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  1. The Lark and Its Young Ones
  2. The Peacock and the Tortoise
  3. The Crane, the Crab, and the Fish
  4. The Man and the Vault
  5. The Lotus, the Bees, and the Frogs
  6. The Crow and the Dawn

The Lark and Its Young Ones

A CHILD went up to a lark, and said, "Good lark, have you any young ones?"

"Yes, child, I have," said the lark; "and they are very pretty ones indeed!" Then she pointed to them, and said, "This is Fair Wing, that is Tiny Bill, and that other is Bright Eye."

The child said, "Yes, at home, we are three myself and my two sisters, Jane and Alice; and mamma says we are pretty little children, and that she is very fond of us."

To this the little larks replied, "Oh yes, mamma is very fond of us too."

Then the child said, "Good lark, will you send home Tiny Bill to play with me?" Before the lark could reply, Bright Eye said, "Yes, if you will send little Alice to play with us in our nest."

The child said, "Oh, Alice will be so sorry to leave home, and come away from mamma!"

Bright Eye said, "Tiny Bill will be so sorry to leave our nest, and go away from mamma!"

The child was abashed, and went home, saying, "Ah, yes, one is usually fond of home."

The Peacock and the Tortoise

ON a cloudy day a peacock was dancing on a lawn by the side of a lake. A tortoise, in the lake, addressed the peacock thus " Sir Peacock, how I should like to be with you dancing on the green turf!"

"Sir Tortoise," said the peacock, "I do not think you would be safe if you were to leave the water and come to dance with me. Further, your short legs and heavy appearance would not enable you to cut a good figure at dancing."

"I see," said the tortoise, "you are very proud of your fine feathers and gait; but you must remember, that my shell is also as beautifully coloured. And my gait, though not so quick and graceful, is yet slow and steady."

The peacock replied, "I am very sorry to have displeased you, Sir Tortoise; but if you wish to come and dance with me, unmindful of the danger of leaving the water, you are welcome."

The tortoise came out of the lake, and stood by the side of the peacock, in his own awkward manner; and the two were preparing to dance together. Just then a hunter, who was passing by the pond, observing the scene, approached the animals. The peacock flew up a tree, and safely perched on its top; but the tortoise, before he could reach the pond, was laid on his back and killed by the hunter.

The peacock cried mournfully, "Oh Tortoise, we should avoid getting into situations that we cannot escape from easily enough."

The Crane, the Crab, and the Fish

A CRANE that had long coveted the fish in a pond, one day stood on the bank in a melancholy mood.

"Sir Crane," said the fish in a shoal, "why are you sad today?"

"My dear fish," said Sir Crane, "I am so sorry that the fisherman is to come tomorrow with his net and take you all away."

"Oh, what shall we do?" cried the fish.

"Why," said the crane, "if you would only listen to my advice, you will all be saved."

"Do help us, by all means, Sir Crane; we will be so thankful to you," said the fish.

"Well, it may be a source of some trouble to me, but that hardly matters when one can do a kind turn. I shall take up as many of you as I can at a time, and carry you to a pond at some distance in a forest, where no fisherman can molest you." So saying, he carried each time a number of fish, and dropped them on a great piece of stone. There he made a hearty meal on as many as he could eat at a time, and left the remainder to dry in the sun.

It came to the turn of the crab to be carried. While the crane was flying in the air, the crab saw fish all the way, dried and drying. He cut asunder the neck of the crane with his sharp feet, and, falling into a pond, saved himself and the remaining fish in the pond he had left.

In cheating there is arrogance, and lots of clever tricks tend to backfire in time.

The Man and the Vault

A MAN in the East had continued reverses in trade, and owed a great many people large sums of money. So they took away all his property, leaving him in a poor and unhappycondition.

As he was hard pressed by hunger, he borrowed a spade of a neighbour, and dug up the stones in the pavement of his house that he might sell them and buy some food with the money. While turning up the stones in a room adjoining the garden, he found an underground vault with a great chest in it.

He opened the chest, and found a vast amount of treasure, with a scroll. He poured forth his thanks to Heaven for the boon, and, opening the scroll, found this sentence inscribed in letters of gold: "It is greatly to be preferred that relief comes before the mess - not at the last hour."

The Lotus, the Bees, and the Frogs

THE lotus in a pond blossomed. The bees swarmed to enjoy the sight and collect the honey. The frogs in the pond said, "You live so far from the pond: yet you come here so soon as the flowers blossom. How do you find it out?"

"Why, by the sweet smell of the flowers," said the bees.

"We live in the pond, and yet we do not feel the smell. How is it?" said the frogs.

"We can tell you of the smell, but we cannot furnish you with a nose to feel it,'* said the bees.

"Alas!" said the frogs, in a tone of self-reproach, "of what avail is it that frogs live by the lotus in the same pond if they cannot enjoy the sweet smell of the flower? Yet there is nothing like acquiring the sense of what is fair and sweet."

So they requested the bees to teach them how to enjoy things fair and sweet.

"That is impossible, as we have already told you; for a sense of 'fair and sweet' you see, must be in us when we begin to be!" said the bees, and went about humming round the sweet lotus flowers.

The Crow and the Dawn

A CROW that lived on a tree by a great city in the East, thought that the day dawned because of his cawing. One day he said to himself, "How important I am! But for my care, I confess, the world would get into a mess."

He had a mind to see how the world would fare, if he did not care for it. So towards day-dawn he shut his eyes and slept away without cawing. Then he awoke, and found the sun shining as bright as ever on the great city.

He said, with great ill-humour, "I see how it happened. Some knave of my kind must have cawed and helped the sun up!"

Error breeds error.

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