Fables of Aesop
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A BRAZIER had a little dog, which was a great favourite with his master, and his constant companion. While he hammered away at his metals the dog slept; but when, on the other hand, he went to dinner and began to eat, the dog woke up and wagged his tail, as if he would ask for a share of his meal. His master one day, pretending to be angry and shaking his stick at him, said,
"You wretched little sluggard! what shall I do to you? While I am hammering on the anvil, you sleep on the mat; and when I begin to eat after my toil, you wake up and wag your tail for food. Don't you know that labour is the source of every blessing, and that none but those who work are entitled to eat?"
❖ False accusations are not a slight matter.
❖ Some times false accusations don't matter.
A DOE hard pressed by hunters sought refuge in a cave belonging to a lion. The lion concealed himself on seeing her approach, but when she was safe within the cave, sprang on her and tore her to pieces.
"Woe is me," exclaimed the doe, "who have escaped from man, only to throw myself into the mouth of a wild beast?"
❖ In avoiding one evil, care must be taken not to fall into another.
A FOWLER, taking his bird-lime and his twigs, went out to catch birds. Seeing a thrush sitting on a tree, he wished to take it, and fitting his twigs to a proper length, watched intently, having his whole thoughts directed towards the sky. While thus looking upwards, he unknowingly trod on a viper asleep just before his feet. The viper, turning about, stung him, and falling into a swoon, the man said to himself, "Woe is me! that while I purposed to hunt another, I am myself fallen unawares into the snares of death."
A FLY bit the bare head of a bald man who, trying to destroy it, gave himself a heavy slap. Escaping, the fly said mockingly,
"You who have wished to revenge, even with death, the prick of a tiny insect, see what you have done to yourself to add insult to injury?"
The bald man replied,
"I can easily make peace with myself, because I know there was no intention to hurt. But you, an ill-favoured and contemptible insect who delights in sucking human blood, I wish that I could have killed you even if I had incurred a heavier penalty."
THE MEMBERS of the body rebelled against the belly, and said,
"Why should we be always engaged in administering to your wants, while you do nothing but rest and enjoy yourself in luxury?"
The members carried out their resolve and refused to assist the belly. The whole body quickly became debilitated, and the hands, feet, mouth, and eyes, when too late, repented of their folly.
A MAN had two Gamecocks in his poultry-yard. One day by chance he found a tame partridge for sale. He bought it and brought it home to be reared with his Gamecocks. When the partridge was put into the poultry-yard, they struck at it and followed it about, so that the partridge became grievously troubled and supposed that he was thus evilly treated because he was a stranger. Not long afterwards he saw the cocks fighting together and not separating before one had well beaten the other. He then said to himself, "I shall no longer distress myself at being struck at by these gamecocks, when I see that they cannot even refrain from quarrelling with each other."
AN OX drinking at a pool trod on a brood of young frogs and crushed one of them to death. The mother coming up, and missing one of her sons, asked of his brothers what had become of him.
"He is dead, dear Mother; for just now a very huge beast with four great feet came to the pool and crushed him to death with his cloven heel."
The frog, puffing herself out, asked, "if the beast was as big as that in size."
"Cease, Mother, to puff yourself out," said her son, "and do not be angry; for you would, I assure you, sooner burst than successfully imitate the hugeness of that monster."
A LION, entering the workshop of a smith, sought from the tools the means of satisfying his hunger. He more particularly addressed himself to a file, and asked of him the favour of a meal. The file replied,
"You must indeed be a simple-minded fellow if you expect to get anything from me, who am used to take from everyone, and never to give anything in return."
A KING, whose only son was fond of martial exercises, had a dream in which he was warned that his son would be killed by a lion. Afraid the dream should prove true, he built for his son a pleasant palace and adorned its walls for his amusement with all kinds of life-sized animals, among which was the picture of a lion. When the young Prince saw this, his grief at being thus confined burst out afresh, and, standing near the lion, he said:
"You most detestable of animals! through a lying dream of my father's, which he saw in his sleep, I am shut up on your account in this palace as if I had been a girl: what shall I now do to you?"
With these words he stretched out his hands toward a thorn-tree, meaning to cut a stick from its branches so that he might beat the lion. But one of the tree's prickles pierced his finger and caused great pain and inflammation, so that the young Prince fell down in a fainting fit. A violent fever suddenly set in, from which he died not many days later.
❖ We had better bear our troubles bravely than try to stupidly escape them.
A SNAKE, having made his hole close to the porch of a cottage, inflicted a mortal bite on the cottager's infant son. Grieving over his loss, the father resolved to kill the snake. The next day, when it came out of its hole for food, he took up his axe, but by swinging too hastily, missed its head and cut off only the end of its tail. After some time the cottager, afraid that the snake would bite him also, endeavoured to make peace, and placed some bread and salt in the hole. The snake, slightly hissing, said:
"There can henceforth be no peace between us; for whenever I see you I shall remember the loss of my tail, and whenever you see me you will be thinking of the death of your son."
❖ No one truly forgets injuries in the presence of him who caused the injury.
THE SWALLOW and the crow had a contention about their plumage. The crow put an end to the dispute by saying,
"Your feathers are all very well in the spring, but mine protect me against the winter."
❖ Fair weather friends are not worth much.
A PEASANT found an eagle captured in a trap, and much admiring the bird, set him free. The eagle did not prove ungrateful to his deliverer, for seeing the peasant sitting under a wall which was not safe, he flew toward him and with his talons snatched a bundle from his head. When the peasant rose in pursuit, the eagle let the bundle fall again. Taking it up, the man returned to the same place, to find that the wall under which he had been sitting had fallen to pieces; and he marvelled at the service rendered him by the eagle.
A SEAGULL having bolted down too large a fish, burst its deep gullet-bag and lay down on the shore to die. A kite saw him and exclaimed:
"You richly deserve your fate; for a bird of the air has no business to seek its food from the sea."
❖ Every man should be content to mind his own business.
An easy prey, she ended in someone's supper.
❖ The formal permission to enter a university may not be wholly done away with before entering.
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