very loudly several times. A
Fox heard the sound, and wishing to make a breakfast on him, came
and stood under the branches, saying how earnestly he desired to
make the acquaintance of the owner of so magnificent a voice.
The Cock, suspecting his civilities, said: "Sir, I wish you would
do me the favor of going around to the hollow trunk below me, and
waking my porter, so that he may open the door and let you in."
When the Fox approached the tree, the Dog sprang out and caught
him, and tore him to pieces.
The Wolf and the Goat
A WOLF saw a Goat feeding at the summit of a steep precipice,
where he had no chance of reaching her. He called to her and
earnestly begged her to come lower down, lest she fall by some
mishap; and he added that the meadows lay where he was standing,
and that the herbage was most tender. She replied, "No, my
friend, it is not for the pasture that you invite me, but for
yourself, who are in want of food."
The Lion and the Bull
A LION, greatly desiring to capture a Bull, and yet afraid to
attack him on account of his great size, resorted to a trick to
ensure his destruction. He approached the Bull and said, "I have
slain a fine sheep, my friend; and if you will come home and
partake of him with me, I shall be delighted to have your
company." The Lion said this in the hope that, as the Bull was in
the act of reclining to eat, he might attack him to advantage,
and make his meal on him. The Bull, on approaching the Lion's
den, saw the huge spits and giant caldrons, and no sign whatever
of the sheep, and, without saying a word, quietly took his
departure. The Lion inquired why he went off so abruptly without
a word of salutation to his host, who had not given him any cause
for offense. "I have reasons enough," said the Bull. "I see no
indication whatever of your having slaughtered a sheep, while I
do see very plainly every preparation for your dining on a bull."
The Goat and the Ass
A MAN once kept a Goat and an Ass. The Goat, envying the Ass on
account of his greater abundance of food, said, "How shamefully
you are treated: at one time grinding in the mill, and at another
carrying heavy burdens"; and he further advised him to pretend to
be epileptic and fall into a ditch and so obtain rest. The Ass
listened to his words, and falling into a ditch, was very much
bruised. His master, sending for a leech, asked his advice. He
bade him pour upon the wounds the lungs of a Goat. They at once
killed the Goat, and so healed the Ass.
The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse
A COUNTRY MOUSE invited a Town Mouse, an intimate friend, to pay
him a visit and partake of his country fare. As they were on the
bare plowlands, eating there wheat-stocks and roots pulled up
from the hedgerow, the Town Mouse said to his friend, "You live
here the life of the ants, while in my house is the horn of
plenty. I am surrounded by every luxury, and if you will come
with me, as I wish you would, you shall have an ample share of my
dainties." The Country Mouse was easily persuaded, and returned
to town with his friend. On his arrival, the Town Mouse placed
before him bread, barley, beans, dried figs, honey, raisins, and,
last of all, brought a dainty piece of cheese from a basket. The
Country Mouse, being much delighted at the sight of such good
cheer, expressed his satisfaction in warm terms and lamented his
own hard fate. Just as they were beginning to eat, someone
opened the door, and they both ran off squeaking, as fast as they
could, to a hole so narrow that two could only find room in it by
squeezing. They had scarcely begun their repast again when
someone else entered to take something out of a cupboard,
whereupon the two Mice, more frightened than before, ran away and
hid themselves. At last the Country Mouse, almost famished, said
to his friend: "Although you have prepared for me so dainty a
feast, I must leave you to enjoy it by yourself. It is
surrounded by too many dangers to please me. I prefer my bare
plowlands and roots from the hedgerow, where I can live in
safety, and without fear."
The Wolf, the Fox, and the Ape
A WOLF accused a Fox of theft, but the Fox entirely denied the
charge. An Ape undertook to adjudge the matter between them.
When each had fully stated his case the Ape announced this
sentence: "I do not think you, Wolf, ever lost what you claim;
and I do believe you, Fox, to have stolen what you so stoutly
The dishonest, if they act honestly, get no credit.
The Fly and the Draught-Mule
A FLY sat on the axle-tree of a chariot, and addressing the
Draught-Mule said, "How slow you are! Why do you not go faster?
See if I do not prick your neck with my sting." The Draught-Mule
replied, "I do not heed your threats; I only care for him who
sits above you, and who quickens my pace with his whip, or holds
me back with the reins. Away, therefore, with your insolence,
for I know well when to go fast, and when to go slow."
SOME FISHERMEN were out trawling their nets. Perceiving them to
be very heavy, they danced about for joy and supposed that they
had taken a large catch. When they had dragged the nets to the
shore they found but few fish: the nets were full of sand and
stones, and the men were beyond measure cast downso much at the
disappointment which had befallen them, but because they had
formed such very different expectations. One of their company,
an old man, said, "Let us cease lamenting, my mates, for, as it
seems to me, sorrow is always the twin sister of joy; and it was
only to be looked for that we, who just now were over-rejoiced,
should next have something to make us sad."
The Lion and the Three Bulls
THREE BULLS for a long time pastured together. A Lion lay in
ambush in the hope of making them his prey, but was afraid to
attack them while they kept together. Having at last by guileful
speeches succeeded in separating them, he attacked them without
fear as they fed alone, and feasted on them one by one at his own
Union is strength.
The Fowler and the Viper
A FOWLER, taking his bird-lime and his twigs, went out to catch
birds. Seeing a thrush sitting upon a tree, he wished to take
it, and fitting his twigs to a proper length, watched intently,
having his whole thoughts directed towards the sky. While thus
looking upwards, he unknowingly trod upon a Viper asleep just
before his feet. The Viper, turning about, stung him, and
falling into a swoon, the man said to himself, "Woe is me! that
while I purposed to hunt another, I am myself fallen unawares
into the snares of death."
The Horse and the Ass
A HORSE, proud of his fine trappings, met an Ass on the highway.
The Ass, being heavily laden, moved slowly out of the way.
"Hardly," said the Horse, "can I resist kicking you with my
heels." The Ass held his peace, and made only a silent appeal to
the justice of the gods. Not long afterwards the Horse, having
become broken-winded, was sent by his owner to the farm. The
Ass, seeing him drawing a dungcart, thus derided him: "Where, O
boaster, are now all thy gay trappings, thou who are thyself
reduced to the condition you so lately treated with contempt?'
The Fox and the Mask
A FOX entered the house of an actor and, rummaging through all
his properties, came upon a Mask, an admirable imitation of a
human head. He placed his paws on it and said, "What a beautiful
head! Yet it is of no value, as it entirely lacks brains."
The Geese and the Cranes
THE GEESE and the Cranes were feeding in the same meadow, when a
birdcatcher came to ensnare them in his nets. The Cranes, being
light of wing, fled away at his approach; while the Geese, being
slower of flight and heavier in their bodies, were captured.
The Blind Man and the Whelp
A BLIND MAN was accustomed to distinguishing different animals by
touching them with his hands. The whelp of a Wolf was brought
him, with a request that he would feel it, and say what it was.
He felt it, and being in doubt, said: "I do not quite know
whether it is the cub of a Fox, or the whelp of a Wolf, but this
I know full well. It would not be safe to admit him to the
Evil tendencies are shown in early life.
The Dogs and the Fox
SOME DOGS, finding the skin of a lion, began to tear it in pieces
with their teeth. A Fox, seeing them, said, "If this lion were
alive, you would soon find out that his claws were stronger than
It is easy to kick a man that is down.
The Cobbler Turned Doctor
A COBBLER unable to make a living by his trade and made desperate
by poverty, began to practice medicine in a town in which he was
not known. He sold a drug, pretending that it was an antidote to
all poisons, and obtained a great name for himself by long-winded
puffs and advertisements. When the Cobbler happened to fall sick
himself of a serious illness, the Governor of the town determined
to test his skill. For this purpose he called for a cup, and
while filling it with water, pretended to mix poison with the
Cobbler's antidote, commanding him to drink it on the promise of
a reward. The Cobbler, under the fear of death, confessed that
he had no knowledge of medicine, and was only made famous by the
stupid clamors of the crowd. The Governor then called a public
assembly and addressed the citizens: "Of what folly have you been
guilty? You have not hesitated to entrust your heads to a man,
whom no one could employ to make even the shoes for their feet."
The Wolf and the Horse
A WOLF coming out of a field of oats met a Horse and thus
addressed him: "I would advise you to go into that field. It is
full of fine oats, which I have left untouched for you, as you
are a friend whom I would love to hear enjoying good eating." The
Horse replied, "If oats had been the food of wolves, you would
never have indulged your ears at the cost of your belly."
Men of evil reputation, when they perform a good deed, fail to
get credit for it.
The Brother and the Sister
A FATHER had one son and one daughter, the former remarkable for
his good looks, the latter for her extraordinary ugliness. While
they were playing one day as children, they happened by chance to
look together into a mirror that was placed on their mother's
chair. The boy congratulated himself on his good looks; the girl
grew angry, and could not bear the self-praises of her Brother,
interpreting all he said (and how could she do otherwise?) into
reflection on herself. She ran off to her father. to be avenged
on her Brother, and spitefully accused him of having, as a boy,
made use of that which belonged only to girls. The father
embraced them both, and bestowing his kisses and affection
impartially on each, said, "I wish you both would look into the
mirror every day: you, my son, that you may not spoil your beauty
by evil conduct; and you, my daughter, that you may make up for
your lack of beauty by your virtues."
The Wasps, the Partridges, and the Farmer
THE WASPS and the Partridges, overcome with thirst, came to a
Farmer and besought him to give them some water to drink. They
promised amply to repay him the favor which they asked. The
Partridges declared that they would dig around his vines and make
them produce finer grapes. The Wasps said that they would keep
guard and drive off thieves with their stings. But the Farmer
interrupted them, saying: "I have already two oxen, who, without
making any promises, do all these things. It is surely better
for me to give the water to them than to you."
The Crow and Mercury
A CROW caught in a snare prayed to Apollo to release him, making
a vow to offer some frankincense at his shrine. But when rescued
from his danger, he forgot his promise. Shortly afterwards,
again caught in a snare, he passed by Apollo and made the same
promise to offer frankincense to Mercury. Mercury soon appeared
and said to him, "O thou most base fellow? how can I believe
thee, who hast disowned and wronged thy former patron?'
The North Wind and the Sun
THE NORTH WIND and the Sun disputed as to which was the most
powerful, and agreed that he should be declared the victor who
could first strip a wayfaring man of his clothes. The North Wind
first tried his power and blew with all his might, but the keener
his blasts, the closer the Traveler wrapped his cloak around him,
until at last, resigning all hope of victory, the Wind called
upon the Sun to see what he could do. The Sun suddenly shone out
with all his warmth. The Traveler no sooner felt his genial rays
than he took off one garment after another, and at last, fairly
overcome with heat, undressed and bathed in a stream that lay in
Persuasion is better than Force.
The Two Men Who Were Enemies
TWO MEN, deadly enemies to each other, were sailing in the same
vessel. Determined to keep as far apart as possible, the one
seated himself in the stem, and the other in the prow of the
ship. A violent storm arose, and with the vessel in great danger
of sinking, the one in the stern inquired of the pilot which of
the two ends of the ship would go down first. On his replying
that he supposed it would be the prow, the Man said, "Death would
not be grievous to me, if I could only see my Enemy die before
The Gamecocks and the Partridge
A MAN had two Gamecocks in his poultry-yard. One day by chance
he found a tame Partridge for sale. He purchased it and brought
it home to be reared with his Gamecocks. When the Partridge was
put into the poultry-yard, they struck at it and followed it
about, so that the Partridge became grievously troubled and
supposed that he was thus evilly treated because he was a
stranger. Not long afterwards he saw the Cocks fighting together
and not separating before one had well beaten the other. He then
said to himself, "I shall no longer distress myself at being
struck at by these Gamecocks, when I see that they cannot even
refrain from quarreling with each other."
The Quack Frog
A FROG once upon a time came forth from his home in the marsh and
proclaimed to all the beasts that he was a learned physician,
skilled in the use of drugs and able to heal all diseases. A Fox
asked him, "How can you pretend to prescribe for others, when you
are unable to heal your own lame gait and wrinkled skin?'
The Lion, the Wolf, and the Fox
A LION, growing old, lay sick in his cave. All the beasts came
to visit their king, except the Fox. The Wolf therefore,
thinking that he had a capital opportunity, accused the Fox to
the Lion of not paying any respect to him who had the rule over
them all and of not coming to visit him. At that very moment the
Fox came in and heard these last words of the Wolf. The Lion
roaring out in a rage against him, the Fox sought an opportunity
to defend himself and said, "And who of all those who have come
to you have benefited you so much as I, who have traveled from
place to place in every direction, and have sought and learnt
from the physicians the means of healing you?' The Lion commanded
him immediately to tell him the cure, when he replied, "You must
flay a wolf alive and wrap his skin yet warm around you." The
Wolf was at once taken and flayed; whereon the Fox, turning to
him, said with a smile, "You should have moved your master not to
ill, but to good, will."
The Dog's House
IN THE WINTERTIME, a Dog curled up in as small a space as
possible on account of the cold, determined to make himself a
house. However when the summer returned again, he lay asleep
stretched at his full length and appeared to himself to be of a
great size. Now he considered that it would be neither an easy
nor a necessary work to make himself such a house as would
The Wolf and the Lion
ROAMING BY the mountainside at sundown, a Wolf saw his own shadow
become greatly extended and magnified, and he said to himself,
"Why should I, being of such an immense size and extending nearly
an acre in length, be afraid of the Lion? Ought I not to be
acknowledged as King of all the collected beasts?' While he was
indulging in these proud thoughts, a Lion fell upon him and
killed him. He exclaimed with a too late repentance, "Wretched
me! this overestimation of myself is the cause of my
The Birds, the Beasts, and the Bat
THE BIRDS waged war with the Beasts, and each were by turns the
conquerors. A Bat, fearing the uncertain issues of the fight,
always fought on the side which he felt was the strongest. When
peace was proclaimed, his deceitful conduct was apparent to both
combatants. Therefore being condemned by each for his treachery,
he was driven forth from the light of day, and henceforth
concealed himself in dark hiding-places, flying always alone and
The Spendthrift and the Swallow
A YOUNG MAN, a great spendthrift, had run through all his
patrimony and had but one good cloak left. One day he happened
to see a Swallow, which had appeared before its season, skimming
along a pool and twittering gaily. He supposed that summer had
come, and went and sold his cloak. Not many days later, winter
set in again with renewed frost and cold. When he found the
unfortunate Swallow lifeless on the ground, he said, "Unhappy
bird! what have you done? By thus appearing before the springtime
you have not only killed yourself, but you have wrought my
The Fox and the Lion
A FOX saw a Lion confined in a cage, and standing near him,
bitterly reviled him. The Lion said to the Fox, "It is not thou
who revilest me; but this mischance which has befallen me."
The Owl and the Birds
AN OWL, in her wisdom, counseled the Birds that when the acorn
first began to sprout, to pull it all up out of the ground and
not allow it to grow. She said acorns would produce mistletoe,
from which an irremediable poison, the bird-
lime, would be extracted and by which they would be captured.
The Owl next advised them to pluck up the seed of the flax, which
men had sown, as it was a plant which boded no good to them.
And, lastly, the Owl, seeing an archer approach, predicted that
this man, being on foot, would contrive darts armed with feathers
which would fly faster than the wings of the Birds themselves.
The Birds gave no credence to these warning words, but considered
the Owl to be beside herself and said that she was mad. But
afterwards, finding her words were true, they wondered at her
knowledge and deemed her to be the wisest of birds. Hence it is
that when she appears they look to her as knowing all things,
while she no longer gives them advice, but in solitude laments
their past folly.
The Trumpeter Taken Prisoner
A TRUMPETER, bravely leading on the soldiers, was captured by the
enemy. He cried out to his captors, "Pray spare me, and do not
take my life without cause or without inquiry. I have not slain
a single man of your troop. I have no arms, and carry nothing
but this one brass trumpet." "That is the very reason for which
you should be put to death," they said; "for, while you do not
fight yourself, your trumpet stirs all the others to battle."
The Ass in the Lion's Skin
AN ASS, having put on the Lion's skin, roamed about in the forest
and amused himself by frightening all the foolish animals he met
in his wanderings. At last coming upon a Fox, he tried to
frighten him also, but the Fox no sooner heard the sound of his
voice than he exclaimed, "I might possibly have been frightened
myself, if I had not heard your bray."
The Sparrow and the Hare
A HARE pounced upon by an eagle sobbed very much and uttered
cries like a child. A Sparrow upbraided her and said, "Where now
is thy remarkable swiftness of foot? Why were your feet so slow?"
While the Sparrow was thus speaking, a hawk suddenly seized him
and killed him. The Hare was comforted in her death, and
expiring said, "Ah! you who so lately, when you supposed yourself
safe, exulted over my calamity, have now reason to deplore a
The Flea and the Ox
A FLEA thus questioned an Ox: "What ails you, that being so huge
and strong, you submit to the wrongs you receive from men and
slave for them day by day, while I, being so small a creature,
mercilessly feed on their flesh and drink their blood without
stint?' The Ox replied: "I do not wish to be ungrateful, for I am
loved and well cared for by men, and they often pat my head and
shoulders." "Woe's me!" said the flea; "this very patting which
you like, whenever it happens to me, brings with it my inevitable
The Goods and the Ills
ALL the Goods were once driven out by the Ills from that common
share which they each had in the affairs of mankind; for the Ills
by reason of their numbers had prevailed to possess the earth.
The Goods wafted themselves to heaven and asked for a righteous
vengeance on their persecutors. They entreated Jupiter that they
might no longer be associated with the Ills, as they had nothing
in common and could not live together, but were engaged in
unceasing warfare; and that an indissoluble law might be laid
down for their future protection. Jupiter granted their request
and decreed that henceforth the Ills should visit the earth in
company with each other, but that the Goods should one by one
enter the habitations of men. Hence it arises that Ills abound,
for they come not one by one, but in troops, and by no means
singly: while the Goods proceed from Jupiter, and are given, not
alike to all, but singly, and separately; and one by one to those
who are able to discern them.
The Dove and the Crow
A DOVE shut up in a cage was boasting of the large number of
young ones which she had hatched. A Crow hearing her, said: "My
good friend, cease from this unseasonable boasting. The larger
the number of your family, the greater your cause of sorrow, in
seeing them shut up in this prison-house."
Mercury and the Workmen
A WORKMAN, felling wood by the side of a river, let his axe drop
- by accident into a deep pool. Being thus deprived of the means
of his livelihood, he sat down on the bank and lamented his hard
fate. Mercury appeared and demanded the cause of his tears.
After he told him his misfortune, Mercury plunged into the
stream, and, bringing up a golden axe, inquired if that were the
one he had lost. On his saying that it was not his, Mercury
disappeared beneath the water a second time, returned with a
silver axe in his hand, and again asked the Workman if it were
his. When the Workman said it was not, he dived into the pool
for the third time and brought up the axe that had been lost.
The Workman claimed it and expressed his joy at its recovery.
Mercury, pleased with his honesty, gave him the golden and silver
axes in addition to his own. The Workman, on his return to his
house, related to his companions all that had happened. One of
them at once resolved to try and secure the same good fortune for
himself. He ran to the river and threw his axe on purpose into
the pool at the same place, and sat down on the bank to weep.
Mercury appeared to him just as he hoped he would; and having
learned the cause of his grief, plunged into the stream and
brought up a golden axe, inquiring if he had lost it. The
Workman seized it greedily, and declared that truly it was the
very same axe that he had lost. Mercury, displeased at his
knavery, not only took away the golden axe, but refused to
recover for him the axe he had thrown into the pool.
The Eagle and the Jackdaw
AN EAGLE, flying down from his perch on a lofty rock, seized upon
a lamb and carried him aloft in his talons. A Jackdaw, who
witnessed the capture of the lamb, was stirred with envy and
determined to emulate the strength and flight of the Eagle. He
flew around with a great whir of his wings and settled upon a
large ram, with the intention of carrying him off, but his claws
became entangled in the ram's fleece and he was not able to
release himself, although he fluttered with his feathers as much
as he could. The shepherd, seeing what had happened, ran up and
caught him. He at once clipped the Jackdaw's wings, and taking
him home at night, gave him to his children. On their saying,
"Father, what kind of bird is it?' he replied, "To my certain
knowledge he is a Daw; but he would like you to think an Eagle."
The Fox and the Crane
A FOX invited a Crane to supper and provided nothing for his
entertainment but some soup made of pulse, which was poured out
into a broad flat stone dish. The soup fell out of the long bill
of the Crane at every mouthful, and his vexation at not being
able to eat afforded the Fox much amusement. The Crane, in his
turn, asked the Fox to sup with him, and set before her a flagon
with a long narrow mouth, so that he could easily insert his neck
and enjoy its contents at his leisure. The Fox, unable even to
taste it, met with a fitting requital, after the fashion of her
Jupiter, Neptune, Minerva, and Momus
ACCORDING to an ancient legend, the first man was made by
Jupiter, the first bull by Neptune, and the first house by
Minerva. On the completion of their labors, a dispute arose as
to which had made the most perfect work. They agreed to appoint
Momus as judge, and to abide by his decision. Momus, however,
being very envious of the handicraft of each, found fault with
all. He first blamed the work of Neptune because he had not made
the horns of the bull below his eyes, so he might better see
where to strike. He then condemned the work of Jupiter, because
he had not placed the heart of man on the outside, that everyone
might read the thoughts of the evil disposed and take precautions
against the intended mischief. And, lastly, he inveighed against
Minerva because she had not contrived iron wheels in the
foundation of her house, so its inhabitants might more easily
remove if a neighbor proved unpleasant. Jupiter, indignant at
such inveterate faultfinding, drove him from his office of judge,
and expelled him from the mansions of Olympus.
The Eagle and the Fox
AN EAGLE and a Fox formed an intimate friendship and decided to
live near each other. The Eagle built her nest in the branches
of a tall tree, while the Fox crept into the underwood and there
produced her young. Not long after they had agreed upon this
plan, the Eagle, being in want of provision for her young ones,
swooped down while the Fox was out, seized upon one of the little
cubs, and feasted herself and her brood. The Fox on her return,
discovered what had happened, but was less grieved for the death
of her young than for her inability to avenge them. A just
retribution, however, quickly fell upon the Eagle. While
hovering near an altar, on which some villagers were sacrificing
a goat, she suddenly seized a piece of the flesh, and carried it,
along with a burning cinder, to her nest. A strong breeze soon
fanned the spark into a flame, and the eaglets, as yet unfledged
and helpless, were roasted in their nest and dropped down dead at
the bottom of the tree. There, in the sight of the Eagle, the
Fox gobbled them up.
The Man and the Satyr
A MAN and a Satyr once drank together in token of a bond of
alliance being formed between them. One very cold wintry day, as
they talked, the Man put his fingers to his mouth and blew on
them. When the Satyr asked the reason for this, he told him that
he did it to warm his hands because they were so cold. Later on
in the day they sat down to eat, and the food prepared was quite
scalding. The Man raised one of the dishes a little towards his
mouth and blew in it. When the Satyr again inquired the reason,
he said that he did it to cool the meat, which was too hot. "I
can no longer consider you as a friend," said the Satyr, "a
fellow who with the same breath blows hot and cold."
The Ass and His Purchaser
A MAN wished to purchase an Ass, and agreed with its owner that
he should try out the animal before he bought him. He took the
Ass home and put him in the straw-yard with his other Asses, upon
which the new animal left all the others and at once joined the
one that was most idle and the greatest eater of them all.
Seeing this, the man put a halter on him and led him back to his
owner. On being asked how, in so short a time, he could have
made a trial of him, he answered, "I do not need a trial; I know
that he will be just the same as the one he chose for his
A man is known by the company he keeps.
The Two Bags
EVERY MAN, according to an ancient legend, is born into the world
with two bags suspended from his neck all bag in front full of
his neighbors' faults, and a large bag behind filled with his own
faults. Hence it is that men are quick to see the faults of
others, and yet are often blind to their own failings.
The Stag at the Pool
A STAG overpowered by heat came to a spring to drink. Seeing his
own shadow reflected in the water, he greatly admired the size
and variety of his horns, but felt angry with himself for having
such slender and weak feet. While he was thus contemplating
himself, a Lion appeared at the pool and crouched to spring upon
him. The Stag immediately took to flight, and exerting his
utmost speed, as long as the plain was smooth and open kept
himself easily at a safe distance from the Lion. But entering a
wood he became entangled by his horns, and the Lion quickly came
up to him and caught him. When too late, he thus reproached
himself: "Woe is me! How I have deceived myself! These feet which
would have saved me I despised, and I gloried in these antlers
which have proved my destruction."
What is most truly valuable is often underrated.
The Jackdaw and the Fox
A HALF-FAMISHED JACKDAW seated himself on a fig-tree, which had
produced some fruit entirely out of season, and waited in the
hope that the figs would ripen. A Fox seeing him sitting so long
and learning the reason of his doing so, said to him, "You are
indeed, sir, sadly deceiving yourself; you are indulging a hope
strong enough to cheat you, but which will never reward you with
The Lark Burying Her Father
THE LARK (according to an ancient legend) was created before the
earth itself, and when her father died, as there was no earth,
she could find no place of burial for him. She let him lie
uninterred for five days, and on the sixth day, not knowing what
else to do, she buried him in her own head. Hence she obtained
her crest, which is popularly said to be her father's
Youth's first duty is reverence to parents.
The Gnat and the Bull
A GNAT settled on the horn of a Bull, and sat there a long time.
Just as he was about to fly off, he made a buzzing noise, and
inquired of the Bull if he would like him to go. The Bull
replied, "I did not know you had come, and I shall not miss you
when you go away."
Some men are of more consequence in their own eyes than in the
eyes of their neighbors.
The Bitch and Her Whelps
A BITCH, ready to whelp, earnestly begged a shepherd for a place
where she might litter. When her request was granted, she
besought permission to rear her puppies in the same spot. The
shepherd again consented. But at last the Bitch, protected by
the bodyguard of her Whelps, who had now grown up and were able
to defend themselves, asserted her exclusive right to the place
and would not permit the shepherd to approach.
The Dogs and the Hides
SOME DOGS famished with hunger saw a number of cowhides steeping
in a river. Not being able to reach them, they agreed to drink
up the river, but it happened that they burst themselves with
drinking long before they reached the hides.
Attempt not impossibilities.
The Shepherd and the Sheep
A SHEPHERD driving his Sheep to a wood, saw an oak of unusual
size full of acorns, and spreading his cloak under the branches,
he climbed up into the tree and shook them down. The Sheep
eating the acorns inadvertently frayed and tore the cloak. When
the Shepherd came down and saw what was done, he said, "O you
most ungrateful creatures! You provide wool to make garments for
all other men, but you destroy the clothes of him who feeds you."
The Grasshopper and the Owl
AN OWL, accustomed to feed at night and to sleep during the day,
was greatly disturbed by the noise of a Grasshopper and earnestly
besought her to stop chirping. The Grasshopper refused to
desist, and chirped louder and louder the more the Owl entreated.
When she saw that she could get no redress and that her words
were despised, the Owl attacked the chatterer by a stratagem.
"Since I cannot sleep," she said, "on account of your song which,
believe me, is sweet as the lyre of Apollo, I shall indulge
myself in drinking some nectar which Pallas lately gave me. If
you do not dislike it, come to me and we will drink it together."
The Grasshopper, who was thirsty, and pleased with the praise of
her voice, eagerly flew up. The Owl came forth from her hollow,
seized her, and put her to death.
The Monkey and the Camel
THE BEASTS of the forest gave a splendid entertainment at which
the Monkey stood up and danced. Having vastly delighted the
assembly, he sat down amidst universal applause. The Camel,
envious of the praises bestowed on the Monkey and desiring to
divert to himself the favor of the guests, proposed to stand up
in his turn and dance for their amusement. He moved about in so
utterly ridiculous a manner that the Beasts, in a fit of
indignation, set upon him with clubs and drove him out of the
It is absurd to ape our betters.
The Peasant and the Apple-Tree
A PEASANT had in his garden an Apple-Tree which bore no fruit but
only served as a harbor for the sparrows and grasshoppers. He
resolved to cut it down, and taking his axe in his hand, made a
bold stroke at its roots. The grasshoppers and sparrows
entreated him not to cut down the tree that sheltered them, but
to spare it, and they would sing to him and lighten his labors.
He paid no attention to their request, but gave the tree a second
and a third blow with his axe. When he reached the hollow of the
tree, he found a hive full of honey. Having tasted the
honeycomb, he threw down his axe, and looking on the tree as
sacred, took great care of it.
Self-interest alone moves some men.
The Two Soldiers and the Robber
TWO SOLDIERS traveling together were set upon by a Robber. The
one fled away; the other stood his ground and defended himself
with his stout right hand. The Robber being slain, the timid
companion ran up and drew his sword, and then, throwing back his
traveling cloak said, "I'll at him, and I'll take care he shall
learn whom he has attacked." On this, he who had fought with the
Robber made answer, "I only wish that you had helped me just now,
even if it had been only with those words, for I should have been
the more encouraged, believing them to be true; but now put up
your sword in its sheath and hold your equally useless tongue,
till you can deceive others who do not know you. I, indeed, who
have experienced with what speed you run away, know right well
that no dependence can be placed on your valor."
The Trees Under the Protection of the Gods
THE GODS, according to an ancient legend, made choice of certain
trees to be under their special protection. Jupiter chose the
oak, Venus the myrtle, Apollo the laurel, Cybele the pine, and
Hercules the poplar. Minerva, wondering why they had preferred
trees not yielding fruit, inquired the reason for their choice.
Jupiter replied, "It is lest we should seem to covet the honor
for the fruit." But said Minerva, "Let anyone say what he will
the olive is more dear to me on account of its fruit." Then said
Jupiter, "My daughter, you are rightly called wise; for unless
what we do is useful, the glory of it is vain."
The Mother and the Wolf
A FAMISHED WOLF was prowling about in the morning in search of
food. As he passed the door of a cottage built in the forest, he
heard a Mother say to her child, "Be quiet, or I will throw you
out of the window, and the Wolf shall eat you." The Wolf sat all
day waiting at the door. In the evening he heard the same woman
fondling her child and saying: "You are quiet now, and if the
Wolf should come, we will kill him." The Wolf, hearing these
words, went home, gasping with cold and hunger. When he reached
his den, Mistress Wolf inquired of him why he returned wearied
and supperless, so contrary to his wont. He replied: "Why,
use I gave credence to the words of a woman!"
The Ass and the Horse
AN ASS besought a Horse to spare him a small portion of his feed.
"Yes," said the Horse; "if any remains out of what I am now
eating I will give it you for the sake of my own superior
dignity, and if you will come when I reach my own stall in the
evening, I will give you a little sack full of barley." The Ass
replied, "Thank you. But I can't think that you, who refuse me a
little matter now. will by and by confer on me a greater
Truth and the Traveler
A WAYFARING MAN, traveling in the desert, met a woman standing
alone and terribly dejected. He inquired of her, "Who art thou?"
"My name is Truth," she replied. "And for what cause," he asked,
"have you left the city to dwell alone here in the wilderness?"
She made answer, "Because in former times, falsehood was with
few, but is now with all men."
A MAN committed a murder, and was pursued by the relations of the
man whom he murdered. On his reaching the river Nile he saw a
Lion on its bank and being fearfully afraid, climbed up a tree.
He found a serpent in the upper branches of the tree, and again
being greatly alarmed, he threw himself into the river, where a
crocodile caught him and ate him. Thus the earth, the air, and
the water alike refused shelter to a murderer.
The Lion and the Fox
A FOX entered into partnership with a Lion on the pretense of
becoming his servant. Each undertook his proper duty in
accordance with his own nature and powers. The Fox discovered
and pointed out the prey; the Lion sprang on it and seized it.
The Fox soon became jealous of the Lion carrying off the Lion's
share, and said that he would no longer find out the prey, but
would capture it on his own account. The next day he attempted
to snatch a lamb from the fold, but he himself fell prey to the
huntsmen and hounds.
The Lion and the Eagle
AN EAGLE stayed his flight and entreated a Lion to make an
alliance with him to their mutual advantage. The Lion replied,
"I have no objection, but you must excuse me for requiring you to
find surety for your good faith, for how can I trust anyone as a
friend who is able to fly away from his bargain whenever he
Try before you trust.
The Hen and the Swallow
A HEN finding the eggs of a viper and carefully keeping them
warm, nourished them into life. A Swallow, observing what she
had done, said, "You silly creature! why have you hatched these
vipers which, when they shall have grown, will inflict injury on
all, beginning with yourself?'
The Buffoon and the Countryman
A RICH NOBLEMAN once opened the theaters without charge to the
people, and gave a public notice that he would handsomely reward
any person who invented a new amusement for the occasion.
Various public performers contended for the prize. Among them
came a Buffoon well known among the populace for his jokes, and
said that he had a kind of entertainment which had never been
brought out on any stage before. This report being spread about
made a great stir, and the theater was crowded in every part.
The Buffoon appeared alone upon the platform, without any
apparatus or confederates, and the very sense of expectation
caused an intense silence. He suddenly bent his head towards his
bosom and imitated the squeaking of a little pig so admirably
with his voice that the audience declared he had a porker under
his cloak, and demanded that it should be shaken out. When that
was done and nothing was found, they cheered the actor, and
loaded him with the loudest applause. A Countryman in the crowd,
observing all that has passed, said, "So help me, Hercules, he
shall not beat me at that trick!" and at once proclaimed that he
would do the same thing on the next day, though in a much more
natural way. On the morrow a still larger crowd assembled in the
theater, but now partiality for their favorite actor very
generally prevailed, and the audience came rather to ridicule the
Countryman than to see the spectacle. Both of the performers
appeared on the stage. The Buffoon grunted and squeaked away
first, and obtained, as on the preceding day, the applause and
cheers of the spectators. Next the Countryman commenced, and
pretending that he concealed a little pig beneath his clothes
(which in truth he did, but not suspected by the audience )
contrived to take hold of and to pull his ear causing the pig to
squeak. The Crowd, however, cried out with one consent that the
Buffoon had given a far more exact imitation, and clamored for
the Countryman to be kicked out of the theater. On this the
rustic produced the little pig from his cloak and showed by the
most positive proof the greatness of their mistake. "Look here,"
he said, "this shows what sort of judges you are."
The Crow and the Serpent
A CROW in great want of food saw a Serpent asleep in a sunny
nook, and flying down, greedily seized him. The Serpent, turning
about, bit the Crow with a mortal wound. In the agony of death,
the bird exclaimed: "O unhappy me! who have found in that which I
deemed a happy windfall the source of my destruction."
The Hunter and the Horseman
A CERTAIN HUNTER, having snared a hare, placed it upon his
shoulders and set out homewards. On his way he met a man on
horseback who begged the hare of him, under the pretense of
purchasing it. However, when the Horseman got the hare, he rode
off as fast as he could. The Hunter ran after him, as if he was
sure of overtaking him, but the Horseman increased more and more
the distance between them. The Hunter, sorely against his will,
called out to him and said, "Get along with you! for I will now
make you a present of the hare."
The King's Son and the Painted Lion
A KING, whose only son was fond of martial exercises, had a dream
in which he was warned that his son would be killed by a lion.
Afraid the dream should prove true, he built for his son a
pleasant palace and adorned its walls for his amusement with all
kinds of life-sized animals, among which was the picture of a
lion. When the young Prince saw this, his grief at being thus
confined burst out afresh, and, standing near the lion, he said:
"O you most detestable of animals! through a lying dream of my
father's, which he saw in his sleep, I am shut up on your account
in this palace as if I had been a girl: what shall I now do to
you?' With these words he stretched out his hands toward a
thorn-tree, meaning to cut a stick from its branches so that he
might beat the lion. But one of the tree's prickles pierced his
finger and caused great pain and inflammation, so that the young
Prince fell down in a fainting fit. A violent fever suddenly set
in, from which he died not many days later.
We had better bear our troubles bravely than try to escape them.
The Cat and Venus
A CAT fell in love with a handsome young man, and entreated Venus
to change her into the form of a woman. Venus consented to her
request and transformed her into a beautiful damsel, so that the
youth saw her and loved her, and took her home as his bride.
While the two were reclining in their chamber, Venus wishing to
discover if the Cat in her change of shape had also altered her
habits of life, let down a mouse in the middle of the room. The
Cat, quite forgetting her present condition, started up from the
couch and pursued the mouse, wishing to eat it. Venus was much
disappointed and again caused her to return to her former shape.
Nature exceeds nurture.
The She-Goats and Their Beards
THE SHE-GOATS having obtained a beard by request to Jupiter, the
He-Goats were sorely displeased and made complaint that the
females equaled them in dignity. "Allow them," said Jupiter, "to
enjoy an empty honor and to assume the badge of your nobler sex,
so long as they are not your equals in strength or courage."
It matters little if those who are inferior to us in merit should
be like us in outside appearances.
The Camel and the Arab
AN ARAB CAMEL-DRIVER, after completing the loading of his Camel,
asked him which he would like best, to go up hill or down. The
poor beast replied, not without a touch of reason: "Why do you
ask me? Is it that the level way through the desert is closed?"
The Miller, His Son, and Their Ass
A MILLER and his son were driving their Ass to a neighboring fair
to sell him. They had not gone far when they met with a troop of
women collected round a well, talking and laughing. "Look
there," cried one of them, "did you ever see such fellows, to be
trudging along the road on foot when they might ride?' The old
man hearing this, quickly made his son mount the Ass, and
continued to walk along merrily by his side. Presently they came
up to a group of old men in earnest debate. "There," said one of
them, "it proves what I was a-saying. What respect is shown to
old age in these days? Do you see that idle lad riding while his
old father has to walk? Get down, you young scapegrace, and let
the old man rest his weary limbs." Upon this the old man made his
son dismount, and got up himself. In this manner they had not
proceeded far when they met a company of women and children:
"Why, you lazy old fellow," cried several tongues at once, "how
can you ride upon the beast, while that poor little lad there can
hardly keep pace by the side of you?' The good-natured Miller
immediately took up his son behind him. They had now almost
reached the town. "Pray, honest friend," said a citizen, "is
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