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  • The Wolf and the Lamb

WOLF, meeting with a Lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to

lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea to justify to the

Lamb the Wolf's right to eat him. He thus addressed him: "Sirrah,

last year you grossly insulted me." "Indeed," bleated the Lamb in

a mournful tone of voice, "I was not then born." Then said the

Wolf, "You feed in my pasture." "No, good sir," replied the Lamb,

"I have not yet tasted grass." Again said the Wolf, "You drink of

my well." "No," exclaimed the Lamb, "I never yet drank water, for

as yet my mother's milk is both food and drink to me." Upon which

the Wolf seized him and ate him up, saying, "Well! I won't remain

supperless, even though you refute every one of my imputations."

The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny.

  • The Bat and the Weasels

A BAT who fell upon the ground and was caught by a Weasel

pleaded to be spared his life. The Weasel refused, saying that he

was by nature the enemy of all birds. The Bat assured him that he

was not a bird, but a mouse, and thus was set free. Shortly

afterwards the Bat again fell to the ground and was caught by

another Weasel, whom he likewise entreated not to eat him. The

Weasel said that he had a special hostility to mice. The Bat

assured him that he was not a mouse, but a bat, and thus a second

time escaped.

It is wise to turn circumstances to good account.

  • The Ass and the Grasshopper

AN ASS having heard some Grasshoppers chirping, was highly

enchanted; and, desiring to possess the same charms of melody,

demanded what sort of food they lived on to give them such

beautiful voices. They replied, "The dew." The Ass resolved that

he would live only upon dew, and in a short time died of hunger.

  • The Charcoal-Burner and the Fuller

A CHARCOAL-BURNER carried on his trade in his own house. One

day he met a friend, a Fuller, and entreated him to come and live

with him, saying that they should be far better neighbors and

that their housekeeping expenses would be lessened. The Fuller

replied, "The arrangement is impossible as far as I am concerned,

for whatever I should whiten, you would immediately blacken again

with your charcoal."

Like will draw like.

  • The Father and His Sons

A FATHER had a family of sons who were perpetually quarreling

among themselves. When he failed to heal their disputes by his

exhortations, he determined to give them a practical illustration

of the evils of disunion; and for this purpose he one day told

them to bring him a bundle of sticks. When they had done so, he

placed the faggot into the hands of each of them in succession,

and ordered them to break it in pieces. They tried with all their

strength, and were not able to do it. He next opened the faggot,

took the sticks separately, one by one, and again put them into

his sons' hands, upon which they broke them easily. He then

addressed them in these words: "My sons, if you are of one mind,

and unite to assist each other, you will be as this faggot,

uninjured by all the attempts of your enemies; but if you are

divided among yourselves, you will be broken as easily as these


  • The Boy Hunting Locusts

A BOY was hunting for locusts. He had caught a goodly number,

when he saw a Scorpion, and mistaking him for a locust, reached

out his hand to take him. The Scorpion, showing his sting, said:

If you had but touched me, my friend, you would have lost me, and

all your locusts too!"

  • The Cock and the Jewel

A COCK, scratching for food for himself and his hens, found a

precious stone and exclaimed: "If your owner had found thee, and

not I, he would have taken thee up, and have set thee in thy

first estate; but I have found thee for no purpose. I would

rather have one barleycorn than all the jewels in the world."

  • The Kingdom of the Lion

THE BEASTS of the field and forest had a Lion as their king. He

was neither wrathful, cruel, nor tyrannical, but just and gentle

as a king could be. During his reign he made a royal proclamation

for a general assembly of all the birds and beasts, and drew up

conditions for a universal league, in which the Wolf and the

Lamb, the Panther and the Kid, the Tiger and the Stag, the Dog

and the Hare, should live together in perfect peace and amity.

The Hare said, "Oh, how I have longed to see this day, in which

the weak shall take their place with impunity by the side of the

strong." And after the Hare said this, he ran for his life.

  • The Wolf and the Crane

A WOLF who had a bone stuck in his throat hired a Crane, for a

large sum, to put her head into his mouth and draw out the bone.

When the Crane had extracted the bone and demanded the promised

payment, the Wolf, grinning and grinding his teeth, exclaimed:

"Why, you have surely already had a sufficient recompense, in

having been permitted to draw out your head in safety from the

mouth and jaws of a wolf."

In serving the wicked, expect no reward, and be thankful if

you escape injury for your pains.

  • The Fisherman Piping

A FISHERMAN skilled in music took his flute and his nets to

the seashore. Standing on a projecting rock, he played several

tunes in the hope that the fish, attracted by his melody, would

of their own accord dance into his net, which he had placed

below. At last, having long waited in vain, he laid aside his

flute, and casting his net into the sea, made an excellent haul

of fish. When he saw them leaping about in the net upon the rock

he said: "O you most perverse creatures, when I piped you would

not dance, but now that I have ceased you do so merrily."

  • Hercules and the Wagoner

A CARTER was driving a wagon along a country lane, when the

wheels sank down deep into a rut. The rustic driver, stupefied

and aghast, stood looking at the wagon, and did nothing but utter

loud cries to Hercules to come and help him. Hercules, it is

said, appeared and thus addressed him: "Put your shoulders to the

wheels, my man. Goad on your bullocks, and never more pray to me

for help, until you have done your best to help yourself, or

depend upon it you will henceforth pray in vain."

Self-help is the best help.

  • The Ants and the Grasshopper

THE ANTS were spending a fine winter's day drying grain collected

in the summertime. A Grasshopper, perishing with famine, passed

by and earnestly begged for a little food. The Ants inquired of

him, "Why did you not treasure up food during the summer?' He

replied, "I had not leisure enough. I passed the days in

singing." They then said in derision: "If you were foolish enough

to sing all the summer, you must dance supperless to bed in the


  • The Traveler and His Dog

A TRAVELER about to set out on a journey saw his Dog stand at the

door stretching himself. He asked him sharply: "Why do you stand

there gaping? Everything is ready but you, so come with me

instantly." The Dog, wagging his tail, replied: "O, master! I am

quite ready; it is you for whom I am waiting."

The loiterer often blames delay on his more active friend.

  • The Dog and the Shadow

A DOG, crossing a bridge over a stream with a piece of flesh

in his mouth, saw his own shadow in the water and took it for

that of another Dog, with a piece of meat double his own in size.

He immediately let go of his own, and fiercely attacked the other

Dog to get his larger piece from him. He thus lost both: that

which he grasped at in the water, because it was a shadow; and

his own, because the stream swept it away.

  • The Mole and His Mother

A MOLE, a creature blind from birth, once said to his Mother:

"I am sure than I can see, Mother!" In the desire to prove to him

his mistake, his Mother placed before him a few grains of

frankincense, and asked, "What is it?' The young Mole said, "It

is a pebble." His Mother exclaimed: "My son, I am afraid that you

are not only blind, but that you have lost your sense of


  • The Herdsman and the Lost Bull

A HERDSMAN tending his flock in a forest lost a Bull-calf from

the fold. After a long and fruitless search, he made a vow that,

if he could only discover the thief who had stolen the Calf, he

would offer a lamb in sacrifice to Hermes, Pan, and the Guardian

Deities of the forest. Not long afterwards, as he ascended a

small hillock, he saw at its foot a Lion feeding on the Calf.

Terrified at the sight, he lifted his eyes and his hands to

heaven, and said: "Just now I vowed to offer a lamb to the

Guardian Deities of the forest if I could only find out who had

robbed me; but now that I have discovered the thief, I would

willingly add a full-grown Bull to the Calf I have lost, if I may

only secure my own escape from him in safety."

  • The Hare and the Tortoise

A HARE one day ridiculed the short feet and slow pace of the

Tortoise, who replied, laughing: "Though you be swift as the

wind, I will beat you in a race." The Hare, believing her

assertion to be simply impossible, assented to the proposal; and

they agreed that the Fox should choose the course and fix the

goal. On the day appointed for the race the two started together.

The Tortoise never for a moment stopped, but went on with a slow

but steady pace straight to the end of the course. The Hare,

lying down by the wayside, fell fast asleep. At last waking up,

and moving as fast as he could, he saw the Tortoise had reached

the goal, and was comfortably dozing after her fatigue.

Slow but steady wins the race.

  • The Pomegranate, Apple-Tree, and Bramble

THE POMEGRANATE and Apple-Tree disputed as to which was the most

beautiful. When their strife was at its height, a Bramble from

the neighboring hedge lifted up its voice, and said in a boastful

tone: "Pray, my dear friends, in my presence at least cease from

such vain disputings."

  • The Farmer and the Stork

A FARMER placed nets on his newly-sown plowlands and caught a

number of Cranes, which came to pick up his seed. With them he

trapped a Stork that had fractured his leg in the net and was

earnestly beseeching the Farmer to spare his life. "Pray save me,

Master," he said, "and let me go free this once. My broken limb

should excite your pity. Besides, I am no Crane, I am a Stork, a

bird of excellent character; and see how I love and slave for my

father and mother. Look too, at my feathers-they are not the

least like those of a Crane." The Farmer laughed aloud and said,

"It may be all as you say, I only know this: I have taken you

with these robbers, the Cranes, and you must die in their


Birds of a feather flock together.

  • The Farmer and the Snake

ONE WINTER a Farmer found a Snake stiff and frozen with cold.

He had compassion on it, and taking it up, placed it in his

bosom. The Snake was quickly revived by the warmth, and resuming

its natural instincts, bit its benefactor, inflicting on him a

mortal wound. "Oh," cried the Farmer with his last breath, "I am

rightly served for pitying a scoundrel."

The greatest kindness will not bind the ungrateful.

  • The Fawn and His Mother

A YOUNG FAWN once said to his Mother, "You are larger than a dog,

and swifter, and more used to running, and you have your horns as

a defense; why, then, O Mother! do the hounds frighten you so?"

She smiled, and said: "I know full well, my son, that all you say

is true. I have the advantages you mention, but when I hear even

the bark of a single dog I feel ready to faint, and fly away as

fast as I can."

No arguments will give courage to the coward.

  • The Bear and the Fox

A BEAR boasted very much of his philanthropy, saying that of

all animals he was the most tender in his regard for man, for he

had such respect for him that he would not even touch his dead

body. A Fox hearing these words said with a smile to the Bear,

"Oh! that you would eat the dead and not the living."

  • The Swallow and the Crow

THE SWALLOW and the Crow had a contention about their plumage.

The Crow put an end to the dispute by saying, "Your feathers are

all very well in the spring, but mine protect me against the


Fair weather friends are not worth much.

  • The Mountain in Labor

A MOUNTAIN was once greatly agitated. Loud groans and noises were

heard, and crowds of people came from all parts to see what was

the matter. While they were assembled in anxious expectation of

some terrible calamity, out came a Mouse.

Don't make much ado about nothing.

  • The Ass, the Fox, and the Lion

THE ASS and the Fox, having entered into partnership together

for their mutual protection, went out into the forest to hunt.

They had not proceeded far when they met a Lion. The Fox, seeing

imminent danger, approached the Lion and promised to contrive for

him the capture of the Ass if the Lion would pledge his word not

to harm the Fox. Then, upon assuring the Ass that he would not be

injured, the Fox led him to a deep pit and arranged that he

should fall into it. The Lion, seeing that the Ass was secured,

immediately clutched the Fox, and attacked the Ass at his


  • The Tortoise and the Eagle

A TORTOISE, lazily basking in the sun, complained to the

sea-birds of her hard fate, that no one would teach her to fly.

An Eagle, hovering near, heard her lamentation and demanded what

reward she would give him if he would take her aloft and float

her in the air. "I will give you," she said, "all the riches of

the Red Sea." "I will teach you to fly then," said the Eagle; and

taking her up in his talons he carried her almost to the clouds

suddenly he let her go, and she fell on a lofty mountain, dashing

her shell to pieces. The Tortoise exclaimed in the moment of

death: "I have deserved my present fate; for what had I to do

with wings and clouds, who can with difficulty move about on the


If men had all they wished, they would be often ruined.

  • The Flies and the Honey-Pot

A NUMBER of Flies were attracted to a jar of honey which had been

overturned in a housekeeper's room, and placing their feet in it,

ate greedily. Their feet, however, became so smeared with the

honey that they could not use their wings, nor release

themselves, and were suffocated. Just as they were expiring, they

exclaimed, "O foolish creatures that we are, for the sake of a

little pleasure we have destroyed ourselves."

Pleasure bought with pains, hurts.

  • The Man and the Lion

A MAN and a Lion traveled together through the forest. They

soon began to boast of their respective superiority to each other

in strength and prowess. As they were disputing, they passed a

statue carved in stone, which represented "a Lion strangled by a

Man." The traveler pointed to it and said: "See there! How strong

we are, and how we prevail over even the king of beasts." The

Lion replied: "This statue was made by one of you men. If we

Lions knew how to erect statues, you would see the Man placed

under the paw of the Lion."

One story is good, till another is told.

  • The Farmer and the Cranes

SOME CRANES made their feeding grounds on some plowlands newly

sown with wheat. For a long time the Farmer, brandishing an empty

sling, chased them away by the terror he inspired; but when the

birds found that the sling was only swung in the air, they ceased

to take any notice of it and would not move. The Farmer, on

seeing this, charged his sling with stones, and killed a great

number. The remaining birds at once forsook his fields, crying to

each other, "It is time for us to be off to Liliput: for this man

is no longer content to scare us, but begins to show us in

earnest what he can do."

If words suffice not, blows must follow.

  • The Dog in the Manger

A DOG lay in a manger, and by his growling and snapping

prevented the oxen from eating the hay which had been placed for

them. "What a selfish Dog!" said one of them to his companions;

"he cannot eat the hay himself, and yet refuses to allow those to

eat who can."

  • The Fox and the Goat

A FOX one day fell into a deep well and could find no means of

escape. A Goat, overcome with thirst, came to the same well, and

seeing the Fox, inquired if the water was good. Concealing his

sad plight under a merry guise, the Fox indulged in a lavish

praise of the water, saying it was excellent beyond measure, and

encouraging him to descend. The Goat, mindful only of his thirst,

thoughtlessly jumped down, but just as he drank, the Fox informed

him of the difficulty they were both in and suggested a scheme

for their common escape. "If," said he, "you will place your

forefeet upon the wall and bend your head, I will run up your

back and escape, and will help you out afterwards." The Goat

readily assented and the Fox leaped upon his back. Steadying

himself with the Goat's horns, he safely reached the mouth of the

well and made off as fast as he could. When the Goat upbraided

him for breaking his promise, he turned around and cried out,

"You foolish old fellow! If you had as many brains in your head

as you have hairs in your beard, you would never have gone down

before you had inspected the way up, nor have exposed yourself to

dangers from which you had no means of escape."

Look before you leap.

  • The Bear and the Two Travelers

TWO MEN were traveling together, when a Bear suddenly met them on

their path. One of them climbed up quickly into a tree and

concealed himself in the branches. The other, seeing that he must

be attacked, fell flat on the ground, and when the Bear came up

and felt him with his snout, and smelt him all over, he held his

breath, and feigned the appearance of death as much as he could.

The Bear soon left him, for it is said he will not touch a dead

body. When he was quite gone, the other Traveler descended from

the tree, and jocularly inquired of his friend what it was the

Bear had whispered in his ear. "He gave me this advice," his

companion replied. "Never travel with a friend who deserts you at

the approach of danger."

Misfortune tests the sincerity of friends.

  • The Oxen and the Axle-Trees

A HEAVY WAGON was being dragged along a country lane by a team

of Oxen. The Axle-trees groaned and creaked terribly; whereupon

the Oxen, turning round, thus addressed the wheels: "Hullo there!

why do you make so much noise? We bear all the labor, and we, not

you, ought to cry out."

Those who suffer most cry out the least.

  • The Thirsty Pigeon

A PIGEON, oppressed by excessive thirst, saw a goblet of water

painted on a signboard. Not supposing it to be only a picture,

she flew towards it with a loud whir and unwittingly dashed

against the signboard, jarring herself terribly. Having broken

her wings by the blow, she fell to the ground, and was caught by

one of the bystanders.

Zeal should not outrun discretion.

  • The Raven and the Swan

A RAVEN saw a Swan and desired to secure for himself the same

beautiful plumage. Supposing that the Swan's splendid white color

arose from his washing in the water in which he swam, the Raven

left the altars in the neighborhood where he picked up his

living, and took up residence in the lakes and pools. But

cleansing his feathers as often as he would, he could not change

their color, while through want of food he perished.

Change of habit cannot alter Nature.

  • The Goat and the Goatherd

A GOATHERD had sought to bring back a stray goat to his flock. He

whistled and sounded his horn in vain; the straggler paid no

attention to the summons. At last the Goatherd threw a stone, and

breaking its horn, begged the Goat not to tell his master. The

Goat replied, "Why, you silly fellow, the horn will speak though

I be silent."

Do not attempt to hide things which cannot be hid.

  • The Miser

A MISER sold all that he had and bought a lump of gold, which

he buried in a hole in the ground by the side of an old wall and

went to look at daily. One of his workmen observed his frequent

visits to the spot and decided to watch his movements. He soon

discovered the secret of the hidden treasure, and digging down,

came to the lump of gold, and stole it. The Miser, on his next

visit, found the hole empty and began to tear his hair and to

make loud lamentations. A neighbor, seeing him overcome with

grief and learning the cause, said, "Pray do not grieve so; but

go and take a stone, and place it in the hole, and fancy that the

gold is still lying there. It will do you quite the same service;

for when the gold was there, you had it not, as you did not make

the slightest use of it."

  • The Sick Lion

A LION, unable from old age and infirmities to provide himself

with food by force, resolved to do so by artifice. He returned to

his den, and lying down there, pretended to be sick, taking care

that his sickness should be publicly known. The beasts expressed

their sorrow, and came one by one to his den, where the Lion

devoured them. After many of the beasts had thus disappeared, the

Fox discovered the trick and presenting himself to the Lion,

stood on the outside of the cave, at a respectful distance, and

asked him how he was. "I am very middling," replied the Lion,

"but why do you stand without? Pray enter within to talk with

me." "No, thank you," said the Fox. "I notice that there are many

prints of feet entering your cave, but I see no trace of any


He is wise who is warned by the misfortunes of others.

  • The Horse and Groom

A GROOM used to spend whole days in currycombing and rubbing down

his Horse, but at the same time stole his oats and sold them for

his own profit. "Alas!" said the Horse, "if you really wish me to

be in good condition, you should groom me less, and feed me


  • The Ass and the Lapdog

A MAN had an Ass, and a Maltese Lapdog, a very great beauty. The

Ass was left in a stable and had plenty of oats and hay to eat,

just as any other Ass would. The Lapdog knew many tricks and was

a great favorite with his master, who often fondled him and

seldom went out to dine without bringing him home some tidbit to

eat. The Ass, on the contrary, had much work to do in grinding

the corn-mill and in carrying wood from the forest or burdens

from the farm. He often lamented his own hard fate and contrasted

it with the luxury and idleness of the Lapdog, till at last one

day he broke his cords and halter, and galloped into his master's

house, kicking up his heels without measure, and frisking and

fawning as well as he could. He next tried to jump about his

master as he had seen the Lapdog do, but he broke the table and

smashed all the dishes upon it to atoms. He then attempted to

lick his master, and jumped upon his back. The servants, hearing

the strange hubbub and perceiving the danger of their master,

quickly relieved him, and drove out the Ass to his stable with

kicks and clubs and cuffs. The Ass, as he returned to his stall

beaten nearly to death, thus lamented: "I have brought it all on

myself! Why could I not have been contented to labor with my

companions, and not wish to be idle all the day like that useless

little Lapdog!"

  • The Lioness

A CONTROVERSY prevailed among the beasts of the field as to which

of the animals deserved the most credit for producing the

greatest number of whelps at a birth. They rushed clamorously

into the presence of the Lioness and demanded of her the

settlement of the dispute. "And you," they said, "how many sons

have you at a birth?' The Lioness laughed at them, and said:

"Why! I have only one; but that one is altogether a thoroughbred


The value is in the worth, not in the number.

  • The Boasting Traveler

A MAN who had traveled in foreign lands boasted very much, on

returning to his own country, of the many wonderful and heroic

feats he had performed in the different places he had visited.

Among other things, he said that when he was at Rhodes he had

leaped to such a distance that no man of his day could leap

anywhere near him as to that, there were in Rhodes many persons

who saw him do it and whom he could call as witnesses. One of the

bystanders interrupted him, saying: "Now, my good man, if this be

all true there is no need of witnesses. Suppose this to be

Rhodes, and leap for us."

  • The Cat and the Cock

A CAT caught a Cock, and pondered how he might find a

reasonable excuse for eating him. He accused him of being a

nuisance to men by crowing in the nighttime and not permitting

them to sleep. The Cock defended himself by saying that he did

this for the benefit of men, that they might rise in time for

their labors. The Cat replied, "Although you abound in specious

apologies, I shall not remain supperless"; and he made a meal of


  • The Piglet, the Sheep, and the Goat

A YOUNG PIG was shut up in a fold-yard with a Goat and a

Sheep. On one occasion when the shepherd laid hold of him, he

grunted and squeaked and resisted violently. The Sheep and the

Goat complained of his distressing cries, saying, "He often

handles us, and we do not cry out." To this the Pig replied,

"Your handling and mine are very different things. He catches you

only for your wool, or your milk, but he lays hold on me for my

very life."

  • The Boy and the Filberts

A BOY put his hand into a pitcher full of filberts. He grasped

as many as he could possibly hold, but when he tried to pull out

his hand, he was prevented from doing so by the neck of the

pitcher. Unwilling to lose his filberts, and yet unable to

withdraw his hand, he burst into tears and bitterly lamented his

disappointment. A bystander said to him, "Be satisfied with half

the quantity, and you will readily draw out your hand."

Do not attempt too much at once.

  • The Lion in Love

A LION demanded the daughter of a woodcutter in marriage. The

Father, unwilling to grant, and yet afraid to refuse his request,

hit upon this expedient to rid himself of his importunities. He

expressed his willingness to accept the Lion as the suitor of his

daughter on one condition: that he should allow him to extract

his teeth, and cut off his claws, as his daughter was fearfully

afraid of both. The Lion cheerfully assented to the proposal. But

when the toothless, clawless Lion returned to repeat his request,

the Woodman, no longer afraid, set upon him with his club, and

drove him away into the forest.

  • The Laborer and the Snake

A SNAKE, having made his hole close to the porch of a cottage,

inflicted a mortal bite on the Cottager's infant son. Grieving

over his loss, the Father resolved to kill the Snake. The next

day, when it came out of its hole for food, he took up his axe,

but by swinging too hastily, missed its head and cut off only the

end of its tail. After some time the Cottager, afraid that the

Snake would bite him also, endeavored to make peace, and placed

some bread and salt in the hole. The Snake, slightly hissing,

said: "There can henceforth be no peace between us; for whenever

I see you I shall remember the loss of my tail, and whenever you

see me you will be thinking of the death of your son."

No one truly forgets injuries in the presence of him who

caused the injury.

  • The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

ONCE UPON A TIME a Wolf resolved to disguise his appearance in

order to secure food more easily. Encased in the skin of a sheep,

he pastured with the flock deceiving the shepherd by his costume.

In the evening he was shut up by the shepherd in the fold; the

gate was closed, and the entrance made thoroughly secure. But the

shepherd, returning to the fold during the night to obtain meat

for the next day, mistakenly caught up the Wolf instead of a

sheep, and killed him instantly.

Harm seek. harm find.

  • The Ass and the Mule

A MULETEER set forth on a journey, driving before him an Ass and

a Mule, both well laden. The Ass, as long as he traveled along

the plain, carried his load with ease, but when he began to

ascend the steep path of the mountain, felt his load to be more

than he could bear. He entreated his companion to relieve him of

a small portion, that he might carry home the rest; but the Mule

paid no attention to the request. The Ass shortly afterwards fell

down dead under his burden. Not knowing what else to do in so

wild a region, the Muleteer placed upon the Mule the load carried

by the Ass in addition to his own, and at the top of all placed

the hide of the Ass, after he had skinned him. The Mule, groaning

beneath his heavy burden, said to himself: "I am treated

according to my deserts. If I had only been willing to assist the

Ass a little in his need, I should not now be bearing, together

with his burden, himself as well."

  • The Frogs Asking for a King

THE FROGS, grieved at having no established Ruler, sent

ambassadors to Jupiter entreating for a King. Perceiving their

simplicity, he cast down a huge log into the lake. The Frogs were

terrified at the splash occasioned by its fall and hid themselves

in the depths of the pool. But as soon as they realized that the

huge log was motionless, they swam again to the top of the water,

dismissed their fears, climbed up, and began squatting on it in

contempt. After some time they began to think themselves

ill-treated in the appointment of so inert a Ruler, and sent a

second deputation to Jupiter to pray that he would set over them

another sovereign. He then gave them an Eel to govern them. When

the Frogs discovered his easy good nature, they sent yet a third

time to Jupiter to beg him to choose for them still another King.

Jupiter, displeased with all their complaints, sent a Heron, who

preyed upon the Frogs day by day till there were none left to

croak upon the lake.

  • The Boys and the Frogs

SOME BOYS, playing near a pond, saw a number of Frogs in the

water and began to pelt them with stones. They killed several of

them, when one of the Frogs, lifting his head out of the water,

cried out: "Pray stop, my boys: what is sport to you, is death to


  • The Sick Stag

A SICK STAG lay down in a quiet corner of its pasture-ground. His

companions came in great numbers to inquire after his health, and

each one helped himself to a share of the food which had been

placed for his use; so that he died, not from his sickness, but

from the failure of the means of living.

Evil companions bring more hurt than profit.

  • The Salt Merchant and His Ass

A PEDDLER drove his Ass to the seashore to buy salt. His road

home lay across a stream into which his Ass, making a false step,

fell by accident and rose up again with his load considerably

lighter, as the water melted the sack. The Peddler retraced his

steps and refilled his panniers with a larger quantity of salt

than before. When he came again to the stream, the Ass fell down

on purpose in the same spot, and, regaining his feet with the

weight of his load much diminished, brayed triumphantly as if he

had obtained what he desired. The Peddler saw through his trick

and drove him for the third time to the coast, where he bought a

cargo of sponges instead of salt. The Ass, again playing the

fool, fell down on purpose when he reached the stream, but the

sponges became swollen with water, greatly increasing his load.

And thus his trick recoiled on him, for he now carried on his

back a double burden.

  • The Oxen and the Butchers

THE OXEN once upon a time sought to destroy the Butchers, who

practiced a trade destructive to their race. They assembled on a

certain day to carry out their purpose, and sharpened their horns

for the contest. But one of them who was exceedingly old (for

many a field had he plowed) thus spoke: "These Butchers, it is

true, slaughter us, but they do so with skillful hands, and with

no unnecessary pain. If we get rid of them, we shall fall into

the hands of unskillful operators, and thus suffer a double

death: for you may be assured, that though all the Butchers

should perish, yet will men never want beef."

Do not be in a hurry to change one evil for another.

  • The Lion, the Mouse, and the Fox

A LION, fatigued by the heat of a summer's day, fell fast asleep

in his den. A Mouse ran over his mane and ears and woke him from

his slumbers. He rose up and shook himself in great wrath, and

searched every corner of his den to find the Mouse. A Fox seeing

him said: "A fine Lion you are, to be frightened of a Mouse."

"'Tis not the Mouse I fear," said the Lion; "I resent his

familiarity and ill-breeding."

Little liberties are great offenses.

  • The Vain Jackdaw

JUPITER DETERMINED, it is said, to create a sovereign over the

birds, and made proclamation that on a certain day they should

all present themselves before him, when he would himself choose

the most beautiful among them to be king. The Jackdaw, knowing

his own ugliness, searched through the woods and fields, and

collected the feathers which had fallen from the wings of his

companions, and stuck them in all parts of his body, hoping

thereby to make himself the most beautiful of all. When the

appointed day arrived, and the birds had assembled before

Jupiter, the Jackdaw also made his appearance in his many

feathered finery. But when Jupiter proposed to make him king

because of the beauty of his plumage, the birds indignantly

protested, and each plucked from him his own feathers, leaving

the Jackdaw nothing but a Jackdaw.

  • The Goatherd and the Wild Goats

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


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 Tail

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


  • 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 might.

  • 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 please nobody.

  • The Astronomer

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


  • 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 Physician

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 the Eagle

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, handsomest, and

most beautiful of all."

  • The Widow and Her Little Maidens

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 the Wolf

A SHEPHERD-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 we are."

  • 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


Time and place often give the advantage to the weak over the strong.

  • The Ox and the Frog

AN OX drinking at a pool trod on a brood of young frogs and

crushed one of them to death. The Mother coming up, and missing

one of her sons, inquired of his brothers what had become of him.

"He is dead, dear Mother; for just now a very huge beast with

four great feet came to the pool and crushed him to death with

his cloven heel." The Frog, puffing herself out, inquired, "if

the beast was as big as that in size." "Cease, Mother, to puff

yourself out," said her son, "and do not be angry; for you would,

I assure you, sooner burst than successfully imitate the hugeness

of that monster."

  • The Shepherd and the Wolf

A SHEPHERD once found the whelp of a Wolf and brought it up, and

after a while taught it to steal lambs from the neighboring

flocks. The Wolf, having shown himself an apt pupil, said to the

Shepherd, "Since you have taught me to steal, you must keep a

sharp lookout, or you will lose some of your own flock."

  • The Father and His Two Daughters

A MAN had two daughters, the one married to a gardener, and the

other to a tile-maker. After a time he went to the daughter who

had married the gardener, and inquired how she was and how all

things went with her. She said, "All things are prospering with

me, and I have only one wish, that there may be a heavy fall of

rain, in order that the plants may be well watered." Not long

after, he went to the daughter who had married the tilemaker, and

likewise inquired of her how she fared; she replied, "I want for

nothing, and have only one wish, that the dry weather may

continue, and the sun shine hot and bright, so that the bricks

might be dried." He said to her, "If your sister wishes for rain,

and you for dry weather, with which of the two am I to join my


  • The Farmer and His Sons

A FATHER, being on the point of death, wished to be sure that his

sons would give the same attention to his farm as he himself had

given it. He called them to his bedside and said, "My sons, there

is a great treasure hid in one of my vineyards." The sons, after

his death, took their spades and mattocks and carefully dug over

every portion of their land. They found no treasure, but the

vines repaid their labor by an extraordinary and superabundant


  • The Crab and Its Mother

A CRAB said to her son, "Why do you walk so one-sided, my child?

It is far more becoming to go straight forward." The young Crab

replied: "Quite true, dear Mother; and if you will show me the

straight way, I will promise to walk in it." The Mother tried in

vain, and submitted without remonstrance to the reproof of her


Example is more powerful than precept.

  • The Heifer and the Ox

A HEIFER saw an Ox hard at work harnessed to a plow, and

tormented him with reflections on his unhappy fate in being

compelled to labor. Shortly afterwards, at the harvest festival,

the owner released the Ox from his yoke, but bound the Heifer

with cords and led him away to the altar to be slain in honor of

the occasion. The Ox saw what was being done, and said with a

smile to the Heifer: "For this you were allowed to live in

idleness, because you were presently to be sacrificed."

  • The Swallow, the Serpent, and the Court of


A SWALLOW, returning from abroad and especially fond of

dwelling with men, built herself a nest in the wall of a Court of

Justice and there hatched seven young birds. A Serpent gliding

past the nest from its hole in the wall ate up the young

unfledged nestlings. The Swallow, finding her nest empty,

lamented greatly and exclaimed: "Woe to me a stranger! that in

this place where all others' rights are protected, I alone should

suffer wrong."

  • The Thief and His Mother

A BOY stole a lesson-book from one of his schoolfellows and

took it home to his Mother. She not only abstained from beating

him, but encouraged him. He next time stole a cloak and brought

it to her, and she again commended him. The Youth, advanced to

adulthood, proceeded to steal things of still greater value. At

last he was caught in the very act, and having his hands bound

behind him, was led away to the place of public execution. His

Mother followed in the crowd and violently beat her breast in

sorrow, whereupon the young man said, "I wish to say something to

my Mother in her ear." She came close to him, and he quickly

seized her ear with his teeth and bit it off. The Mother

upbraided him as an unnatural child, whereon he replied, "Ah! if

you had beaten me when I first stole and brought to you that

lesson-book, I should not have come to this, nor have been thus

led to a disgraceful death."

  • The Old Man and Death

AN OLD MAN was employed in cutting wood in the forest, and, in

carrying the faggots to the city for sale one day, became very

wearied with his long journey. He sat down by the wayside, and

throwing down his load, besought "Death" to come. "Death"

immediately appeared in answer to his summons and asked for what

reason he had called him. The Old Man hurriedly replied, "That,

lifting up the load, you may place it again upon my


  • The Fir-Tree and the Bramble

A FIR-TREE said boastingly to the Bramble, "You are useful for

nothing at all; while I am everywhere used for roofs and houses."

The Bramble answered: 'You poor creature, if you would only call

to mind the axes and saws which are about to hew you down, you

would have reason to wish that you had grown up a Bramble, not a


Better poverty without care, than riches with.

  • The Mouse, the Frog, and the Hawk

A MOUSE who always lived on the land, by an unlucky chance formed

an intimate acquaintance with a Frog, who lived for the most part

in the water. The Frog, one day intent on mischief, bound the

foot of the Mouse tightly to his own. Thus joined together, the

Frog first of all led his friend the Mouse to the meadow where

they were accustomed to find their food. After this, he gradually

led him towards the pool in which he lived, until reaching the

very brink, he suddenly jumped in, dragging the Mouse with him.

The Frog enjoyed the water amazingly, and swam croaking about, as

if he had done a good deed. The unhappy Mouse was soon suffocated

by the water, and his dead body floated about on the surface,

tied to the foot of the Frog. A Hawk observed it, and, pouncing

upon it with his talons, carried it aloft. The Frog, being still

fastened to the leg of the Mouse, was also carried off a

prisoner, and was eaten by the Hawk.

Harm hatch, harm catch.

  • The Man Bitten by a Dog

A MAN who had been bitten by a Dog went about in quest of

someone who might heal him. A friend, meeting him and learning

what he wanted, said, "If you would be cured, take a piece of

bread, and dip it in the blood from your wound, and go and give

it to the Dog that bit you." The Man who had been bitten laughed

at this advice and said, "Why? If I should do so, it would be as

if I should beg every Dog in the town to bite me."

Benefits bestowed upon the evil-disposed increase their means of injuring you.

  • The Two Pots

A RIVER carried down in its stream two Pots, one made of

earthenware and the other of brass. The Earthen Pot said to the

Brass Pot, "Pray keep at a distance and do not come near me, for

if you touch me ever so slightly, I shall be broken in pieces,

and besides, I by no means wish to come near you."

Equals make the best friends.

  • The Wolf and the Sheep

A WOLF, sorely wounded and bitten by dogs, lay sick and maimed

in his lair. Being in want of food, he called to a Sheep who was

passing, and asked him to fetch some water from a stream flowing

close beside him. "For," he said, "if you will bring me drink, I

will find means to provide myself with meat." "Yes," said the

Sheep, "if I should bring you the draught, you would doubtless

make me provide the meat also."

Hypocritical speeches are easily seen through.

  • The Aethiop

THE PURCHASER of a black servant was persuaded that the color of

his skin arose from dirt contracted through the neglect of his

former masters. On bringing him home he resorted to every means

of cleaning, and subjected the man to incessant scrubbings. The

servant caught a severe cold, but he never changed his color or


What's bred in the bone will stick to the flesh.

  • The Fisherman and His Nets

A FISHERMAN, engaged in his calling, made a very successful

cast and captured a great haul of fish. He managed by a skillful

handling of his net to retain all the large fish and to draw them

to the shore; but he could not prevent the smaller fish from

falling back through the meshes of the net into the sea.

  • The Huntsman and the Fisherman

A HUNTSMAN, returning with his dogs from the field, fell in by

chance with a Fisherman who was bringing home a basket well laden

with fish. The Huntsman wished to have the fish, and their owner

experienced an equal longing for the contents of the game-bag.

They quickly agreed to exchange the produce of their day's sport.

Each was so well pleased with his bargain that they made for some

time the same exchange day after day. Finally a neighbor said to

them, "If you go on in this way, you will soon destroy by

frequent use the pleasure of your exchange, and each will again

wish to retain the fruits of his own sport."

Abstain and enjoy.

  • The Old Woman and the Wine-Jar

AN OLD WOMAN found an empty jar which had lately been full of

prime old wine and which still retained the fragrant smell of its

former contents. She greedily placed it several times to her

nose, and drawing it backwards and forwards said, "O most

delicious! How nice must the Wine itself have been, when it

leaves behind in the very vessel which contained it so sweet a


The memory of a good deed lives.

  • The Fox and the Crow

A CROW having stolen a bit of meat, perched in a tree and held

it in her beak. A Fox, seeing this, longed to possess the meat

himself, and by a wily stratagem succeeded. "How handsome is the

Crow," he exclaimed, in the beauty of her shape and in the

fairness of her complexion! Oh, if her voice were only equal to

her beauty, she would deservedly be considered the Queen of

Birds!" This he said deceitfully; but the Crow, anxious to refute

the reflection cast upon her voice, set up a loud caw and dropped

the flesh. The Fox quickly picked it up, and thus addressed the

Crow: "My good Crow, your voice is right enough, but your wit is


  • The Two Dogs

A MAN had two dogs: a Hound, trained to assist him in his

sports, and a Housedog, taught to watch the house. When he

returned home after a good day's sport, he always gave the

Housedog a large share of his spoil. The Hound, feeling much

aggrieved at this, reproached his companion, saying, "It is very

hard to have all this labor, while you, who do not assist in the

chase, luxuriate on the fruits of my exertions." The Housedog

replied, "Do not blame me, my friend, but find fault with the

master, who has not taught me to labor, but to depend for

subsistence on the labor of others."

Children are not to be blamed for the faults of their parents.

  • The Stag in the Ox-Stall

A STAG, roundly chased by the hounds and blinded by fear to the

danger he was running into, took shelter in a farmyard and hid

himself in a shed among the oxen. An Ox gave him this kindly

warning: "O unhappy creature! why should you thus, of your own

accord, incur destruction and trust yourself in the house of your

enemy?' The Stag replied: "Only allow me, friend, to stay where I

am, and I will undertake to find some favorable opportunity of

effecting my escape." At the approach of the evening the herdsman

came to feed his cattle, but did not see the Stag; and even the

farm-bailiff with several laborers passed through the shed and

failed to notice him. The Stag, congratulating himself on his

safety, began to express his sincere thanks to the Oxen who had

kindly helped him in the hour of need. One of them again answered

him: "We indeed wish you well, but the danger is not over. There

is one other yet to pass through the shed, who has as it were a

hundred eyes, and until he has come and gone, your life is still

in peril." At that moment the master himself entered, and having

had to complain that his oxen had not been properly fed, he went

up to their racks and cried out: "Why is there such a scarcity of

fodder? There is not half enough straw for them to lie on. Those

lazy fellows have not even swept the cobwebs away." While he thus

examined everything in turn, he spied the tips of the antlers of

the Stag peeping out of the straw. Then summoning his laborers,

he ordered that the Stag should be seized and killed.

  • The Hawk, the Kite, and the Pigeons

THE PIGEONS, terrified by the appearance of a Kite, called upon

the Hawk to defend them. He at once consented. When they had

admitted him into the cote, they found that he made more havoc

and slew a larger number of them in one day than the Kite could

pounce upon in a whole year.

Avoid a remedy that is worse than the disease.

  • The Widow and the Sheep

A CERTAIN poor widow had one solitary Sheep. At shearing time,

wishing to take his fleece and to avoid expense, she sheared him

herself, but used the shears so unskillfully that with the fleece

she sheared the flesh. The Sheep, writhing with pain, said, "Why

do you hurt me so, Mistress? What weight can my blood add to the

wool? If you want my flesh, there is the butcher, who will kill

me in an instant; but if you want my fleece and wool, there is

the shearer, who will shear and not hurt me."

The least outlay is not always the greatest gain.

  • The Wild Ass and the Lion

A WILD ASS and a Lion entered into an alliance so that they might

capture the beasts of the forest with greater ease. The Lion

agreed to assist the Wild Ass with his strength, while the Wild

Ass gave the Lion the benefit of his greater speed. When they had

taken as many beasts as their necessities required, the Lion

undertook to distribute the prey, and for this purpose divided it

into three shares. "I will take the first share," he said,

"because I am King: and the second share, as a partner with you

in the chase: and the third share (believe me) will be a source

of great evil to you, unless you willingly resign it to me, and

set off as fast as you can."

Might makes right.

  • The Eagle and the Arrow

AN EAGLE sat on a lofty rock, watching the movements of a Hare

whom he sought to make his prey. An archer, who saw the Eagle

from a place of concealment, took an accurate aim and wounded him

mortally. The Eagle gave one look at the arrow that had entered

his heart and saw in that single glance that its feathers had

been furnished by himself. "It is a double grief to me," he

exclaimed, "that I should perish by an arrow feathered from my

own wings."

  • The Sick Kite

A KITE, sick unto death, said to his mother: "O Mother! do not

mourn, but at once invoke the gods that my life may be

prolonged." She replied, "Alas! my son, which of the gods do you

think will pity you? Is there one whom you have not outraged by

filching from their very altars a part of the sacrifice offered

up to them?'

We must make friends in prosperity if we would have their help in adversity.

  • The Lion and the Dolphin

A LION roaming by the seashore saw a Dolphin lift up its head out

of the waves, and suggested that they contract an alliance,

saying that of all the animals they ought to be the best friends,

since the one was the king of beasts on the earth, and the other

was the sovereign ruler of all the inhabitants of the ocean. The

Dolphin gladly consented to this request. Not long afterwards the

Lion had a combat with a wild bull, and called on the Dolphin to

help him. The Dolphin, though quite willing to give him

assistance, was unable to do so, as he could not by any means

reach the land. The Lion abused him as a traitor. The Dolphin

replied, "Nay, my friend, blame not me, but Nature, which, while

giving me the sovereignty of the sea, has quite denied me the

power of living upon the land."

  • The Lion and the Boar

ON A SUMMER DAY, when the great heat induced a general thirst

among the beasts, a Lion and a Boar came at the same moment to a

small well to drink. They fiercely disputed which of them should

drink first, and were soon engaged in the agonies of a mortal

combat. When they stopped suddenly to catch their breath for a

fiercer renewal of the fight, they saw some Vultures waiting in

the distance to feast on the one that should fall first. They at

once made up their quarrel, saying, "It is better for us to make

friends, than to become the food of Crows or Vultures."

  • The One-Eyed Doe

A DOE blind in one eye was accustomed to graze as near to the

edge of the cliff as she possibly could, in the hope of securing

her greater safety. She turned her sound eye towards the land

that she might get the earliest tidings of the approach of hunter

or hound, and her injured eye towards the sea, from whence she

entertained no anticipation of danger. Some boatmen sailing by

saw her, and taking a successful aim, mortally wounded her.

Yielding up her last breath, she gasped forth this lament: "O

wretched creature that I am! to take such precaution against the

land, and after all to find this seashore, to which I had come

for safety, so much more perilous."

  • The Shepherd and the Sea

A SHEPHERD, keeping watch over his sheep near the shore, saw the

Sea very calm and smooth, and longed to make a voyage with a view

to commerce. He sold all his flock, invested it in a cargo of

dates, and set sail. But a very great tempest came on, and the

ship being in danger of sinking, he threw all his merchandise

overboard, and barely escaped with his life in the empty ship.

Not long afterwards when someone passed by and observed the

unruffled calm of the Sea, he interrupted him and said, "It is

again in want of dates, and therefore looks quiet."

  • The Ass, the Cock, and the Lion

AN ASS and a Cock were in a straw-yard together when a Lion,

desperate from hunger, approached the spot. He was about to

spring upon the Ass, when the Cock (to the sound of whose voice

the Lion, it is said, has a singular aversion) crowed loudly, and

the Lion fled away as fast as he could. The Ass, observing his

trepidation at the mere crowing of a Cock summoned courage to

attack him, and galloped after him for that purpose. He had run

no long distance, when the Lion, turning about, seized him and

tore him to pieces.

False confidence often leads into danger.

  • The Mice and the Weasels

THE WEASELS and the Mice waged a perpetual war with each

other, in which much blood was shed. The Weasels were always the

victors. The Mice thought that the cause of their frequent

defeats was that they had no leaders set apart from the general

army to command them, and that they were exposed to dangers from

lack of discipline. They therefore chose as leaders Mice that

were most renowned for their family descent, strength, and

counsel, as well as those most noted for their courage in the

fight, so that they might be better marshaled in battle array and

formed into troops, regiments, and battalions. When all this was

done, and the army disciplined, and the herald Mouse had duly

proclaimed war by challenging the Weasels, the newly chosen

generals bound their heads with straws, that they might be more

conspicuous to all their troops. Scarcely had the battle begun,

when a great rout overwhelmed the Mice, who scampered off as fast

as they could to their holes. The generals, not being able to get

in on account of the ornaments on their heads, were all captured

and eaten by the Weasels.

The more honor the more danger.

  • The Mice in Council

THE MICE summoned a council to decide how they might best devise

means of warning themselves of the approach of their great enemy

the Cat. Among the many plans suggested, the one that found most

favor was the proposal to tie a bell to the neck of the Cat, so

that the Mice, being warned by the sound of the tinkling, might

run away and hide themselves in their holes at his approach. But

when the Mice further debated who among them should thus "bell

the Cat," there was no one found to do it.

  • The Wolf and the Housedog

A WOLF, meeting a big well-fed Mastiff with a wooden collar about

his neck asked him who it was that fed him so well and yet

compelled him to drag that heavy log about wherever he went. "The

master," he replied. Then said the Wolf: "May no friend of mine

ever be in such a plight; for the weight of this chain is enough

to spoil the appetite."

  • The Rivers and the Sea

THE RIVERS joined together to complain to the Sea, saying, "Why

is it that when we flow into your tides so potable and sweet, you

work in us such a change, and make us salty and unfit to drink?"

The Sea, perceiving that they intended to throw the blame on him,

said, "Pray cease to flow into me, and then you will not be made


  • The Playful Ass

AN ASS climbed up to the roof of a building, and frisking about

there, broke in the tiling. The owner went up after him and

quickly drove him down, beating him severely with a thick wooden

cudgel. The Ass said, "Why, I saw the Monkey do this very thing

yesterday, and you all laughed heartily, as if it afforded you

very great amusement."

  • The Three Tradesmen

A GREAT CITY was besieged, and its inhabitants were called

together to consider the best means of protecting it from the

enemy. A Bricklayer earnestly recommended bricks as affording the

best material for an effective resistance. A Carpenter, with

equal enthusiasm, proposed timber as a preferable method of

defense. Upon which a Currier stood up and said, "Sirs, I differ

from you altogether: there is no material for resistance equal to

a covering of hides; and nothing so good as leather."

Every man for himself.

  • The Master and His Dogs

A CERTAIN MAN, detained by a storm in his country house, first

of all killed his sheep, and then his goats, for the maintenance

of his household. The storm still continuing, he was obliged to

slaughter his yoke oxen for food. On seeing this, his Dogs took

counsel together, and said, "It is time for us to be off, for if

the master spare not his oxen, who work for his gain, how can we

expect him to spare us?'

He is not to be trusted as a friend who mistreats his own family.

  • The Wolf and the Shepherds

A WOLF, passing by, saw some Shepherds in a hut eating a haunch

of mutton for their dinner. Approaching them, he said, "What a

clamor you would raise if I were to do as you are doing!"

  • The Dolphins, the Whales, and the Sprat

THE DOLPHINS and Whales waged a fierce war with each other. When

the battle was at its height, a Sprat lifted its head out of the

waves and said that he would reconcile their differences if they

would accept him as an umpire. One of the Dolphins replied, "We

would far rather be destroyed in our battle with each other than

admit any interference from you in our affairs."

  • The Ass Carrying the Image

AN ASS once carried through the streets of a city a famous wooden

Image, to be placed in one of its Temples. As he passed along,

the crowd made lowly prostration before the Image. The Ass,

thinking that they bowed their heads in token of respect for

himself, bristled up with pride, gave himself airs, and refused

to move another step. The driver, seeing him thus stop, laid his

whip lustily about his shoulders and said, "O you perverse

dull-head! it is not yet come to this, that men pay worship to an


They are not wise who give to themselves the credit due to others.

  • The Two Travelers and the Axe

TWO MEN were journeying together. One of them picked up an axe

that lay upon the path, and said, "I have found an axe." "Nay, my

friend," replied the other, "do not say 'I,' but 'We' have found

an axe." They had not gone far before they saw the owner of the

axe pursuing them, and he who had picked up the axe said, "We are

undone." "Nay," replied the other, "keep to your first mode of

speech, my friend; what you thought right then, think right now.

Say 'I,' not 'We' are undone."

He who shares the danger ought to share the prize.

  • The Old Lion

A LION, worn out with years and powerless from disease, lay on

the ground at the point of death. A Boar rushed upon him, and

avenged with a stroke of his tusks a long-remembered injury.

Shortly afterwards the Bull with his horns gored him as if he

were an enemy. When the Ass saw that the huge beast could be

assailed with impunity, he let drive at his forehead with his

heels. The expiring Lion said, "I have reluctantly brooked the

insults of the brave, but to be compelled to endure such

treatment from thee, a disgrace to Nature, is indeed to die a

double death."

  • The Old Hound

A HOUND, who in the days of his youth and strength had never

yielded to any beast of the forest, encountered in his old age a

boar in the chase. He seized him boldly by the ear, but could not

retain his hold because of the decay of his teeth, so that the

boar escaped. His master, quickly coming up, was very much

disappointed, and fiercely abused the dog. The Hound looked up

and said, "It was not my fault. master: my spirit was as good as

ever, but I could not help my infirmities. I rather deserve to be

praised for what I have been, than to be blamed for what I am."

  • The Bee and Jupiter

A BEE from Mount Hymettus, the queen of the hive, ascended to

Olympus to present Jupiter some honey fresh from her combs.

Jupiter, delighted with the offering of honey, promised to give

whatever she should ask. She therefore besought him, saying,

"Give me, I pray thee, a sting, that if any mortal shall approach

to take my honey, I may kill him." Jupiter was much displeased,

for he loved the race of man, but could not refuse the request

because of his promise. He thus answered the Bee: "You shall have

your request, but it will be at the peril of your own life. For

if you use your sting, it shall remain in the wound you make, and

then you will die from the loss of it."

Evil wishes, like chickens, come home to roost.

  • The Milk-Woman and Her Pail

A FARMER'S daughter was carrying her Pail of milk from the

field to the farmhouse, when she fell a-musing. "The money for

which this milk will be sold, will buy at least three hundred

eggs. The eggs, allowing for all mishaps, will produce two

hundred and fifty chickens. The chickens will become ready for

the market when poultry will fetch the highest price, so that by

the end of the year I shall have money enough from my share to

buy a new gown. In this dress I will go to the Christmas parties,

where all the young fellows will propose to me, but I will toss

my head and refuse them every one." At this moment she tossed her

head in unison with her thoughts, when down fell the milk pail to

the ground, and all her imaginary schemes perished in a


  • The Seaside Travelers

SOME TRAVELERS, journeying along the seashore, climbed to the

summit of a tall cliff, and looking over the sea, saw in the

distance what they thought was a large ship. They waited in the

hope of seeing it enter the harbor, but as the object on which

they looked was driven nearer to shore by the wind, they found

that it could at the most be a small boat, and not a ship. When

however it reached the beach, they discovered that it was only a

large faggot of sticks, and one of them said to his companions,

"We have waited for no purpose, for after all there is nothing to

see but a load of wood."

Our mere anticipations of life outrun its realities.

  • The Brazier and His Dog

A BRAZIER had a little Dog, which was a great favorite with his

master, and his constant companion. While he hammered away at his

metals the Dog slept; but when, on the other hand, he went to

dinner and began to eat, the Dog woke up and wagged his tail, as

if he would ask for a share of his meal. His master one day,

pretending to be angry and shaking his stick at him, said, "You

wretched little sluggard! what shall I do to you? While I am

hammering on the anvil, you sleep on the mat; and when I begin to

eat after my toil, you wake up and wag your tail for food. Do you

not know that labor is the source of every blessing, and that

none but those who work are entitled to eat?'

  • The Ass and His Shadow

A TRAVELER hired an Ass to convey him to a distant place. The day

being intensely hot, and the sun shining in its strength, the

Traveler stopped to rest, and sought shelter from the heat under

the Shadow of the Ass. As this afforded only protection for one,

and as the Traveler and the owner of the Ass both claimed it, a

violent dispute arose between them as to which of them had the

right to the Shadow. The owner maintained that he had let the Ass

only, and not his Shadow. The Traveler asserted that he had, with

the hire of the Ass, hired his Shadow also. The quarrel proceeded

from words to blows, and while the men fought, the Ass galloped


In quarreling about the shadow we often lose the substance.

  • The Ass and His Masters

AN ASS, belonging to an herb-seller who gave him too little

food and too much work made a petition to Jupiter to be released

from his present service and provided with another master.

Jupiter, after warning him that he would repent his request,

caused him to be sold to a tile-maker. Shortly afterwards,

finding that he had heavier loads to carry and harder work in the

brick-field, he petitioned for another change of master. Jupiter,

telling him that it would be the last time that he could grant

his request, ordained that he be sold to a tanner. The Ass found

that he had fallen into worse hands, and noting his master's

occupation, said, groaning: "It would have been better for me to

have been either starved by the one, or to have been overworked

by the other of my former masters, than to have been bought by my

present owner, who will even after I am dead tan my hide, and

make me useful to him."

  • The Oak and the Reeds

A VERY LARGE OAK was uprooted by the wind and thrown across a

stream. It fell among some Reeds, which it thus addressed: "I

wonder how you, who are so light and weak, are not entirely

crushed by these strong winds." They replied, "You fight and

contend with the wind, and consequently you are destroyed; while

we on the contrary bend before the least breath of air, and

therefore remain unbroken, and escape."

Stoop to conquer.

  • The Fisherman and the Little Fish

A FISHERMAN who lived on the produce of his nets, one day caught

a single small Fish as the result of his day's labor. The Fish,

panting convulsively, thus entreated for his life: "O Sir, what

good can I be to you, and how little am I worth? I am not yet

come to my full size. Pray spare my life, and put me back into

the sea. I shall soon become a large fish fit for the tables of

the rich, and then you can catch me again, and make a handsome

profit of me." The Fisherman replied, "I should indeed be a very

simple fellow if, for the chance of a greater uncertain profit, I

were to forego my present certain gain."

  • The Hunter and the Woodman

A HUNTER, not very bold, was searching for the tracks of a Lion.

He asked a man felling oaks in the forest if he had seen any

marks of his footsteps or knew where his lair was. "I will," said

the man, "at once show you the Lion himself." The Hunter, turning

very pale and chattering with his teeth from fear, replied, "No,

thank you. I did not ask that; it is his track only I am in

search of, not the Lion himself."

The hero is brave in deeds as well as words.

  • The Wild Boar and the Fox

A WILD BOAR stood under a tree and rubbed his tusks against

the trunk. A Fox passing by asked him why he thus sharpened his

teeth when there was no danger threatening from either huntsman

or hound. He replied, "I do it advisedly; for it would never do

to have to sharpen my weapons just at the time I ought to be

using them."

  • The Lion in a Farmyard

A LION entered a farmyard. The Farmer, wishing to catch him,

shut the gate. When the Lion found that he could not escape, he

flew upon the sheep and killed them, and then attacked the oxen.

The Farmer, beginning to be alarmed for his own safety, opened

the gate and released the Lion. On his departure the Farmer

grievously lamented the destruction of his sheep and oxen, but

his wife, who had been a spectator to all that took place, said,

"On my word, you are rightly served, for how could you for a

moment think of shutting up a Lion along with you in your

farmyard when you know that you shake in your shoes if you only

hear his roar at a distance?'

  • Mercury and the Sculptor

MERCURY ONCE DETERMINED to learn in what esteem he was held

among mortals. For this purpose he assumed the character of a man

and visited in this disguise a Sculptor's studio having looked at

various statues, he demanded the price of two figures of Jupiter

and Juno. When the sum at which they were valued was named, he

pointed to a figure of himself, saying to the Sculptor, "You will

certainly want much more for this, as it is the statue of the

Messenger of the Gods, and author of all your gain." The Sculptor

replied, "Well, if you will buy these, I'll fling you that into

the bargain."

  • The Swan and the Goose

A CERTAIN rich man bought in the market a Goose and a Swan. He

fed the one for his table and kept the other for the sake of its

song. When the time came for killing the Goose, the cook went to

get him at night, when it was dark, and he was not able to

distinguish one bird from the other. By mistake he caught the

Swan instead of the Goose. The Swan, threatened with death, burst

forth into song and thus made himself known by his voice, and

preserved his life by his melody.

  • The Swollen Fox

A VERY HUNGRY FOX, seeing some bread and meat left by

shepherds in the hollow of an oak, crept into the hole and made a

hearty meal. When he finished, he was so full that he was not

able to get out, and began to groan and lament his fate. Another

Fox passing by heard his cries, and coming up, inquired the cause

of his complaining. On learning what had happened, he said to

him, "Ah, you will have to remain there, my friend, until you

become such as you were when you crept in, and then you will

easily get out."

  • The Fox and the Woodcutter

A FOX, running before the hounds, came across a Woodcutter

felling an oak and begged him to show him a safe hiding-place.

The Woodcutter advised him to take shelter in his own hut, so the

Fox crept in and hid himself in a corner. The huntsman soon came

up with his hounds and inquired of the Woodcutter if he had seen

the Fox. He declared that he had not seen him, and yet pointed,

all the time he was speaking, to the hut where the Fox lay

hidden. The huntsman took no notice of the signs, but believing

his word, hastened forward in the chase. As soon as they were

well away, the Fox departed without taking any notice of the

Woodcutter: whereon he called to him and reproached him, saying,

"You ungrateful fellow, you owe your life to me, and yet you

leave me without a word of thanks." The Fox replied, "Indeed, I

should have thanked you fervently if your deeds had been as good

as your words, and if your hands had not been traitors to your


  • The Birdcatcher, the Partridge, and the Cock

A BIRDCATCHER was about to sit down to a dinner of herbs when

a friend unexpectedly came in. The bird-trap was quite empty, as

he had caught nothing, and he had to kill a pied Partridge, which

he had tamed for a decoy. The bird entreated earnestly for his

life: "What would you do without me when next you spread your

nets? Who would chirp you to sleep, or call for you the covey of

answering birds?' The Birdcatcher spared his life, and determined

to pick out a fine young Cock just attaining to his comb. But the

Cock expostulated in piteous tones from his perch: "If you kill

me, who will announce to you the appearance of the dawn? Who will

wake you to your daily tasks or tell you when it is time to visit

the bird-trap in the morning?' He replied, "What you say is true.

You are a capital bird at telling the time of day. But my friend

and I must have our dinners."

Necessity knows no law.

  • The Monkey and the Fishermen

A MONKEY perched upon a lofty tree saw some Fishermen casting

their nets into a river, and narrowly watched their proceedings.

The Fishermen after a while gave up fishing, and on going home to

dinner left their nets upon the bank. The Monkey, who is the most

imitative of animals, descended from the treetop and endeavored

to do as they had done. Having handled the net, he threw it into

the river, but became tangled in the meshes and drowned. With his

last breath he said to himself, "I am rightly served; for what

business had I who had never handled a net to try and catch


  • The Flea and the Wrestler

A FLEA settled upon the bare foot of a Wrestler and bit him,

causing the man to call loudly upon Hercules for help. When the

Flea a second time hopped upon his foot, he groaned and said, "O

Hercules! if you will not help me against a Flea, how can I hope

for your assistance against greater antagonists?'

  • The Two Frogs

TWO FROGS dwelt in the same pool. When the pool dried up under

the summer's heat, they left it and set out together for another

home. As they went along they chanced to pass a deep well, amply

supplied with water, and when they saw it, one of the Frogs said

to the other, "Let us descend and make our abode in this well: it

will furnish us with shelter and food." The other replied with

greater caution, "But suppose the water should fail us. How can

we get out again from so great a depth?'

Do nothing without a regard to the consequences.

  • The Cat and the Mice

A CERTAIN HOUSE was overrun with Mice. A Cat, discovering

this, made her way into it and began to catch and eat them one by

one. Fearing for their lives, the Mice kept themselves close in

their holes. The Cat was no longer able to get at them and

perceived that she must tempt them forth by some device. For this

purpose she jumped upon a peg, and suspending herself from it,

pretended to be dead. One of the Mice, peeping stealthily out,

saw her and said, "Ah, my good madam, even though you should turn

into a meal-bag, we will not come near you."

  • The Lion, the Bear, and the Fox

A LION and a Bear seized a Kid at the same moment, and fought

fiercely for its possession. When they had fearfully lacerated

each other and were faint from the long combat, they lay down

exhausted with fatigue. A Fox, who had gone round them at a

distance several times, saw them both stretched on the ground

with the Kid lying untouched in the middle. He ran in between

them, and seizing the Kid scampered off as fast as he could. The

Lion and the Bear saw him, but not being able to get up, said,

"Woe be to us, that we should have fought and belabored ourselves

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 mischief."

  • 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 distress.

  • 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 audience.

  • 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?'

  • The Lamp

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

be relit"

  • 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


Men often bear little grievances with less courage than they do large misfortunes.

  • 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 the sea?'

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 present blessings.

  • 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.

  • The Camel

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 distrust him.

  • 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


  • 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.

  • The Mule

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


  • 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

it aloft.

  • 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 wheels.

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."

  • The Walnut-Tree

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


  • 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."

  • The Prophet

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


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


  • 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

very slowly."

  • 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


  • 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 deny."

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."

  • The Fishermen

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 your teeth."

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


  • The North Wind and the SunĀ 

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

his path. Persuasion is better than Force.

  • The Two Men Who Were EnemiesĀ 

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

accommodate him.

  • 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

at night.

  • 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

destruction also."

  • 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


  • 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 similar


  • 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 destruction."

  • 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


  • 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

own hospitality.

  • 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,

forsooth! 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."

  • The Manslayer

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 that Ass your own?' "Yes,"

replied the old man. "O, one would not have thought so," said the

other, "by the way you load him. Why, you two fellows are better

able to carry the poor beast than he you." "Anything to please

you," said the old man; "we can but try." So, alighting with his

son, they tied the legs of the Ass together and with the help of

a pole endeavored to carry him on their shoulders over a bridge

near the entrance to the town. This entertaining sight brought

the people in crowds to laugh at it, till the Ass, not liking the

noise nor the strange handling that he was subject to, broke the

cords that bound him and, tumbling off the pole, fell into the

river. Upon this, the old man, vexed and ashamed, made the best

of his way home again, convinced that by endeavoring to please

everybody he had pleased nobody, and lost his Ass in the bargain.

  • The Crow and the Sheep

A TROUBLESOME CROW seated herself on the back of a Sheep. The

Sheep, much against his will, carried her backward and forward

for a long time, and at last said, "If you had treated a dog in

this way, you would have had your deserts from his sharp teeth."

To this the Crow replied, "I despise the weak and yield to the

strong. I know whom I may bully and whom I must flatter; and I

thus prolong my life to a good old age."

  • The Fox and the Bramble

A FOX was mounting a hedge when he lost his footing and caught

hold of a Bramble to save himself. Having pricked and grievously

tom the soles of his feet, he accused the Bramble because, when

he had fled to her for assistance, she had used him worse than

the hedge itself. The Bramble, interrupting him, said, "But you

really must have been out of your senses to fasten yourself on

me, who am myself always accustomed to fasten upon others."

  • The Wolf and the Lion

A WOLF, having stolen a lamb from a fold, was carrying him off to

his lair. A Lion met him in the path, and seizing the lamb, took

it from him. Standing at a safe distance, the Wolf exclaimed,

"You have unrighteously taken that which was mine from me!" To

which the Lion jeeringly replied, "It was righteously yours, eh?

The gift of a friend?'

  • The Dog and the Oyster

A DOG, used to eating eggs, saw an Oyster and, opening his mouth

to its widest extent, swallowed it down with the utmost relish,

supposing it to be an egg. Soon afterwards suffering great pain

in his stomach, he said, "I deserve all this torment, for my

folly in thinking that everything round must be an egg."

They who act without sufficient thought, will often fall into unsuspected danger.

  • The Ant and the Dove

AN ANT went to the bank of a river to quench its thirst, and

being carried away by the rush of the stream, was on the point of

drowning. A Dove sitting on a tree overhanging the water plucked

a leaf and let it fall into the stream close to her. The Ant

climbed onto it and floated in safety to the bank. Shortly

afterwards a birdcatcher came and stood under the tree, and laid

his lime-twigs for the Dove, which sat in the branches. The Ant,

perceiving his design, stung him in the foot. In pain the

birdcatcher threw down the twigs, and the noise made the Dove

take wing.

  • The Partridge and the Fowler

A FOWLER caught a Partridge and was about to kill it. The

Partridge earnestly begged him to spare his life, saying, "Pray,

master, permit me to live and I will entice many Partridges to

you in recompense for your mercy to me." The Fowler replied, "I

shall now with less scruple take your life, because you are

willing to save it at the cost of betraying your friends and


  • The Flea and the Man

A MAN, very much annoyed with a Flea, caught him at last, and

said, "Who are you who dare to feed on my limbs, and to cost me

so much trouble in catching you?' The Flea replied, "O my dear

sir, pray spare my life, and destroy me not, for I cannot

possibly do you much harm." The Man, laughing, replied, "Now you

shall certainly die by mine own hands, for no evil, whether it be

small or large, ought to be tolerated."

  • The Thieves and the Cock

SOME THIEVES broke into a house and found nothing but a Cock,

whom they stole, and got off as fast as they could. Upon arriving

at home they prepared to kill the Cock, who thus pleaded for his

life: "Pray spare me; I am very serviceable to men. I wake them

up in the night to their work." "That is the very reason why we

must the more kill you," they replied; "for when you wake your

neighbors, you entirely put an end to our business."

The safeguards of virtue are hateful to those with evil intentions.

  • The Dog and the Cook

A RICH MAN gave a great feast, to which he invited many friends

and acquaintances. His Dog availed himself of the occasion to

invite a stranger Dog, a friend of his, saying, "My master gives

a feast, and there is always much food remaining; come and sup

with me tonight." The Dog thus invited went at the hour

appointed, and seeing the preparations for so grand an

entertainment, said in the joy of his heart, "How glad I am that

I came! I do not often get such a chance as this. I will take

care and eat enough to last me both today and tomorrow." While he

was congratulating himself and wagging his tail to convey his

pleasure to his friend, the Cook saw him moving about among his

dishes and, seizing him by his fore and hind paws, bundled him

without ceremony out of the window. He fell with force upon the

ground and limped away, howling dreadfully. His yelling soon

attracted other street dogs, who came up to him and inquired how

he had enjoyed his supper. He replied, "Why, to tell you the

truth, I drank so much wine that I remember nothing. I do not

know how I got out of the house."

  • The Travelers and the Plane-Tree

TWO TRAVELERS, worn out by the heat of the summer's sun, laid

themselves down at noon under the widespreading branches of a

Plane-Tree. As they rested under its shade, one of the Travelers

said to the other, "What a singularly useless tree is the Plane!

It bears no fruit, and is not of the least service to man." The

Plane-Tree, interrupting him, said, "You ungrateful fellows! Do

you, while receiving benefits from me and resting under my shade,

dare to describe me as useless, and unprofitable?'

Some men underrate their best blessings.

  • The Hares and the Frogs

THE HARES, oppressed by their own exceeding timidity and weary

of the perpetual alarm to which they were exposed, with one

accord determined to put an end to themselves and their troubles

by jumping from a lofty precipice into a deep lake below. As they

scampered off in large numbers to carry out their resolve, the

Frogs lying on the banks of the lake heard the noise of their

feet and rushed helter-skelter to the deep water for safety. On

seeing the rapid disappearance of the Frogs, one of the Hares

cried out to his companions: "Stay, my friends, do not do as you

intended; for you now see that there are creatures who are still

more timid than ourselves."

  • The Lion, Jupiter, and the Elephant

THE LION wearied Jupiter with his frequent complaints. "It is

true, O Jupiter!" he said, "that I am gigantic in strength,

handsome in shape, and powerful in attack. I have jaws well

provided with teeth, and feet furnished with claws, and I lord it

over all the beasts of the forest, and what a disgrace it is,

that being such as I am, I should be frightened by the crowing of

a cock." Jupiter replied, "Why do you blame me without a cause? I

have given you all the attributes which I possess myself, and

your courage never fails you except in this one instance." On

hearing this the Lion groaned and lamented very much and,

reproaching himself with his cowardice, wished that he might die.

As these thoughts passed through his mind, he met an Elephant and

came close to hold a conversation with him. After a time he

observed that the Elephant shook his ears very often, and he

inquired what was the matter and why his ears moved with such a

tremor every now and then. Just at that moment a Gnat settled on

the head of the Elephant, and he replied, "Do you see that little

buzzing insect? If it enters my ear, my fate is sealed. I should

die presently." The Lion said, "Well, since so huge a beast is

afraid of a tiny gnat, I will no more complain, nor wish myself

dead. I find myself, even as I am, better off than the


  • The Lamb and the Wolf

A WOLF pursued a Lamb, which fled for refuge to a certain

Temple. The Wolf called out to him and said, "The Priest will

slay you in sacrifice, if he should catch you." On which the Lamb

replied, "It would be better for me to be sacrificed in the

Temple than to be eaten by you."

  • The Rich Man and the Tanner

A RICH MAN lived near a Tanner, and not being able to bear the

unpleasant smell of the tan-yard, he pressed his neighbor to go

away. The Tanner put off his departure from time to time, saying

that he would leave soon. But as he still continued to stay, as

time went on, the rich man became accustomed to the smell, and

feeling no manner of inconvenience, made no further


  • The Shipwrecked Man and the Sea

A SHIPWRECKED MAN, having been cast upon a certain shore,

slept after his buffetings with the deep. After a while he awoke,

and looking upon the Sea, loaded it with reproaches. He argued

that it enticed men with the calmness of its looks, but when it

had induced them to plow its waters, it grew rough and destroyed

them. The Sea, assuming the form of a woman, replied to him:

"Blame not me, my good sir, but the winds, for I am by my own

nature as calm and firm even as this earth; but the winds

suddenly falling on me create these waves, and lash me into


  • The Mules and the Robbers

TWO MULES well-laden with packs were trudging along. One

carried panniers filled with money, the other sacks weighted with

grain. The Mule carrying the treasure walked with head erect, as

if conscious of the value of his burden, and tossed up and down

the clear-toned bells fastened to his neck. His companion

followed with quiet and easy step. All of a sudden Robbers rushed

upon them from their hiding-places, and in the scuffle with their

owners, wounded with a sword the Mule carrying the treasure,

which they greedily seized while taking no notice of the grain.

The Mule which had been robbed and wounded bewailed his

misfortunes. The other replied, "I am indeed glad that I was

thought so little of, for I have lost nothing, nor am I hurt with

any wound."

  • The Viper and the File

A LION, entering the workshop of a smith, sought from the

tools the means of satisfying his hunger. He more particularly

addressed himself to a File, and asked of him the favor of a

meal. The File replied, "You must indeed be a simple-minded

fellow if you expect to get anything from me, who am accustomed

to take from everyone, and never to give anything in return."

  • The Lion and the Shepherd

A LION, roaming through a forest, trod upon a thorn. Soon

afterward he came up to a Shepherd and fawned upon him, wagging

his tail as if to say, "I am a suppliant, and seek your aid." The

Shepherd boldly examined the beast, discovered the thorn, and

placing his paw upon his lap, pulled it out; thus relieved of his

pain, the Lion returned into the forest. Some time after, the

Shepherd, being imprisoned on a false accusation, was condemned

"to be cast to the Lions" as the punishment for his imputed

crime. But when the Lion was released from his cage, he

recognized the Shepherd as the man who healed him, and instead of

attacking him, approached and placed his foot upon his lap. The

King, as soon as he heard the tale, ordered the Lion to be set

free again in the forest, and the Shepherd to be pardoned and

restored to his friends.

  • The Camel and Jupiter

THE CAMEL, when he saw the Bull adorned with horns, envied him

and wished that he himself could obtain the same honors. He went

to Jupiter, and besought him to give him horns. Jupiter, vexed at

his request because he was not satisfied with his size and

strength of body, and desired yet more, not only refused to give

him horns, but even deprived him of a portion of his ears.

  • The Panther and the Shepherds

A PANTHER, by some mischance, fell into a pit. The Shepherds

discovered him, and some threw sticks at him and pelted him with

stones, while others, moved with compassion towards one about to

die even though no one should hurt him, threw in some food to

prolong his life. At night they returned home, not dreaming of

any danger, but supposing that on the morrow they would find him

dead. The Panther, however, when he had recruited his feeble

strength, freed himself with a sudden bound from the pit, and

hastened to his den with rapid steps. After a few days he came

forth and slaughtered the cattle, and, killing the Shepherds who

had attacked him, raged with angry fury. Then they who had spared

his life, fearing for their safety, surrendered to him their

flocks and begged only for their lives. To them the Panther made

this reply: "I remember alike those who sought my life with

stones, and those who gave me food aside, therefore, your fears.

I return as an enemy only to those who injured me."

  • The Ass and the Charger

AN ASS congratulated a Horse on being so ungrudgingly and

carefully provided for, while he himself had scarcely enough to

eat and not even that without hard work. But when war broke out,

a heavily armed soldier mounted the Horse, and riding him to the

charge, rushed into the very midst of the enemy. The Horse was

wounded and fell dead on the battlefield. Then the Ass, seeing

all these things, changed his mind, and commiserated the


  • The Eagle and His Captor

AN EAGLE was once captured by a man, who immediately clipped

his wings and put him into his poultry-yard with the other birds,

at which treatment the Eagle was weighed down with grief. Later,

another neighbor purchased him and allowed his feathers to grow

again. The Eagle took flight, and pouncing upon a hare, brought

it at once as an offering to his benefactor. A Fox, seeing this,

exclaimed, "Do not cultivate the favor of this man, but of your

former owner, lest he should again hunt for you and deprive you a

second time of your wings."

  • The Bald Man and the Fly

A FLY bit the bare head of a Bald Man who, endeavoring to

destroy it, gave himself a heavy slap. Escaping, the Fly said

mockingly, "You who have wished to revenge, even with death, the

Prick of a tiny insect, see what you have done to yourself to add

insult to injury?' The Bald Man replied, "I can easily make peace

with myself, because I know there was no intention to hurt. But

you, an ill-favored and contemptible insect who delights in

sucking human blood, I wish that I could have killed you even if

I had incurred a heavier penalty."

  • The Olive-Tree and the Fig-Tree

THE OLIVE-TREE ridiculed the Fig-Tree because, while she was

green all the year round, the Fig-Tree changed its leaves with

the seasons. A shower of snow fell upon them, and, finding the

Olive full of foliage, it settled upon its branches and broke

them down with its weight, at once despoiling it of its beauty

and killing the tree. But finding the Fig-Tree denuded of leaves,

the snow fell through to the ground, and did not injure it at


  • The Eagle and the Kite

AN EAGLE, overwhelmed with sorrow, sat upon the branches of a

tree in company with a Kite. "Why," said the Kite, "do I see you

with such a rueful look?' "I seek," she replied, "a mate suitable

for me, and am not able to find one." "Take me," returned the

Kite, "I am much stronger than you are." "Why, are you able to

secure the means of living by your plunder?' "Well, I have often

caught and carried away an ostrich in my talons." The Eagle,

persuaded by these words, accepted him as her mate. Shortly after

the nuptials, the Eagle said, "Fly off and bring me back the

ostrich you promised me." The Kite, soaring aloft into the air,

brought back the shabbiest possible mouse, stinking from the

length of time it had lain about the fields. "Is this," said the

Eagle, "the faithful fulfillment of your promise to me?' The Kite

replied, "That I might attain your royal hand, there is nothing

that I would not have promised, however much I knew that I must

fail in the performance."

  • The Ass and His Driver

AN ASS, being driven along a high road, suddenly started off

and bolted to the brink of a deep precipice. While he was in the

act of throwing himself over, his owner seized him by the tail,

endeavoring to pull him back. When the Ass persisted in his

effort, the man let him go and said, "Conquer, but conquer to

your cost."

  • The Thrush and the Fowler

A THRUSH was feeding on a myrtle-tree and did not move from it

because its berries were so delicious. A Fowler observed her

staying so long in one spot, and having well bird-limed his

reeds, caught her. The Thrush, being at the point of death,

exclaimed, "O foolish creature that I am! For the sake of a

little pleasant food I have deprived myself of my life."

  • The Rose and the Amaranth

AN AMARANTH planted in a garden near a Rose-Tree, thus

addressed it: "What a lovely flower is the Rose, a favorite alike

with Gods and with men. I envy you your beauty and your perfume."

The Rose replied, "I indeed, dear Amaranth, flourish but for a

brief season! If no cruel hand pluck me from my stem, yet I must

perish by an early doom. But thou art immortal and dost never

fade, but bloomest for ever in renewed youth."

  • The Frogs' Complaint Against the Sun

ONCE UPON A TIME, when the Sun announced his intention to take

a wife, the Frogs lifted up their voices in clamor to the sky.

Jupiter, disturbed by the noise of their croaking, inquired the

cause of their complaint. One of them said, "The Sun, now while

he is single, parches up the marsh, and compels us to die

miserably in our arid homes. What will be our future condition if

he should beget other suns?

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