A FOX, one morning, found his shadow falling over a great part of the meadow. So said he to himself, "I must really be much bigger than I seem to be: certainly bigger than the elephant!"
So, seeing an elephant pass by, he said, "You can't boast of your huge figure any more: behold, how big I am! there is my shadow to prove it!"
"If you were wise," said the elephant, "you would speak to my shadow."
The fox saw the shadow of the elephant stretching far beyond the meadow. He said, "Alas! As one grows, so does one's shadow."
Two men of great learning and wisdom, in the East, were one day discussing this point: "Is it the same sun that rose yesterday that shines today, or some other orb that is in every way similar to it?"
A wit who heard this, addressed them as follows: "Reverend sirs, I can easily solve the question, if you will permit me."
"By all means," said the wise men.
The wit then talked a great deal about the sun, and said, "Tomorrow, the other half of my discourse will be delivered."
So the next day the wise men came to hear him, when the wit said, "Reverend sirs, I have my doubts as to your being the same wise men that spoke to me yesterday, and not some others who are in every way similar to them. So, if you would satisfy me first on this point, I shall proceed with the other half of my lecture, or else it would perhaps be thrown away!"
The wise men left the place to wrangle no more about the sun. The wit cried, "Too much light dazzles the sight!"
ONE evening, as some cattle were wending their way home, a raven rode on the horns of a bull in the herd; and as he approached the cottage, cried to the farmer, "Friend, my work for the day is over: you may now take charge of your cattle."
"What was your work?" said the farmer.
"Why," said the raven, "the arduous task of watching these cattle and bringing them home."
"Am I to understand you have been doing all the work for me?" said the farmer.
"Certainly," said the raven, and flew away with a laugh.
Said the farmer in surprise, "How many there are that take credit for things which they have not done!"
Two nymphs, named Luck and Ill-luck, who lived in a wood, wished to know which of them was more beautiful than the other. They went to a fox in the wood, and asked him for his opinion.
He turned to them and said, "I can give no opinion unless you walk to and fro for a while."
So they did. Said the fox to Luck, "Madam, you are indeed charming when you come in." Said he to Ill-luck, "Madam, your gracefulness is simply inimitable when you go out!"
A PEACOCK once stood before a mirror with his plumes spread, and said to it, "How grateful I am to you! But for you, I should not know how beautiful I am."
A crow, who heard this, said, "Sir Peacock, will the mirror tell me what I am like?"
"You are such an ugly thing, and yet you wish that a fine gentleman like the mirror should take the trouble of telling you how you look!"
But the crow went before the mirror, and found out what he was like. So he said, "Be it a peacock or be it a crow, a mirror shall show. Yet how many there are who misrepresent the character of the good!"
IN the East, two men, whom we may call Rap and Tap, went to a miser's door, one evening, and began a conversation as follows:
Rap: "Brother, is this the house where the Sibyl said that the Money Tree grows?"
Tap: "Certainly, this is the house."
Rap: "Perhaps by the Money Tree the Sibyl simply meant the wealth of the miser?"
Tap: "Oh, no; she distinctly said it is a tree with pence for leaves, shillings for flowers, and pounds for fruit, growing larger every hour, and is just ten feet below the great chest of the miser."
Rap: "There is a genius guarding the tree, is there not?"
Tap: "Yes; and the only means of getting rid of him is to set the miser's chest at the gate, and shut the door, that the genius may turn to the chest, and let us have the tree. Else, the genius will certainly devour us, as the Sibyl said."
Rap: "But what shall we do with the miser?"
Tap: "Why, squeeze his neck and bury him in the pit, after digging up the Money Tree."
Rap: "But, as the tree may be rooted up - tonight we shall go home and return better prepared."
So the two men pretended to leave the place and stood watching from a distance. The miser, who had heard the conversation, thought that if he should strive to get the Money Tree before them, he would be much more wealthy. He brought his chest out to beguile the genius, and went in to dig for the Money Tree.
Rap and Tap walked away with the chest, thinking they had better do so than wait for the Money Tree.
The miser, who had dug deep and not found the Money Tree, came out towards daydawn, and seeing his chest gone, wailed aloud. A great crowd gathered. Rap and Tap, who were among them, said, "Greed takes lots of people in."