A PARTY of soldiers, in the East, was in a wood one night, waiting for the enemy. The horses neighed. The captain said, "Kill them at once; else, the enemy is sure to know where we are, and run away."
An old soldier, to whom the order was given, took them behind the wood, and leaving them in charge of a comrade, returned saying, "Now we are safe."
Soon the enemy came near; but finding the party in the wood stronger, beat a hasty retreat. The captain, who was eager to pursue them, said, "What would I not give for the horses now!"
The soldier produced them at once. The enemy was pursued, and an important victory gained over them. The captain had the soldier raised from the ranks to a command in the army, observing, "Rashness is blindness. The future oft belies the present. The prudent man has more than two eyes."
ONE night a dog in charge of a flock of sheep was barking at the moon. A wolf who was lurking close by, said, "Why do you howl like that?"
"Because," said the dog, "I find you prowling here, and call to my friend in the moon to come down for a moment to help me to drive you away."
"Is there then a dog in the moon also?" said the wolf.
"Certainly there is one," said the dog.
"Any sheep?" said the greedy brute.
"None whatever," said the dog.
"Then it is not worth my while to go to the moon," said the wolf, and left the place.
The dog said, "The greedy have ever an eye on their prey."
A FOOL was once suffering from severe fever. As he sat near the fire, he put the poker into it, and, after it was red hot, dipped it into a basin of water close by, and it was instantly cool. He rang for his servant, and ordering a tub full of cold water, went into it, and remained long enough to get rid of the heat in his body, as he thought.
When he came out, he was much worse. The doctor came and found him dying.
The fool told him how he thought he would cool down like the poker, and how he treated himself accordingly.
"Alas!" said the doctor, "fools kill themselves by analogy!"
AN elephant named Blackmound was in the habit of bathing in a great pond in a wood. The frequent visits of the elephant put the frogs in the pond to great inconvenience, and almost every day several of them were crushed under his heavy feet.
Close by the pond in the hollow of a great tree lived the toad Blear Eye, who was remarkable for his wisdom. The frogs went up to him and said, "Blear Eye, not a day passes but some of us are killed by Blackmound. What shall we do?"
The toad replied, "Yes, I see your difficulty; the elephant is a bulky animal; but you are little creatures, and you do not know that it is one thing to be bulky and another thing to be bold. However, I will try to help you. Allow me to select someone among you to execute my orders."
"Do help us, Blear Eye," cried the frogs with one voice.
Then Blear Eye called to his side a nimble frog named Lightfoot, and told him what he was to do.
Lightfoot went up to the top of a rock overhanging the pond and addressed Blackmound, who was just then coming towards it, from a distance, in the following terms: "You shall not come to the pond any more; for there is a spirit in over there tree that has granted to me the power of shattering your huge frame."
"If so," said Blackmound, "I would like to hear the spirit say so, and to see you do it."
"Yes, we have granted the power to our faithful servant Lightfoot," said Blear Eye, who was hidden within the hollow of the tree.
Before Blackmound could recover from his surprise at these words from an unknown quarter, Lightfoot leaped into the pond, where the shadow of Blackmound was reflected on the clear water, and cried, "Now I have done with your shadow: next your huge body shall disappear."
Blackmound was panic-struck, and thought that he would be destroyed, like his shadow, by the aid of the spirit in the tree if he remained any longer at the place. So he beat a hasty retreat into the forest, never to return to the pond for any more baths; while the toad Blear Eye and the frogs shouted, "Hollo, Blackmound, it is one thing to be bulky and another to be bold."
A MAN in the East once went about saying, "I can put these two dogs together, one of which is white, and the other black, as you see, and make a grey dog of them; and turn the grey dog again to the black dog and the white dog, if people would pay for the fun."
A wag who heard these words removed the two dogs at night, and left instead a grey cur. The man rose up in the morning and complained bitterly to the crowd, which came to see him, that someone had stolen his two dogs.
"No," said the wag, who was one of the crowd, "someone has simply saved you the trouble of putting the two dogs together, and making a grey dog of them. So you must now perform the other part of your trick, and make the black dog and the white dog out of this grey cur."
The man quietly threw his wallet over his shoulders and walked away. The wag and the crowd shouted "The tongue has no bone in it. It can turn as you twist it. It is one thing to say, and another thing to do!"
A HARE and a pig once agreed to leap over a ditch. The hare went a great way, and fell into it, just short by an inch. The pig went some way and fell into it; but far behind the hare. Yet they were eager to know which of them leapt more, and was therefore the better animal.
So they said to a fox, who had been watching the race, "Will you tell us which of us is superior, and which inferior, in the race?"
The fox merely said, "With both in the ditch I won't say which!"