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  1. Alexander and His Horse
  2. Two Stories of Diogenes

Alexander and His Horse

ONE DAY King Philip of Macedon bought a fine horse and paid a very high price for him. But the horse was wild, and no man could mount him or do anything at all with him. They tried to whip him, but that only made him worse.

"It is a pity to ruin so fine a horse as that," said Alexander, the king's young son. "Those men don't know how to treat him."

"Perhaps you can do better than they," said his father scornfully.

"I know," said Alexander, "that if you would only give me leave to try, I could manage this horse better than anyone else."

"And if you fail to do so, what then?" asked Philip.

"In that case I will pay you the price of the horse," said the lad.

While everybody was laughing, Alexander ran up to the horse and turned his head toward the sun, for he had noticed that the horse was afraid of his own shadow. He then spoke gently to the horse and patted him with his hand. When he had quieted him a little, he made a quick spring, and leapt on the horse's back. Everybody expected to see the boy killed outright. But he kept his place, and let the horse run as fast as he would.

By and by, when the horse had become tired, Alexander reined him in, and rode back to the place where his father was standing. All the men who were there shouted when they saw that the boy had proved himself to be the master of the horse.

He leapt to the ground, and his father ran up to him and kissed him.

After that, Alexander and his horse were the best of friends. They were said to be always together, for when one of them was seen, the other was sure to be not far away. But the horse would never allow anyone to mount him but Alexander.

Alexander became a warrior-king called Alexander the Great, and his horse carried him through many countries and in many fierce battles and saved his master's life more than once.


Two Stories of Diogenes

AT Corinth, in old Greece, there lived a wise man called Diogenes. Men came from all parts of the land to see him and hear him talk. But he had some very queer ways. He did not believe that any man ought to have more things than he really needed; and he said that no man needed much. And so he did not live in a house, but slept in a tub or barrel which he rolled about from place to place. He spent his days sitting in the sun and saying wise things to those who were around him.

At noon one day, Diogenes was seen walking through the streets with a lighted lantern, and looking all around as if in search of something.

"Why do you carry a lantern when the sun is shining?" some one said.

"I'm looking for an honest man," answered Diogenes.

WHEN Alexander the Great went to Corinth, all the foremost men in the city came out to see him and to praise him. But Diogenes did not come; and he was the only man for whose opinions Alexander cared.

And so, since the wise man would not come to see the king, the king went to see the wise man. He found Diogenes in an out-of-the-way place, lying on the ground by his tub. He was enjoying the heat and the light of the sun.

When he saw the king and a great many people coming, he sat up and looked at Alexander. Alexander greeted him, saying

"Diogenes, I have heard a great deal about your wisdom. Is there anything that I can do for you?"

"Yes," said Diogenes. "You can stand a little on one side, so as not to keep the sunshine from me."

This answer was so unexpected that Alexander was much surprised. But it did not make him angry; it only made him admire Diogenes all the more. When he turned to ride back, he said to his officers,

"Say what you will; if I were not Alexander, I would like to be Diogenes."


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