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  1. The Elephant and the Fly
  2. The Man and the Snake
  3. The Sparrow and the Sea
  4. The Snakes and the Eels
  5. The Owl and His School
  6. The Cock and His Three Hens

The Elephant and the Fly

A FLY, who lived in a palace, once said to one of the king's elephants, "Look! you do such hard work, yet you are confined in a shed, far from the palace; whereas I do nothing, yet I range over the whole palace and amuse myself where I like, even on the crowned head of the king."

"That is because you are such an insignificant thing," said the elephant.

The fly was abashed, and said, "Alas! It signifies nothing where a fly lives!

The Man and the Snake

ONCE a man saw a snake entering his house. His wife, who was at the other end of the house, saw it go out. The man told his wife, "I just saw a snake get into the house: we must find it out."

"I just saw it go out of the house," said the wife; "so you need not trouble yourself about it."

"Oh, no," said the man; "you say so because you wish to avoid the trouble of seeking for it."

Then he went about the house in quest of the snake. As he did not find it, he would not eat, nor would he work nor sleep. So she got a dead snake, and, putting it under the cupboard, went up to her husband and said, "Shall we seek for the reptile once more?"

"Very well," said the man, and went about the house again. He came to the cupboard, and exclaimed, "Ah! I have found it out, after all!"

Instantly he had a hearty breakfast, and went to work.

His wife said, as he went out, "He would not have his breakfast till the snake was found out. Fear works while fancy lurks."

The Sparrow and the Sea

A SPARROW who lived by a pond, in a wood, said to his mate, "In this pond there is neither water nor fish enough; what if we go and live by the sea?"

His mate said, "Yes."

So they went to live by the sea. The sparrow put his bill into the sea, and drank. His mate, finding that he did not take in more water than at the pond, said, "A sparrow drinks more by going to the sea."

"Not so, my love," said the sparrow. "I would drink up the whole sea if it were not brackish!"

The Snakes and the Eels

A KING in the East one day took a walk with his son, a fair young prince, by the side of a great pond in his park. The prince put his foot in the pond, and a snake coiled round his leg. The king killed the snake, and said to his men, "Kill all the snakes in the pond, and tell me you have done so."

The men, in their haste, could not see which were the snakes and which were the eels. So they killed all, and took them to the king, who said, "What a sad thing! - the good have died, because they were like the bad in form."

The Owl and His School

AN owl named Old Wisdom kept a school. Everybody went to him to take lessons. After some time he wished to know what progress they had made in their studies. So he gave them a number of questions to answer.

The first was, "Why does the moon shine in the sky?"

The nightingale said, "That I might sing all night in his pleasant light to my bride, the rose."

The lilies said, "That we may open our petals, and enjoy his loving and refreshing beams."

The hare said, "That there may be enough of dew in the morning for me to lap."

The dog said, "That I may find out thieves prowling round my master's house."

The glow-worm said, "That he may throw me into the shade, for he envies my light."

The fox said, "That I may see my way to the poultry-yard."

"Enough!" said Old Wisdom. "There is but one moon that shines in the sky, yet how each brings him to serve his own purpose!" Self reigns supreme!

The Cock and His Three Hens

A COCK, named Crimson Crest, was once strutting about with his three hens, Meek Love, Bright Wit, and Fine Feather. The hens, being in very good spirits, said, "Ah, how we love you!"

"Why do you love me at all?" said Crimson Crest.

"Because," said they, "of the noble qualities that adorn your mind."

"Are you sure," said he, "you love me for the qualities that adorn my mind?"

"Yes, we are," said the three with one voice.

After having gone over some distance, Crimson Crest dropped down like one dead.

Meek Love wept, saying, "Ah, how he loved us!"

Bright Wit wept, saying, "Ah, how well he crowed!"

Fine Feather wept, saying, "Ah, what bright plumes he had!"

Crimson Crest some time after showed signs of life.

Meek Love cried, "Oh, live and love us again!"

Bright Wit cried, "Oh, let us hear your crowing again!"

Fine Feather cried, "Oh, let us see your bright plumes again!"

Then Crimson Crest got up like one waking from a trance, and with a hearty laugh exclaimed, "Ladies, you fancied you all loved me for one and the same reason; but now you see, 'There is many a way to love as they say.'"

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