A WOLF accused a fox of theft, but the fox entirely denied the charge. An ape undertook to judge the matter between them. When each had fully stated his case the ape announced this sentence:
"I don't think you, wolf, ever lost what you claim; and I do believe you, Ffox, to have stolen what you so stoutly deny."
❋ The dishonest, if they act honestly, get no credit.
"WHY SHOULD there always be this fear and slaughter between us?" said the wolves to the sheep. "Those evil-disposed dogs have much to answer for. They always bark whenever we approach you and attack us before we have done any harm. If you would only dismiss them from your heels, there might soon be treaties of peace and reconciliation between us."
The sheep, poor silly creatures, were easily beguiled and dismissed the dogs, whereupon the wolves destroyed the unguarded flock at their own pleasure.
A RICH MAN gave a great feast, to which he invited many friends and acquaintances. His Dog availed himself of the occasion to invite a stranger Dog, a friend of his, saying,
"My master gives a feast, and there is always much food remaining; come and sup with me tonight."
The dog thus invited went at the hour appointed, and seeing the preparations for so grand an entertainment, said in the joy of his heart,
"How glad I am that I came! I don't often get such a chance as this. I will take care and eat enough to last me both today and tomorrow."
While he was congratulating himself and wagging his tail to convey his pleasure to his friend, the cook saw him moving about among his dishes and, seizing him by his fore and hind paws, bundled him without ceremony out of the window. He fell with force on the ground and limped away, howling dreadfully. His yelling soon attracted other street dogs, who came up to him and asked how he had enjoyed his supper. He replied,
"Why, to tell you the truth, I drank so much wine that I remember nothing. I don't know how I got out of the house."
A HOUND having started a hare on the hillside pursued her for some distance, at one time biting her with his teeth as if he would take her life, and at another fawning on her, as if in play with another dog. The hare said to him,
"I wish you would act sincerely by me, and show yourself in your true colours. If you are a friend, why do you bite me so hard? If an enemy, why do you fawn on me?"
❋ No one can be a friend if you don't know whether to trust or distrust him.
A DOG, used to eating eggs, saw an oyster and, opening his mouth to its widest extent, swallowed it down with the utmost relish, supposing it to be an egg. Soon afterwards suffering great pain in his stomach, he said,
"I deserve all this torment, for my folly in thinking that everything round must be an egg."
❋ They who act without enough thought, will often fall into unsuspected danger.
A DOG, crossing a bridge over a stream with a piece of flesh in his mouth, saw his own shadow in the water and took it for that of another Dog, with a piece of meat double his own in size. He at once let go of his own, and fiercely attacked the other Dog to get his larger piece from him. He thus lost both: that which he grasped at in the water, because it was a shadow; and his own, because the stream swept it away.
A DOG lay in a manger, and by his growling and snapping prevented the oxen from eating the hay which had been placed for them.
"What a selfish Dog!" said one of them to his companions; "he cannot eat the hay himself, and yet refuses to allow those to eat who can."
A DOG and a cock being great friends, agreed to travel together. At nightfall they took shelter in a thick wood. The cock flying up, perched himself on the branches of a tree, while the dog found a bed beneath in the hollow trunk. When the morning dawned, the cock, as usual, crowed very loudly several times. A fox heard the sound, and wishing to make a breakfast on him, came and stood under the branches, saying how earnestly he desired to make the acquaintance of the owner of so magnificent a voice. The cock, suspecting his civilities, said:
"Sir, I wish you would do me the favour of going around to the hollow trunk below me, and waking my porter, so that he may open the door and let you in."
When the fox drew near the tree, the dog sprang out and caught him, and tore him to pieces.
SOME DOGS, finding the skin of a lion, began to tear it in pieces with their teeth. A fox, seeing them, said,
"If this lion were alive, you would soon find out that his claws were stronger than your teeth."
❋ It is easy to kick a man that is down (Description, not a recommendation).
SOME DOGS famished with hunger saw a number of cowhides steeping in a river. Not being able to reach them, they agreed to drink up the river, but it happened that they burst themselves with drinking long before they reached the hides.
❋ Attempt not impossibilities.
A BIRDCATCHER was about to sit down to a dinner of herbs when a friend unexpectedly came in. The bird-trap was quite empty, as he had caught nothing, and he had to kill a pied Partridge, which he had tamed for a decoy. The bird begged earnestly for his life:
"What would you do without me when next you spread your nets? Who would chirp you to sleep, or call for you the covey of answering birds?"
The birdcatcher spared his life, and determined to pick out a fine young Cock just attaining to his comb. But the cock reasoned earnestly in piteous tones from his perch:
"If you kill me, who will announce to you the appearance of the dawn? Who will wake you to your daily tasks or tell you when it is time to visit the bird-trap in the morning?"
"What you say is true. You are a capital bird at telling the time of day. But my friend and I must have our dinners."
❋ Necessity knows no law.
A BULL, escaping from a lion, hid in a cave which some shepherds had recently occupied. As soon as he entered, a he-goat left in the cave sharply attacked him with his horns. The bull quietly addressed him:
"Butt away as much as you will. I have no fear of you, but of the lion. Let that monster go away and I will soon let you know what is the strength of a goat to that of a bull."
❋ It shows an evil disposition to take advantage of a friend in distress.
A HART, hard pressed in the chase, hid himself beneath the large leaves of a vine. The huntsmen, in their haste, overshot the place of his concealment. Supposing all danger to have passed, the hart began to nibble the tendrils of the vine. One of the huntsmen, attracted by the rustling of the leaves, looked back, and seeing the hart, shot an arrow from his bow and struck it. The hart, at the point of death, groaned:
"I deserved what I got, for I should not have maltreated the vine that saved me."
A DOE blind in one eye was used to graze as near to the edge of the cliff as she possibly could, in the hope of securing her greater safety. She turned her sound eye towards the land that she might get the earliest tidings of the approach of hunter or hound, and her injured eye towards the sea, from whence she entertained no anticipation of danger. Some boatmen sailing by saw her, and taking a successful aim, mortally wounded her. Yielding up her last breath, she gasped forth this lament:
"O wretched creature that I am! to take such precaution against the land, and after all to find this seashore, to which I had come for safety, so much more perilous."
A LION, unable from old age and infirmities to provide himself with food by force, resolved to do so by artifice. He returned to his den, and lying down there, pretended to be sick, taking care that his sickness should be publicly known. The beasts expressed their sorrow, and came one by one to his den, where the lion devoured them. After many of the beasts had thus disappeared, the fox discovered the trick and presenting himself to the lion, stood on the outside of the cave, at a respectful distance, and asked him how he was.
"I am very middling," replied the lion, "but why do you stand without? Pray enter within to talk with me."
"No, thank you," said the fox.
"I notice that there are many prints of feet entering your cave, but I see no trace of any returning."
❋ He is wise who is warned by the misfortunes of others.
AN ILL STAG lay down in a quiet corner of its pasture-ground. His companions came in great numbers to inquire after his health, and each one helped himself to a share of the food which had been placed for his use; so that he died, not from his sickness, but from the failure of the means of living.
❋ Evil companions bring more hurt than profit.
EVERY MAN, according to an ancient legend, is born into the world with two bags suspended from his neck
all bag in front full of his neighbours' faults, and a large bag behind filled with his own faults. Hence it is that men are quick to see the faults of others, and yet are often blind to their own failings.
A MAN had two dogs: a hound, trained to assist him in his sports, and a house-dog, taught to watch the house. When he returned home after a good day's sport, he always gave the house-dog a large share of his spoil. The hound, feeling much aggrieved at this, reproached his companion, saying,
"It is very hard to have all this labour, while you, who do not assist in the chase, luxuriate on the fruits of my exertions."
The house-dog replied, "Do not blame me, my friend, but find fault with the master, who has not taught me to labour, but to depend for subsistence on the labour of others."
❋ Children are not to be blamed for the faults of their parents.
A BITCH, ready to whelp, earnestly begged a shepherd for a place where she might litter. When her request was granted, she besought permission to rear her puppies in the same spot. The shepherd again agreed. But at last the bitch, protected by the bodyguard of her whelps, who had now grown up and were able to defend themselves, asserted her exclusive right to the place and would not permit the shepherd to approach.
A COTTAGER and his wife had a hen that laid a golden egg every day. They supposed that the hen must contain a great lump of gold in its inside, and in order to get the gold they killed it. Having done so, they found to their surprise that the hen differed in no respect from their other hens. The foolish pair, thus hoping to become rich all at once, deprived themselves of the gain of which they were assured day by day.