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  1. The Hunter and the Horseman
  2. The Goatherd and the Wild Goats
  3. The Nightingale and the Swallow
  4. The Traveller and Fortune

The Hunter and the Horseman

A hunter went out after game, and succeeded in catching a hare, which he was carrying home with him when he met a man on horseback, who said to him, "You have had some sport I see, sir," and offered to buy it.

The hunter readily agreed; but the horseman had no sooner got the hare in his hands than he set spurs to his horse and went off at full gallop. The hunter ran after him for some little distance; but it soon dawned on him that he had been tricked, and he gave up trying to overtake the horseman, and, to save his face, called after him as loud as he could, "All right, sir, all right, take your hare: it was meant all along as a present."

The Goatherd and the Wild Goats

A goatherd was tending his goats out at pasture when he saw a number of wild goats approach and mingle with his flock. At the end of the day he drove them home and put them all into the pen together. Next day the weather was so bad that he could not take them out as usual: so he kept them at home in the pen, and fed them there. He only gave his own goats enough food to keep them from starving, but he gave the wild goats as much as they could eat and more; for he was very anxious for them to stay, and he thought that if he fed them well they wouldn't want to leave him.

When the weather improved, he took them all out to pasture again; but no sooner had they got near the hills than the wild goats broke away from the flock and scampered off.

The goatherd was very much disgusted at this, and roundly abused them for their ingratitude.

"Rascals!" he cried, "to run away like that after the way I've treated you!"

Hearing this, one of them turned round and said, "Oh, yes, you treated us all right – too well, in fact; it was just that that put us on our guard. If you treat newcomers like ourselves so much better than your own flock, it's more than likely that, if another lot of strange goats joined yours, we should then be neglected in favour of the last comers."

The Nightingale and the Swallow

A swallow, conversing with a nightingale, advised her to quit the leafy coverts where she made her home, and to come and live with men, like herself, and nest under the shelter of their roofs.

But the nightingale replied, "Time was when I too, like yourself, lived among men: but the memory of the cruel wrongs I then suffered makes them hateful to me, and never again will I approach their dwellings."

The scene of past sufferings revives painful memories.

The Traveller and Fortune

A traveller, exhausted with fatigue after a long journey, sank down at the very brink of a deep well and presently fell asleep. He was within an ace of falling in, when Fortune herself appeared to him and touched him on the shoulder, cautioning him to move further away from the brink.

"Oh, wake up, sir!" she said. "If you had fallen into the well, the blame could have been thrown not on your own folly, but on me, Fortune."

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