Fables by Aesop - HTML preview

PLEASE NOTE: This is an HTML preview only and some elements such as links or page numbers may be incorrect.
Download the book in PDF, ePub, Kindle for a complete version.

The Farmer laughed aloud and said, “It may be all as you say, I only know this: I have taken you with these robbers, THE POMEGRANATE and Apple-Tree disputed as to which the Cranes, and you must die in their company.” was the most beautiful. When their strife was at its height, a Bramble from the neighboring hedge lifted up its voice, Birds of a feather flock together.

and said in a boastful tone: “Pray, my dear friends, in my presence at least cease from such vain disputings.” THE FARMER AND THE SNAKE

ONE WINTER a Farmer found a Snake stiff and frozen with THE FARMER AND THE STORK

cold. He had compassion on it, and taking it up, placed it in his bosom. The Snake was quickly revived by the warmth, A FARMER placed nets on his newly-sown plowlands and and resuming its natural instincts, bit its benefactor, in-caught a number of Cranes, which came to pick up his seed.

flicting on him a mortal wound. “Oh,” cried the Farmer with With them he trapped a Stork that had fractured his leg in his last breath, “I am rightly served for pitying a scoun-the net and was earnestly beseeching the Farmer to spare drel.”

his life.

“Pray save me, Master,” he said, “and let me go free this The greatest kindness will not bind the ungrateful.

once. My broken limb should excite your pity. Besides, I am no Crane, I am a Stork, a bird of excellent character; and see how I love and slave for my father and mother. Look too, at my feathers—they are not the least like those of a Crane.”


Aesop’s Fables



A YOUNG FAWN once said to his Mother, “You are larger THE SWALLOW and the Crow had a contention about their than a dog, and swifter, and more used to running, and plumage. The Crow put an end to the dispute by saying, you have your horns as a defense; why, then, O Mother! do

“Your feathers are all very well in the spring, but mine pro-the hounds frighten you so?”

tect me against the winter.”

She smiled, and said: “I know full well, my son, that all you say is true. I have the advantages you mention, but Fair weather friends are not worth much.

when I hear even the bark of a single dog I feel ready to faint, and fly away as fast as I can.”


No arguments will give courage to the coward.

A MOUNTAIN was once greatly agitated. Loud groans and noises were heard, and crowds of people came from all parts THE BEAR AND THE FOX

to see what was the matter. While they were assembled in anxious expectation of some terrible calamity, out came a A BEAR boasted very much of his philanthropy, saying that Mouse.

of all animals he was the most tender in his regard for man, for he had such respect for him that he would not even Don’t make much ado about nothing.

touch his dead body. A Fox hearing these words said with a smile to the Bear, “Oh! that you would eat the dead and not the living.”


Aesop’s Fables



THE ASS and the Fox, having entered into partnership to-A TORTOISE, lazily basking in the sun, complained to the gether for their mutual protection, went out into the for-sea-birds of her hard fate, that no one would teach her to est to hunt. They had not proceeded far when they met a fly.

Lion. The Fox, seeing imminent danger, approached the Lion An Eagle, hovering near, heard her lamentation and de-and promised to contrive for him the capture of the Ass if manded what reward she would give him if he would take the Lion would pledge his word not to harm the Fox. Then, her aloft and float her in the air.

upon assuring the Ass that he would not be injured, the

“I will give you,” she said, “all the riches of the Red Sea.” Fox led him to a deep pit and arranged that he should fall

“I will teach you to fly then,” said the Eagle; and taking into it. The Lion, seeing that the Ass was secured, immedi-her up in his talons he carried her almost to the clouds ately clutched the Fox, and attacked the Ass at his leisure.

suddenly he let her go, and she fell on a lofty mountain, dashing her shell to pieces.

The Tortoise exclaimed in the moment of death: “I have deserved my present fate; for what had I to do with wings and clouds, who can with difficulty move about on the earth?’

If men had all they wished, they would be often ruined.


Aesop’s Fables


The Lion replied: “This statue was made by one of you men. If we Lions knew how to erect statues, you would see A NUMBER of Flies were attracted to a jar of honey which the Man placed under the paw of the Lion.”

had been overturned in a housekeeper’s room, and placing their feet in it, ate greedily. Their feet, however, became One story is good, till another is told.

so smeared with the honey that they could not use their wings, nor release themselves, and were suffocated. Just as they were expiring, they exclaimed, “O foolish creatures that we are, for the sake of a little pleasure we have de-THE FARMER AND THE CRANES

stroyed ourselves.”

SOME CRANES made their feeding grounds on some Pleasure bought with pains, hurts.

plowlands newly sown with wheat. For a long time the Farmer, brandishing an empty sling, chased them away by the terror he inspired; but when the birds found that the sling was only swung in the air, they ceased to take any THE MAN AND THE LION

notice of it and would not move. The Farmer, on seeing this, charged his sling with stones, and killed a great num-A MAN and a Lion traveled together through the forest.

ber. The remaining birds at once forsook his fields, crying They soon began to boast of their respective superiority to each other, “It is time for us to be off to Liliput: for this to each other in strength and prowess. As they were dis-man is no longer content to scare us, but begins to show puting, they passed a statue carved in stone, which repre-us in earnest what he can do.”

sented “a Lion strangled by a Man.” The traveler pointed to it and said: “See there! How strong we are, and how we If words suffice not, blows must follow.

prevail over even the king of beasts.”


Aesop’s Fables


The Goat readily assented and the Fox leaped upon his back. Steadying himself with the Goat’s horns, he safely A DOG lay in a manger, and by his growling and snapping reached the mouth of the well and made off as fast as he prevented the oxen from eating the hay which had been could.

placed for them.

When the Goat upbraided him for breaking his promise,

“What a selfish Dog!” said one of them to his compan-he turned around and cried out, “You foolish old fellow! If ions; “he cannot eat the hay himself, and yet refuses to you had as many brains in your head as you have hairs in allow those to eat who can.”

your beard, you would never have gone down before you had inspected the way up, nor have exposed yourself to T

dangers from which you had no means of escape.” HE FOX AND THE GOAT

A FOX one day fell into a deep well and could find no means Look before you leap.

of escape. A Goat, overcome with thirst, came to the same well, and seeing the Fox, inquired if the water was good.

Concealing his sad plight under a merry guise, the Fox indulged in a lavish praise of the water, saying it was excellent beyond measure, and encouraging him to descend.

The Goat, mindful only of his thirst, thoughtlessly jumped down, but just as he drank, the Fox informed him of the difficulty they were both in and suggested a scheme for their common escape. “If,” said he, “you will place your forefeet upon the wall and bend your head, I will run up your back and escape, and will help you out afterwards.” 17

Aesop’s Fables



TWO MEN were traveling together, when a Bear suddenly A HEAVY WAGON was being dragged along a country lane met them on their path. One of them climbed up quickly by a team of Oxen. The Axle-trees groaned and creaked into a tree and concealed himself in the branches. The other, terribly; whereupon the Oxen, turning round, thus ad-seeing that he must be attacked, fell flat on the ground, dressed the wheels: “Hullo there! Why do you make so much and when the Bear came up and felt him with his snout, noise? We bear all the labor, and we, not you, ought to cry and smelt him all over, he held his breath, and feigned the out.”

appearance of death as much as he could. The Bear soon left him, for it is said he will not touch a dead body. When Those who suffer most cry out the least.

he was quite gone, the other Traveler descended from the tree, and jocularly inquired of his friend what it was the Bear had whispered in his ear.


“He gave me this advice,” his companion replied. “Never travel with a friend who deserts you at the approach of A PIGEON, oppressed by excessive thirst, saw a goblet of danger.”

water painted on a signboard. Not supposing it to be only a picture, she flew towards it with a loud whir and unwit-Misfortune tests the sincerity of friends.

tingly dashed against the signboard, jarring herself terribly. Having broken her wings by the blow, she fell to the ground, and was caught by one of the bystanders.

Zeal should not outrun discretion.


Aesop’s Fables



A RAVEN saw a Swan and desired to secure for himself the A MISER sold all that he had and bought a lump of gold, same beautiful plumage. Supposing that the Swan’s splen-which he buried in a hole in the ground by the side of an did white color arose from his washing in the water in which old wall and went to look at daily. One of his workmen he swam, the Raven left the altars in the neighborhood observed his frequent visits to the spot and decided to where he picked up his living, and took up residence in the watch his movements. He soon discovered the secret of lakes and pools. But cleansing his feathers as often as he the hidden treasure, and digging down, came to the lump would, he could not change their color, while through want of gold, and stole it. The Miser, on his next visit, found the of food he perished.

hole empty and began to tear his hair and to make loud lamentations. A neighbor, seeing him overcome with grief Change of habit cannot alter Nature.

and learning the cause, said, “Pray do not grieve so; but go and take a stone, and place it in the hole, and fancy that the gold is still lying there. It will do you quite the same THE GOAT AND THE GOATHERD

service; for when the gold was there, you had it not, as you did not make the slightest use of it.”

A GOATHERD had sought to bring back a stray goat to his flock. He whistled and sounded his horn in vain; the strag-gler paid no attention to the summons. At last the Goatherd threw a stone, and breaking its horn, begged the Goat not to tell his master. The Goat replied, “Why, you silly fellow, the horn will speak though I be silent.”

Do not attempt to hide things which cannot be hid.


Aesop’s Fables



A LION, unable from old age and infirmities to provide him-A GROOM used to spend whole days in currycombing and self with food by force, resolved to do so by artifice. He rubbing down his horse, but at the same time stole his returned to his den, and lying down there, pretended to be oats and sold them for his own profit. “Alas!” said the Horse, sick, taking care that his sickness should be publicly known.

“if you really wish me to be in good condition, you should The beasts expressed their sorrow, and came one by one to groom me less, and feed me more.”

his den, where the Lion devoured them. After many of the beasts had thus disappeared, the Fox discovered the trick and presenting himself to the Lion, stood on the outside of the cave, at a respectful distance, and asked him how he was.

“I am very middling,” replied the Lion, “but why do you stand without? Pray enter within to talk with me.”

“No, thank you,” said the Fox. “I notice that there are many prints of feet entering your cave, but I see no trace of any returning.”

He is wise who is warned by the misfortunes of others.


Aesop’s Fables


myself! Why could I not have been contented to labor with my companions, and not wish to be idle all the day like A MAN had an Ass, and a Maltese Lapdog, a very great that useless little Lapdog!”

beauty. The Ass was left in a stable and had plenty of oats and hay to eat, just as any other Ass would. The Lapdog knew many tricks and was a great favorite with his master, who often fondled him and seldom went out to dine with-THE LIONESS

out bringing him home some tidbit to eat. The Ass, on the contrary, had much work to do in grinding the corn-mill A CONTROVERSY prevailed among the beasts of the field as and in carrying wood from the forest or burdens from the to which of the animals deserved the most credit for pro-farm. He often lamented his own hard fate and contrasted ducing the greatest number of whelps at a birth. They rushed it with the luxury and idleness of the Lapdog, till at last clamorously into the presence of the Lioness and demanded one day he broke his cords and halter, and galloped into of her the settlement of the dispute. “And you,” they said, his master’s house, kicking up his heels without measure,

“how many sons have you at a birth?”

and frisking and fawning as well as he could. He next tried The Lioness laughed at them, and said: “Why! I have only to jump about his master as he had seen the Lapdog do, one; but that one is altogether a thoroughbred Lion.” but he broke the table and smashed all the dishes upon it to atoms. He then attempted to lick his master, and jumped The value is in the worth, not in the number.

upon his back. The servants, hearing the strange hubbub and perceiving the danger of their master, quickly relieved him, and drove out the Ass to his stable with kicks and clubs and cuffs. The Ass, as he returned to his stall beaten nearly to death, thus lamented: “I have brought it all on 21

Aesop’s Fables



A MAN who had traveled in foreign lands boasted very much, A YOUNG PIG was shut up in a fold-yard with a Goat and a on returning to his own country, of the many wonderful Sheep. On one occasion when the shepherd laid hold of and heroic feats he had performed in the different places him, he grunted and squeaked and resisted violently. The he had visited. Among other things, he said that when he Sheep and the Goat complained of his distressing cries, say-was at Rhodes he had leaped to such a distance that no ing, “He often handles us, and we do not cry out.” man of his day could leap anywhere near him as to that, To this the Pig replied, “Your handling and mine are very there were in Rhodes many persons who saw him do it and different things. He catches you only for your wool, or whom he could call as witnesses. One of the bystanders your milk, but he lays hold on me for my very life.” interrupted him, saying: “Now, my good man, if this be all true there is no need of witnesses. Suppose this to be THE BOY AND THE FILBERTS

Rhodes, and leap for us.”


A BOY put his hand into a pitcher full of filberts. He grasped HE CAT AND THE COCK

as many as he could possibly hold, but when he tried to A CAT caught a Cock, and pondered how he might find a pull out his hand, he was prevented from doing so by the reasonable excuse for eating him. He accused him of being neck of the pitcher. Unwilling to lose his filberts, and yet a nuisance to men by crowing in the nighttime and not unable to withdraw his hand, he burst into tears and bit-permitting them to sleep. The Cock defended himself by terly lamented his disappointment. A bystander said to saying that he did this for the benefit of men, that they him, “Be satisfied with half the quantity, and you will readily might rise in time for their labors. The Cat replied, “Al-draw out your hand.”

though you abound in specious apologies, I shall not remain supperless”; and he made a meal of him.

Do not attempt too much at once.


Aesop’s Fables


endeavored to make peace, and placed some bread and salt in the hole. The Snake, slightly hissing, said: “There can A LION demanded the daughter of a woodcutter in mar-henceforth be no peace between us; for whenever I see you riage. The Father, unwilling to grant, and yet afraid to refuse I shall remember the loss of my tail, and whenever you see his request, hit upon this expedient to rid himself of his me you will be thinking of the death of your son.” importunities. He expressed his willingness to accept the Lion as the suitor of his daughter on one condition: that No one truly forgets injuries in the presence of him who he should allow him to extract his teeth, and cut off his caused the injury.

claws, as his daughter was fearfully afraid of both. The Lion cheerfully assented to the proposal. But when the tooth-less, clawless Lion returned to repeat his request, the THE WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING

Woodman, no longer afraid, set upon him with his club, ONCE UPON A TIME a Wolf resolved to disguise his appear-and drove him away into the forest.

ance in order to secure food more easily. Encased in the skin of a sheep, he pastured with the flock deceiving the THE LABORER AND THE SNAKE

shepherd by his costume. In the evening he was shut up by the shepherd in the fold; the gate was closed, and the A SNAKE, having made his hole close to the porch of a cot-entrance made thoroughly secure. But the shepherd, re-tage, inflicted a mortal bite on the Cottager’s infant son.

turning to the fold during the night to obtain meat for the Grieving over his loss, the Father resolved to kill the Snake.

next day, mistakenly caught up the Wolf instead of a sheep, The next day, when it came out of its hole for food, he and killed him instantly.

took up his axe, but by swinging too hastily, missed its head and cut off only the end of its tail. After some time Harm seek. Harm find.

the Cottager, afraid that the Snake would bite him also, 23

Aesop’s Fables



A MULETEER set forth on a journey, driving before him an THE FROGS, grieved at having no established Ruler, sent Ass and a Mule, both well laden. The Ass, as long as he ambassadors to Jupiter entreating for a King. Perceiving traveled along the plain, carried his load with ease, but their simplicity, he cast down a huge log into the lake. The when he began to ascend the steep path of the mountain, Frogs were terrified at the splash occasioned by its fall and felt his load to be more than he could bear. He entreated hid themselves in the depths of the pool. But as soon as his companion to relieve him of a small portion, that he they realized that the huge log was motionless, they swam might carry home the rest; but the Mule paid no attention again to the top of the water, dismissed their fears, climbed to the request. The Ass shortly afterwards fell down dead up, and began squatting on it in contempt. After some under his burden. Not knowing what else to do in so wild a time they began to think themselves ill-treated in the ap-region, the Muleteer placed upon the Mule the load carried pointment of so inert a Ruler, and sent a second deputa-by the Ass in addition to his own, and at the top of all tion to Jupiter to pray that he would set over them an-placed the hide of the Ass, after he had skinned him. The other sovereign. He then gave them an Eel to govern them.

Mule, groaning beneath his heavy burden, said to himself: When the Frogs discovered his easy good nature, they sent

“I am treated according to my deserts. If I had only been yet a third time to Jupiter to beg him to choose for them willing to assist the Ass a little in his need, I should not still another King. Jupiter, displeased with all their com-now be bearing, together with his burden, himself as well.” plaints, sent a Heron, who preyed upon the Frogs day by day till there were none left to croak upon the lake.


Aesop’s Fables



SOME BOYS, playing near a pond, saw a number of Frogs in A PEDDLER drove his Ass to the seashore to buy salt. His the water and began to pelt them with stones. They killed road home lay across a stream into which his Ass, making a several of them, when one of the Frogs, lifting his head false step, fell by accident and rose up again with his load out of the water, cried out: “Pray stop, my boys: what is considerably lighter, as the water melted the sack. The Ped-sport to you, is death to us.”

dler retraced his steps and refilled his panniers with a larger quantity of salt than before. When he came again to the stream, the Ass fell down on purpose in the same spot, and, regaining his feet with the weight of his load much diminished, brayed triumphantly as if he had obtained what THE SICK STAG

he desired. The Peddler saw through his trick and drove him for the third time to the coast, where he bought a A SICK STAG lay down in a quiet corner of its pasture-ground.

cargo of sponges instead of salt. The Ass, again playing His companions came in great numbers to inquire after his the fool, fell down on purpose when he reached the stream, health, and each one helped himself to a share of the food but the sponges became swollen with water, greatly in-which had been placed for his use; so that he died, not creasing his load. And thus his trick recoiled on him, for he from his sickness, but from the failure of the means of liv-now carried on his back a double burden.


Evil companions bring more hurt than profit.


Aesop’s Fables





THE OXEN once upon a time sought to destroy the Butch-A LION, fatigued by the heat of a summer’s day, fell fast ers, who practiced a trade destructive to their race. They asleep in his den. A Mouse ran over his mane and ears and assembled on a certain day to carry out their purpose, and woke him from his slumbers. He rose up and shook himself sharpened their horns for the contest. But one of them in great wrath, and searched every corner of his den to who was exceedingly old (for many a field had he plowed) find the Mouse. A Fox seeing him said: “A fine Lion you are, thus spoke: “These Butchers, it is true, slaughter us, but to be frightened of a Mouse.”

they do so with skillful hands, and with no unnecessary

“’Tis not the Mouse I fear,” said the Lion; “I resent his pain. If we get rid of them, we shall fall into the hands of familiarity and ill-breeding.”

unskillful operators, and thus suffer a double death: for you may be assured, that though all the Butchers should Little liberties are great offenses.

perish, yet will men never want beef.”

Do not be in a hurry to change one evil for another.


Aesop’s Fables



JUPITER DETERMINED, it is said, to create a sovereign over the birds, and made proclamation that on a certain day A GOATHERD, driving his flock from their pasture at even-they should all present themselves before him, when he tide, found some Wild Goats mingled among them, and shut would himself choose the most beautiful among them to them up together with his own for the night. The next day be king. The Jackdaw, knowing his own ugliness, searched it snowed very hard, so that he could not take the herd to through the woods and fields, and collected the feathers their usual feeding places, but was obliged to keep them which had fallen from the wings of his companions, and in the fold. He gave his own goats just sufficient food to stuck them in all parts of his body, hoping thereby to make keep them alive, but fed the strangers more abundantly in himself the most beautiful of all. When the appointed day the hope of enticing them to stay with him and of making arrived, and the birds had assembled before Jupiter, the them his own. When the thaw set in, he led them all out to Jackdaw also made his appearance in his many feathered feed, and the Wild Goats scampered away as fast as they finery. But when Jupiter proposed to make him king be-could to the mountains. The Goatherd scolded them for cause of the beauty of his plumage, the birds indignantly their ingratitude in leaving him, when during the storm he protested, and each plucked from him his own feathers, had taken more care of them than of his own herd. One of leaving the Jackdaw nothing but a Jackdaw.

them, turning about, said to him: “That is the very reason why we are so cautious; for if you yesterday treated us better than the Goats you have had so long, it is plain also that if others came after us, you would in the same manner prefer them to ourselves.”

Old friends cannot with impunity be sacrificed for new ones.


Aesop’s Fables


sembled a good many Foxes and publicly advised them to cut off their tails, saying that they would not only look A DOG used to run up quietly to the heels of everyone he much better without them, but that they would get rid of met, and to bite them without notice. His master suspended the weight of the brush, which was a very great inconve-a bell about his neck so that the Dog might give notice of nience. One of them interrupting him said, “If you had not his presence wherever he went. Thinking it a mark of dis-yourself lost your tail, my friend, you would not thus coun-tinction, the Dog grew proud of his bell and went tinkling sel us.”

it all over the marketplace. One day an old hound said to him: Why do you make such an exhibition of yourself? That bell that you carry is not, believe me, any order of merit, THE BOY AND THE NETTLES

but on the contrary a mark of disgrace, a public notice to A BOY was stung by a Nettle. He ran home and told his all men to avoid you as an ill mannered dog.” Mother, saying, “Although it hurts me very much, I only touched it gently.”

Notoriety is often mistaken for fame.

“That was just why it stung you,” said his Mother. “The next time you touch a Nettle, grasp it boldly, and it will be soft as silk to your hand, and not in the least hurt you.” THE FOX WHO HAD LOST HIS TAIL

Whatever you do, do with all your might.

A FOX caught in a trap escaped, but in so doing lost his tail. Thereafter, feeling his life a burden from the shame and ridicule to which he was exposed, he schemed to convince all the other Foxes that being tailless was much more attractive, thus making up for his own deprivation. He as-28

Aesop’s Fables


ye, old fellow, why, in striving to pry into what is in heaven, do you not manage to see what is on earth?”

A MIDDLE-AGED MAN, whose hair had begun to turn gray, courted two women at the same time. One of them was young, and the other well advanced in years. The elder THE WOLVES AND THE SHEEP

woman, ashamed to be courted by a man younger than

“WHY SHOULD there always be this fear and slaughter be-herself, made a point, whenever her admirer visited her, to tween us?” said the Wolves to the Sheep. “Those evil-dis-pull out some portion of his black hairs. The younger, on posed Dogs have much to answer for. They always bark the contrary, not wishing to become the wife of an old whenever we approach you and attack us before we have man, was equally zealous in removing every gray hair she done any harm. If you would only dismiss them from your could find. Thus it came to pass that between them both heels, there might soon be treaties of peace and reconcili-he very soon found that he had not a hair left on his head.

ation between us.”

The Sheep, poor silly creatures, were easily beguiled and Those who seek to please everybody please nobody.

dismissed the Dogs, whereupon the Wolves destroyed the unguarded flock at their own pleasure.


AN ASTRONOMER used to go out at night to observe the stars. One evening, as he wandered through the suburbs with his whole attention fixed on the sky, he fell acciden-tally into a deep well. While he lamented and bewailed his sores and bruises, and cried loudly for help, a neighbor ran to the well, and learning what had happened said: “Hark 29

Aesop’s Fables



AN OLD WOMAN having lost the use of her eyes, called in a TWO GAME COCKS were fiercely fighting for the mastery of the farmyard. One at last put the other to flight. The van-Physician to heal them, and made this bargain with him in the quished Cock skulked away and hid himself in a quiet cor-presence of witnesses: that if he should cure her blindness, he ner, while the conqueror, flying up to a high wall, flapped should receive from her a sum of money; but if her infirmity his wings and crowed exultingly with all his might. An Eagle remained, she should give him nothing. This agreement being sailing through the air pounced upon him and carried him off in his talons. The vanquished Cock immediately came made, the Physician, time after time, applied his salve to her out of his corner, and ruled henceforth with undisputed eyes, and on every visit took something away, stealing all her mastery.

property little by little. And when he had got all she had, he healed her and demanded the promised payment. The Old Pride goes before destruction.

Woman, when she recovered her sight and saw none of her goods in her house, would give him nothing. The Physician THE CHARGER AND THE MILLER

insisted on his claim, and. as she still refused, summoned her before the Judge.

A CHARGER, feeling the infirmities of age, was sent to work The Old Woman, standing up in the Court, argued: “This man in a mill instead of going out to battle. But when he was compelled to grind instead of serving in the wars, he be-here speaks the truth in what he says; for I did promise to wailed his change of fortune and called to mind his former give him a sum of money if I should recover my sight: but if I state, saying, “Ah! Miller, I had indeed to go campaigning continued blind, I was to give him nothing. Now he declares before, but I was barbed from counter to tail, and a man that I am healed. I on the contrary affirm that I am still blind; went along to groom me; and now I cannot understand what ailed me to prefer the mill before the battle.” for when I lost the use of my eyes, I saw in my house various

“Forbear,” said the Miller to him, “harping on what was chattels and valuable goods: but now, though he swears I am of yore, for it is the common lot of mortals to sustain the cured of my blindness, I am not able to see a single thing in it.” ups and downsof fortune.”


Aesop’s Fables


you have transformed me from a Horse into an Ass; and how can you expect that I can again turn in a moment A MONKEY once danced in an assembly of the Beasts, and from an Ass to a Horse?”

so pleased them all by his performance that they elected him their King. A Fox, envying him the honor, discovered a piece of meat lying in a trap, and leading the Monkey to The Belly and the Members

the place where it was, said that she had found a store, but had not used it, she had kept it for him as treasure trove of THE MEMBERS of the Body rebelled against the Belly, and his kingdom, and counseled him to lay hold of it. The Mon-said, “Why should we be perpetually engaged in adminis-key approached carelessly and was caught in the trap; and tering to your wants, while you do nothing but take your on his accusing the Fox of purposely leading him into the rest, and enjoy yourself in luxury and self-indulgence?” snare, she replied, “O Monkey, and are you, with such a The Members carried out their resolve and refused their mind as yours, going to be King over the Beasts?” assistance to the Belly. The whole Body quickly became debilitated, and the hands, feet, mouth, and eyes, when too late, repented of their folly.

The Horse and His Rider

A HORSE SOLDIER took the utmost pains with his charger.

The Vine and the Goat

As long as the war lasted, he looked upon him as his fellow-helper in all emergencies and fed him carefully with A VINE was luxuriant in the time of vintage with leaves hay and corn. But when the war was over, he only allowed and grapes. A Goat, passing by, nibbled its young tendrils him chaff to eat and made him carry heavy loads of wood, and its leaves. The Vine addressed him and said: “Why do subjecting him to much slavish drudgery and ill-treatment.

you thus injure me without a cause, and crop my leaves? Is War was again proclaimed, however, and when the trumpet there no young grass left? But I shall not have to wait long summoned him to his standard, the Soldier put on his for my just revenge; for if you now should crop my leaves, charger its military trappings, and mounted, being clad in and cut me down to my root, I shall provide the wine to his heavy coat of mail. The Horse fell down straightway pour over you when you are led as a victim to the sacri-under the weight, no longer equal to the burden, and said fice.”

to his master, “You must now go to the war on foot, for 31

Aesop’s Fables

Jupiter and the Monkey

The Shepherd’s Boy and the Wolf

JUPITER ISSUED a proclamation to all the beasts of the A SHEPHERD-BOY, who watched a flock of sheep near a vil-forest and promised a royal reward to the one whose off-lage, brought out the villagers three or four times by cry-spring should be deemed the handsomest. The Monkey came ing out, “Wolf! Wolf!” and when his neighbors came to help with the rest and presented, with all a mother’s tender-him, laughed at them for their pains. The Wolf, however, ness, a flat-nosed, hairless, ill-featured young Monkey as a did truly come at last. The Shepherd-boy, now really candidate for the promised reward. A general laugh saluted alarmed, shouted in an agony of terror: “Pray, do come and her on the presentation of her son. She resolutely said, “I help me; the Wolf is killing the sheep”; but no one paid any know not whether Jupiter will allot the prize to my son, heed to his cries, nor rendered any assistance. The Wolf, but this I do know, that he is at least in the eyes of me his having no cause of fear, at his leisure lacerated or destroyed mother, the dearest, handsomest, and most beautiful of the whole flock.


There is no believing a liar, even when he speaks the truth.

The Widow and Her Little Maidens

The Cat and the Birds

A WIDOW who was fond of cleaning had two little maidens to wait on her. She was in the habit of waking them early A CAT, hearing that the Birds in a certain aviary were ailing in the morning, at cockcrow. The maidens, aggravated by dressed himself up as a physician, and, taking his cane and such excessive labor, resolved to kill the cock who roused a bag of instruments becoming his profession, went to call their mistress so early. When they had done this, they found on them. He knocked at the door and inquired of the in-that they had only prepared for themselves greater troubles, mates how they all did, saying that if they were ill, he for their mistress, no longer hearing the hour from the cock, would be happy to prescribe for them and cure them. They woke them up to their work in the middle of the night.

replied, “We are all very well, and shall continue so, if you will only be good enough to go away, and leave us as we are.”


Aesop’s Fables

The Kid and the Wolf

The Shepherd and the Wolf

A KID standing on the roof of a house, out of harm’s way, A SHEPHERD once found the whelp of a Wolf and brought saw a Wolf passing by and immediately began to taunt and it up, and after a while taught it to steal lambs from the revile him. The Wolf, looking up, said, “Sirrah! I hear thee: neighboring flocks. The Wolf, having shown himself an apt yet it is not thou who mockest me, but the roof on which pupil, said to the Shepherd, “Since you have taught me to thou art standing.”

steal, you must keep a sharp lookout, or you will lose some of your own flock.”

Time and place often give the advantage to the weak over the strong.

The Father and His Two Daughters

The Ox and the Frog

A MAN had two daughters, the one married to a gardener, and the other to a tile-maker. After a time he went to the AN OX drinking at a pool trod on a brood of young frogs daughter who had married the gardener, and inquired how and crushed one of them to death. The Mother coming up, she was and how all things went with her. She said, “All and missing one of her sons, inquired of his brothers what things are prospering with me, and I have only one wish, had become of him. “He is dead, dear Mother; for just now that there may be a heavy fall of rain, in order that the a very huge beast with four great feet came to the pool plants may be well watered.”

and crushed him to death with his cloven heel.” The Frog, Not long after, he went to the daughter who had married puffing herself out, inquired, “if the beast was as big as the tilemaker, and likewise inquired of her how she fared; that in size.”

she replied, “I want for nothing, and have only one wish,

“Cease, Mother, to puff yourself out,” said her son, “and that the dry weather may continue, and the sun shine hot do not be angry; for you would, I assure you, sooner burst and bright, so that the bricks might be dried.” than successfully imitate the hugeness of that monster.” He said to her, “If your sister wishes for rain, and you for dry weather, with which of the two am I to join my wishes?’


Aesop’s Fables

The Farmer and His Sons

The Heifer and the Ox

A FATHER, being on the point of death, wished to be sure A HEIFER saw an Ox hard at work harnessed to a plow, and that his sons would give the same attention to his farm as tormented him with reflections on his unhappy fate in be-he himself had given it. He called them to his bedside and ing compelled to labor. Shortly afterwards, at the harvest said, “My sons, there is a great treasure hid in one of my festival, the owner released the Ox from his yoke, but bound vineyards.”

the Heifer with cords and led him away to the altar to be The sons, after his death, took their spades and mat-slain in honor of the occasion. The Ox saw what was being tocks and carefully dug over every portion of their land.

done, and said with a smile to the Heifer: “For this you They found no treasure, but the vines repaid their labor by were allowed to live in idleness, because you were pres-an extraordinary and superabundant crop.

ently to be sacrificed.”

The Crab and Its Mother

The Swallow, the Serpent, and the Court of Justice

A CRAB said to her son, “Why do you walk so one-sided, my child? It is far more becoming to go straight forward.” The A SWALLOW, returning from abroad and especially fond of young Crab replied: “Quite true, dear Mother; and if you dwelling with men, built herself a nest in the wall of a Court will show me the straight way, I will promise to walk in it.” of Justice and there hatched seven young birds. A Serpent The Mother tried in vain, and submitted without remon-gliding past the nest from its hole in the wall ate up the strance to the reproof of her child.

young unfledged nestlings. The Swallow, finding her nest empty, lamented greatly and exclaimed: “Woe to me a Example is more powerful than precept.

stranger! that in this place where all others’ rights are protected, I alone should suffer wrong.”


Aesop’s Fables

The Thief and His Mother

The Old Man and Death

A BOY stole a lesson-book from one of his school-fellows AN OLD MAN was employed in cutting wood in the forest, and took it home to his mother. She not only abstained and, in carrying the faggots to the city for sale one day, from beating him, but encouraged him. He next time stole became very wearied with his long journey. He sat down a cloak and brought it to her, and she again commended by the wayside, and throwing down his load, besought him. The Youth, advanced to adulthood, proceeded to steal

“Death” to come. “Death” immediately appeared in answer things of still greater value. At last he was caught in the to his summons and asked for what reason he had called very act, and having his hands bound behind him, was led him. The Old Man hurriedly replied, “That, lifting up the away to the place of public execution.

load, you may place it again upon my shoulders.” His mother followed in the crowd and violently beat her breast in sorrow, whereupon the young man said, “I wish to say something to my mother in her ear.”

The Fir-tree and the Bramble

She came close to him, and he quickly seized her ear with his teeth and bit it off. The mother upbraided him as an A FIR-TREE said boastingly to the Bramble, “You are useful unnatural child, whereon he replied, “Ah! If you had beaten for nothing at all; while I am everywhere used for roofs me when I first stole and brought to you that lesson-book, and houses.”

I should not have come to this, nor have been thus led to a The Bramble answered: “You poor creature, if you would disgraceful death.”

only call to mind the axes and saws which are about to hew you down, you would have reason to wish that you had grown up a Bramble, not a Fir-Tree.”

Better poverty without care, than riches with.


Aesop’s Fables

The Mouse, the Frog, and the Hawk

The Man Bitten by a Dog

A MOUSE who always lived on the land, by an unlucky A MAN who had been bitten by a Dog went about in quest chance formed an intimate acquaintance with a Frog, who of someone who might heal him. A friend, meeting him and lived for the most part in the water. The Frog, one day learning what he wanted, said, “If you would be cured, take intent on mischief, bound the foot of the Mouse tightly to a piece of bread, and dip it in the blood from your wound, his own. Thus joined together, the Frog first of all led his and go and give it to the Dog that bit you.” The Man who friend the Mouse to the meadow where they were accus-had been bitten laughed at this advice and said, “Why? If I tomed to find their food. After this, he gradually led him should do so, it would be as if I should beg every Dog in towards the pool in which he lived, until reaching the very the town to bite me.”

brink, he suddenly jumped in, dragging the Mouse with him. The Frog enjoyed the water amazingly, and swam croak-Benefits bestowed upon the evil-disposed increase their ing about, as if he had done a good deed. The unhappy means of injuring you.

Mouse was soon suffocated by the water, and his dead body floated about on the surface, tied to the foot of the Frog.

A Hawk observed it, and, pouncing upon it with his tal-The Two Pots

ons, carried it aloft. The Frog, being still fastened to the leg of the Mouse, was also carried off a prisoner, and was A RIVER carried down in its stream two Pots, one made of eaten by the Hawk.

earthenware and the other of brass. The Earthen Pot said to the Brass Pot, “Pray keep at a distance and do not come Harm hatch, harm catch.

near me, for if you touch me ever so slightly, I shall be broken in pieces, and besides, I by no means wish to come near you.”

Equals make the best friends.


Aesop’s Fables

The Wolf and the Sheep

The Fisherman and His Nets

A WOLF, sorely wounded and bitten by dogs, lay sick and A FISHERMAN, engaged in his calling, made a very success-maimed in his lair. Being in want of food, he called to a ful cast and captured a great haul of fish. He managed by a Sheep who was passing, and asked him to fetch some water skillful handling of his net to retain all the large fish and from a stream flowing close beside him. “For,” he said, “if to draw them to the shore; but he could not prevent the you will bring me drink, I will find means to provide myself smaller fish from falling back through the meshes of the with meat.”

net into the sea.

“Yes,” said the Sheep, “if I should bring you the draught, you would doubtless make me provide the meat also.” The Huntsman and the Fisherman

Hypocritical speeches are easily seen through.

A HUNTSMAN, returning with his dogs from the field, fell in by chance with a Fisherman who was bringing home a basket well laden with fish. The Huntsman wished to have The Aethiop

the fish, and their owner experienced an equal longing for the contents of the game-bag. They quickly agreed to ex-THE PURCHASER of a black servant was persuaded that the change the produce of their day’s sport. Each was so well color of his skin arose from dirt contracted through the pleased with his bargain that they made for some time the neglect of his former masters. On bringing him home he same exchange day after day. Finally a neighbor said to resorted to every means of cleaning, and subjected the man them, “If you go on in this way, you will soon destroy by to incessant scrubbings. The servant caught a severe cold, frequent use the pleasure of your exchange, and each will but he never changed his color or complexion.

again wish to retain the fruits of his own sport.” What’s bred in the bone will stick to the flesh.

Abstain and enjoy.


Aesop’s Fables

The Old Woman and the Wine-Jar

The Two Dogs

AN OLD WOMAN found an empty jar which had lately been A MAN had two dogs: a Hound, trained to assist him in his full of prime old wine and which still retained the fragrant sports, and a Housedog, taught to watch the house. When smell of its former contents. She greedily placed it several he returned home after a good day’s sport, he always gave times to her nose, and drawing it backwards and forwards the Housedog a large share of his spoil. The Hound, feeling said, “O most delicious! How nice must the Wine itself have much aggrieved at this, reproached his companion, saying, been, when it leaves behind in the very vessel which con-

“It is very hard to have all this labor, while you, who do tained it so sweet a perfume!”

not assist in the chase, luxuriate on the fruits of my exer-tions.” The Housedog replied, “Do not blame me, my friend, The memory of a good deed lives.

but find fault with the master, who has not taught me to labor, but to depend for subsistence on the labor of others.”

The Fox and the Crow

Children are not to be blamed for the faults of their parA CROW having stolen a bit of meat, perched in a tree and ents.

held it in her beak. A Fox, seeing this, longed to possess the meat himself, and by a wily stratagem succeeded. “How handsome is the Crow,” he exclaimed, in the beauty of her shape and in the fairness of her complexion! Oh, if her voice were only equal to her beauty, she would deservedly be considered the Queen of Birds!” This he said deceitfully; but the Crow, anxious to refute the reflection cast upon her voice, set up a loud caw and dropped the flesh. The Fox quickly picked it up, and thus addressed the Crow: “My good Crow, your voice is right enough, but your wit is want-ing.”


Aesop’s Fables

The Stag in the Ox-Stall

the Stag should be seized and killed.

A STAG, roundly chased by the hounds and blinded by fear to the danger he was running into, took shelter in a farm-The Hawk, the Kite, and the Pigeons

yard and hid himself in a shed among the oxen. An Ox gave him this kindly warning: “O unhappy creature! why should THE PIGEONS, terrified by the appearance of a Kite, called you thus, of your own accord, incur destruction and trust upon the Hawk to defend them. He at once consented.

yourself in the house of your enemy?”

When they had admitted him into the cote, they found The Stag replied: “Only allow me, friend, to stay where I that he made more havoc and slew a larger number of them am, and I will undertake to find some favorable opportu-in one day than the Kite could pounce upon in a whole nity of effecting my escape.”


At the approach of the evening the herdsman came to feed his cattle, but did not see the Stag; and even the farm-Avoid a remedy that is worse than the disease.

bailiff with several laborers passed through the shed and failed to notice him. The Stag, congratulating himself on his safety, began to express his sincere thanks to the Oxen The Widow and the Sheep

who had kindly helped him in the hour of need. One of them again answered him: “We indeed wish you well, but A CERTAIN poor widow had one solitary Sheep. At shearing the danger is not over. There is one other yet to pass time, wishing to take his fleece and to avoid expense, she through the shed, who has as it were a hundred eyes, and sheared him herself, but used the shears so unskillfully that until he has come and gone, your life is still in peril.” with the fleece she sheared the flesh. The Sheep, writhing At that moment the master himself entered, and having with pain, said, “Why do you hurt me so, Mistress? What had to complain that his oxen had not been properly fed, weight can my blood add to the wool? If you want my flesh, he went up to their racks and cried out: “Why is there such there is the butcher, who will kill me in an instant; but if a scarcity of fodder? There is not half enough straw for you want my fleece and wool, there is the shearer, who will them to lie on. Those lazy fellows have not even swept the shear and not hurt me.”

cobwebs away.” While he thus examined everything in turn, he spied the tips of the antlers of the Stag peeping out of The least outlay is not always the greatest gain.

the straw. Then summoning his laborers, he ordered that 39

Aesop’s Fables

The Wild Ass and the Lion

The Sick Kite

A WILD ASS and a Lion entered into an alliance so that A KITE, sick unto death, said to his mother: “O Mother! do they might capture the beasts of the forest with greater not mourn, but at once invoke the gods that my life may ease. The Lion agreed to assist the Wild Ass with his be prolonged.” She replied, “Alas! my son, which of the strength, while the Wild Ass gave the Lion the benefit of gods do you think will pity you? Is there one whom you his greater speed. When they had taken as many beasts as have not outraged by filching from their very altars a part their necessities required, the Lion undertook to distrib-of the sacrifice offered up to them?’

ute the prey, and for this purpose divided it into three shares. “I will take the first share,” he said, “because I am We must make friends in prosperity if we would have their King: and the second share, as a partner with you in the help in adversity.

chase: and the third share (believe me) will be a source of great evil to you, unless you willingly resign it to me, and set off as fast as you can.”

The Lion and the Dolphin

Might makes right.

A LION roaming by the seashore saw a Dolphin lift up its head out of the waves, and suggested that they contract an alliance, saying that of all the animals they ought to be The Eagle and the Arrow

the best friends, since the one was the king of beasts on the earth, and the other was the sovereign ruler of all the AN EAGLE sat on a lofty rock, watching the movements of inhabitants of the ocean. The Dolphin gladly consented to a Hare whom he sought to make his prey. An archer, who this request. Not long afterwards the Lion had a combat saw the Eagle from a place of concealment, took an accu-with a wild bull, and called on the Dolphin to help him. The rate aim and wounded him mortally. The Eagle gave one Dolphin, though quite willing to give him assistance, was look at the arrow that had entered his heart and saw in unable to do so, as he could not by any means reach the that single glance that its feathers had been furnished by land. The Lion abused him as a traitor. The Dolphin replied, himself. “It is a double grief to me,” he exclaimed, “that I

“Nay, my friend, blame not me, but Nature, which, while should perish by an arrow feathered from my own wings.” giving me the sovereignty of the sea, has quite denied me the power of living upon the land.”


Aesop’s Fables

The Lion and the Boar

The Shepherd and the Sea

ON A SUMMER DAY, when the great heat induced a general A SHEPHERD, keeping watch over his sheep near the shore, thirst among the beasts, a Lion and a Boar came at the saw the Sea very calm and smooth, and longed to make a same moment to a small well to drink. They fiercely dis-voyage with a view to commerce. He sold all his flock, in-puted which of them should drink first, and were soon en-vested it in a cargo of dates, and set sail. But a very great gaged in the agonies of a mortal combat. When they tempest came on, and the ship being in danger of sinking, stopped suddenly to catch their breath for a fiercer renewal he threw all his merchandise overboard, and barely escaped of the fight, they saw some Vultures waiting in the dis-with his life in the empty ship. Not long afterwards when tance to feast on the one that should fall first. They at someone passed by and observed the unruffled calm of the once made up their quarrel, saying, “It is better for us to Sea, he interrupted him and said, “It is again in want of make friends, than to become the food of Crows or Vul-dates, and therefore looks quiet.”


The Ass, the Cock, and the Lion

The One-Eyed Doe

AN ASS and a Cock were in a straw-yard together when a A DOE blind in one eye was accustomed to graze as near to Lion, desperate from hunger, approached the spot. He was the edge of the cliff as she possibly could, in the hope of about to spring upon the Ass, when the Cock (to the sound securing her greater safety. She turned her sound eye to-of whose voice the Lion, it is said, has a singular aversion) wards the land that she might get the earliest tidings of crowed loudly, and the Lion fled away as fast as he could.

the approach of hunter or hound, and her injured eye to-The Ass, observing his trepidation at the mere crowing of a wards the sea, from whence she entertained no anticipa-Cock summoned courage to attack him, and galloped after tion of danger. Some boatmen sailing by saw her, and tak-him for that purpose. He had run no long distance, when ing a successful aim, mortally wounded her. Yielding up the Lion, turning about, seized him and tore him to pieces.

her last breath, she gasped forth this lament: “O wretched creature that I am! to take such precaution against the False confidence often leads into danger.

land, and after all to find this seashore, to which I had come for safety, so much more perilous.”


Aesop’s Fables

The Mice and the Weasels

The Mice in Council

THE WEASELS and the Mice waged a perpetual war with THE MICE summoned a council to decide how they might each other, in which much blood was shed. The Weasels best devise means of warning themselves of the approach were always the victors. The Mice thought that the cause of their great enemy the Cat. Among the many plans sug-of their frequent defeats was that they had no leaders set gested, the one that found most favor was the proposal to apart from the general army to command them, and that tie a bell to the neck of the Cat, so that the Mice, being they were exposed to dangers from lack of discipline. They warned by the sound of the tinkling, might run away and therefore chose as leaders Mice that were most renowned hide themselves in their holes at his approach. But when for their family descent, strength, and counsel, as well as the Mice further debated who among them should thus those most noted for their courage in the fight, so that

“bell the Cat,” there was no one found to do it.

they might be better marshaled in battle array and formed into troops, regiments, and battalions. When all this was done, and the army disciplined, and the herald Mouse had The Wolf and the Housedog

duly proclaimed war by challenging the Weasels, the newly chosen generals bound their heads with straws, that they A WOLF, meeting a big well-fed Mastiff with a wooden col-might be more conspicuous to all their troops. Scarcely had lar about his neck asked him who it was that fed him so the battle begun, when a great rout overwhelmed the Mice, well and yet compelled him to drag that heavy log about who scampered off as fast as they could to their holes. The wherever he went. “The master,” he replied. Then said the generals, not being able to get in on account of the orna-Wolf: “May no friend of mine ever be in such a plight; for ments on their heads, were all captured and eaten by the the weight of this chain is enough to spoil the appetite.” Weasels.

The more honor the more danger.


Aesop’s Fables

The Rivers and the Sea

material for resistance equal to a covering of hides; and nothing so good as leather.”

THE RIVERS joined together to complain to the Sea, saying, “Why is it that when we flow into your tides so po-Every man for himself.

table and sweet, you work in us such a change, and make us salty and unfit to drink?” The Sea, perceiving that they intended to throw the blame on him, said, “Pray cease to The Master and His Dogs

flow into me, and then you will not be made briny.” A CERTAIN MAN, detained by a storm in his country house, The Playful Ass

first of all killed his sheep, and then his goats, for the maintenance of his household. The storm still continuing, AN ASS climbed up to the roof of a building, and frisking he was obliged to slaughter his yoke oxen for food. On about there, broke in the tiling. The owner went up after seeing this, his Dogs took counsel together, and said, “It is him and quickly drove him down, beating him severely with time for us to be off, for if the master spare not his oxen, a thick wooden cudgel. The Ass said, “Why, I saw the Mon-who work for his gain, how can we expect him to spare us?’

key do this very thing yesterday, and you all laughed heart-ily, as if it afforded you very great amusement.” He is not to be trusted as a friend who mistreats his own family.

The Three Tradesmen

The Wolf and the Shepherds

A GREAT CITY was besieged, and its inhabitants were called together to consider the best means of protecting it from A WOLF, passing by, saw some Shepherds in a hut eating a the enemy. A Bricklayer earnestly recommended bricks as haunch of mutton for their dinner. Approaching them, he affording the best material for an effective resistance. A said, “What a clamor you would raise if I were to do as you Carpenter, with equal enthusiasm, proposed timber as a pref-are doing!”

erable method of defense. Upon which a Currier stood up and said, “Sirs, I differ from you altogether: there is no 43

Aesop’s Fables

The Dolphins, the Whales, and the Sprat

The Two Travelers and the Axe

THE DOLPHINS and Whales waged a fierce war with each TWO MEN were journeying together. One of them picked up other. When the battle was at its height, a Sprat lifted its an axe that lay upon the path, and said, “I have found an head out of the waves and said that he would reconcile axe.”

their differences if they would accept him as an umpire.

“Nay, my friend,” replied the other, “do not say ‘I,’ but One of the Dolphins replied, “We would far rather be de-

‘We’ have found an axe.”

stroyed in our battle with each other than admit any inter-They had not gone far before they saw the owner of the ference from you in our affairs.”

axe pursuing them, and he who had picked up the axe said, “We are undone.”

The Ass Carrying the Image

“Nay,” replied the other, “keep to your first mode of speech, my friend; what you thought right then, think right AN ASS once carried through the streets of a city a famous now. Say ‘I,’ not ‘We’ are undone.”

wooden Image, to be placed in one of its Temples. As he passed along, the crowd made lowly prostration before the He who shares the danger ought to share the prize.

Image. The Ass, thinking that they bowed their heads in token of respect for himself, bristled up with pride, gave himself airs, and refused to move another step. The driver, The Old Lion

seeing him thus stop, laid his whip lustily about his shoulders and said, “O you perverse dull-head! it is not yet come A LION, worn out with years and powerless from disease, to this, that men pay worship to an Ass.”

lay on the ground at the point of death. A Boar rushed upon him, and avenged with a stroke of his tusks a long-They are not wise who give to themselves the credit due to remembered injury. Shortly afterwards the Bull with his others.

horns gored him as if he were an enemy. When the Ass saw that the huge beast could be assailed with impunity, he let drive at his forehead with his heels. The expiring Lion said,

“I have reluctantly brooked the insults of the brave, but to be compelled to endure such treatment from thee, a disgrace to Nature, is indeed to die a double death.” 44

Aesop’s Fables

The Old Hound

The Milk-Woman and Her Pail

A HOUND, who in the days of his youth and strength had A FARMER’S daughter was carrying her Pail of milk from the never yielded to any beast of the forest, encountered in field to the farmhouse, when she fell a-musing. “The money his old age a boar in the chase. He seized him boldly by the for which this milk will be sold, will buy at least three hun-ear, but could not retain his hold because of the decay of dred eggs. The eggs, allowing for all mishaps, will produce his teeth, so that the boar escaped. His master, quickly two hundred and fifty chickens. The chickens will become coming up, was very much disappointed, and fiercely abused ready for the market when poultry will fetch the highest the dog. The Hound looked up and said, “It was not my price, so that by the end of the year I shall have money fault, master: my spirit was as good as ever, but I could not enough from my share to buy a new gown. In this dress I help my infirmities. I rather deserve to be praised for what will go to the Christmas parties, where all the young felI have been, than to be blamed for what I am.” lows will propose to me, but I will toss my head and refuse The Bee and Jupiter

them every one.” At this moment she tossed her head in unison with her thoughts, when down fell the milk pail to A BEE from Mount Hymettus, the queen of the hive, as-the ground, and all her imaginary schemes perished in a cended to Olympus to present Jupiter some honey fresh moment.

from her combs. Jupiter, delighted with the offering of honey, promised to give whatever she should ask. She therefore besought him, saying, “Give me, I pray thee, a sting, that if any mortal shall approach to take my honey, I may kill him.” Jupiter was much displeased, for he loved the race of man, but could not refuse the request because of his promise. He thus answered the Bee: “You shall have your request, but it will be at the peril of your own life. For if you use your sting, it shall remain in the wound you make, and then you will die from the loss of it.” Evil wishes, like chickens, come home to roost.


Aesop’s Fables

The Seaside Travelers

know that labor is the source of every blessing, and that none but those who work are entitled to eat?’

SOME TRAVELERS, journeying along the seashore, climbed to the summit of a tall cliff, and looking over the sea, saw in the distance what they thought was a large ship. They The Ass and His Shadow

waited in the hope of seeing it enter the harbor, but as the object on which they looked was driven nearer to shore A TRAVELER hired an Ass to convey him to a distant place.

by the wind, they found that it could at the most be a The day being intensely hot, and the sun shining in its small boat, and not a ship. When however it reached the strength, the Traveler stopped to rest, and sought shelter beach, they discovered that it was only a large faggot of from the heat under the Shadow of the Ass. As this af-sticks, and one of them said to his companions, “We have forded only protection for one, and as the Traveler and the waited for no purpose, for after all there is nothing to see owner of the Ass both claimed it, a violent dispute arose but a load of wood.”

between them as to which of them had the right to the Shadow. The owner maintained that he had let the Ass only, Our mere anticipations of life outrun its realities.

and not his Shadow. The Traveler asserted that he had, with the hire of the Ass, hired his Shadow also. The quarrel proceeded from words to blows, and while the men fought, The Brazier and His Dog

the Ass galloped off.

A BRAZIER had a little Dog, which was a great favorite with In quarreling about the shadow we often lose the substance.

his master, and his constant companion. While he hammered away at his metals the Dog slept; but when, on the other hand, he went to dinner and began to eat, the Dog woke up and wagged his tail, as if he would ask for a share of his meal. His master one day, pretending to be angry and shak-ing his stick at him, said, “You wretched little sluggard!

what shall I do to you? While I am hammering on the anvil, you sleep on the mat; and when I begin to eat after my toil, you wake up and wag your tail for food. Do you not 46

Aesop’s Fables

The Ass and His Masters

The Oak and the Reeds

AN ASS, belonging to an herb-seller who gave him too little A VERY LARGE OAK was uprooted by the wind and thrown food and too much work made a petition to Jupiter to be across a stream. It fell among some Reeds, which it thus released from his present service and provided with another addressed: “I wonder how you, who are so light and weak, master. Jupiter, after warning him that he would repent are not entirely crushed by these strong winds.” They re-his request, caused him to be sold to a tile-maker. Shortly plied, “You fight and contend with the wind, and conse-afterwards, finding that he had heavier loads to carry and quently you are destroyed; while we on the contrary bend harder work in the brick-field, he petitioned for another before the least breath of air, and therefore remain unbro-change of master. Jupiter, telling him that it would be the ken, and escape.”

last time that he could grant his request, ordained that he be sold to a tanner. The Ass found that he had fallen into Stoop to conquer.

worse hands, and noting his master’s occupation, said, groaning: “It would have been better for me to have been either starved by the one, or to have been overworked by The Fisherman and the Little Fish

the other of my former masters, than to have been bought by my present owner, who will even after I am dead tan my A FISHERMAN who lived on the produce of his nets, one hide, and make me useful to him.”

day caught a single small Fish as the result of his day’s labor. The Fish, panting convulsively, thus entreated for his life: “O Sir, what good can I be to you, and how little am I worth? I am not yet come to my full size. Pray spare my life, and put me back into the sea. I shall soon become a large fish fit for the tables of the rich, and then you can catch me again, and make a handsome profit of me.” The Fisherman replied, “I should indeed be a very simple fellow if, for the chance of a greater uncertain profit, I were to forego my present certain gain.”


Aesop’s Fables

The Hunter and the Woodman

The Lion in a Farmyard

A HUNTER, not very bold, was searching for the tracks of a A LION entered a farmyard. The Farmer, wishing to catch Lion. He asked a man felling oaks in the forest if he had him, shut the gate. When the Lion found that he could not seen any marks of his footsteps or knew where his lair was.

escape, he flew upon the sheep and killed them, and then

“I will,” said the man, “at once show you the Lion himself.” attacked the oxen. The Farmer, beginning to be alarmed The Hunter, turning very pale and chattering with his teeth for his own safety, opened the gate and released the Lion.

from fear, replied, “No, thank you. I did not ask that; it is On his departure the Farmer grievously lamented the de-his track only I am in search of, not the Lion himself.” struction of his sheep and oxen, but his wife, who had been a spectator to all that took place, said, “On my word, you The hero is brave in deeds as well as words.

are rightly served, for how could you for a moment think of shutting up a Lion along with you in your farmyard when you know that you shake in your shoes if you only hear The Wild Boar and the Fox

his roar at a distance?’

A WILD BOAR stood under a tree and rubbed his tusks against the trunk. A Fox passing by asked him why he thus Mercury and the Sculptor

sharpened his teeth when there was no danger threatening from either huntsman or hound. He replied, “I do it advis-MERCURY ONCE DETERMINED to learn in what esteem he edly; for it would never do to have to sharpen my weapons was held among mortals. For this purpose he assumed the just at the time I ought to be using them.”

character of a man and visited in this disguise a Sculptor’s studio having looked at various statues, he demanded the price of two figures of Jupiter and Juno. When the sum at which they were valued was named, he pointed to a figure of himself, saying to the Sculptor, “You will certainly want much more for this, as it is the statue of the Messenger of the Gods, and author of all your gain.” The Sculptor replied, “Well, if you will buy these, I’ll fling you that into the bargain.”