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:
good friend, cease from this unseasonable boasting. The larger
the number of your family, the greater your cause of sorrow,
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
- by accident into a deep pool. Being thus deprived of the means
of his livelihood, he sat down on the bank and lamented his
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
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
them at once resolved to try and secure the same good fortune
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
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.
flew around with a great whir of his wings and settled upon
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
as he could. The shepherd, seeing what had happened, ran up
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
knowledge he is a Daw; but he would like you to think an Eagle."
The Fox and the Crane
A FOX invited a Crane to supper and provided nothing for his
entertainment but some soup made of pulse, which was poured
into a broad flat stone dish. The soup fell out of the long
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
and enjoy its contents at his leisure. The Fox, unable even
taste it, met with a fitting requital, after the fashion of
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
he did it to warm his hands because they were so cold. Later
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
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.
can no longer consider you as a friend," said the Satyr,
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,
which the new animal left all the others and at once joined
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
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;
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
with two bags suspended from his neck all bag in front full
his neighbors' faults, and a large bag behind filled with his
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
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
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
wood he became entangled by his horns, and the Lion quickly
up to him and caught him. When too late, he thus reproached
himself: "Woe is me! How I have deceived myself! These
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
produced some fruit entirely out of season, and waited in the
hope that the figs would ripen. A Fox seeing him sitting so
and learning the reason of his doing so, said to him, "You
indeed, sir, sadly deceiving yourself; you are indulging a hope
strong enough to cheat you, but which will never reward you
The Lark Burying Her Father
THE LARK (according to an ancient legend) was created before
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
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
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
most ungrateful creatures! You provide wool to make garments
all other men, but you destroy the clothes of him who feeds
The Grasshopper and the Owl
AN OWL, accustomed to feed at night and to sleep during the
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.
you do not dislike it, come to me and we will drink it together."
The Grasshopper, who was thirsty, and pleased with the praise
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
in his turn and dance for their amusement. He moved about in
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
only served as a harbor for the sparrows and grasshoppers. He
resolved to cut it down, and taking his axe in his hand, made
bold stroke at its roots. The grasshoppers and sparrows
entreated him not to cut down the tree that sheltered them,
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
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
traveling cloak said, "I'll at him, and I'll take care
learn whom he has attacked." On this, he who had fought
Robber made answer, "I only wish that you had helped me
even if it had been only with those words, for I should have
the more encouraged, believing them to be true; but now put
your sword in its sheath and hold your equally useless tongue,
till you can deceive others who do not know you. I, indeed,
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
for the fruit." But said Minerva, "Let anyone say
what he will
the olive is more dear to me on account of its fruit."
Jupiter, "My daughter, you are rightly called wise; for
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
food. As he passed the door of a cottage built in the forest,
heard a Mother say to her child, "Be quiet, or I will throw
out of the window, and the Wolf shall eat you." The Wolf
day waiting at the door. In the evening he heard the same woman
fondling her child and saying: "You are quiet now, and
Wolf should come, we will kill him." The Wolf, hearing
words, went home, gasping with cold and hunger. When he reached
his den, Mistress Wolf inquired of him why he returned wearied
and supperless, so contrary to his wont. He replied: "Why,
use I gave credence to the words of a woman!"
The Ass and the Horse
AN ASS besought a Horse to spare him a small portion of his
"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."
replied, "Thank you. But I can't think that you, who refuse
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
"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
few, but is now with all men."
A MAN committed a murder, and was pursued by the relations of
man whom he murdered. On his reaching the river Nile he saw
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
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
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
find surety for your good faith, for how can I trust anyone
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
vipers which, when they shall have grown, will inflict injury
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,
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
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,
shall not beat me at that trick!" and at once proclaimed
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
theater, but now partiality for their favorite actor very
generally prevailed, and the audience came rather to ridicule
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
squeak. The Crowd, however, cried out with one consent that
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
most positive proof the greatness of their mistake. "Look
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
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
sure of overtaking him, but the Horseman increased more and
the distance between them. The Hunter, sorely against his will,
called out to him and said, "Get along with you! for I
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
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
kinds of life-sized animals, among which was the picture of
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
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
you?' With these words he stretched out his hands toward a
thorn-tree, meaning to cut a stick from its branches so that
might beat the lion. But one of the tree's prickles pierced
finger and caused great pain and inflammation, so that the young
Prince fell down in a fainting fit. A violent fever suddenly
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
to change her into the form of a woman. Venus consented to her
request and transformed her into a beautiful damsel, so that
youth saw her and loved her, and took her home as his bride.
While the two were reclining in their chamber, Venus wishing
discover if the Cat in her change of shape had also altered
habits of life, let down a mouse in the middle of the room.
Cat, quite forgetting her present condition, started up from
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,
He-Goats were sorely displeased and made complaint that the
females equaled them in dignity. "Allow them," said
enjoy an empty honor and to assume the badge of your nobler
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
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
to sell him. They had not gone far when they met with a troop
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
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
old age in these days? Do you see that idle lad riding while
old father has to walk? Get down, you young scapegrace, and
the old man rest his weary limbs." Upon this the old man
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
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,
that Ass your own?' "Yes," replied the old man. "O,
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
he you." "Anything to please you," said the old
man; "we can but
try." So, alighting with his son, they tied the legs of
together and with the help of a pole endeavored to carry him
their shoulders over a bridge near the entrance to the town.
This entertaining sight brought the people in crowds to laugh
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
strong. I know whom I may bully and whom I must flatter; and
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
really must have been out of your senses to fasten yourself
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
his lair. A Lion met him in the path, and seizing the lamb,
it from him. Standing at a safe distance, the Wolf exclaimed,
"You have unrighteously taken that which was mine from
which the Lion jeeringly replied, "It was righteously yours,
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
folly in thinking that everything round must be an egg."
They who act without sufficient thought, will often fall into
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
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
his lime-twigs for the Dove, which sat in the branches. The
perceiving his design, stung him in the foot. In pain the
birdcatcher threw down the twigs, and the noise made the Dove
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
you in recompense for your mercy to me." The Fowler replied,
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
so much trouble in catching you?' The Flea replied, "O
sir, pray spare my life, and destroy me not, for I cannot
possibly do you much harm." The Man, laughing, replied,
shall certainly die by mine own hands, for no evil, whether
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
wake them up in the night to their work." "That is
reason why we must the more kill you," they replied; "for
you wake your neighbors, you entirely put an end to our
The safeguards of virtue are hateful to those with evil
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
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."
was congratulating himself and wagging his tail to convey his
pleasure to his friend, the Cook saw him moving about among
dishes and, seizing him by his fore and hind paws, bundled him
without ceremony out of the window. He fell with force upon
ground and limped away, howling dreadfully. His yelling soon
attracted other street dogs, who came up to him and inquired
he had enjoyed his supper. He replied, "Why, to tell you
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
Plane-Tree. As they rested under its shade, one of the Travelers
said to the other, "What a singularly useless tree is the
It bears no fruit, and is not of the least service to man."
Plane-Tree, interrupting him, said, "You ungrateful fellows!
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
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.
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
true, O Jupiter!" he said, "that I am gigantic in
handsome in shape, and powerful in attack. I have jaws well
provided with teeth, and feet furnished with claws, and I lord
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
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."
hearing this the Lion groaned and lamented very much and,
reproaching himself with his cowardice, wished that he might
As these thoughts passed through his mind, he met an Elephant
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
tremor every now and then. Just at that moment a Gnat settled
the head of the Elephant, and he replied, "Do you see that
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
sacrifice, if he should catch you." On which the Lamb replied,
"It would be better for me to be sacrificed in the Temple
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
away. The Tanner put off his departure from time to time, saying
that he would leave soon. But as he still continued to stay,
time went on, the rich man became accustomed to the smell, and
feeling no manner of inconvenience, made no further complaints.
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,
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
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
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
thought so little of, for I have lost nothing, nor am I hurt
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
Shepherd boldly examined the beast, discovered the thorn, and
placing his paw upon his lap, pulled it out; thus relieved of
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
crime. But when the Lion was released from his cage, he
recognized the Shepherd as the man who healed him, and instead
attacking him, approached and placed his foot upon his lap.
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
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
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
stones, while others, moved with compassion towards one about
die even though no one should hurt him, threw in some food to
prolong his life. At night they returned home, not dreaming
any danger, but supposing that on the morrow they would find
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
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
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
eat and not even that without hard work. But when war broke
a heavily armed soldier mounted the Horse, and riding him to
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 Horse.
The Eagle and His Captor
AN EAGLE was once captured by a man, who immediately clipped
wings and put him into his poultry-yard with the other birds,
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
former owner, lest he should again hunt for you and deprive
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
tiny insect, see what you have done to yourself to add insult
injury?' The Bald Man replied, "I can easily make peace
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 all.
The Eagle and the Kite
AN EAGLE, overwhelmed with sorrow, sat upon the branches of
tree in company with a Kite. "Why," said the Kite,
"do I see you
with such a rueful look?' "I seek," she replied, "a
for me, and am not able to find one." "Take me,"
Kite, "I am much stronger than you are." "Why,
are you able to
secure the means of living by your plunder?' "Well, I have
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
the ostrich you promised me." The Kite, soaring aloft into
air, brought back the shabbiest possible mouse, stinking from
length of time it had lain about the fields. "Is this,"
Eagle, "the faithful fulfillment of your promise to me?'
replied, "That I might attain your royal hand, there is
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
bolted to the brink of a deep precipice. While he was in the
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
The Thrush and the Fowler
A THRUSH was feeding on a myrtle-tree and did not move from
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
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
and with men. I envy you your beauty and your perfume."
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,
bloomest for ever in renewed youth."
The Frogs' Complaint Against the Sun
ONCE UPON A TIME, when the Sun announced his intention to take
wife, the Frogs lifted up their voices in clamor to the sky.
Jupiter, disturbed by the noise of their croaking, inquired
cause of their complaint. One of them said, "The Sun, now
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?'