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Aesop’s Fables

The Swan and the Goose

The Fox and the Woodcutter

A CERTAIN rich man bought in the market a Goose and a A FOX, running before the hounds, came across a Woodcut-Swan. He fed the one for his table and kept the other for ter felling an oak and begged him to show him a safe hid-the sake of its song. When the time came for killing the ing-place. The Woodcutter advised him to take shelter in Goose, the cook went to get him at night, when it was his own hut, so the Fox crept in and hid himself in a corner.

dark, and he was not able to distinguish one bird from the The huntsman soon came up with his hounds and inquired other. By mistake he caught the Swan instead of the Goose.

of the Woodcutter if he had seen the Fox. He declared that The Swan, threatened with death, burst forth into song he had not seen him, and yet pointed, all the time he was and thus made himself known by his voice, and preserved speaking, to the hut where the Fox lay hidden. The hunts-his life by his melody.

man took no notice of the signs, but believing his word, hastened forward in the chase. As soon as they were well away, the Fox departed without taking any notice of the The Swollen Fox

Woodcutter: whereon he called to him and reproached him, saying, “You ungrateful fellow, you owe your life to me, A VERY HUNGRY FOX, seeing some bread and meat left by and yet you leave me without a word of thanks.” The Fox shepherds in the hollow of an oak, crept into the hole and replied, “Indeed, I should have thanked you fervently if made a hearty meal. When he finished, he was so full that your deeds had been as good as your words, and if your he was not able to get out, and began to groan and lament hands had not been traitors to your speech.” his fate. Another Fox passing by heard his cries, and coming up, inquired the cause of his complaining. On learning what had happened, he said to him, “Ah, you will have to remain there, my friend, until you become such as you were when you crept in, and then you will easily get out.” 49

Aesop’s Fables

The Birdcatcher, the Partridge, and the Cock The Monkey and the Fishermen

A BIRDCATCHER was about to sit down to a dinner of herbs A MONKEY perched upon a lofty tree saw some Fishermen when a friend unexpectedly came in. The bird-trap was quite casting their nets into a river, and narrowly watched their empty, as he had caught nothing, and he had to kill a pied proceedings. The Fishermen after a while gave up fishing, Partridge, which he had tamed for a decoy. The bird en-and on going home to dinner left their nets upon the bank.

treated earnestly for his life: “What would you do without The Monkey, who is the most imitative of animals, de-me when next you spread your nets? Who would chirp you scended from the treetop and endeavored to do as they to sleep, or call for you the covey of answering birds?” The had done. Having handled the net, he threw it into the Birdcatcher spared his life, and determined to pick out a river, but became tangled in the meshes and drowned. With fine young Cock just attaining to his comb. But the Cock his last breath he said to himself, “I am rightly served; for expostulated in piteous tones from his perch: “If you kill what business had I who had never handled a net to try me, who will announce to you the appearance of the dawn?

and catch fish?’

Who will wake you to your daily tasks or tell you when it is time to visit the bird-trap in the morning?” He replied,

“What you say is true. You are a capital bird at telling the The Flea and the Wrestler

time of day. But my friend and I must have our dinners.” A FLEA settled upon the bare foot of a Wrestler and bit Necessity knows no law.

him, causing the man to call loudly upon Hercules for help.

When the Flea a second time hopped upon his foot, he groaned and said, “O Hercules! if you will not help me against a Flea, how can I hope for your assistance against greater antagonists?’

50

Aesop’s Fables

The Two Frogs

The Lion, the Bear, and the Fox

TWO FROGS dwelt in the same pool. When the pool dried up A LION and a Bear seized a Kid at the same moment, and under the summer’s heat, they left it and set out together fought fiercely for its possession. When they had fearfully for another home. As they went along they chanced to pass lacerated each other and were faint from the long combat, a deep well, amply supplied with water, and when they saw they lay down exhausted with fatigue. A Fox, who had gone it, one of the Frogs said to the other, “Let us descend and round them at a distance several times, saw them both make our abode in this well: it will furnish us with shelter stretched on the ground with the Kid lying untouched in and food.” The other replied with greater caution, “But the middle. He ran in between them, and seizing the Kid suppose the water should fail us. How can we get out again scampered off as fast as he could. The Lion and the Bear from so great a depth?’

saw him, but not being able to get up, said, “Woe be to us, that we should have fought and belabored ourselves only Do nothing without a regard to the consequences.

to serve the turn of a Fox.”

It sometimes happens that one man has all the toil, and The Cat and the Mice

another all the profit.

A CERTAIN HOUSE was overrun with Mice. A Cat, discovering this, made her way into it and began to catch and eat The Doe and the Lion

them one by one. Fearing for their lives, the Mice kept themselves close in their holes. The Cat was no longer able to A DOE hard pressed by hunters sought refuge in a cave get at them and perceived that she must tempt them forth belonging to a Lion. The Lion concealed himself on seeing by some device. For this purpose she jumped upon a peg, her approach, but when she was safe within the cave, sprang and suspending herself from it, pretended to be dead. One upon her and tore her to pieces. “Woe is me,” exclaimed the of the Mice, peeping stealthily out, saw her and said, “Ah, Doe, “who have escaped from man, only to throw myself my good madam, even though you should turn into a meal-into the mouth of a wild beast?”

bag, we will not come near you.”

In avoiding one evil, care must be taken not to fall into another.

51

Aesop’s Fables

The Farmer and the Fox

indulging in these reflections, he found himself surrounded by a whole army of Ants, near whose nest he was standA FARMER, who bore a grudge against a Fox for robbing his ing. One of them climbed up and stung him, and he imme-poultry yard, caught him at last, and being determined to diately trampled them all to death with his foot. Mercury take an ample revenge, tied some rope well soaked in oil to presented himself, and striking the Philosopher with his his tail, and set it on fire. The Fox by a strange fatality wand, said, “And are you indeed to make yourself a judge rushed to the fields of the Farmer who had captured him. It of the dealings of Providence, who hast thyself in a similar was the time of the wheat harvest; but the Farmer reaped manner treated these poor Ants?’

nothing that year and returned home grieving sorely.

The Mouse and the Bull

The Seagull and the Kite

A BULL was bitten by a Mouse and, angered by the wound, A SEAGULL having bolted down too large a fish, burst its tried to capture him. But the Mouse reached his hole in deep gullet-bag and lay down on the shore to die. A Kite safety. Though the Bull dug into the walls with his horns, saw him and exclaimed: “You richly deserve your fate; for a he tired before he could rout out the Mouse, and crouching bird of the air has no business to seek its food from the sea.” down, went to sleep outside the hole. The Mouse peeped out, crept furtively up his flank, and again biting him, re-Every man should be content to mind his own business.

treated to his hole. The Bull rising up, and not knowing what to do, was sadly perplexed. At which the Mouse said,

“The great do not always prevail. There are times when the The Philosopher, the Ants, and Mercury

small and lowly are the strongest to do mischief.” A PHILOSOPHER witnessed from the shore the shipwreck of a vessel, of which the crew and passengers were all drowned.

He inveighed against the injustice of Providence, which would for the sake of one criminal perchance sailing in the ship allow so many innocent persons to perish. As he was 52

Aesop’s Fables

The Lion and the Hare

The Image of Mercury and the Carpenter

A LION came across a Hare, who was fast asleep. He was A VERY POOR MAN, a Carpenter by trade, had a wooden just in the act of seizing her, when a fine young Hart trot-image of Mercury, before which he made offerings day by ted by, and he left the Hare to follow him. The Hare, scared day, and begged the idol to make him rich, but in spite of by the noise, awoke and scudded away. The Lion was un-his entreaties he became poorer and poorer. At last, being able after a long chase to catch the Hart, and returned to very angry, he took his image down from its pedestal and feed upon the Hare. On finding that the Hare also had run dashed it against the wall. When its head was knocked off, off, he said, “I am rightly served, for having let go of the out came a stream of gold, which the Carpenter quickly food that I had in my hand for the chance of obtaining picked up and said, “Well, I think thou art altogether con-more.”

tradictory and unreasonable; for when I paid you honor, I reaped no benefits: but now that I maltreat you I am loaded with an abundance of riches.”

The Peasant and the Eagle

A PEASANT found an Eagle captured in a trap, and much The Bull and the Goat

admiring the bird, set him free. The Eagle did not prove ungrateful to his deliverer, for seeing the Peasant sitting A BULL, escaping from a Lion, hid in a cave which some under a wall which was not safe, he flew toward him and shepherds had recently occupied. As soon as he entered, a with his talons snatched a bundle from his head. When the He-Goat left in the cave sharply attacked him with his Peasant rose in pursuit, the Eagle let the bundle fall again.

horns. The Bull quietly addressed him: “Butt away as much Taking it up, the man returned to the same place, to find as you will. I have no fear of you, but of the Lion. Let that that the wall under which he had been sitting had fallen to monster go away and I will soon let you know what is the pieces; and he marveled at the service rendered him by the respective strength of a Goat and a Bull.”

Eagle.

It shows an evil disposition to take advantage of a friend in distress.

53

Aesop’s Fables

The Dancing Monkeys

affection and care, but hates and neglects the other. It happened once that the young one which was caressed and A PRINCE had some Monkeys trained to dance. Being natu-loved was smothered by the too great affection of the rally great mimics of men’s actions, they showed themselves Mother, while the despised one was nurtured and reared in most apt pupils, and when arrayed in their rich clothes and spite of the neglect to which it was exposed.

masks, they danced as well as any of the courtiers. The spectacle was often repeated with great applause, till on The best intentions will not always ensure success.

one occasion a courtier, bent on mischief, took from his pocket a handful of nuts and threw them upon the stage.

The Monkeys at the sight of the nuts forgot their dancing The Oaks and Jupiter

and became (as indeed they were) Monkeys instead of actors. Pulling off their masks and tearing their robes, they THE OAKS presented a complaint to Jupiter, saying, “We fought with one another for the nuts. The dancing spec-bear for no purpose the burden of life, as of all the trees tacle thus came to an end amidst the laughter and ridicule that grow we are the most continually in peril of the axe.” of the audience.

Jupiter made answer: “You have only to thank yourselves The Fox and the Leopard

for the misfortunes to which you are exposed: for if you did not make such excellent pillars and posts, and prove THE FOX and the Leopard disputed which was the more beau-yourselves so serviceable to the carpenters and the farm-tiful of the two. The Leopard exhibited one by one the ers, the axe would not so frequently be laid to your roots.” various spots which decorated his skin. But the Fox, interrupting him, said, “And how much more beautiful than you am I, who am decorated, not in body, but in mind.” The Hare and the Hound

A HOUND started a Hare from his lair, but after a long run, The Monkeys and Their Mother

gave up the chase. A goat-herd seeing him stop, mocked him, saying “The little one is the best runner of the two.” THE MONKEY, it is said, has two young ones at each birth.

The Hound replied, “You do not see the difference between The Mother fondles one and nurtures it with the greatest us: I was only running for a dinner, but he for his life.” 54

Aesop’s Fables

The Traveler and Fortune

The Shepherd and the Dog

A TRAVELER wearied from a long journey lay down, over-A SHEPHERD penning his sheep in the fold for the night come with fatigue, on the very brink of a deep well. Just was about to shut up a wolf with them, when his Dog peras he was about to fall into the water, Dame Fortune, it is ceiving the wolf said, “Master, how can you expect the sheep said, appeared to him and waking him from his slumber to be safe if you admit a wolf into the fold?’

thus addressed him: “Good Sir, pray wake up: for if you fall into the well, the blame will be thrown on me, and I shall get an ill name among mortals; for I find that men are sure The Lamp

to impute their calamities to me, however much by their own folly they have really brought them on themselves.” A LAMP, soaked with too much oil and flaring brightly, boasted that it gave more light than the sun. Then a sud-Everyone is more or less master of his own fate.

den puff of wind arose, and the Lamp was immediately ex-tinguished. Its owner lit it again, and said: “Boast no more, but henceforth be content to give thy light in silence. Know The Bald Knight

that not even the stars need to be relit”

A BALD KNIGHT, who wore a wig, went out to hunt. A sudden puff of wind blew off his hat and wig, at which a loud laugh rang forth from his companions. He pulled up his horse, and with great glee joined in the joke by saying,

“What a marvel it is that hairs which are not mine should fly from me, when they have forsaken even the man on whose head they grew.”

55

Aesop’s Fables

The Lion, the Fox, and the Ass

The Bull, the Lioness, and the Wild-Boar

Hunter

THE LION, the Fox and the Ass entered into an agreement to assist each other in the chase. Having secured a large A BULL finding a lion’s cub asleep gored him to death with booty, the Lion on their return from the forest asked the his horns. The Lioness came up, and bitterly lamented the Ass to allot his due portion to each of the three partners in death of her whelp. A wild-boar Hunter, seeing her dis-the treaty. The Ass carefully divided the spoil into three tress, stood at a distance and said to her, “Think how many equal shares and modestly requested the two others to men there are who have reason to lament the loss of their make the first choice. The Lion, bursting out into a great children, whose deaths have been caused by you.” rage, devoured the Ass. Then he requested the Fox to do him the favor to make a division. The Fox accumulated all that they had killed into one large heap and left to him-The Oak and the Woodcutters

self the smallest possible morsel.

The Lion said, “Who has taught you, my very excellent THE WOODCUTTER cut down a Mountain Oak and split it in fellow, the art of division? You are perfect to a fraction.” pieces, making wedges of its own branches for dividing the He replied, “I learned it from the Ass, by witnessing his trunk. The Oak said with a sigh, “I do not care about the fate.”

blows of the axe aimed at my roots, but I do grieve at being torn in pieces by these wedges made from my own Happy is the man who learns from the misfortunes of others.

branches.”

Misfortunes springing from ourselves are the hardest to bear.

56

Aesop’s Fables

The Hen and the Golden Eggs

The Crow and the Raven

A COTTAGER and his wife had a Hen that laid a golden egg A CROW was jealous of the Raven, because he was consid-every day. They supposed that the Hen must contain a great ered a bird of good omen and always attracted the atten-lump of gold in its inside, and in order to get the gold they tion of men, who noted by his flight the good or evil course killed it. Having done so, they found to their surprise that of future events. Seeing some travelers approaching, the the Hen differed in no respect from their other hens. The Crow flew up into a tree, and perching herself on one of the foolish pair, thus hoping to become rich all at once, de-branches, cawed as loudly as she could. The travelers turned prived themselves of the gain of which they were assured towards the sound and wondered what it foreboded, when day by day.

one of them said to his companion, “Let us proceed on our journey, my friend, for it is only the caw of a crow, and her cry, you know, is no omen.”

The Ass and the Frogs

Those who assume a character which does not belong to AN ASS, carrying a load of wood, passed through a pond.

them, only make themselves ridiculous.

As he was crossing through the water he lost his footing, stumbled and fell, and not being able to rise on account of his load, groaned heavily. Some Frogs frequenting the pool The Trees and the Axe

heard his lamentation, and said, “What would you do if you had to live here always as we do, when you make such A MAN came into a forest and asked the Trees to provide a fuss about a mere fall into the water?”

him a handle for his axe. The Trees consented to his request and gave him a young ash-tree. No sooner had the Men often bear little grievances with less courage than they man fitted a new handle to his axe from it, than he began do large misfortunes.

to use it and quickly felled with his strokes the noblest giants of the forest. An old oak, lamenting when too late the destruction of his companions, said to a neighboring cedar, “The first step has lost us all. If we had not given up the rights of the ash, we might yet have retained our own privileges and have stood for ages.”

57

Aesop’s Fables

The Crab and the Fox

The Ass and the Old Shepherd

A CRAB, forsaking the seashore, chose a neighboring green A SHEPHERD, watching his Ass feeding in a meadow, was meadow as its feeding ground. A Fox came across him, and alarmed all of a sudden by the cries of the enemy. He ap-being very hungry ate him up. Just as he was on the point pealed to the Ass to fly with him, lest they should both be of being eaten, the Crab said, “I well deserve my fate, for captured, but the animal lazily replied, “Why should I, pray?

what business had I on the land, when by my nature and Do you think it likely the conqueror will place on me two habits I am only adapted for the sea?’

sets of panniers?”

“No,” rejoined the Shepherd.

Contentment with our lot is an element of happiness.

“Then,” said the Ass, “as long as I carry the panniers, what matters it to me whom I serve?’

The Woman and Her Hen

In a change of government the poor change nothing beyond the name of their master.

A WOMAN possessed a Hen that gave her an egg every day.

She often pondered how she might obtain two eggs daily instead of one, and at last, to gain her purpose, determined The Kites and the Swans

to give the Hen a double allowance of barley. From that day the Hen became fat and sleek, and never once laid an-TEE KITES of olden times, as well as the Swans, had the other egg.

privilege of song. But having heard the neigh of the horse, they were so enchanted with the sound, that they tried to imitate it; and, in trying to neigh, they forgot how to sing.

The desire for imaginary benefits often involves the loss of present blessings.

58

Aesop’s Fables

The Wolves and the Sheepdogs

The Bowman and Lion

THE WOLVES thus addressed the Sheepdogs: “Why should A VERY SKILLFUL BOWMAN went to the mountains in search you, who are like us in so many things, not be entirely of of game, but all the beasts of the forest fled at his ap-one mind with us, and live with us as brothers should? We proach. The Lion alone challenged him to combat. The Bow-differ from you in one point only. We live in freedom, but man immediately shot out an arrow and said to the Lion: “I you bow down to and slave for men, who in return for your send thee my messenger, that from him thou mayest learn services flog you with whips and put collars on your necks.

what I myself shall be when I assail thee.” The wounded They make you also guard their sheep, and while they eat Lion rushed away in great fear, and when a Fox who had the mutton throw only the bones to you. If you will be seen it all happen told him to be of good courage and not persuaded by us, you will give us the sheep, and we will to back off at the first attack he replied: “You counsel me enjoy them in common, till we all are surfeited.” The Dogs in vain; for if he sends so fearful a messenger, how shall I listened favorably to these proposals, and, entering the abide the attack of the man himself?’

den of the Wolves, they were set upon and torn to pieces.

Be on guard against men who can strike from a distance.

The Hares and the Foxes

The Camel

THE HARES waged war with the Eagles, and called upon the Foxes to help them. They replied, “We would willingly have WHEN MAN first saw the Camel, he was so frightened at his helped you, if we had not known who you were, and with vast size that he ran away. After a time, perceiving the whom you were fighting.”

meekness and gentleness of the beast’s temper, he summoned courage enough to approach him. Soon afterwards, Count the cost before you commit yourselves.

observing that he was an animal altogether deficient in spirit, he assumed such boldness as to put a bridle in his mouth, and to let a child drive him.

Use serves to overcome dread.

59

Aesop’s Fables

The Wasp and the Snake

way by which he could manage to pass. “Save yourself the trouble,” said the Bull; “I knew that way long before you A WASP seated himself upon the head of a Snake and, strik-were born.”

ing him unceasingly with his stings, wounded him to death.

The Snake, being in great torment and not knowing how to The Stag, the Wolf, and the Sheep

rid himself of his enemy, saw a wagon heavily laden with wood, and went and purposely placed his head under the A STAG asked a Sheep to lend him a measure of wheat, and wheels, saying, “At least my enemy and I shall perish to-said that the Wolf would be his surety. The Sheep, fearing gether.”

some fraud was intended, excused herself, saying, “The Wolf is accustomed to seize what he wants and to run off; and The Dog and the Hare

you, too, can quickly outstrip me in your rapid flight. How then shall I be able to find you, when the day of payment A HOUND having started a Hare on the hillside pursued her comes?’

for some distance, at one time biting her with his teeth as if he would take her life, and at another fawning upon her, Two blacks do not make one white.

as if in play with another dog. The Hare said to him, “I wish you would act sincerely by me, and show yourself in The Peacock and the Crane

your true colors. If you are a friend, why do you bite me so hard? If an enemy, why do you fawn on me?’

A PEACOCK spreading its gorgeous tail mocked a Crane that passed by, ridiculing the ashen hue of its plumage and say-No one can be a friend if you know not whether to trust or ing, “I am robed, like a king, in gold and purple and all the distrust him.

colors of the rainbow; while you have not a bit of color on your wings.”

The Bull and the Calf

“True,” replied the Crane; “but I soar to the heights of heaven and lift up my voice to the stars, while you walk A BULL was striving with all his might to squeeze himself below, like a cock, among the birds of the dunghill.” through a narrow passage which led to his stall. A young Calf came up, and offered to go before and show him the Fine feathers don’t make fine birds.

60

Aesop’s Fables

The Fox and the Hedgehog

The Eagle, the Cat, and the Wild Sow

A FOX swimming across a rapid river was carried by the force AN EAGLE made her nest at the top of a lofty oak; a Cat, of the current into a very deep ravine, where he lay for a having found a convenient hole, moved into the middle of long time very much bruised, sick, and unable to move. A the trunk; and a Wild Sow, with her young, took shelter in swarm of hungry blood-sucking flies settled upon him. A a hollow at its foot. The Cat cunningly resolved to destroy Hedgehog, passing by, saw his anguish and inquired if he this chance-made colony. To carry out her design, she should drive away the flies that were tormenting him. “By climbed to the nest of the Eagle, and said, “Destruction is no means,” replied the Fox; “pray do not molest them.” preparing for you, and for me too, unfortunately. The Wild

“How is this?” said the Hedgehog; “do you not want to Sow, whom you see daily digging up the earth, wishes to be rid of them?”

uproot the oak, so she may on its fall seize our families as

“No,” returned the Fox, “for these flies which you see are food for her young.”

full of blood, and sting me but little, and if you rid me of Having thus frightened the Eagle out of her senses, she these which are already satiated, others more hungry will crept down to the cave of the Sow, and said, “Your children come in their place, and will drink up all the blood I have are in great danger; for as soon as you go out with your left.”

litter to find food, the Eagle is prepared to pounce upon one of your little pigs.”

Having instilled these fears into the Sow, she went and pretended to hide herself in the hollow of the tree. When night came she went forth with silent foot and obtained food for herself and her kittens, but feigning to be afraid, she kept a lookout all through the day. Meanwhile, the Eagle, full of fear of the Sow, sat still on the branches, and the Sow, terrified by the Eagle, did not dare to go out from her cave. And thus they both, along with their families, perished from hunger, and afforded ample provision for the Cat and her kittens.

61

Aesop’s Fables

The Thief and the Innkeeper

the inn.

A THIEF hired a room in a tavern and stayed a while in the Every tale is not to be believed.

hope of stealing something which should enable him to pay his reckoning. When he had waited some days in vain, he saw the Innkeeper dressed in a new and handsome coat The Mule

and sitting before his door. The Thief sat down beside him and talked with him. As the conversation began to flag, A MULE, frolicsome from lack of work and from too much the Thief yawned terribly and at the same time howled like corn, galloped about in a very extravagant manner, and a wolf. The Innkeeper said, “Why do you howl so fearfully?” said to himself: “My father surely was a high-mettled racer,

“I will tell you,” said the Thief, “but first let me ask you and I am his own child in speed and spirit.” On the next to hold my clothes, or I shall tear them to pieces. I know day, being driven a long journey, and feeling very wearied, not, sir, when I got this habit of yawning, nor whether he exclaimed in a disconsolate tone: “I must have made a these attacks of howling were inflicted on me as a judg-mistake; my father, after all, could have been only an ass.” ment for my crimes, or for any other cause; but this I do know, that when I yawn for the third time, I actually turn into a wolf and attack men.” With this speech he commenced The Hart and the Vine

a second fit of yawning and again howled like a wolf, as he had at first.

A HART, hard pressed in the chase, hid himself beneath the The Innkeeper, hearing his tale and believing what he large leaves of a Vine. The huntsmen, in their haste, over-said, became greatly alarmed and, rising from his seat, at-shot the place of his concealment. Supposing all danger to tempted to run away. The Thief laid hold of his coat and have passed, the Hart began to nibble the tendrils of the entreated him to stop, saying, “Pray wait, sir, and hold my Vine. One of the huntsmen, attracted by the rustling of the clothes, or I shall tear them to pieces in my fury, when I leaves, looked back, and seeing the Hart, shot an arrow turn into a wolf.” At the same moment he yawned the third from his bow and struck it. The Hart, at the point of death, time and set up a terrible howl. The Innkeeper, frightened groaned: “I am rightly served, for I should not have mallest he should be attacked, left his new coat in the Thief’s treated the Vine that saved me.”

hand and ran as fast as he could into the inn for safety. The Thief made off with the coat and did not return again to 62

Aesop’s Fables

The Serpent and the Eagle

The Two Frogs

A SERPENT and an Eagle were struggling with each other in TWO FROGS were neighbors. One inhabited a deep pond, far deadly conflict. The Serpent had the advantage, and was removed from public view; the other lived in a gully con-about to strangle the bird. A countryman saw them, and taining little water, and traversed by a country road. The running up, loosed the coil of the Serpent and let the Eagle Frog that lived in the pond warned his friend to change his go free. The Serpent, irritated at the escape of his prey, residence and entreated him to come and live with him, injected his poison into the drinking horn of the country-saying that he would enjoy greater safety from danger and man. The rustic, ignorant of his danger, was about to drink, more abundant food. The other refused, saying that he felt when the Eagle struck his hand with his wing, and, seizing it so very hard to leave a place to which he had become the drinking horn in his talons, carried it aloft.

accustomed. A few days afterwards a heavy wagon passed through the gully and crushed him to death under its wheels.

The Crow and the Pitcher

A willful man will have his way to his own hurt.

A CROW perishing with thirst saw a pitcher, and hoping to find water, flew to it with delight. When he reached it, he discovered to his grief that it contained so little water that The Wolf and the Fox

he could not possibly get at it. He tried everything he could think of to reach the water, but all his efforts were in vain.

AT ONE TIME a very large and strong Wolf was born among At last he collected as many stones as he could carry and the wolves, who exceeded all his fellow-wolves in strength, dropped them one by one with his beak into the pitcher, size, and swiftness, so that they unanimously decided to until he brought the water within his reach and thus saved call him “Lion.” The Wolf, with a lack of sense proportioned his life.

to his enormous size, thought that they gave him this name in earnest, and, leaving his own race, consorted exclusively Necessity is the mother of invention.

with the lions. An old sly Fox, seeing this, said, “May I never make myself so ridiculous as you do in your pride and self-conceit; for even though you have the size of a lion among wolves, in a herd of lions you are definitely a wolf.” 63

Aesop’s Fables

The Walnut-Tree

The Monkey and the Dolphin

A WALNUT TREE standing by the roadside bore an abun-A SAILOR, bound on a long voyage, took with him a Mon-dant crop of fruit. For the sake of the nuts, the passers-by key to amuse him while on shipboard. As he sailed off the broke its branches with stones and sticks. The Walnut-Tree coast of Greece, a violent tempest arose in which the ship piteously exclaimed, “O wretched me! that those whom I was wrecked and he, his Monkey, and all the crew were cheer with my fruit should repay me with these painful obliged to swim for their lives. A Dolphin saw the Monkey requitals!”

contending with the waves, and supposing him to be a man (whom he is always said to befriend), came and placed himself under him, to convey him on his back in safety to the The Gnat and the Lion

shore. When the Dolphin arrived with his burden in sight of land not far from Athens, he asked the Monkey if he were A GNAT came and said to a Lion, “I do not in the least fear an Athenian. The latter replied that he was, and that he you, nor are you stronger than I am. For in what does your was descended from one of the most noble families in that strength consist? You can scratch with your claws and bite city. The Dolphin then inquired if he knew the Piraeus (the with your teeth an a woman in her quarrels. I repeat that famous harbor of Athens). Supposing that a man was meant, I am altogether more powerful than you; and if you doubt the Monkey answered that he knew him very well and that it, let us fight and see who will conquer.” The Gnat, having he was an intimate friend. The Dolphin, indignant at these sounded his horn, fastened himself upon the Lion and stung falsehoods, dipped the Monkey under the water and him on the nostrils and the parts of the face devoid of drowned him.

hair. While trying to crush him, the Lion tore himself with his claws, until he punished himself severely. The Gnat thus prevailed over the Lion, and, buzzing about in a song of triumph, flew away. But shortly afterwards he became entangled in the meshes of a cobweb and was eaten by a spider. He greatly lamented his fate, saying, “Woe is me!

that I, who can wage war successfully with the hugest beasts, should perish myself from this spider, the most in-considerable of insects!”

64

Aesop’s Fables

The Jackdaw and the Doves

The Kid and the Wolf

A JACKDAW, seeing some Doves in a cote abundantly proA KID, returning without protection from the pasture, was vided with food, painted himself white and joined them in pursued by a Wolf. Seeing he could not escape, he turned order to share their plentiful maintenance. The Doves, as round, and said: “I know, friend Wolf, that I must be your long as he was silent, supposed him to be one of them-prey, but before I die I would ask of you one favor you will selves and admitted him to their cote. But when one day play me a tune to which I may dance.” The Wolf complied, he forgot himself and began to chatter, they discovered and while he was piping and the Kid was dancing, some his true character and drove him forth, pecking him with hounds hearing the sound ran up and began chasing the their beaks. Failing to obtain food among the Doves, he Wolf. Turning to the Kid, he said, “It is just what I deserve; returned to the Jackdaws. They too, not recognizing him for I, who am only a butcher, should not have turned piper on account of his color, expelled him from living with them.

to please you.”

So desiring two ends, he obtained neither.

The Prophet

The Horse and the Stag

A WIZARD, sitting in the marketplace, was telling the for-AT ONE TIME the Horse had the plain entirely to himself.

tunes of the passers-by when a person ran up in great Then a Stag intruded into his domain and shared his pas-haste, and announced to him that the doors of his house ture. The Horse, desiring to revenge himself on the stranger, had been broken open and that all his goods were being asked a man if he were willing to help him in punishing the stolen. He sighed heavily and hastened away as fast as he Stag. The man replied that if the Horse would receive a bit could run. A neighbor saw him running and said, “Oh! you in his mouth and agree to carry him, he would contrive fellow there! you say you can foretell the fortunes of oth-effective weapons against the Stag. The Horse consented ers; how is it you did not foresee your own?’

and allowed the man to mount him. From that hour he found that instead of obtaining revenge on the Stag, he had enslaved himself to the service of man.

65

Aesop’s Fables

The Fox and the Monkey

The Man, the Horse, the Ox, and the Dog

A FOX and a Monkey were traveling together on the same A HORSE, Ox, and Dog, driven to great straits by the cold, road. As they journeyed, they passed through a cemetery sought shelter and protection from Man. He received them full of monuments. “All these monuments which you see,” kindly, lighted a fire, and warmed them. He let the Horse said the Monkey, “are erected in honor of my ancestors, make free with his oats, gave the Ox an abundance of hay, who were in their day freedmen and citizens of great re-and fed the Dog with meat from his own table. Grateful for nown.” The Fox replied, “You have chosen a most appropri-these favors, the animals determined to repay him to the ate subject for your falsehoods, as I am sure none of your best of their ability. For this purpose, they divided the term ancestors will be able to contradict you.”

of his life between them, and each endowed one portion of it with the qualities which chiefly characterized himself.

A false tale often betrays itself.

The Horse chose his earliest years and gave them his own attributes: hence every man is in his youth impetuous, head-strong, and obstinate in maintaining his own opinion. The The Thief and the Housedog

Ox took under his patronage the next term of life, and therefore man in his middle age is fond of work, devoted A THIEF came in the night to break into a house. He brought to labor, and resolute to amass wealth and to husband his with him several slices of meat in order to pacify the resources. The end of life was reserved for the Dog, where-Housedog, so that he would not alarm his master by bark-fore the old man is often snappish, irritable, hard to please, ing. As the Thief threw him the pieces of meat, the Dog and selfish, tolerant only of his own household, but averse said, “If you think to stop my mouth, you will be greatly to strangers and to all who do not administer to his com-mistaken. This sudden kindness at your hands will only fort or to his necessities.

make me more watchful, lest under these unexpected favors to myself, you have some private ends to accomplish for your own benefit, and for my master’s injury.” 66

Aesop’s Fables

The Apes and the Two Travelers

The Wolf and the Shepherd

TWO MEN, one who always spoke the truth and the other A WOLF followed a flock of sheep for a long time and did who told nothing but lies, were traveling together and by not attempt to injure one of them. The Shepherd at first chance came to the land of Apes. One of the Apes, who had stood on his guard against him, as against an enemy, and raised himself to be king, commanded them to be seized kept a strict watch over his movements. But when the Wolf, and brought before him, that he might know what was day after day, kept in the company of the sheep and did said of him among men. He ordered at the same time that not make the slightest effort to seize them, the Shepherd all the Apes be arranged in a long row on his right hand began to look upon him as a guardian of his flock rather and on his left, and that a throne be placed for him, as was than as a plotter of evil against it; and when occasion called the custom among men. After these preparations he signi-him one day into the city, he left the sheep entirely in his fied that the two men should be brought before him, and charge. The Wolf, now that he had the opportunity, fell greeted them with this salutation: “What sort of a king do upon the sheep, and destroyed the greater part of the flock.

I seem to you to be, O strangers?”

When the Shepherd returned to find his flock destroyed, The Lying Traveler replied, “You seem to me a most mighty king.” he exclaimed: “I have been rightly served; why did I trust

“And what is your estimate of those you see around me?” my sheep to a Wolf?”

“These,” he made answer, “are worthy companions of yourself, fit at least to be ambassadors and leaders of armies.” The Ape and all his court, gratified with the lie, com-The Hares and the Lions

manded that a handsome present be given to the flatterer. On this the truthful Traveler thought to himself, “If THE HARES harangued the assembly, and argued that all so great a reward be given for a lie, with what gift may not should be equal. The Lions made this reply: “Your words, O

I be rewarded, if, according to my custom, I tell the truth?” Hares! Are good; but they lack both claws and teeth such The Ape quickly turned to him. “And pray how do I and as we have.”

these my friends around me seem to you?”

“Thou art,” he said, “a most excellent Ape, and all these thy companions after thy example are excellent Apes too.” The King of the Apes, enraged at hearing these truths, gave him over to the teeth and claws of his companions.

67

Aesop’s Fables

The Lark and Her Young Ones

The Fox and the Lion

A LARK had made her nest in the early spring on the young WHEN A FOX who had never yet seen a Lion, fell in with him green wheat. The brood had almost grown to their full by chance for the first time in the forest, he was so fright-strength and attained the use of their wings and the full ened that he nearly died with fear. On meeting him for the plumage of their feathers, when the owner of the field, second time, he was still much alarmed, but not to the same looking over his ripe crop, said, “The time has come when extent as at first. On seeing him the third time, he so in-I must ask all my neighbors to help me with my harvest.” creased in boldness that he went up to him and commenced One of the young Larks heard his speech and related it to a familiar conversation with him.

his mother, inquiring of her to what place they should move for safety. “There is no occasion to move yet, my son,” she Acquaintance softens prejudices.

replied; “the man who only sends to his friends to help him with his harvest is not really in earnest.” The owner of the field came again a few days later and saw the wheat shed-The Weasel and the Mice

ding the grain from excess of ripeness. He said, “I will come myself tomorrow with my laborers, and with as many reap-A WEASEL, inactive from age and infirmities, was not able ers as I can hire, and will get in the harvest.” The Lark on to catch mice as he once did. He therefore rolled himself in hearing these words said to her brood, “It is time now to flour and lay down in a dark corner. A Mouse, supposing be off, my little ones, for the man is in earnest this time; him to be food, leaped upon him, and was instantly caught he no longer trusts his friends, but will reap the field him-and squeezed to death. Another perished in a similar man-self.”

ner, and then a third, and still others after them. A very old Mouse, who had escaped many a trap and snare, ob-Self-help is the best help.

served from a safe distance the trick of his crafty foe and said, “Ah! you that lie there, may you prosper just in the same proportion as you are what you pretend to be!” 68

Aesop’s Fables

The Boy Bathing

The Seller of Images

A BOY bathing in a river was in danger of being drowned.

A CERTAIN MAN made a wooden image of Mercury and of-He called out to a passing traveler for help, but instead of fered it for sale. When no one appeared willing to buy it, holding out a helping hand, the man stood by uncon-in order to attract purchasers, he cried out that he had the cernedly, and scolded the boy for his imprudence. “Oh, sir!” statue to sell of a benefactor who bestowed wealth and cried the youth, “pray help me now and scold me after-helped to heap up riches. One of the bystanders said to wards.”

him, “My good fellow, why do you sell him, being such a one as you describe, when you may yourself enjoy the good Counsel without help is useless.

things he has to give?”

“Why,” he replied, “I am in need of immediate help, and he is wont to give his good gifts very slowly.” The Ass and the Wolf

AN ASS feeding in a meadow saw a Wolf approaching to The Fox and the Grapes

seize him, and immediately pretended to be lame. The Wolf, coming up, inquired the cause of his lameness. The Ass re-A FAMISHED FOX saw some clusters of ripe black grapes plied that passing through a hedge he had trod with his hanging from a trellised vine. She resorted to all her tricks foot upon a sharp thorn. He requested that the Wolf pull it to get at them, but wearied herself in vain, for she could out, lest when he ate him it should injure his throat. The not reach them. At last she turned away, hiding her disap-Wolf consented and lifted up the foot, and was giving his pointment and saying: “The Grapes are sour, and not ripe whole mind to the discovery of the thorn, when the Ass, as I thought.”

with his heels, kicked his teeth into his mouth and galloped away. The Wolf, being thus fearfully mauled, said, “I am rightly served, for why did I attempt the art of healing, when my father only taught me the trade of a butcher?’

69

Aesop’s Fables

The Man and His Wife

“The lot of each,” replied Juno, “has been assigned by the will of the Fates—to thee, beauty; to the eagle, A MAN had a Wife who made herself hated by all the mem-strength; to the nightingale, song; to the raven, favorable, bers of his household. Wishing to find out if she had the and to the crow, unfavorable auguries. These are all con-same effect on the persons in her father’s house, he made tented with the endowments allotted to them.” some excuse to send her home on a visit to her father.

After a short time she returned, and when he inquired how she had got on and how the servants had treated her, The Hawk and the Nightingale

she replied, “The herdsmen and shepherds cast on me looks of aversion.”

A NIGHTINGALE, sitting aloft upon an oak and singing ac-He said, “O Wife, if you were disliked by those who go cording to his wont, was seen by a Hawk who, being in out early in the morning with their flocks and return late need of food, swooped down and seized him. The Nightin-in the evening, what must have been felt towards you by gale, about to lose his life, earnestly begged the Hawk to those with whom you passed the whole day!”

let him go, saying that he was not big enough to satisfy the hunger of a Hawk who, if he wanted food, ought to Straws show how the wind blows.

pursue the larger birds. The Hawk, interrupting him, said:

“I should indeed have lost my senses if I should let go food ready in my hand, for the sake of pursuing birds which are The Peacock and Juno

not yet even within sight.”

THE PEACOCK made complaint to Juno that, while the nightingale pleased every ear with his song, he himself no sooner opened his mouth than he became a laughingstock to all who heard him. The Goddess, to console him, said, “But you far excel in beauty and in size. The splendor of the emerald shines in your neck and you unfold a tail gorgeous with painted plumage.”

“But for what purpose have I,” said the bird, “this dumb beauty so long as I am surpassed in song?”

70

Aesop’s Fables

The Dog, the Cock, and the Fox

The Lion and the Bull

A DOG and a Cock being great friends, agreed to travel to-A LION, greatly desiring to capture a Bull, and yet afraid to gether. At nightfall they took shelter in a thick wood. The attack him on account of his great size, resorted to a trick Cock flying up, perched himself on the branches of a tree, to ensure his destruction. He approached the Bull and said, while the Dog found a bed beneath in the hollow trunk.

“I have slain a fine sheep, my friend; and if you will come When the morning dawned, the Cock, as usual, crowed very home and partake of him with me, I shall be delighted to loudly several times. A Fox heard the sound, and wishing have your company.” The Lion said this in the hope that, as to make a breakfast on him, came and stood under the the Bull was in the act of reclining to eat, he might attack branches, saying how earnestly he desired to make the ac-him to advantage, and make his meal on him. The Bull, on quaintance of the owner of so magnificent a voice. The Cock, approaching the Lion’s den, saw the huge spits and giant suspecting his civilities, said: “Sir, I wish you would do me caldrons, and no sign whatever of the sheep, and, without the favor of going around to the hollow trunk below me, saying a word, quietly took his departure. The Lion inquired and waking my porter, so that he may open the door and why he went off so abruptly without a word of salutation let you in.” When the Fox approached the tree, the Dog to his host, who had not given him any cause for offense.

sprang out and caught him, and tore him to pieces.

“I have reasons enough,” said the Bull. “I see no indication whatever of your having slaughtered a sheep, while I do see very plainly every preparation for your dining on a bull.” The Wolf and the Goat

A WOLF saw a Goat feeding at the summit of a steep precipice, where he had no chance of reaching her. He called to her and earnestly begged her to come lower down, lest she fall by some mishap; and he added that the meadows lay where he was standing, and that the herbage was most tender. She replied, “No, my friend, it is not for the pasture that you invite me, but for yourself, who are in want of food.”

71

Aesop’s Fables

The Goat and the Ass

try Mouse, being much delighted at the sight of such good cheer, expressed his satisfaction in warm terms and lamented A MAN once kept a Goat and an Ass. The Goat, envying the his own hard fate. Just as they were beginning to eat, some-Ass on account of his greater abundance of food, said, “How one opened the door, and they both ran off squeaking, as shamefully you are treated: at one time grinding in the fast as they could, to a hole so narrow that two could only mill, and at another carrying heavy burdens”; and he fur-find room in it by squeezing. They had scarcely begun their ther advised him to pretend to be epileptic and fall into a repast again when someone else entered to take something ditch and so obtain rest. The Ass listened to his words, and out of a cupboard, whereupon the two Mice, more fright-falling into a ditch, was very much bruised. His master, send-ened than before, ran away and hid themselves.

ing for a leech, asked his advice. He bade him pour upon At last the Country Mouse, almost famished, said to his the wounds the lungs of a Goat. They at once killed the friend: “Although you have prepared for me so dainty a Goat, and so healed the Ass.

feast, I must leave you to enjoy it by yourself. It is surrounded by too many dangers to please me. I prefer my bare plowlands and roots from the hedgerow, where I can The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

live in safety, and without fear.”

A COUNTRY MOUSE invited a Town Mouse, an intimate friend, The Wolf, the Fox, and the Ape

to pay him a visit and partake of his country fare. As they were on the bare plowlands, eating there wheat-stocks and roots pulled up from the hedgerow, the Town Mouse said A WOLF accused a Fox of theft, but the Fox entirely denied to his friend, “You live here the life of the ants, while in the charge. An Ape undertook to adjudge the matter be-my house is the horn of plenty. I am surrounded by every tween them. When each had fully stated his case the Ape luxury, and if you will come with me, as I wish you would, announced this sentence: “I do not think you, Wolf, ever you shall have an ample share of my dainties.” The Country lost what you claim; and I do believe you, Fox, to have Mouse was easily persuaded, and returned to town with stolen what you so stoutly deny.”

his friend.

On his arrival, the Town Mouse placed before him bread, The dishonest, if they act honestly, get no credit.

barley, beans, dried figs, honey, raisins, and, last of all, brought a dainty piece of cheese from a basket. The Coun-72

Aesop’s Fables

The Fly and the Draught-Mule

The Lion and the Three Bulls

A FLY sat on the axle-tree of a chariot, and addressing the THREE BULLS for a long time pastured together. A Lion lay Draught-Mule said, “How slow you are! Why do you not go in ambush in the hope of making them his prey, but was faster? See if I do not prick your neck with my sting.” The afraid to attack them while they kept together. Having at Draught-Mule replied, “I do not heed your threats; I only last by guileful speeches succeeded in separating them, he care for him who sits above you, and who quickens my pace attacked them without fear as they fed alone, and feasted with his whip, or holds me back with the reins. Away, there-on them one by one at his own leisure.

fore, with your insolence, for I know well when to go fast, and when to go slow.”

Union is strength.

The Fishermen

The Fowler and the Viper

SOME FISHERMEN were out trawling their nets. Perceiving A FOWLER, taking his bird-lime and his twigs, went out to them to be very heavy, they danced about for joy and sup-catch birds. Seeing a thrush sitting upon a tree, he wished posed that they had taken a large catch. When they had to take it, and fitting his twigs to a proper length, watched dragged the nets to the shore they found but few fish: the intently, having his whole thoughts directed towards the nets were full of sand and stones, and the men were be-sky. While thus looking upwards, he unknowingly trod yond measure cast down so much at the disappointment upon a Viper asleep just before his feet. The Viper, turning which had befallen them, but because they had formed such about, stung him, and falling into a swoon, the man said very different expectations. One of their company, an old to himself, “Woe is me! That while I purposed to hunt an-man, said, “Let us cease lamenting, my mates, for, as it other, I am myself fallen unawares into the snares of death.” seems to me, sorrow is always the twin sister of joy; and it was only to be looked for that we, who just now were over-rejoiced, should next have something to make us sad.” 73

Aesop’s Fables

The Horse and the Ass

the Geese, being slower of flight and heavier in their bod-ies, were captured.

A HORSE, proud of his fine trappings, met an Ass on the highway. The Ass, being heavily laden, moved slowly out of the way. “Hardly,” said the Horse, “can I resist kicking The Blind Man and the Whelp

you with my heels.” The Ass held his peace, and made only a silent appeal to the justice of the gods. Not long after-A BLIND MAN was accustomed to distinguishing different wards the Horse, having become broken-winded, was sent animals by touching them with his hands. The whelp of a by his owner to the farm. The Ass, seeing him drawing a Wolf was brought him, with a request that he would feel it, dungcart, thus derided him: “Where, O boaster, are now all and say what it was. He felt it, and being in doubt, said: “I thy gay trappings, thou who are thyself reduced to the do not quite know whether it is the cub of a Fox, or the condition you so lately treated with contempt?’

whelp of a Wolf, but this I know full well. It would not be safe to admit him to the sheepfold.”

The Fox and the Mask

Evil tendencies are shown in early life.

A FOX entered the house of an actor and, rummaging through all his properties, came upon a Mask, an admirable The Dogs and the Fox

imitation of a human head. He placed his paws on it and said, “What a beautiful head! Yet it is of no value, as it SOME DOGS, finding the skin of a lion, began to tear it in entirely lacks brains.”

pieces with their teeth. A Fox, seeing them, said, “If this lion were alive, you would soon find out that his claws were stronger than your teeth.”

The Geese and the Cranes

It is easy to kick a man that is down.

THE GEESE and the Cranes were feeding in the same meadow, when a birdcatcher came to ensnare them in his nets. The Cranes, being light of wing, fled away at his approach; while 74

Aesop’s Fables

The Cobbler Turned Doctor

cost of your belly.”

A COBBLER unable to make a living by his trade and made Men of evil reputation, when they perform a good deed, desperate by poverty, began to practice medicine in a town fail to get credit for it.

in which he was not known. He sold a drug, pretending that it was an antidote to all poisons, and obtained a great name for himself by long-winded puffs and advertisements.

The Brother and the Sister

When the Cobbler happened to fall sick himself of a serious illness, the Governor of the town determined to test his A FATHER had one son and one daughter, the former re-skill. For this purpose he called for a cup, and while filling markable for his good looks, the latter for her extraordi-it with water, pretended to mix poison with the Cobbler’s nary ugliness. While they were playing one day as chil-antidote, commanding him to drink it on the promise of a dren, they happened by chance to look together into a reward. The Cobbler, under the fear of death, confessed that mirror that was placed on their mother’s chair. The boy con-he had no knowledge of medicine, and was only made fa-gratulated himself on his good looks; the girl grew angry, mous by the stupid clamors of the crowd. The Governor and could not bear the self-praises of her Brother, inter-then called a public assembly and addressed the citizens: preting all he said (and how could she do otherwise?) into

“Of what folly have you been guilty? You have not hesi-reflection on herself. She ran off to her father, to be avenged tated to entrust your heads to a man, whom no one could on her Brother, and spitefully accused him of having, as a employ to make even the shoes for their feet.” boy, made use of that which belonged only to girls. The father embraced them both, and bestowing his kisses and affection impartially on each, said, “I wish you both would The Wolf and the Horse

look into the mirror every day: you, my son, that you may not spoil your beauty by evil conduct; and you, my daugh-A WOLF coming out of a field of oats met a Horse and thus ter, that you may make up for your lack of beauty by your addressed him: “I would advise you to go into that field. It virtues.”

is full of fine oats, which I have left untouched for you, as you are a friend whom I would love to hear enjoying good eating.” The Horse replied, “If oats had been the food of wolves, you would never have indulged your ears at the 75

Aesop’s Fables

The Wasps, the Partridges, and the Farmer The North Wind and the Sun

THE WASPS and the Partridges, overcome with thirst, came THE NORTH WIND and the Sun disputed as to which was the to a Farmer and besought him to give them some water to most powerful, and agreed that he should be declared the drink. They promised amply to repay him the favor which victor who could first strip a wayfaring man of his clothes.

they asked. The Partridges declared that they would dig The North Wind first tried his power and blew with all his around his vines and make them produce finer grapes. The might, but the keener his blasts, the closer the Traveler Wasps said that they would keep guard and drive off thieves wrapped his cloak around him, until at last, resigning all with their stings. But the Farmer interrupted them, saying: hope of victory, the Wind called upon the Sun to see what

“I have already two oxen, who, without making any prom-he could do. The Sun suddenly shone out with all his ises, do all these things. It is surely better for me to give warmth. The Traveler no sooner felt his genial rays than he the water to them than to you.”

took off one garment after another, and at last, fairly overcome with heat, undressed and bathed in a stream that lay in his path.

The Crow and Mercury

Persuasion is better than Force.

A CROW caught in a snare prayed to Apollo to release him, making a vow to offer some frankincense at his shrine. But when rescued from his danger, he forgot his promise.

The Two Men Who Were Enemies

Shortly afterwards, again caught in a snare, he passed by Apollo and made the same promise to offer frankincense TWO MEN, deadly enemies to each other, were sailing in the to Mercury. Mercury soon appeared and said to him, “O thou same vessel. Determined to keep as far apart as possible, most base fellow? how can I believe thee, who hast dis-the one seated himself in the stem, and the other in the owned and wronged thy former patron?’

prow of the ship. A violent storm arose, and with the vessel in great danger of sinking, the one in the stern inquired of the pilot which of the two ends of the ship would go down first. On his replying that he supposed it would be the prow, the Man said, “Death would not be grievous to me, if I could only see my Enemy die before me.” 76

Aesop’s Fables

The Gamecocks and the Partridge

The Lion, the Wolf, and the Fox

A MAN had two Gamecocks in his poultry-yard. One day by A LION, growing old, lay sick in his cave. All the beasts chance he found a tame Partridge for sale. He purchased it came to visit their king, except the Fox. The Wolf there-and brought it home to be reared with his Gamecocks. When fore, thinking that he had a capital opportunity, accused the Partridge was put into the poultry-yard, they struck the Fox to the Lion of not paying any respect to him who at it and followed it about, so that the Partridge became had the rule over them all and of not coming to visit him.

grievously troubled and supposed that he was thus evilly At that very moment the Fox came in and heard these last treated because he was a stranger. Not long afterwards he words of the Wolf.

saw the Cocks fighting together and not separating before The Lion roaring out in a rage against him, the Fox sought one had well beaten the other. He then said to himself, “I an opportunity to defend himself and said, “And who of all shall no longer distress myself at being struck at by these those who have come to you have benefited you so much Gamecocks, when I see that they cannot even refrain from as I, who have traveled from place to place in every direc-quarreling with each other.”

tion, and have sought and learnt from the physicians the means of healing you?” The Lion commanded him immediately to tell him the cure, when he replied, “You must flay The Quack Frog

a wolf alive and wrap his skin yet warm around you.” The Wolf was at once taken and flayed; whereon the Fox, A FROG once upon a time came forth from his home in the turning to him, said with a smile, “You should have moved marsh and proclaimed to all the beasts that he was a learned your master not to ill, but to good, will.”

physician, skilled in the use of drugs and able to heal all diseases. A Fox asked him, “How can you pretend to prescribe for others, when you are unable to heal your own lame gait and wrinkled skin?’

77

Aesop’s Fables

The Dog’s House

The Birds, the Beasts, and the Bat

IN THE WINTERTIME, a Dog curled up in as small a space as THE BIRDS waged war with the Beasts, and each were by possible on account of the cold, determined to make him-turns the conquerors. A Bat, fearing the uncertain issues self a house. However when the summer returned again, he of the fight, always fought on the side which he felt was lay asleep stretched at his full length and appeared to him-the strongest. When peace was proclaimed, his deceitful self to be of a great size. Now he considered that it would conduct was apparent to both combatants. Therefore be-be neither an easy nor a necessary work to make himself ing condemned by each for his treachery, he was driven such a house as would accommodate him.

forth from the light of day, and henceforth concealed himself in dark hiding-places, flying always alone and at night.

The Wolf and the Lion

The Spendthrift and the Swallow

ROAMING BY the mountainside at sundown, a Wolf saw his own shadow become greatly extended and magnified, and A YOUNG MAN, a great spendthrift, had run through all his he said to himself, “Why should I, being of such an im-patrimony and had but one good cloak left. One day he mense size and extending nearly an acre in length, be afraid happened to see a Swallow, which had appeared before its of the Lion? Ought I not to be acknowledged as King of all season, skimming along a pool and twittering gaily. He the collected beasts?” While he was indulging in these proud supposed that summer had come, and went and sold his thoughts, a Lion fell upon him and killed him. He exclaimed cloak. Not many days later, winter set in again with re-with a too late repentance, “Wretched me! this overestima-newed frost and cold. When he found the unfortunate Swal-tion of myself is the cause of my destruction.” low lifeless on the ground, he said, “Unhappy bird! what have you done? By thus appearing before the springtime you have not only killed yourself, but you have wrought my destruction also.”

78

Aesop’s Fables

The Fox and the Lion

The Trumpeter Taken Prisoner

A FOX saw a Lion confined in a cage, and standing near him, A TRUMPETER, bravely leading on the soldiers, was cap-bitterly reviled him. The Lion said to the Fox, “It is not tured by the enemy. He cried out to his captors, “Pray spare thou who revilest me; but this mischance which has be-me, and do not take my life without cause or without in-fallen me.”

quiry. I have not slain a single man of your troop. I have no The Owl and the Birds

arms, and carry nothing but this one brass trumpet.”

“That is the very reason for which you should be put to AN OWL, in her wisdom, counseled the Birds that when the death,” they said; “for, while you do not fight yourself, acorn first began to sprout, to pull it all up out of the your trumpet stirs all the others to battle.” ground and not allow it to grow. She said acorns would produce mistletoe, from which an irremediable poison, the bird-lime, would be extracted and by which they would be The Ass in the Lion’s Skin

captured. The Owl next advised them to pluck up the seed of the flax, which men had sown, as it was a plant which AN ASS, having put on the Lion’s skin, roamed about in the boded no good to them. And, lastly, the Owl, seeing an forest and amused himself by frightening all the foolish archer approach, predicted that this man, being on foot, animals he met in his wanderings. At last coming upon a would contrive darts armed with feathers which would fly Fox, he tried to frighten him also, but the Fox no sooner faster than the wings of the Birds themselves. The Birds heard the sound of his voice than he exclaimed, “I might gave no credence to these warning words, but considered possibly have been frightened myself, if I had not heard the Owl to be beside herself and said that she was mad.

your bray.”

But afterwards, finding her words were true, they wondered at her knowledge and deemed her to be the wisest of birds.

Hence it is that when she appears they look to her as knowing all things, while she no longer gives them advice, but in solitude laments their past folly.

79

Aesop’s Fables

The Sparrow and the Hare

The Goods and the Ills

A HARE pounced upon by an eagle sobbed very much and ALL the Goods were once driven out by the Ills from that uttered cries like a child. A Sparrow upbraided her and said, common share which they each had in the affairs of man-

“Where now is thy remarkable swiftness of foot? Why were kind; for the Ills by reason of their numbers had prevailed your feet so slow?” While the Sparrow was thus speaking, a to possess the earth. The Goods wafted themselves to hawk suddenly seized him and killed him. The Hare was heaven and asked for a righteous vengeance on their per-comforted in her death, and expiring said, “Ah! you who so secutors. They entreated Jupiter that they might no longer lately, when you supposed yourself safe, exulted over my be associated with the Ills, as they had nothing in common calamity, have now reason to deplore a similar misfortune.” and could not live together, but were engaged in unceasing warfare; and that an indissoluble law might be laid down for their future protection. Jupiter granted their request The Flea and the Ox

and decreed that henceforth the Ills should visit the earth in company with each other, but that the Goods should A FLEA thus questioned an Ox: “What ails you, that being one by one enter the habitations of men. Hence it arises so huge and strong, you submit to the wrongs you receive that Ills abound, for they come not one by one, but in from men and slave for them day by day, while I, being so troops, and by no means singly: while the Goods proceed small a creature, mercilessly feed on their flesh and drink from Jupiter, and are given, not alike to all, but singly, and their blood without stint?”

separately; and one by one to those who are able to dis-The Ox replied: “I do not wish to be ungrateful, for I am cern them.

loved and well cared for by men, and they often pat my head and shoulders.”

“Woe’s me!” said the flea; “this very patting which you like, whenever it happens to me, brings with it my inevi-table destruction.”

80

Aesop’s Fables

The Dove and the Crow

the same good fortune for himself. He ran to the river and threw his axe on purpose into the pool at the same place, A DOVE shut up in a cage was boasting of the large number and sat down on the bank to weep. Mercury appeared to of young ones which she had hatched. A Crow hearing her, him just as he hoped he would; and having learned the said: “My good friend, cease from this unseasonable boast-cause of his grief, plunged into the stream and brought up ing. The larger the number of your family, the greater your a golden axe, inquiring if he had lost it. The Workman seized cause of sorrow, in seeing them shut up in this prison-it greedily, and declared that truly it was the very same house.”

axe that he had lost. Mercury, displeased at his knavery, not only took away the golden axe, but refused to recover for him the axe he had thrown into the pool.

Mercury and the Workmen

A WORKMAN, felling wood by the side of a river, let his axe The Eagle and the Jackdaw

drop by accident into a deep pool. Being thus deprived of the means of his livelihood, he sat down on the bank and AN EAGLE, flying down from his perch on a lofty rock, seized lamented his hard fate. Mercury appeared and demanded upon a lamb and carried him aloft in his talons. A Jackdaw, the cause of his tears. After he told him his misfortune, who witnessed the capture of the lamb, was stirred with Mercury plunged into the stream, and, bringing up a golden envy and determined to emulate the strength and flight of axe, inquired if that were the one he had lost. On his say-the Eagle. He flew around with a great whir of his wings ing that it was not his, Mercury disappeared beneath the and settled upon a large ram, with the intention of carry-water a second time, returned with a silver axe in his hand, ing him off, but his claws became entangled in the ram’s and again asked the Workman if it were his. When the fleece and he was not able to release himself, although he Workman said it was not, he dived into the pool for the fluttered with his feathers as much as he could. The shep-third time and brought up the axe that had been lost. The herd, seeing what had happened, ran up and caught him.

Workman claimed it and expressed his joy at its recovery.

He at once clipped the Jackdaw’s wings, and taking him Mercury, pleased with his honesty, gave him the golden home at night, gave him to his children. On their saying, and silver axes in addition to his own. The Workman, on his

“Father, what kind of bird is it?” he replied, “To my certain return to his house, related to his companions all that had knowledge he is a Daw; but he would like you to think an happened. One of them at once resolved to try and secure Eagle.”

81

Aesop’s Fables

The Fox and the Crane

tions against the intended mischief. And, lastly, he inveighed against Minerva because she had not contrived iron A FOX invited a Crane to supper and provided nothing for wheels in the foundation of her house, so its inhabitants his entertainment but some soup made of pulse, which was might more easily remove if a neighbor proved unpleasant.

poured out into a broad flat stone dish. The soup fell out Jupiter, indignant at such inveterate faultfinding, drove of the long bill of the Crane at every mouthful, and his him from his office of judge, and expelled him from the vexation at not being able to eat afforded the Fox much mansions of Olympus.

amusement. The Crane, in his turn, asked the Fox to sup with him, and set before her a flagon with a long narrow mouth, so that he could easily insert his neck and enjoy its The Eagle and the Fox

contents at his leisure. The Fox, unable even to taste it, met with a fitting requital, after the fashion of her own AN EAGLE and a Fox formed an intimate friendship and de-hospitality.

cided to live near each other. The Eagle built her nest in the branches of a tall tree, while the Fox crept into the underwood and there produced her young. Not long after Jupiter, Neptune, Minerva, and Momus

they had agreed upon this plan, the Eagle, being in want of provision for her young ones, swooped down while the ACCORDING to an ancient legend, the first man was made Fox was out, seized upon one of the little cubs, and feasted by Jupiter, the first bull by Neptune, and the first house herself and her brood. The Fox on her return, discovered by Minerva. On the completion of their labors, a dispute what had happened, but was less grieved for the death of arose as to which had made the most perfect work. They her young than for her inability to avenge them. A just agreed to appoint Momus as judge, and to abide by his retribution, however, quickly fell upon the Eagle. While decision. Momus, however, being very envious of the handi-hovering near an altar, on which some villagers were sacri-craft of each, found fault with all. He first blamed the work ficing a goat, she suddenly seized a piece of the flesh, and of Neptune because he had not made the horns of the bull carried it, along with a burning cinder, to her nest. A strong below his eyes, so he might better see where to strike. He breeze soon fanned the spark into a flame, and the eathen condemned the work of Jupiter, because he had not glets, as yet unfledged and helpless, were roasted in their placed the heart of man on the outside, that everyone might nest and dropped down dead at the bottom of the tree.

read the thoughts of the evil disposed and take precau-There, in the sight of the Eagle, the Fox gobbled them up.

82

Aesop’s Fables

The Man and the Satyr

The Ass and His Purchaser

A MAN and a Satyr once drank together in token of a bond A MAN wished to purchase an Ass, and agreed with its owner of alliance being formed between them. One very cold win-that he should try out the animal before he bought him.

try day, as they talked, the Man put his fingers to his mouth He took the Ass home and put him in the straw-yard with and blew on them. When the Satyr asked the reason for his other Asses, upon which the new animal left all the this, he told him that he did it to warm his hands because others and at once joined the one that was most idle and they were so cold. Later on in the day they sat down to the greatest eater of them all. Seeing this, the man put a eat, and the food prepared was quite scalding. The Man halter on him and led him back to his owner. On being asked raised one of the dishes a little towards his mouth and how, in so short a time, he could have made a trial of him, blew in it. When the Satyr again inquired the reason, he he answered, “I do not need a trial; I know that he will be said that he did it to cool the meat, which was too hot. “I just the same as the one he chose for his companion.” can no longer consider you as a friend,” said the Satyr, “a fellow who with the same breath blows hot and cold.” A man is known by the company he keeps.

The Two Bags

EVERY MAN, according to an ancient legend, is born into the world with two bags suspended from his neck all bag in front full of his neighbors’ faults, and a large bag behind filled with his own faults. Hence it is that men are quick to see the faults of others, and yet are often blind to their own failings.

83

Aesop’s Fables

The Stag at the Pool

The Lark Burying Her Father

A STAG overpowered by heat came to a spring to drink.

Seeing his own shadow reflected in the water, he greatly THE LARK (according to an ancient legend) was created admired the size and variety of his horns, but felt angry before the earth itself, and when her father died, as there with himself for having such slender and weak feet. While was no earth, she could find no place of burial for him. She he was thus contemplating himself, a Lion appeared at the let him lie uninterred for five days, and on the sixth day, pool and crouched to spring upon him. The Stag immedi-not knowing what else to do, she buried him in her own ately took to flight, and exerting his utmost speed, as long head. Hence she obtained her crest, which is popularly said as the plain was smooth and open kept himself easily at a to be her father’s grave-hillock.