A JACKDAW once ran up to a glow-worm and was about to seize him. "Wait a moment, good friend," said the worm; "and you shall hear something to your advantage."
"Ah! what is it?" said the daw.
"I am but one of the many glow-worms that live in this forest. If you wish to have them all, follow me," said the glowworm.
"Certainly!" said the daw.
Then the glow-worm led him to a place in the wood where a fire had been kindled by some woodmen, and pointing to the sparks flying about, said, "There you find the glow-worms warming themselves round a fire. When you have done with them, I shall show you some more, at a distance from this place."
The daw darted at the sparks, and tried to swallow some of them; but his mouth being burnt by the attempt, he ran away exclaiming, "Ah, the glow-worm is a dangerous little creature!"
Said the glow-worm with pride, "Wickedness yields to wisdom!"
AN Eastern king was very angry with a certain chieftain who had not seen him at court, though often desired to do so. One day he was walking through the streets of his capital in disguise with his chief minister, according to the custom of kings in the East, to see how the people fared. Soon after passing a butcher's shop, the king said to his minister, "Instantly the chieftain arrives in the city, send him up to me."
When the minister returned to his palace, he found the chieftain on his way to the court. "Pray, don't see his Majesty till I ask you to do so; and don't ask me for the reason now," said the minister to the chieftain, who therefore postponed his visit.
The king came to know of this, and asked the minister why he had done so.
"Sire," said the minister, "your order to send up the chieftain was given after passing a butcher's shop, and you meant to flay him like a sheep; so I asked him to see you some time after, when you should be in a better mood to see him."
The king confessed his intention, and said, "A wise minister is a tyrant's curb."
A FOX that had long been the dread of the village poultry yard was one day found lying breathless in a field. The report went abroad that, after all, he had been caught and killed by someone . In a moment, everybody in the village came out to see the dead fox. The village cock, with all his hens and chicks, was also there, to enjoy the sight.
The fox then got up, and, shaking off his drowsiness, said, "I ate a number of hens and chicks last night; hence I must have slumbered longer than usual."
The cock counted his hens and chicks, and found a number wanting. "Alas!" said he, "how is it I did not know of it?"
"My dear sir," said the fox, as he retreated to the wood, "it was last night I had a good meal on your hens and chicks, yet you did not know of it. A moment ago they found me lying in the field, and you knew of it at once. Ill news travels fast!"
A FOX saw a stag, and exclaimed, "What rich meat there is in him!"
A lion, that had got nothing to eat for some time, was prowling at a distance.
The fox said to himself, "If I should point out the stag to the lion, he will make his breakfast off him, and leave me the remainder." So he went up to the lion and, bowing respectfully, said, "If your majesty will step in that way, your majesty's humble servant will be able to point out something highly desirable."
"Very good!" said the lion, and followed the fox.
But the stag, who had got a hint of the conspiracy, ran up to a place of safety, and was watching their movements unseen.
The lion, not finding the stag, said to the fox, "Knave, you have deceived me! I am frantically hungry: you are as good a morsel as the stag, though a trifle less in size," and, springing on him, ate him up in no time.
Said the stag, "The wicked are often caught in their own toils."
A PIECE of tinsel on a rock once said to a pebble, "You see how bright I am! I am by birth related to the lightning."
"Indeed!" said the pebble; "then accept my humble respects."
Some time after, a flash of lightning struck the rock, and the tinsel lost all its brilliancy by the scorching effects of the flash.
"Where is your brilliancy now?" said the pebble.
"Oh, it is gone to the skies," said the tinsel, "for I have lent it to the lightning that came down a moment ago to borrow it of me."
"Dear me!" said the pebble; "how many fibs good bragging needs!"
A MONKEY in a wood somehow got a looking-glass, and went about showing it to the animals around him. The bear looked into it and said he was very sorry he had such an ugly face. The wolf said he would fain have the face of a stag, with its beautiful horns. So every beast felt sad that it had not the face of some other in the wood.
The monkey then took it to an owl that had witnessed the whole scene. "No," said the owl, "I would not look into it, for I am sure, in this case as in many others, knowledge is but a source of pain."
"You are quite right," said the beasts, and broke the glass to pieces, exclaiming, "Ignorance is bliss!"