A RICH MAN lived near a tanner, and not being able to bear the unpleasant smell of the tan-yard, he pressed his neighbour to go away. The tanner put off his departure from time to time, saying that he would leave soon. But as he still continued to stay, as time went on, the rich man became used to the smell, and feeling no manner of inconvenience, made no further complaints.
A FATHER had a family of sons who were perpetually quarrelling among themselves. When he failed to heal their disputes by his exhortations, he determined to give them a practical illustration of the evils of disunion; and for this purpose he one day told them to bring him a bundle of sticks. When they had done so, he placed the faggot into the hands of each of them in succession, and ordered them to break it in pieces. They tried with all their strength, and were not able to do it. He next opened the faggot, took the sticks separately, one by one, and again put them into his sons' hands, on which they broke them easily. He then addressed them in these words:
"My sons, if you are of one mind, and unite to assist each other, you will be as this faggot, uninjured by all the attempts of your enemies; but if you are divided among yourselves, you will be broken as easily as these sticks."
A MAN had two daughters, the one married to a gardener, and the other to a tile-maker. After a time he went to the daughter who had married the gardener, and asked how she was and how all things went with her. She said,
"All things are prospering with me, and I have only one wish, that there may be a heavy fall of rain, in order that the plants may be well watered."
Not long after, he went to the daughter who had married the tilemaker, and likewise asked of her how she fared; she replied,
"I want for nothing, and have only one wish, that the dry weather may continue, and the sun shine hot and bright, so that the bricks might be dried."
He said to her, "If your sister wishes for rain, and you for dry weather, with which of the two am I to join my wishes?"
A YOUNG PIG was shut up in a fold-yard with a goat and a sheep. On one occasion when the shepherd laid hold of him, he grunted and squeaked and resisted violently. The sheep and the goat complained of his distressing cries, saying,
"He often handles us, and we do not cry out."
The pig replied,
"Your handling and mine are very different things. He catches you only for your wool, or your milk, but he lays hold on me for my very life."
SOME TRAVELLERS, journeying along the seashore, climbed to the summit of a tall cliff, and looking over the sea, saw in the distance what they thought was a large ship. They waited in the hope of seeing it enter the harbour, but as the object on which they looked was driven nearer to shore by the wind, they found that it could at the most be a small boat, and not a ship. When however it reached the beach, they discovered that it was only a large faggot of sticks, and one of them said to his companions, "We have waited for no purpose, for after all there is nothing to see but a load of wood."
❋ Our mere anticipations of life should not run wild and outrun its realities.
THE SHE-GOATS having obtained a beard by request to Jove, the he-Goats were sorely displeased and made complaint that the females equalled them in dignity.
"Allow them," said Jove, "to enjoy an empty honour and to assume the badge of your nobler sex, so long as they are not your equals in strength or courage."
❋ It matters if those who are inferior to us in merit get like us in outside appearances, but hardly enough.
A STAG overpowered by heat came to a spring to drink. Seeing his own shadow reflected in the water, he greatly admired the size and variety of his horns, but felt angry with himself for having such slender and weak feet. While he was thus contemplating himself, a lion appeared at the pool and crouched to spring on him. The stag at once took to flight, and exerting his utmost speed, as long as the plain was smooth and open kept himself easily at a safe distance from the lion. But entering a wood he became entangled by his horns, and the lion quickly came up to him and caught him. When too late, he thus reproached himself:
"Woe is me! How I have deceived myself! These feet which would have saved me I despised, and I gloried in these antlers which have proved my destruction."
❋ What is most truly valuable is often underrated.
A STAG, roundly chased by the hounds and blinded by fear to the danger he was running into, took shelter in a farmyard and hid himself in a shed among the oxen. An Ox gave him this kindly warning:
"O unhappy creature! why should you thus, of your own accord, incur destruction and trust yourself in the house of your enemy?"
The stag replied:
"Only allow me, friend, to stay where I am, and I will undertake to find some favourable opportunity of effecting my escape."
At the approach of the evening the herdsman came to feed his cattle, but did not see the stag; and even the farm-bailiff with several labourers passed through the shed and failed to notice him. The stag, congratulating himself on his safety, began to express his sincere thanks to the oxen who had kindly helped him in the hour of need. One of them again answered him:
"We indeed wish you well, but the danger is not over. There is one other yet to pass through the shed, who has as it were a hundred eyes, and till he has come and gone, your life is still in peril."
At that moment the master himself entered, and having had to complain that his oxen had not been properly fed, he went up to their racks and cried out:
"Why is there such a scarcity of fodder? There is not half enough straw for them to lie on. Those lazy fellows have not even swept the cobwebs away."
While he thus examined everything in turn, he spied the tips of the antlers of the stag peeping out of the straw. Then summoning his labourers, he ordered that the stag should be seized and killed.
A STAG asked a sheep to lend him a measure of wheat, and said that the wolf would be his surety. The sheep, fearing some fraud was intended, excused herself, saying,
"The wolf is used to seize what he wants and to run off; and you, too, can quickly outstrip me in your rapid flight. How then shall I be able to find you, when the day of payment comes?"
❋ Two blacks do not make one white.
A WOLF who had a bone stuck in his throat hired a crane, for a large sum, to put her head into his mouth and draw out the bone. When the crane had extracted the bone and demanded the promised payment, the wolf, grinning and grinding his teeth, exclaimed:
"Why, you have surely already had a enough recompense, in having been permitted to draw out your head in safety from the mouth and jaws of a wolf."
❋ In serving the wicked, expect no reward, and be thankful if you escape injury for your pains.
AT ONE TIME a very large and strong Wolf was born among the wolves, who exceeded all his fellow-wolves in strength, size, and swiftness, so that they unanimously decided to call him "Lion."
The wolf, with a lack of sense proportioned to his enormous size, thought that they gave him this name in earnest, and, leaving his own race, consorted exclusively with the lions. An old sly Fox, seeing this, said,
"May I never make myself so ridiculous as you do in your pride and self-conceit; for even though you have the size of a lion among wolves, in a herd of lions you are definitely a wolf."
A WOLF saw a goat feeding at the summit of a steep precipice, where he had no chance of reaching her. He called to her and earnestly begged her to come lower down, lest she fall by some mishap; and he added that the meadows lay where he was standing, and that the herbage was most tender. She replied,
"No, my friend, it is not for the pasture that you invite me, but for yourself, who are in want of food."
A WOLF coming out of a field of oats met a horse and thus addressed him:
"I would advise you to go into that field. It is full of fine oats, which I have left touched for you, as you are a friend whom I would love to hear enjoying good eating."
The horse replied,
"If oats had been the food of wolves, you would never have indulged your ears at the cost of your belly."
❋ Men of evil reputation, when they perform a good deed, may not get full credit for it.
A WOLF, meeting a big well-fed Mastiff with a wooden collar about his neck asked him who it was that fed him so well and yet compelled him to drag that heavy log about wherever he went.
"The master," he replied.
Then said the wolf: "May no friend of mine ever be in such a plight; for the weight of this chain is enough to spoil the appetite."
ROAMING BY the mountainside at sundown, a wolf saw his own shadow become greatly extended and magnified, and he said to himself, "Why should I, being of such an immense size and extending nearly an acre in length, be afraid of the lion? Ought I not to be acknowledged as King of all the collected beasts?"
While he was indulging in these proud thoughts, a lion fell on him and killed him. He exclaimed with a too late repentance, "Wretched me! this overestimation of myself is the cause of my destruction."
A WOLF, having stolen a lamb from a fold, was carrying him off to his lair. A lion met him in the path, and seizing the lamb, took it from him. Standing at a safe distance, the wolf exclaimed,
"You have unrighteously taken that which was mine from me!" To which the lion jeeringly replied,
"It was righteously yours, eh? The gift of a friend?"
A WOLF, sorely wounded and bitten by dogs, lay sick and maimed in his lair. Being in want of food, he called to a sheep who was passing, and asked him to fetch some water from a stream flowing close beside him.
"For," he said, "if you will bring me drink, I will find means to provide myself with meat."
"Yes," said the sheep, "if I should bring you the draught, you would doubtless make me provide the meat also."
❋ Hypocritical speeches have to be seen through.
A WOLF followed a flock of sheep for a long time and did not attempt to injure one of them. The shepherd at first stood on his guard against him, as against an enemy, and kept a strict watch over his movements. But when the wolf, day after day, kept in the company of the sheep and did not make the slightest effort to seize them, the shepherd began to look on him as a guardian of his flock rather than as a plotter of evil against it; and when occasion called him one day into the city, he left the sheep entirely in his charge. The wolf, now that he had the opportunity, fell on the sheep, and destroyed the greater part of the flock. When the shepherd returned to find his flock destroyed, he exclaimed:
"I have been rightly served; why did I trust my sheep to a wolf?"
A WOLF, passing by, saw some shepherds in a hut eating a haunch of mutton for their dinner. Approaching them, he said,
"What a clamour you would raise if I were to do as you are doing!"
ONCE ON A TIME a wolf resolved to disguise his appearance in order to secure food more easily. Encased in the skin of a sheep, he pastured with the flock deceiving the shepherd by his costume. In the evening he was shut up by the shepherd in the fold; the gate was closed, and the entrance made thoroughly secure. But the shepherd, returning to the fold during the night to get meat for the next day, mistakenly caught up the wolf instead of a sheep, and killed him instantly.
❋ Harm seek, harm find.
❋ Risk-taking may be dangerous.