AESOP'S FABLES by V. S. VERNON JONES Part Three
THE RICH MAN AND THE TANNER A Rich Man took up his residence next door to a Tanner, and found the smell of the tan-yard so extremely unpleasant that he told him he must go. The Tanner delayed his departure, and the Rich Man had to speak to him several times about it; and every time the Tanner said he was making arrangements to move very shortly. This went on for some time, till at last the Rich Man got so used to the smell that he ceased to mind it, and troubled the Tanner with his objections no more. THE WOLF, THE MOTHER, AND HER CHILD A hungry Wolf was prowling about in search of food. By and by, attracted by the cries of a Child, he came to a cottage. As he crouched beneath the window, he heard the Mother say to the Child, "Stop crying, do! or I'll throw you to the Wolf." Thinking she really meant what she said, he waited there a long time in the expectation of satisfying his hunger. In the evening he heard the Mother fondling her Child and saying, "If the naughty Wolf comes, he shan't get my little one: Daddy will kill him." The Wolf got up in much disgust and walked away: "As for the people in that house," said he to himself, "you can't believe a word they say." THE OLD WOMAN AND THE WINE-JAR An old Woman picked up an empty Wine-jar which had once contained a rare and costly wine, and which still retained some traces of its exquisite bouquet. She raised it to her nose and sniffed at it again and again. "Ah," she cried, "how delicious must have been the liquid which has left behind so ravishing a smell." THE LIONESS AND THE VIXEN A Lioness and a Vixen were talking together about their young, as mothers will, and saying how healthy and well-grown they were, and what beautiful coats they had, and how they were the image of their parents. "My litter of cubs is a joy to see," said the Fox; and then she added, rather maliciously, "But I notice you never have more than one." "No," said the Lioness grimly, "but that one's a lion." Quality, not quantity. THE VIPER AND THE FILE A Viper entered a carpenter's shop, and went from one to another of the tools, begging for something to eat. Among the rest, he addressed himself to the File, and asked for the favour of a meal. The File replied in a tone of pitying contempt, "What a simpleton you must be if you imagine you will get anything from me, who invariably take from every one and never give anything in return." The covetous are poor givers. THE CAT AND THE COCK A Cat pounced on a Cock, and cast about for some good excuse for making a meal off him, for Cats don't as a rule eat Cocks, and she knew she ought not to. At last she said, "You make a great nuisance of yourself at night by crowing and keeping people awake: so I am going to make an end of you." But the Cock defended himself by saying that he crowed in order that men might wake up and set about the day's work in good time, and that they really couldn't very well do without him. "That may be," said the Cat, "but whether they can or not, I'm not going without my dinner"; and she killed and ate him. The want of a good excuse never kept a villain from crime. THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE A Hare was one day making fun of a Tortoise for being so slow upon his feet. "Wait a bit," said the Tortoise; "I'll run a race with you, and I'll wager that I win." "Oh, well," replied the Hare, who was much amused at the idea, "let's try and see"; and it was soon agreed that the fox should set a course for them, and be the judge. When the time came both started off together, but the Hare was soon so far ahead that he thought he might as well have a rest: so down he lay and fell fast asleep. Meanwhile the Tortoise kept plodding on, and in time reached the goal. At last the Hare woke up with a start, and dashed on at his fastest, but only to find that the Tortoise had already won the race. Slow and steady wins the race. THE SOLDIER AND HIS HORSE A Soldier gave his Horse a plentiful supply of oats in time of war, and tended him with the utmost care, for he wished him to be strong to endure the hardships of the field, and swift to bear his master, when need arose, out of the reach of danger. But when the war was over he employed him on all sorts of drudgery, bestowing but little attention upon him, and giving him, moreover, nothing but chaff to eat. The time came when war broke out again, and the Soldier saddled and bridled his Horse, and, having put on his heavy coat of mail, mounted him to ride off and take the field. But the poor half-starved beast sank down under his weight, and said to his rider, "You will have to go into battle on foot this time. Thanks to hard work and bad food, you have turned me from a Horse into an ass; and you cannot in a moment turn me back again into a Horse." THE OXEN AND THE BUTCHERS Once upon a time the Oxen determined to be revenged upon the Butchers for the havoc they wrought in their ranks, and plotted to put them to death on a given day. They were all gathered together discussing how best to carry out the plan, and the more violent of them were engaged in sharpening their horns for the fray, when an old Ox got up upon his feet and said, "My brothers, you have good reason, I know, to hate these Butchers, but, at any rate, they understand their trade and do what they have to do without causing unnecessary pain. But if we kill them, others, who have no experience, will be set to slaughter us, and will by their bungling inflict great sufferings upon us. For you may be sure that, even though all the Butchers perish, mankind will never go without their beef." THE WOLF AND THE LION A wolf stole a lamb from the flock, and was carrying it off to devour it at his leisure when he met a Lion, who took his prey away from him and walked off with it. He dared not resist, but when the Lion had gone some distance he said, "It is most unjust of you to take what's mine away from me like that." The Lion laughed and called out in reply, "It was justly yours, no doubt! The gift of a friend, perhaps, eh?" THE SHEEP, THE WOLF, AND THE STAG A Stag once asked a Sheep to lend him a measure of wheat, saying that his friend the Wolf would be his surety. The Sheep, however, was afraid that they meant to cheat her; so she excused herself, saying, "The Wolf is in the habit of seizing what he wants and running off with it without paying, and you, too, can run much faster than I. So how shall I be able to come up with either of you when the debt falls due?" Two blacks do not make a white. THE LION AND THE THREE BULLS Three Bulls were grazing in a meadow, and were watched by a Lion, who longed to capture and devour them, but who felt that he was no match for the three so long as they kept together. So he began by false whispers and malicious hints to foment jealousies and distrust among them. This stratagem succeeded so well that ere long the Bulls grew cold and unfriendly, and finally avoided each other and fed each one by himself apart. No sooner did the Lion see this than he fell upon them one by one and killed them in turn. The quarrels of friends are the opportunities of foes. THE HORSE AND HIS RIDER A Young Man, who fancied himself something of a horseman, mounted a Horse which had not been properly broken in, and was exceedingly difficult to control. No sooner did the Horse feel his weight in the saddle than he bolted, and nothing would stop him. A friend of the Rider's met him in the road in his headlong career, and called out, "Where are you off to in such a hurry?" To which he, pointing to the Horse, replied, "I've no idea: ask him." THE GOAT AND THE VINE A Goat was straying in a vineyard, and began to browse on the tender shoots of a Vine which bore several fine bunches of grapes. "What have I done to you," said the Vine, "that you should harm me thus? Isn't there grass enough for you to feed on? All the same, even if you eat up every leaf I have, and leave me quite bare, I shall produce wine enough to pour over you when you are led to the altar to be sacrificed." THE TWO POTS Two Pots, one of earthenware and the other of brass, were carried away down a river in flood. The Brazen Pot urged his companion to keep close by his side, and he would protect him. The other thanked him, but begged him not to come near him on any account: "For that," he said, "is just what I am most afraid of. One touch from you and I should be broken in pieces." Equals make the best friends. THE OLD HOUND A Hound who had served his master well for years, and had run down many a quarry in his time, began to lose his strength and speed owing to age. One day, when out hunting, his master started a powerful wild boar and set the Hound at him. The latter seized the beast by the ear, but his teeth were gone and he could not retain his hold; so the boar escaped. His master began to scold him severely, but the Hound interrupted him with these words: "My will is as strong as ever, master, but my body is old and feeble. You ought to honour me for what I have been instead of abusing me for what I am." THE CLOWN AND THE COUNTRYMAN A Nobleman announced his intention of giving a public entertainment in the theatre, and offered splendid prizes to all who had any novelty to exhibit at the performance. The announcement attracted a crowd of conjurers, jugglers, and acrobats, and among the rest a Clown, very popular with the crowd, who let it be known that he was going to give an entirely new turn. When the day of the performance came, the theatre was filled from top to bottom some time before the entertainment began. Several performers exhibited their tricks, and then the popular favourite came on empty-handed and alone. At once there was a hush of expectation: and he, letting his head fall upon his breast, imitated the squeak of a pig to such perfection that the audience insisted on his producing the animal, which, they said, he must have somewhere concealed about his person. He, however, convinced them that there was no pig there, and then the applause was deafening. Among the spectators was a Countryman, who disparaged the Clown's performance and announced that he would give a much superior exhibition of the same trick on the following day. Again the theatre was filled to overflowing, and again the Clown gave his imitation amidst the cheers of the crowd. The Countryman, meanwhile, before going on the stage, had secreted a young porker under his smock; and when the spectators derisively bade him do better if he could, he gave it a pinch in the ear and made it squeal loudly. But they all with one voice shouted out that the Clown's imitation was much more true to life. Thereupon he produced the pig from under his smock and said sarcastically, "There, that shows what sort of judges you are!" THE LARK AND THE FARMER A Lark nested in a field of corn, and was rearing her brood under cover of the ripening grain. One day, before the young were fully fledged, the Farmer came to look at the crop, and, finding it yellowing fast, he said, "I must send round word to my neighbours to come and help me reap this field." One of the young Larks overheard him, and was very much frightened, and asked her mother whether they hadn't better move house at once. "There's no hurry," replied she; "a man who looks to his friends for help will take his time about a thing." In a few days the Farmer came by again, and saw that the grain was overripe and falling out of the ears upon the ground. "I must put it off no longer," he said; "This very day I'll hire the men and set them to work at once." The Lark heard him and said to her young, "Come, my children, we must be off: he talks no more of his friends now, but is going to take things in hand himself." Self-help is the best help. THE LION AND THE ASS A Lion and an Ass set up as partners and went a-hunting together. In course of time they came to a cave in which there were a number of wild goats. The Lion took up his stand at the mouth of the cave, and waited for them to come out; while the Ass went inside and brayed for all he was worth in order to frighten them out into the open. The Lion struck them down one by one as they appeared; and when the cave was empty the Ass came out and said, "Well, I scared them pretty well, didn't I?" "I should think you did," said the Lion: "why, if I hadn't known you were an Ass, I should have turned and run myself." THE PROPHET A Prophet sat in the market-place and told the fortunes of all who cared to engage his services. Suddenly there came running up one who told him that his house had been broken into by thieves, and that they had made off with everything they could lay hands on. He was up in a moment, and rushed off, tearing his hair and calling down curses on the miscreants. The bystanders were much amused, and one of them said, "Our friend professes to know what is going to happen to others, but it seems he's not clever enough to perceive what's in store for himself." THE HOUND AND THE HARE A young Hound started a Hare, and, when he caught her up, would at one moment snap at her with his teeth as though he were about to kill her, while at another he would let go his hold and frisk about her, as if he were playing with another dog. At last the Hare said, "I wish you would show yourself in your true colours! If you are my friend, why do you bite me? If you are my enemy, why do you play with me?" He is no friend who plays double. THE LION, THE MOUSE, AND THE FOX A Lion was lying asleep at the mouth of his den when a Mouse ran over his back and tickled him so that he woke up with a start and began looking about everywhere to see what it was that had disturbed him. A Fox, who was looking on, thought he would have a joke at the expense of the Lion; so he said, "Well, this is the first time I've seen a Lion afraid of a Mouse." "Afraid of a Mouse?" said the Lion testily: "not I! It's his bad manners I can't stand." THE TRUMPETER TAKEN PRISONER A Trumpeter marched into battle in the van of the army and put courage into his comrades by his warlike tunes. Being captured by the enemy, he begged for his life, and said, "Do not put me to death; I have killed no one: indeed, I have no weapons, but carry with me only my trumpet here." But his captors replied, "That is only the more reason why we should take your life; for, though you do not fight yourself, you stir up others to do so." THE WOLF AND THE CRANE A Wolf once got a bone stuck in his throat. So he went to a Crane and begged her to put her long bill down his throat and pull it out. "I'll make it worth your while," he added. The Crane did as she was asked, and got the bone out quite easily. The Wolf thanked her warmly, and was just turning away, when she cried, "What about that fee of mine?" "Well, what about it?" snapped the Wolf, baring his teeth as he spoke; "you can go about boasting that you once put your head into a Wolf's mouth and didn't get it bitten off. What more do you want?" THE EAGLE, THE CAT, AND THE WILD SOW An Eagle built her nest at the top of a high tree; a Cat with her family occupied a hollow in the trunk half-way down; and a Wild Sow and her young took up their quarters at the foot. They might have got on very well as neighbours had it not been for the evil cunning of the Cat. Climbing up to the Eagle's nest she said to the Eagle, "You and I are in the greatest possible danger. That dreadful creature, the Sow, who is always to be seen grubbing away at the foot of the tree, means to uproot it, that she may devour your family and mine at her ease." Having thus driven the Eagle almost out of her senses with terror, the Cat climbed down the tree, and said to the Sow, "I must warn you against that dreadful bird, the Eagle. She is only waiting her chance to fly down and carry off one of your little pigs when you take them out, to feed her brood with." She succeeded in frightening the Sow as much as the Eagle. Then she returned to her hole in the trunk, from which, feigning to be afraid, she never came forth by day. Only by night did she creep out unseen to procure food for her kittens. The Eagle, meanwhile was afraid to stir from her nest, and the Sow dared not leave her home among the roots: so that in time both they and their families perished of hunger, and their dead bodies supplied the Cat with ample food for her growing family. THE WOLF AND THE SHEEP A Wolf was worried and badly bitten by dogs, and lay a long time for dead. By and by he began to revive, and, feeling very hungry, called out to a passing Sheep and said, "Would you kindly bring me some water from the stream close by? I can manage about meat, if only I could get something to drink." But this Sheep was no fool. "I can quite understand", said he, "that if I brought you the water, you would have no difficulty about the meat. Good-morning." THE TUNNY-FISH AND THE DOLPHIN A Tunny-fish was chased by a Dolphin and splashed through the water at a great rate, but the Dolphin gradually gained upon him, and was just about to seize him when the force of his flight carried the Tunny on to a sandbank. In the heat of the chase the Dolphin followed him, and there they both lay out of the water, gasping for dear life. When the Tunny saw that his enemy was doomed like himself, he said, "I don't mind having to die now: for I see that he who is the cause of my death is about to share the same fate." THE THREE TRADESMEN The citizens of a certain city were debating about the best material to use in the fortifications which were about to be erected for the greater security of the town. A Carpenter got up and advised the use of wood, which he said was readily procurable and easily worked. A Stone-mason objected to wood on the ground that it was so inflammable, and recommended stones instead. Then a Tanner got on his legs and said, "In my opinion there's nothing like leather." Every man for himself. THE MOUSE AND THE BULL A Bull gave chase to a Mouse which had bitten him in the nose: but the Mouse was too quick for him and slipped into a hole in a wall. The Bull charged furiously into the wall again and again until he was tired out, and sank down on the ground exhausted with his efforts. When all was quiet, the Mouse darted out and bit him again. Beside himself with rage he started to his feet, but by that time the Mouse was back in his hole again, and he could do nothing but bellow and fume in helpless anger. Presently he heard a shrill little voice say from inside the wall, "You big fellows don't always have it your own way, you see: sometimes we little ones come off best." The battle is not always to the strong. THE HARE AND THE HOUND A Hound started a Hare from her form, and pursued her for some distance; but as she gradually gained upon him, he gave up the chase. A rustic who had seen the race met the Hound as he was returning, and taunted him with his defeat. "The little one was too much for you," said he. "Ah, well," said the Hound, "don't forget it's one thing to be running for your dinner, but quite another to be running for your life." THE TOWN MOUSE AND THE COUNTRY MOUSE A Town Mouse and a Country Mouse were acquaintances, and the Country Mouse one day invited his friend to come and see him at his home in the fields. The Town Mouse came, and they sat down to a dinner of barleycorns and roots, the latter of which had a distinctly earthy flavour. The fare was not much to the taste of the guest, and presently he broke out with "My poor dear friend, you live here no better than the ants. Now, you should just see how I fare! My larder is a regular horn of plenty. You must come and stay with me, and I promise you you shall live on the fat of the land." So when he returned to town he took the Country Mouse with him, and showed him into a larder containing flour and oatmeal and figs and honey and dates. The Country Mouse had never seen anything like it, and sat down to enjoy the luxuries his friend provided: but before they had well begun, the door of the larder opened and some one came in. The two Mice scampered off and hid themselves in a narrow and exceedingly uncomfortable hole. Presently, when all was quiet, they ventured out again; but some one else came in, and off they scuttled again. This was too much for the visitor. "Good-bye," said he, "I'm off. You live in the lap of luxury, I can see, but you are surrounded by dangers; whereas at home I can enjoy my simple dinner of roots and corn in peace." THE LION AND THE BULL A Lion saw a fine fat Bull pasturing among a herd of cattle and cast about for some means of getting him into his clutches; so he sent him word that he was sacrificing a sheep, and asked if he would do him the honour of dining with him. The Bull accepted the invitation, but, on arriving at the Lion's den, he saw a great array of saucepans and spits, but no sign of a sheep; so he turned on his heel and walked quietly away. The Lion called after him in an injured tone to ask the reason, and the Bull turned round and said, "I have reason enough. When I saw all your preparations it struck me at once that the victim was to be a Bull and not a sheep." The net is spread in vain in sight of the bird. THE WOLF, THE FOX, AND THE APE A Wolf charged a Fox with theft, which he denied, and the case was brought before an Ape to be tried. When he had heard the evidence on both sides, the Ape gave judgment as follows: "I do not think," he said, "that you, O Wolf, ever lost what you claim; but all the same I believe that you, Fox, are guilty of the theft, in spite of all your denials." The dishonest get no credit, even if they act honestly. THE EAGLE AND THE COCKS There were two Cocks in the same farmyard, and they fought to decide who should be master. When the fight was over, the beaten one went and hid himself in a dark corner; while the victor flew up on to the roof of the stables and crowed lustily. But an Eagle espied him from high up in the sky, and swooped down and carried him off. Forthwith the other Cock came out of his corner and ruled the roost without a rival. Pride comes before a fall. THE ESCAPED JACKDAW A Man caught a Jackdaw and tied a piece of string to one of its legs, and then gave it to his children for a pet. But the Jackdaw didn't at all like having to live with people; so, after a while, when he seemed to have become fairly tame and they didn't watch him so closely, he slipped away and flew back to his old haunts. Unfortunately, the string was still on his leg, and before long it got entangled in the branches of a tree and the Jackdaw couldn't get free, try as he would. He saw it was all up with him, and cried in despair, "Alas, in gaining my freedom I have lost my life." THE FARMER AND THE FOX A Farmer was greatly annoyed by a Fox, which came prowling about his yard at night and carried off his fowls. So he set a trap for him and caught him; and in order to be revenged upon him, he tied a bunch of tow to his tail and set fire to it and let him go. As ill-luck would have it, however, the Fox made straight for the fields where the corn was standing ripe and ready for cutting. It quickly caught fire and was all burnt up, and the Farmer lost all his harvest. Revenge is a two-edged sword. VENUS AND THE CAT A Cat fell in love with a handsome young man, and begged the goddess Venus to change her into a woman. Venus was very gracious about it, and changed her at once into a beautiful maiden, whom the young man fell in love with at first sight and shortly afterwards married. One day Venus thought she would like to see whether the Cat had changed her habits as well as her form; so she let a mouse run loose in the room where they were. Forgetting everything, the young woman had no sooner seen the mouse than up she jumped and was after it like a shot: at which the goddess was so disgusted that she changed her back again into a Cat. THE CROW AND THE SWAN A Crow was filled with envy on seeing the beautiful white plumage of a Swan, and thought it was due to the water in which the Swan constantly bathed and swam. So he left the neighbourhood of the altars, where he got his living by picking up bits of the meat offered in sacrifice, and went and lived among the pools and streams. But though he bathed and washed his feathers many times a day, he didn't make them any whiter, and at last died of hunger into the bargain. You may change your habits, but not your nature. THE STAG WITH ONE EYE A Stag, blind of one eye, was grazing close to the sea-shore and kept his sound eye turned towards the land, so as to be able to perceive the approach of the hounds, while the blind eye he turned towards the sea, never suspecting that any danger would threaten him from that quarter. As it fell out, however, some sailors, coasting along the shore, spied him and shot an arrow at him, by which he was mortally wounded. As he lay dying, he said to himself, "Wretch that I am! I bethought me of the dangers of the land, whence none assailed me: but I feared no peril from the sea, yet thence has come my ruin." Misfortune often assails us from an unexpected quarter. THE FLY AND THE DRAUGHT-MULE A Fly sat on one of the shafts of a cart and said to the Mule who was pulling it, "How slow you are! Do mend your pace, or I shall have to use my sting as a goad." The Mule was not in the least disturbed. "Behind me, in the cart," said he, "sits my master. He holds the reins, and flicks me with his whip, and him I obey, but I don't want any of your impertinence. _I_ know when I may dawdle and when I may not." THE COCK AND THE JEWEL A Cock, scratching the ground for something to eat, turned up a Jewel that had by chance been dropped there. "Ho!" said he, "a fine thing you are, no doubt, and, had your owner found you, great would his joy have been. But for me! give me a single grain of corn before all the jewels in the world." THE WOLF AND THE SHEPHERD A Wolf hung about near a flock of sheep for a long time, but made no attempt to molest them. The Shepherd at first kept a sharp eye on him, for he naturally thought he meant mischief: but as time went by and the Wolf showed no inclination to meddle with the flock, he began to look upon him more as a protector than as an enemy: and when one day some errand took him to the city, he felt no uneasiness at leaving the Wolf with the sheep. But as soon as his back was turned the Wolf attacked them and killed the greater number. When the Shepherd returned and saw the havoc he had wrought, he cried, "It serves me right for trusting my flock to a Wolf." THE FARMER AND THE STORK A Farmer set some traps in a field which he had lately sown with corn, in order to catch the cranes which came to pick up the seed. When he returned to look at his traps he found several cranes caught, and among them a Stork, which begged to be let go, and said, "You ought not to kill me: I am not a crane, but a Stork, as you can easily see by my feathers, and I am the most honest and harmless of birds." But the Farmer replied, "It's nothing to me what you are: I find you among these cranes, who ruin my crops, and, like them, you shall suffer." If you choose bad companions no one will believe that you are anything but bad yourself. THE CHARGER AND THE MILLER A Horse, who had been used to carry his rider into battle, felt himself growing old and chose to work in a mill instead. He now no longer found himself stepping out proudly to the beating of the drums, but was compelled to slave away all day grinding the corn. Bewailing his hard lot, he said one day to the Miller, "Ah me! I was once a splendid war-horse, gaily caparisoned, and attended by a groom whose sole duty was to see to my wants. How different is my present condition! I wish I had never given up the battlefield for the mill." The Miller replied with asperity, "It's no use your regretting the past. Fortune has many ups and downs: you must just take them as they come." THE GRASSHOPPER AND THE OWL An Owl, who lived in a hollow tree, was in the habit of feeding by night and sleeping by day; but her slumbers were greatly disturbed by the chirping of a Grasshopper, who had taken up his abode in the branches. She begged him repeatedly to have some consideration for her comfort, but the Grasshopper, if anything, only chirped the louder. At last the Owl could stand it no longer, but determined to rid herself of the pest by means of a trick. Addressing herself to the Grasshopper, she said in her pleasantest manner, "As I cannot sleep for your song, which, believe me, is as sweet as the notes of Apollo's lyre, I have a mind to taste some nectar, which Minerva gave me the other day. Won't you come in and join me?" The Grasshopper was flattered by the praise of his song, and his mouth, too, watered at the mention of the delicious drink, so he said he would be delighted. No sooner had he got inside the hollow where the Owl was sitting than she pounced upon him and ate him up. THE GRASSHOPPER AND THE ANTS One fine day in winter some Ants were busy drying their store of corn, which had got rather damp during a long spell of rain. Presently up came a Grasshopper and begged them to spare her a few grains, "For," she said, "I'm simply starving." The Ants stopped work for a moment, though this was against their principles. "May we ask," said they, "what you were doing with yourself all last summer? Why didn't you collect a store of food for the winter?" "The fact is," replied the Grasshopper, "I was so busy singing that I hadn't the time." "If you spent the summer singing," replied the Ants, "you can't do better than spend the winter dancing." And they chuckled and went on with their work. THE FARMER AND THE VIPER One winter a Farmer found a Viper frozen and numb with cold, and out of pity picked it up and placed it in his bosom. The Viper was no sooner revived by the warmth than it turned upon its benefactor and inflicted a fatal bite upon him; and as the poor man lay dying, he cried, "I have only got what I deserved, for taking compassion on so villainous a creature." Kindness is thrown away upon the evil. THE TWO FROGS Two Frogs were neighbours. One lived in a marsh, where there was plenty of water, which frogs love: the other in a lane some distance away, where all the water to be had was that which lay in the ruts after rain. The Marsh Frog warned his friend and pressed him to come and live with him in the marsh, for he would find his quarters there far more comfortable and--what was still more important--more safe. But the other refused, saying that he could not bring himself to move from a place to which he had become accustomed. A few days afterwards a heavy waggon came down the lane, and he was crushed to death under the wheels. THE COBBLER TURNED DOCTOR A very unskilful Cobbler, finding himself unable to make a living at his trade, gave up mending boots and took to doctoring instead. He gave out that he had the secret of a universal antidote against all poisons, and acquired no small reputation, thanks to his talent for puffing himself. One day, however, he fell very ill; and the King of the country bethought him that he would test the value of his remedy. Calling, therefore, for a cup, he poured out a dose of the antidote, and, under pretence of mixing poison with it, added a little water, and commanded him to drink it. Terrified by the fear of being poisoned, the Cobbler confessed that he knew nothing about medicine, and that his antidote was worthless. Then the King summoned his subjects and addressed them as follows: "What folly could be greater than yours? Here is this Cobbler to whom no one will send his boots to be mended, and yet you have not hesitated to entrust him with your lives!" THE ASS, THE COCK, AND THE LION An Ass and a Cock were in a cattle-pen together. Presently a Lion, who had been starving for days, came along and was just about to fall upon the Ass and make a meal of him when the Cock, rising to his full height and flapping his wings vigorously, uttered a tremendous crow. Now, if there is one thing that frightens a Lion, it is the crowing of a Cock: and this one had no sooner heard the noise than he fled. The Ass was mightily elated at this, and thought that, if the Lion couldn't face a Cock, he would be still less likely to stand up to an Ass: so he ran out and pursued him. But when the two had got well out of sight and hearing of the Cock, the Lion suddenly turned upon the Ass and ate him up. False confidence often leads to disaster. THE BELLY AND THE MEMBERS The Members of the Body once rebelled against the Belly. "You," they said to the Belly, "live in luxury and sloth, and never do a stroke of work; while we not only have to do all the hard work there is to be done, but are actually your slaves and have to minister to all your wants. Now, we will do so no longer, and you can shift for yourself for the future." They were as good as their word, and left the Belly to starve. The result was just what might have been expected: the whole Body soon began to fail, and the Members and all shared in the general collapse. And then they saw too late how foolish they had been. THE BALD MAN AND THE FLY A Fly settled on the head of a Bald Man and bit him. In his eagerness to kill it, he hit himself a smart slap. But the Fly escaped, and said to him in derision, "You tried to kill me for just one little bite; what will you do to yourself now, for the heavy smack you have just given yourself?" "Oh, for that blow I bear no grudge," he replied, "for I never intended myself any harm; but as for you, you contemptible insect, who live by sucking human blood, I'd have borne a good deal more than that for the satisfaction of dashing the life out of you!" THE ASS AND THE WOLF An Ass was feeding in a meadow, and, catching sight of his enemy the Wolf in the distance, pretended to be very lame and hobbled painfully along. When the Wolf came up, he asked the Ass how he came to be so lame, and the Ass replied that in going through a hedge he had trodden on a thorn, and he begged the Wolf to pull it out with his teeth, "In case," he said, "when you eat me, it should stick in your throat and hurt you very much." The Wolf said he would, and told the Ass to lift up his foot, and gave his whole mind to getting out the thorn. But the Ass suddenly let out with his heels and fetched the Wolf a fearful kick in the mouth, breaking his teeth; and then he galloped off at full speed. As soon as he could speak the Wolf growled to himself, "It serves me right: my father taught me to kill, and I ought to have stuck to that trade instead of attempting to cure." THE MONKEY AND THE CAMEL At a gathering of all the beasts the Monkey gave an exhibition of dancing and entertained the company vastly. There was great applause at the finish, which excited the envy of the Camel and made him desire to win the favour of the assembly by the same means. So he got up from his place and began dancing, but he cut such a ridiculous figure as he plunged about, and made such a grotesque exhibition of his ungainly person, that the beasts all fell upon him with ridicule and drove him away. THE SICK MAN AND THE DOCTOR A Sick Man received a visit from his Doctor, who asked him how he was. "Fairly well, Doctor," said he, "but I find I sweat a great deal." "Ah," said the Doctor, "that's a good sign." On his next visit he asked the same question, and his patient replied, "I'm much as usual, but I've taken to having shivering fits, which leave me cold all over." "Ah," said the Doctor, "that's a good sign too." When he came the third time and inquired as before about his patient's health, the Sick Man said that he felt very feverish. "A very good sign," said the Doctor; "you are doing very nicely indeed." Afterwards a friend came to see the invalid, and on asking him how he did, received this reply: "My dear friend, I'm dying of good signs." THE TRAVELLERS AND THE PLANE-TREE Two Travellers were walking along a bare and dusty road in the heat of a summer's day. Coming presently to a Plane-tree, they joyfully turned aside to shelter from the burning rays of the sun in the deep shade of its spreading branches. As they rested, looking up into the tree, one of them remarked to his companion, "What a useless tree the Plane is! It bears no fruit and is of no service to man at all." The Plane-tree interrupted him with indignation. "You ungrateful creature!" it cried: "you come and take shelter under me from the scorching sun, and then, in the very act of enjoying the cool shade of my foliage, you abuse me and call me good for nothing!" Many a service is met with ingratitude. THE FLEA AND THE OX A Flea once said to an Ox, "How comes it that a big strong fellow like you is content to serve mankind, and do all their hard work for them, while I, who am no bigger than you see, live on their bodies and drink my fill of their blood, and never do a stroke for it all?" To which the Ox replied, "Men are very kind to me, and so I am grateful to them: they feed and house me well, and every now and then they show their fondness for me by patting me on the head and neck." "They'd pat me, too," said the Flea, "if I let them: but I take good care they don't, or there would be nothing left of me." THE BIRDS, THE BEASTS, AND THE BAT The Birds were at war with the Beasts, and many battles were fought with varying success on either side. The Bat did not throw in his lot definitely with either party, but when things went well for the Birds he was found fighting in their ranks; when, on the other hand, the Beasts got the upper hand, he was to be found among the Beasts. No one paid any attention to him while the war lasted: but when it was over, and peace was restored, neither the Birds nor the Beasts would have anything to do with so double-faced a traitor, and so he remains to this day a solitary outcast from both. THE MAN AND HIS TWO SWEETHEARTS A Man of middle age, whose hair was turning grey, had two Sweethearts, an old woman and a young one. The elder of the two didn't like having a lover who looked so much younger than herself; so, whenever he came to see her, she used to pull the dark hairs out of his head to make him look old. The younger, on the other hand, didn't like him to look so much older than herself, and took every opportunity of pulling out the grey hairs, to make him look young. Between them, they left not a hair in his head, and he became perfectly bald. THE EAGLE, THE JACKDAW, AND THE SHEPHERD One day a Jackdaw saw an Eagle swoop down on a lamb and carry it off in its talons. "My word," said the Jackdaw, "I'll do that myself." So it flew high up into the air, and then came shooting down with a great whirring of wings on to the back of a big ram. It had no sooner alighted than its claws got caught fast in the wool, and nothing it could do was of any use: there it stuck, flapping away, and only making things worse instead of better. By and by up came the Shepherd. "Oho," he said, "so that's what you'd be doing, is it?" And he took the Jackdaw, and clipped its wings and carried it home to his children. It looked so odd that they didn't know what to make of it. "What sort of bird is it, father?" they asked. "It's a Jackdaw," he replied, "and nothing but a Jackdaw: but it wants to be taken for an Eagle." If you attempt what is beyond your power, your trouble will be wasted and you court not only misfortune but ridicule. THE WOLF AND THE BOY A Wolf, who had just enjoyed a good meal and was in a playful mood, caught sight of a Boy lying flat upon the ground, and, realising that he was trying to hide, and that it was fear of himself that made him do this, he went up to him and said, "Aha, I've found you, you see; but if you can say three things to me, the truth of which cannot be disputed, I will spare your life." The Boy plucked up courage and thought for a moment, and then he said, "First, it is a pity you saw me; secondly, I was a fool to let myself be seen; and thirdly, we all hate wolves because they are always making unprovoked attacks upon our flocks." The Wolf replied, "Well, what you say is true enough from your point of view; so you may go." THE MILLER, HIS SON, AND THEIR ASS A Miller, accompanied by his young Son, was driving his Ass to market in hopes of finding a purchaser for him. On the road they met a troop of girls, laughing and talking, who exclaimed, "Did you ever see such a pair of fools? To be trudging along the dusty road when they might be riding!" The Miller thought there was sense in what they said; so he made his Son mount the Ass, and himself walked at the side. Presently they met some of his old cronies, who greeted them and said, "You'll spoil that Son of yours, letting him ride while you toil along on foot! Make him walk, young lazybones! It'll do him all the good in the world." The Miller followed their advice, and took his Son's place on the back of the Ass while the boy trudged along behind. They had not gone far when they overtook a party of women and children, and the Miller heard them say, "What a selfish old man! He himself rides in comfort, but lets his poor little boy follow as best he can on his own legs!" So he made his Son get up behind him. Further along the road they met some travellers, who asked the Miller whether the Ass he was riding was his own property, or a beast hired for the occasion. He replied that it was his own, and that he was taking it to market to sell. "Good heavens!" said they, "with a load like that the poor beast will be so exhausted by the time he gets there that no one will look at him. Why, you'd do better to carry him!" "Anything to please you," said the old man, "we can but try." So they got off, tied the Ass's legs together with a rope and slung him on a pole, and at last reached the town, carrying him between them. This was so absurd a sight that the people ran out in crowds to laugh at it, and chaffed the Father and Son unmercifully, some even calling them lunatics. They had then got to a bridge over the river, where the Ass, frightened by the noise and his unusual situation, kicked and struggled till he broke the ropes that bound him, and fell into the water and was drowned. Whereupon the unfortunate Miller, vexed and ashamed, made the best of his way home again, convinced that in trying to please all he had pleased none, and had lost his Ass into the bargain. THE STAG AND THE VINE A Stag, pursued by the huntsmen, concealed himself under cover of a thick Vine. They lost track of him and passed by his hiding-place without being aware that he was anywhere near. Supposing all danger to be over, he presently began to browse on the leaves of the Vine. The movement drew the attention of the returning huntsmen, and one of them, supposing some animal to be hidden there, shot an arrow at a venture into the foliage. The unlucky Stag was pierced to the heart, and, as he expired, he said, "I deserve my fate for my treachery in feeding upon the leaves of my protector." Ingratitude sometimes brings its own punishment. THE LAMB CHASED BY A WOLF A Wolf was chasing a Lamb, which took refuge in a temple. The Wolf urged it to come out of the precincts, and said, "If you don't, the priest is sure to catch you and offer you up in sacrifice on the altar." To which the Lamb replied, "Thanks, I think I'll stay where I am: I'd rather be sacrificed any day than be eaten up by a Wolf." THE ARCHER AND THE LION An Archer went up into the hills to get some sport with his bow, and all the animals fled at the sight of him with the exception of the Lion, who stayed behind and challenged him to fight. But he shot an arrow at the Lion and hit him, and said, "There, you see what my messenger can do: just you wait a moment and I'll tackle you myself." The Lion, however, when he felt the sting of the arrow, ran away as fast as his legs could carry him. A fox, who had seen it all happen, said to the Lion, "Come, don't be a coward: why don't you stay and show fight?" But the Lion replied, "You won't get me to stay, not you: why, when he sends a messenger like that before him, he must himself be a terrible fellow to deal with." Give a wide berth to those who can do damage at a distance. THE WOLF AND THE GOAT A Wolf caught sight of a Goat browsing above him on the scanty herbage that grew on the top of a steep rock; and being unable to get at her, tried to induce her to come lower down. "You are risking your life up there, madam, indeed you are," he called out: "pray take my advice and come down here, where you will find plenty of better food." The Goat turned a knowing eye upon him. "It's little you care whether I get good grass or bad," said she: "what you want is to eat me." THE SICK STAG A Stag fell sick and lay in a clearing in the forest, too weak to move from the spot. When the news of his illness spread, a number of the other beasts came to inquire after his health, and they one and all nibbled a little of the grass that grew round the invalid till at last there was not a blade within his reach. In a few days he began to mend, but was still too feeble to get up and go in search of fodder; and thus he perished miserably of hunger owing to the thoughtlessness of his friends. THE ASS AND THE MULE A certain man who had an Ass and a Mule loaded them both up one day and set out upon a journey. So long as the road was fairly level, the Ass got on very well: but by and by they came to a place among the hills where the road was very rough and steep, and the Ass was at his last gasp. So he begged the Mule to relieve him of a part of his load: but the Mule refused. At last, from sheer weariness, the Ass stumbled and fell down a steep place and was killed. The driver was in despair, but he did the best he could: he added the Ass's load to the Mule's, and he also flayed the Ass and put his skin on the top of the double load. The Mule could only just manage the extra weight, and, as he staggered painfully along, he said to himself, "I have only got what I deserved: if I had been willing to help the Ass at first, I should not now be carrying his load and his skin into the bargain." BROTHER AND SISTER A certain man had two children, a boy and a girl: and the boy was as good-looking as the girl was plain. One day, as they were playing together in their mother's chamber, they chanced upon a mirror and saw their own features for the first time. The boy saw what a handsome fellow he was, and began to boast to his Sister about his good looks: she, on her part, was ready to cry with vexation when she was aware of her plainness, and took his remarks as an insult to herself. Running to her father, she told him of her Brother's conceit, and accused him of meddling with his mother's things. He laughed and kissed them both, and said, "My children, learn from now onwards to make a good use of the glass. You, my boy, strive to be as good as it shows you to be handsome; and you, my girl, resolve to make up for the plainness of your features by the sweetness of your disposition." THE HEIFER AND THE OX A Heifer went up to an Ox, who was straining hard at the plough, and sympathised with him in a rather patronising sort of way on the necessity of his having to work so hard. Not long afterwards there was a festival in the village and every one kept holiday: but, whereas the Ox was turned loose into the pasture, the Heifer was seized and led off to sacrifice. "Ah," said the Ox, with a grim smile, "I see now why you were allowed to have such an idle time: it was because you were always intended for the altar." THE KINGDOM OF THE LION When the Lion reigned over the beasts of the earth he was never cruel or tyrannical, but as gentle and just as a King ought to be. During his reign he called a general assembly of the beasts, and drew up a code of laws under which all were to live in perfect equality and harmony: the wolf and the lamb, the tiger and the stag, the leopard and the kid, the dog and the hare, all should dwell side by side in unbroken peace and friendship. The hare said, "Oh! how I have longed for this day when the weak take their place without fear by the side of the strong!" THE ASS AND HIS DRIVER An Ass was being driven down a mountain road, and after jogging along for a while sensibly enough he suddenly quitted the track and rushed to the edge of a precipice. He was just about to leap over the edge when his Driver caught hold of his tail and did his best to pull him back: but pull as he might he couldn't get the Ass to budge from the brink. At last he gave up, crying, "All right, then, get to the bottom your own way; but it's the way to sudden death, as you'll find out quick enough." THE LION AND THE HARE A Lion found a Hare sleeping in her form, and was just going to devour her when he caught sight of a passing stag. Dropping the Hare, he at once made for the bigger game; but finding, after a long chase, that he could not overtake the stag, he abandoned the attempt and came back for the Hare. When he reached the spot, however, he found she was nowhere to be seen, and he had to go without his dinner. "It serves me right," he said; "I should have been content with what I had got, instead of hankering after a better prize." THE WOLVES AND THE DOGS Once upon a time the Wolves said to the Dogs, "Why should we continue to be enemies any longer? You are very like us in most ways: the main difference between us is one of training only. We live a life of freedom; but you are enslaved to mankind, who beat you, and put heavy collars round your necks, and compel you to keep watch over their flocks and herds for them, and, to crown all, they give you nothing but bones to eat. Don't put up with it any longer, but hand over the flocks to us, and we will all live on the fat of the land and feast together." The Dogs allowed themselves to be persuaded by these words, and accompanied the Wolves into their den. But no sooner were they well inside than the Wolves set upon them and tore them to pieces. Traitors richly deserve their fate. THE BULL AND THE CALF A full-grown Bull was struggling to force his huge bulk through the narrow entrance to a cow-house where his stall was, when a young Calf came up and said to him, "If you'll step aside a moment, I'll show you the way to get through." The Bull turned upon him an amused look. "I knew that way," said he, "before you were born." THE TREES AND THE AXE A Woodman went into the forest and begged of the Trees the favour of a handle for his Axe. The principal Trees at once agreed to so modest a request, and unhesitatingly gave him a young ash sapling, out of which he fashioned the handle he desired. No sooner had he done so than he set to work to fell the noblest Trees in the wood. When they saw the use to which he was putting their gift, they cried, "Alas! alas! We are undone, but we are ourselves to blame. The little we gave has cost us all: had we not sacrificed the rights of the ash, we might ourselves have stood for ages." THE ASTRONOMER There was once an Astronomer whose habit it was to go out at night and observe the stars. One night, as he was walking about outside the town gates, gazing up absorbed into the sky and not looking where he was going, he fell into a dry well. As he lay there groaning, some one passing by heard him, and, coming to the edge of the well, looked down and, on learning what had happened, said, "If you really mean to say that you were looking so hard at the sky that you didn't even see where your feet were carrying you along the ground, it appears to me that you deserve all you've got." THE LABOURER AND THE SNAKE A Labourer's little son was bitten by a Snake and died of the wound. The father was beside himself with grief, and in his anger against the Snake he caught up an axe and went and stood close to the Snake's hole, and watched for a chance of killing it. Presently the Snake came out, and the man aimed a blow at it, but only succeeded in cutting off the tip of its tail before it wriggled in again. He then tried to get it to come out a second time, pretending that he wished to make up the quarrel. But the Snake said, "I can never be your friend because of my lost tail, nor you mine because of your lost child." Injuries are never forgotten in the presence of those who caused them. THE CAGE-BIRD AND THE BAT A Singing-bird was confined in a cage which hung outside a window, and had a way of singing at night when all other birds were asleep. One night a Bat came and clung to the bars of the cage, and asked the Bird why she was silent by day and sang only at night. "I have a very good reason for doing so," said the Bird: "it was once when I was singing in the daytime that a fowler was attracted by my voice, and set his nets for me and caught me. Since then I have never sung except by night." But the Bat replied, "It is no use your doing that now when you are a prisoner: if only you had done so before you were caught, you might still have been free." Precautions are useless after the event. THE ASS AND HIS PURCHASER A Man who wanted to buy an Ass went to market, and, coming across a likely-looking beast, arranged with the owner that he should be allowed to take him home on trial to see what he was like. When he reached home, he put him into his stable along with the other asses. The newcomer took a look round, and immediately went and chose a place next to the laziest and greediest beast in the stable. When the master saw this he put a halter on him at once, and led him off and handed him over to his owner again. The latter was a good deal surprised to see him back so soon, and said, "Why, do you mean to say you have tested him already?" "I don't want to put him through any more tests," replied the other: "I could see what sort of beast he is from the companion he chose for himself." A man is known by the company he keeps. THE KID AND THE WOLF A Kid strayed from the flock and was chased by a Wolf. When he saw he must be caught he turned round and said to the Wolf, "I know, sir, that I can't escape being eaten by you: and so, as my life is bound to be short, I pray you let it be as merry as may be. Will you not play me a tune to dance to before I die?" The Wolf saw no objection to having some music before his dinner: so he took out his pipe and began to play, while the Kid danced before him. Before many minutes were passed the gods who guarded the flock heard the sound and came up to see what was going on. They no sooner clapped eyes on the Wolf than they gave chase and drove him away. As he ran off, he turned and said to the Kid, "It's what I thoroughly deserve: my trade is the butcher's, and I had no business to turn piper to please you." THE DEBTOR AND HIS SOW A Man of Athens fell into debt and was pressed for the money by his creditor; but he had no means of paying at the time, so he begged for delay. But the creditor refused and said he must pay at once. Then the Debtor fetched a Sow--the only one he had--and took her to market to offer her for sale. It happened that his creditor was there too. Presently a buyer came along and asked if the Sow produced good litters. "Yes," said the Debtor, "very fine ones; and the remarkable thing is that she produces females at the Mysteries and males at the Panathenea." (Festivals these were: and the Athenians always sacrifice a sow at one, and a boar at the other; while at the Dionysia they sacrifice a kid.) At that the creditor, who was standing by, put in, "Don't be surprised, sir; why, still better, at the Dionysia this Sow has kids!" THE BALD HUNTSMAN A Man who had lost all his hair took to wearing a wig, and one day he went out hunting. It was blowing rather hard at the time, and he hadn't gone far before a gust of wind caught his hat and carried it off, and his wig too, much to the amusement of the hunt. But he quite entered into the joke, and said, "Ah, well! the hair that wig is made of didn't stick to the head on which it grew; so it's no wonder it won't stick to mine." THE HERDSMAN AND THE LOST BULL A Herdsman was tending his cattle when he missed a young Bull, one of the finest of the herd. He went at once to look for him, but, meeting with no success in his search, he made a vow that, if he should discover the thief, he would sacrifice a calf to Jupiter. Continuing his search, he entered a thicket, where he presently espied a lion devouring the lost Bull. Terrified with fear, he raised his hands to heaven and cried, "Great Jupiter, I vowed I would sacrifice a calf to thee if I should discover the thief: but now a full-grown Bull I promise thee if only I myself escape unhurt from his clutches." THE MULE One morning a Mule, who had too much to eat and too little to do, began to think himself a very fine fellow indeed, and frisked about saying, "My father was undoubtedly a high-spirited horse and I take after him entirely." But very soon afterwards he was put into the harness and compelled to go a very long way with a heavy load behind him. At the end of the day, exhausted by his unusual exertions, he said dejectedly to himself, "I must have been mistaken about my father; he can only have been an ass after all." THE HOUND AND THE FOX A Hound, roaming in the forest, spied a lion, and being well used to lesser game, gave chase, thinking he would make a fine quarry. Presently the lion perceived that he was being pursued; so, stopping short, he rounded on his pursuer and gave a loud roar. The Hound immediately turned tail and fled. A Fox, seeing him running away, jeered at him and said, "Ho! ho! There goes the coward who chased a lion and ran away the moment he roared!" THE FATHER AND HIS DAUGHTERS A Man had two Daughters, one of whom he gave in marriage to a gardener, and the other to a potter. After a time he thought he would go and see how they were getting on; and first he went to the gardener's wife. He asked her how she was, and how things were going with herself and her husband. She replied that on the whole they were doing very well: "But," she continued, "I do wish we could have some good heavy rain: the garden wants it badly." Then he went on to the potter's wife and made the same inquiries of her. She replied that she and her husband had nothing to complain of: "But," she went on, "I do wish we could have some nice dry weather, to dry the pottery." Her Father looked at her with a humorous expression on his face. "You want dry weather," he said, "and your sister wants rain. I was going to ask in my prayers that your wishes should be granted; but now it strikes me I had better not refer to the subject." THE THIEF AND THE INNKEEPER A Thief hired a room at an inn, and stayed there some days on the look-out for something to steal. No opportunity, however, presented itself, till one day, when there was a festival to be celebrated, the Innkeeper appeared in a fine new coat and sat down before the door of the inn for an airing. The Thief no sooner set eyes upon the coat than he longed to get possession of it. There was no business doing, so he went and took a seat by the side of the Innkeeper, and began talking to him. They conversed together for some time, and then the Thief suddenly yawned and howled like a wolf. The Innkeeper asked him in some concern what ailed him. The Thief replied, "I will tell you about myself, sir, but first I must beg you to take charge of my clothes for me, for I intend to leave them with you. Why I have these fits of yawning I cannot tell: maybe they are sent as a punishment for my misdeeds; but, whatever the reason, the facts are that when I have yawned three times I become a ravening wolf and fly at men's throats." As he finished speaking he yawned a second time and howled again as before. The Innkeeper, believing every word he said, and terrified at the prospect of being confronted with a wolf, got up hastily and started to run indoors; but the Thief caught him by the coat and tried to stop him, crying, "Stay, sir, stay, and take charge of my clothes, or else I shall never see them again." As he spoke he opened his mouth and began to yawn for the third time. The Innkeeper, mad with the fear of being eaten by a wolf, slipped out of his coat, which remained in the other's hands, and bolted into the inn and locked the door behind him; and the Thief then quietly stole off with his spoil. THE PACK-ASS AND THE WILD ASS A Wild Ass, who was wandering idly about, one day came upon a Pack-Ass lying at full length in a sunny spot and thoroughly enjoying himself. Going up to him, he said, "What a lucky beast you are! Your sleek coat shows how well you live: how I envy you!" Not long after the Wild Ass saw his acquaintance again, but this time he was carrying a heavy load, and his driver was following behind and beating him with a thick stick. "Ah, my friend," said the Wild Ass, "I don't envy you any more: for I see you pay dear for your comforts." Advantages that are dearly bought are doubtful blessings. THE ASS AND HIS MASTERS A Gardener had an Ass which had a very hard time of it, what with scanty food, heavy loads, and constant beating. The Ass therefore begged Jupiter to take him away from the Gardener and hand him over to another master. So Jupiter sent Mercury to the Gardener to bid him sell the Ass to a Potter, which he did. But the Ass was as discontented as ever, for he had to work harder than before: so he begged Jupiter for relief a second time, and Jupiter very obligingly arranged that he should be sold to a Tanner. But when the Ass saw what his new master's trade was, he cried in despair, "Why wasn't I content to serve either of my former masters, hard as I had to work and badly as I was treated? for they would have buried me decently, but now I shall come in the end to the tanning-vat." Servants don't know a good master till they have served a worse. THE PACK-ASS, THE WILD ASS, AND THE LION A Wild Ass saw a Pack-Ass jogging along under a heavy load, and taunted him with the condition of slavery in which he lived, in these words: "What a vile lot is yours compared with mine! I am free as the air, and never do a stroke of work; and, as for fodder, I have only to go to the hills and there I find far more than enough for my needs. But you! you depend on your master for food, and he makes you carry heavy loads every day and beats you unmercifully." At that moment a Lion appeared on the scene, and made no attempt to molest the Pack-Ass owing to the presence of the driver; but he fell upon the Wild Ass, who had no one to protect him, and without more ado made a meal of him. It is no use being your own master unless you can stand up for yourself. THE ANT Ants were once men and made their living by tilling the soil. But, not content with the results of their own work, they were always casting longing eyes upon the crops and fruits of their neighbours, which they stole, whenever they got the chance, and added to their own store. At last their covetousness made Jupiter so angry that he changed them into Ants. But, though their forms were changed, their nature remained the same: and so, to this day, they go about among the cornfields and gather the fruits of others' labour, and store them up for their own use. You may punish a thief, but his bent remains. THE FROGS AND THE WELL Two Frogs lived together in a marsh. But one hot summer the marsh dried up, and they left it to look for another place to live in: for frogs like damp places if they can get them. By and by they came to a deep well, and one of them looked down into it, and said to the other, "This looks a nice cool place: let us jump in and settle here." But the other, who had a wiser head on his shoulders, replied, "Not so fast, my friend: supposing this well dried up like the marsh, how should we get out again?" Think twice before you act. THE CRAB AND THE FOX A Crab once left the sea-shore and went and settled in a meadow some way inland, which looked very nice and green and seemed likely to be a good place to feed in. But a hungry Fox came along and spied the Crab and caught him. Just as he was going to be eaten up, the Crab said, "This is just what I deserve; for I had no business to leave my natural home by the sea and settle here as though I belonged to the land." Be content with your lot. THE FOX AND THE GRASSHOPPER A Grasshopper sat chirping in the branches of a tree. A Fox heard her, and, thinking what a dainty morsel she would make, he tried to get her down by a trick. Standing below in full view of her, he praised her song in the most flattering terms, and begged her to descend, saying he would like to make the acquaintance of the owner of so beautiful a voice. But she was not to be taken in, and replied, "You are very much mistaken, my dear sir, if you imagine I am going to come down: I keep well out of the way of you and your kind ever since the day when I saw numbers of grasshoppers' wings strewn about the entrance to a fox's earth." THE FARMER, HIS BOY, AND THE ROOKS A Farmer had just sown a field of wheat, and was keeping a careful watch over it, for numbers of Rooks and starlings kept continually settling on it and eating up the grain. Along with him went his Boy, carrying a sling: and whenever the Farmer asked for the sling the starlings understood what he said and warned the Rooks and they were off in a moment. So the Farmer hit on a trick. "My lad," said he, "we must get the better of these birds somehow. After this, when I want the sling, I won't say 'sling,' but just 'humph!' and you must then hand me the sling quickly." Presently back came the whole flock. "Humph!" said the Farmer; but the starlings took no notice, and he had time to sling several stones among them, hitting one on the head, another in the legs, and another in the wing, before they got out of range. As they made all haste away they met some cranes, who asked them what the matter was. "Matter?" said one of the Rooks; "it's those rascals, men, that are the matter. Don't you go near them. They have a way of saying one thing and meaning another which has just been the death of several of our poor friends." THE ASS AND THE DOG An Ass and a Dog were on their travels together, and, as they went along, they found a sealed packet lying on the ground. The Ass picked it up, broke the seal, and found it contained some writing, which he proceeded to read out aloud to the Dog. As he read on it turned out to be all about grass and barley and hay--in short, all the kinds of fodder that Asses are fond of. The Dog was a good deal bored with listening to all this, till at last his impatience got the better of him, and he cried, "Just skip a few pages, friend, and see if there isn't something about meat and bones." The Ass glanced all through the packet, but found nothing of the sort, and said so. Then the Dog said in disgust, "Oh, throw it away, do: what's the good of a thing like that?" THE ASS CARRYING THE IMAGE A certain man put an Image on the back of his Ass to take it to one of the temples of the town. As they went along the road all the people they met uncovered and bowed their heads out of reverence for the Image; but the Ass thought they were doing it out of respect for himself, and began to give himself airs accordingly. At last he became so conceited that he imagined he could do as he liked, and, by way of protest against the load he was carrying, he came to a full stop and flatly declined to proceed any further. His driver, finding him so obstinate, hit him hard and long with his stick, saying the while, "Oh, you dunder-headed idiot, do you suppose it's come to this, that men pay worship to an Ass?" Rude shocks await those who take to themselves the credit that is due to others. THE ATHENIAN AND THE THEBAN An Athenian and a Theban were on the road together, and passed the time in conversation, as is the way of travellers. After discussing a variety of subjects they began to talk about heroes, a topic that tends to be more fertile than edifying. Each of them was lavish in his praises of the heroes of his own city, until eventually the Theban asserted that Hercules was the greatest hero who had ever lived on earth, and now occupied a foremost place among the gods; while the Athenian insisted that Theseus was far superior, for his fortune had been in every way supremely blessed, whereas Hercules had at one time been forced to act as a servant. And he gained his point, for he was a very glib fellow, like all Athenians; so that the Theban, who was no match for him in talking, cried at last in some disgust, "All right, have your way; I only hope that, when our heroes are angry with us, Athens may suffer from the anger of Hercules, and Thebes only from that of Theseus." THE GOATHERD AND THE GOAT A Goatherd was one day gathering his flock to return to the fold, when one of his goats strayed and refused to join the rest. He tried for a long time to get her to return by calling and whistling to her, but the Goat took no notice of him at all; so at last he threw a stone at her and broke one of her horns. In dismay, he begged her not to tell his master: but she replied, "You silly fellow, my horn would cry aloud even if I held my tongue." It's no use trying to hide what can't be hidden. THE SHEEP AND THE DOG Once upon a time the Sheep complained to the shepherd about the difference in his treatment of themselves and his Dog. "Your conduct," said they, "is very strange and, we think, very unfair. We provide you with wool and lambs and milk and you give us nothing but grass, and even that we have to find for ourselves: but you get nothing at all from the Dog, and yet you feed him with tit-bits from your own table." Their remarks were overheard by the Dog, who spoke up at once and said, "Yes, and quite right, too: where would you be if it wasn't for me? Thieves would steal you! Wolves would eat you! Indeed, if I didn't keep constant watch over you, you would be too terrified even to graze!" The Sheep were obliged to acknowledge that he spoke the truth, and never again made a grievance of the regard in which he was held by his master. THE SHEPHERD AND THE WOLF A Shepherd found a Wolf's Cub straying in the pastures, and took him home and reared him along with his dogs. When the Cub grew to his full size, if ever a wolf stole a sheep from the flock, he used to join the dogs in hunting him down. It sometimes happened that the dogs failed to come up with the thief, and, abandoning the pursuit, returned home. The Wolf would on such occasions continue the chase by himself, and when he overtook the culprit, would stop and share the feast with him, and then return to the Shepherd. But if some time passed without a sheep being carried off by the wolves, he would steal one himself and share his plunder with the dogs. The Shepherd's suspicions were aroused, and one day he caught him in the act; and, fastening a rope round his neck, hung him on the nearest tree. What's bred in the bone is sure to come out in the flesh. THE LION, JUPITER, AND THE ELEPHANT The Lion, for all his size and strength, and his sharp teeth and claws, is a coward in one thing: he can't bear the sound of a cock crowing, and runs away whenever he hears it. He complained bitterly to Jupiter for making him like that; but Jupiter said it wasn't his fault: he had done the best he could for him, and, considering this was his only failing, he ought to be well content. The Lion, however, wouldn't be comforted, and was so ashamed of his timidity that he wished he might die. In this state of mind, he met the Elephant and had a talk with him. He noticed that the great beast cocked up his ears all the time, as if he were listening for something, and he asked him why he did so. Just then a gnat came humming by, and the Elephant said, "Do you see that wretched little buzzing insect? I'm terribly afraid of its getting into my ear: if it once gets in, I'm dead and done for." The Lion's spirits rose at once when he heard this: "For," he said to himself, "if the Elephant, huge as he is, is afraid of a gnat, I needn't be so much ashamed of being afraid of a cock, who is ten thousand times bigger than a gnat." THE PIG AND THE SHEEP A Pig found his way into a meadow where a flock of Sheep were grazing. The shepherd caught him, and was proceeding to carry him off to the butcher's when he set up a loud squealing and struggled to get free. The Sheep rebuked him for making such a to-do, and said to him, "The shepherd catches us regularly and drags us off just like that, and we don't make any fuss." "No, I dare say not," replied the Pig, "but my case and yours are altogether different: he only wants you for wool, but he wants me for bacon." THE GARDENER AND HIS DOG A Gardner's Dog fell into a deep well, from which his master used to draw water for the plants in his garden with a rope and a bucket. Failing to get the Dog out by means of these, the Gardener went down into the well himself in order to fetch him up. But the Dog thought he had come to make sure of drowning him; so he bit his master as soon as he came within reach, and hurt him a good deal, with the result that he left the Dog to his fate and climbed out of the well, remarking, "It serves me quite right for trying to save so determined a suicide." THE RIVERS AND THE SEA Once upon a time all the Rivers combined to protest against the action of the Sea in making their waters salt. "When we come to you," said they to the Sea, "we are sweet and drinkable: but when once we have mingled with you, our waters become as briny and unpalatable as your own." The Sea replied shortly, "Keep away from me and you'll remain sweet." THE LION IN LOVE A Lion fell deeply in love with the daughter of a cottager and wanted to marry her; but her father was unwilling to give her to so fearsome a husband, and yet didn't want to offend the Lion; so he hit upon the following expedient. He went to the Lion and said, "I think you will make a very good husband for my daughter: but I cannot consent to your union unless you let me draw your teeth and pare your nails, for my daughter is terribly afraid of them." The Lion was so much in love that he readily agreed that this should be done. When once, however, he was thus disarmed, the Cottager was afraid of him no longer, but drove him away with his club. THE BEE-KEEPER A Thief found his way into an apiary when the Bee-keeper was away, and stole all the honey. When the Keeper returned and found the hives empty, he was very much upset and stood staring at them for some time. Before long the bees came back from gathering honey, and, finding their hives overturned and the Keeper standing by, they made for him with their stings. At this he fell into a passion and cried, "You ungrateful scoundrels, you let the thief who stole my honey get off scot-free, and then you go and sting me who have always taken such care of you!" When you hit back make sure you have got the right man. THE WOLF AND THE HORSE A Wolf on his rambles came to a field of oats, but, not being able to eat them, he was passing on his way when a Horse came along. "Look," said the Wolf, "here's a fine field of oats. For your sake I have left it untouched, and I shall greatly enjoy the sound of your teeth munching the ripe grain." But the Horse replied, "If wolves could eat oats, my fine friend, you would hardly have indulged your ears at the cost of your belly." There is no virtue in giving to others what is useless to oneself. THE BAT, THE BRAMBLE, AND THE SEAGULL A Bat, a Bramble, and a Seagull went into partnership and determined to go on a trading voyage together. The Bat borrowed a sum of money for his venture; the Bramble laid in a stock of clothes of various kinds; and the Seagull took a quantity of lead: and so they set out. By and by a great storm came on, and their boat with all the cargo went to the bottom, but the three travellers managed to reach land. Ever since then the Seagull flies to and fro over the sea, and every now and then dives below the surface, looking for the lead he's lost; while the Bat is so afraid of meeting his creditors that he hides away by day and only comes out at night to feed; and the Bramble catches hold of the clothes of every one who passes by, hoping some day to recognise and recover the lost garments. All men are more concerned to recover what they lose than to acquire what they lack. THE DOG AND THE WOLF A Dog was lying in the sun before a farmyard gate when a Wolf pounced upon him and was just going to eat him up; but he begged for his life and said, "You see how thin I am and what a wretched meal I should make you now: but if you will only wait a few days my master is going to give a feast. All the rich scraps and pickings will fall to me and I shall get nice and fat: then will be the time for you to eat me." The Wolf thought this was a very good plan and went away. Some time afterwards he came to the farmyard again, and found the Dog lying out of reach on the stable roof. "Come down," he called, "and be eaten: you remember our agreement?" But the Dog said coolly, "My friend, if ever you catch me lying down by the gate there again, don't you wait for any feast." Once bitten, twice shy. THE WASP AND THE SNAKE A Wasp settled on the head of a Snake, and not only stung him several times, but clung obstinately to the head of his victim. Maddened with pain the Snake tried every means he could think of to get rid of the creature, but without success. At last he became desperate, and crying, "Kill you I will, even at the cost of my own life," he laid his head with the Wasp on it under the wheel of a passing waggon, and they both perished together. THE EAGLE AND THE BEETLE An Eagle was chasing a hare, which was running for dear life and was at her wits' end to know where to turn for help. Presently she espied a Beetle, and begged it to aid her. So when the Eagle came up the Beetle warned her not to touch the hare, which was under its protection. But the Eagle never noticed the Beetle because it was so small, seized the hare and ate her up. The Beetle never forgot this, and used to keep an eye on the Eagle's nest, and whenever the Eagle laid an egg it climbed up and rolled it out of the nest and broke it. At last the Eagle got so worried over the loss of her eggs that she went up to Jupiter, who is the special protector of Eagles, and begged him to give her a safe place to nest in: so he let her lay her eggs in his lap. But the Beetle noticed this and made a ball of dirt the size of an Eagle's egg, and flew up and deposited it in Jupiter's lap. When Jupiter saw the dirt, he stood up to shake it out of his robe, and, forgetting about the eggs, he shook them out too, and they were broken just as before. Ever since then, they say, Eagles never lay their eggs at the season when Beetles are about. The weak will sometimes find ways to avenge an insult, even upon the strong. THE FOWLER AND THE LARK A Fowler was setting his nets for little birds when a Lark came up to him and asked him what he was doing. "I am engaged in founding a city," said he, and with that he withdrew to a short distance and concealed himself. The Lark examined the nets with great curiosity, and presently, catching sight of the bait, hopped on to them in order to secure it, and became entangled in the meshes. The Fowler then ran up quickly and captured her. "What a fool I was!" said she: "but at any rate, if that's the kind of city you are founding, it'll be a long time before you find fools enough to fill it." THE FISHERMAN PIPING A Fisherman who could play the flute went down one day to the sea-shore with his nets and his flute; and, taking his stand on a projecting rock, began to play a tune, thinking that the music would bring the fish jumping out of the sea. He went on playing for some time, but not a fish appeared: so at last he threw down his flute and cast his net into the sea, and made a great haul of fish. When they were landed and he saw them leaping about on the shore, he cried, "You rascals! you wouldn't dance when I piped: but now I've stopped, you can do nothing else!" THE WEASEL AND THE MAN A Man once caught a Weasel, which was always sneaking about the house, and was just going to drown it in a tub of water, when it begged hard for its life, and said to him, "Surely you haven't the heart to put me to death? Think how useful I have been in clearing your house of the mice and lizards which used to infest it, and show your gratitude by sparing my life." "You have not been altogether useless, I grant you," said the Man: "but who killed the fowls? Who stole the meat? No, no! You do much more harm than good, and die you shall." THE PLOUGHMAN, THE ASS, AND THE OX A Ploughman yoked his Ox and his Ass together, and set to work to plough his field. It was a poor makeshift of a team, but it was the best he could do, as he had but a single Ox. At the end of the day, when the beasts were loosed from the yoke, the Ass said to the Ox, "Well, we've had a hard day: which of us is to carry the master home?" The Ox looked surprised at the question. "Why," said he, "you, to be sure, as usual." DEMADES AND HIS FABLE Demades the orator was once speaking in the Assembly at Athens; but the people were very inattentive to what he was saying, so he stopped and said, "Gentlemen, I should like to tell you one of AEsop's fables." This made every one listen intently. Then Demades began: "Demeter, a Swallow, and an Eel were once travelling together, and came to a river without a bridge: the Swallow flew over it, and the Eel swam across"; and then he stopped. "What happened to Demeter?" cried several people in the audience. "Demeter," he replied, "is very angry with you for listening to fables when you ought to be minding public business." THE MONKEY AND THE DOLPHIN When people go on a voyage they often take with them lap-dogs or monkeys as pets to wile away the time. Thus it fell out that a man returning to Athens from the East had a pet Monkey on board with him. As they neared the coast of Attica a great storm burst upon them, and the ship capsized. All on board were thrown into the water, and tried to save themselves by swimming, the Monkey among the rest. A Dolphin saw him, and, supposing him to be a man, took him on his back and began swimming towards the shore. When they got near the Piraeus, which is the port of Athens, the Dolphin asked the Monkey if he was an Athenian. The Monkey replied that he was, and added that he came of a very distinguished family. "Then, of course, you know the Piraeus," continued the Dolphin. The Monkey thought he was referring to some high official or other, and replied, "Oh, yes, he's a very old friend of mine." At that, detecting his hypocrisy, the Dolphin was so disgusted that he dived below the surface, and the unfortunate Monkey was quickly drowned. THE CROW AND THE SNAKE A hungry Crow spied a Snake lying asleep in a sunny spot, and, picking it up in his claws, he was carrying it off to a place where he could make a meal of it without being disturbed, when the Snake reared its head and bit him. It was a poisonous Snake, and the bite was fatal, and the dying Crow said, "What a cruel fate is mine! I thought I had made a lucky find, and it has cost me my life!" THE DOGS AND THE FOX Some Dogs once found a lion's skin, and were worrying it with their teeth. Just then a Fox came by, and said, "You think yourselves very brave, no doubt; but if that were a live lion you'd find his claws a good deal sharper than your teeth."