Part 8 out of 8
bewailed his trouble, and told him how his younger son was so backward
in every respect that he knew nothing and learned nothing. "Just
think," said he, "when I asked him how he was going to earn his bread,
he actually wanted to learn to shudder." "If that be all," replied the
sexton, "he can learn that with me. Send him to me, and I will soon
polish him." The father was glad to do it, for he thought: "It will
train the boy a little." The sexton, therefore, took him into his
house, and he had to ring the bell. After a day or two the sexton
awoke him at midnight, and bade him arise and go up into the church
tower and ring the bell. "Thou shalt soon learn what shuddering is,"
thought he, and secretly went there before him; and when the boy was at
the top of the tower and turned around, and was just going to take hold
of the bell rope, he saw a white figure standing on the stairs opposite
to the sounding hole. "Who is there?" cried he, but the figure made no
reply, and did not move or stir. "Give an answer," cried the boy, "or
take thyself off; thou hast no business here at night."
The sexton, however, remained standing motionless, that the boy might
think he was a ghost. The boy cried a second time: "What dost thou
want here?-speak if thou art an honest fellow, or I will throw thee
down the steps!" The sexton thought, "He can't intend to be as bad as
his words," uttered no sound and stood as if he were made of stone.
Then the boy called to him for the third time, and as that was also to
no purpose, he ran against him and pushed the ghost down the stairs, so
that it fell down ten steps and remained lying there in a corner.
Thereupon he rang the bell, went home, and without saying a word went
to bed and fell asleep. The sexton's wife waited a long time for her
husband, but he did not come back. At length she became uneasy, and
wakened the boy, and asked, "Dost thou not know where my husband is?
He went up the tower before thou didst." "No, I don't know," replied
the boy, "but someone was standing by the sounding hole on the other
side of the steps, and as he would neither give an answer nor go away,
I took him for a scoundrel, and threw him down stairs; just go there
and you will see if it was he, I should be sorry if it were." The
woman ran away and found her husband, who was lying moaning in the
corner, and had broken his leg.
She carried him down, and then with loud screams she hastened to the
boy's father. "Your boy," cried she, "has been the cause of a great
misfortune! He has thrown my husband down the steps and made him break
his leg. Take the good-for-nothing fellow away from our house." The
father was terrified, and ran thither and scolded the boy. "What
wicked tricks are these?" said he; "the devil must have put this into
thy head." "Father," he replied, "do listen to me. I am quite
innocent. He was standing there by night like one who is intending to
do some evil. I did not know who it was, and I entreated him three
times either to speak or to go away." "Ah," said the father, "I have
nothing but unhappiness with thee. Go out of my sight. I will see
thee no more."
"Yes, father, right willingly, wait only until it is day. Then will I
go forth and learn how to shudder, and then I shall, at any rate,
understand one art which will support me." "Learn what thou wilt,"
spake the father, "it is all the same to me. Here are fifty thalers
for thee. Take these and go into the wide world, and tell no one from
whence thou comest, and who is thy father, for I have reason to be
ashamed of thee." "Yes, father, it small be as you will. If you
desire nothing more than that, I can easily keep it in mind."
When day dawned, therefore, the boy put his fifty thalers into his
pocket, and went forth on the great highway, and continually said to
himself, "If I could but shudder! If I could but shudder!"
Then a man approached who heard this conversation which the youth was
holding with himself, and when they had walked a little further to
where they could see the gallows, the man said to him, "Look, there is
the tree where seven men have married the ropemaker's daughter, and are
now learning how to fly. Sit down below it, and wait till night comes,
and thou wilt soon learn how to shudder." "If that is all that is
wanted," answered the youth, "it is easily done; but if I learn how to
shudder as quickly as that, thou shalt have my fifty thalers. Just
come back to me early in the morning." Then the youth went to the
gallows, sat down below it, and waited till evening came. And as he
was cold, he lighted himself a fire, but at midnight the wind blew so
sharp that in spite of his fire he could not get warm. And as the wind
knocked the hanged men against each other, and they moved backward and
forward, he thought to himself: "Thou shiverest below by the fire, but
how those up above must freeze and suffer!" And as he felt pity for
them, he raised the ladder, and climbed up, unbound one of them after
the other, and brought down all seven. Then he stirred the fire, blew
it, and set them all round it to warm themselves. But they sat there
and did not stir, and the fire caught their clothes. So he said:
"Take care, or I will hang you up again." The dead men, however, did
not hear, but were quite silent, and let their rags go on burning. On
this he grew angry, and said: "If you will not take care, I cannot help
you, I will not be burned with you, and he hung them up again each in
Then he sat down by his fire and fell asleep, and next morning the man
came to him and wanted to have the fifty thalers, and said: "Well, dost
thou know how to shudder?" "No," answered he, "how was I to get to
know? Those fellows up there did not open their mouths, and were so
stupid that they let the few old rags which they had on their bodies
get burned." Then the man saw that he would not carry away the fifty
thalers that day, and went away saying:
"One of this kind has never come in my way before."
The youth likewise went his way, and once more began to mutter to
himself: "Ah, if I could but shudder! Ah, if I could but shudder!" A
wagoner who was striding behind him heard that and asked: "Who art
thou?" "I don't know," answered the youth. Then the wagoner asked:
"From whence comest thou?" "I know not." "Who is thy father?" "That
I may not tell thee." "What is it that thou art always muttering
between thy teeth?" "Ah," replied the youth, "I do so wish I could
shudder, but no one can teach me how to do it." "Give up thy foolish
chatter," said the wagoner. "Come go with me, I will see about a place
for thee." The youth went with the wagoner, and in the evening they
arrived at an inn where they wished to pass the night. Then at the
entrance of the room the youth again said quite loudly, "If I could but
shudder! If I could but shudder!" The host who heard that, laughed
and said: "If that is your desire, there ought to be a good opportunity
for you here." "Ah, be silent," said the hostess; "so many inquisitive
persons have already lost their lives, it would be a pity and a shame
if such beautiful eyes as these should never see the daylight again."
But the youth said: "However difficult it may be, I will learn it, and
for this purpose indeed have I journeyed forth." He let the host have
no rest, until the latter told him, that not far from thence stood a
haunted castle where any one could very easily learn what shuddering
was, if he would but watch in it for three nights. The King had
promised that he who would venture this should have his daughter to
wife, and she was the most beautiful maiden the sun shone on. Great
treasures likewise lay in the castle, which were guarded by evil
spirits, and these treasures would then be freed, and would make a poor
man rich enough. Already many men had gone into the castle, but as yet
none had come out again. Then the youth went next morning to the King,
and said that if he were allowed he would watch three nights in the
enchanted castle. The King looked at him, and as the youth pleased
him, he said: "Thou mayst ask for three things to take into the castle
with thee, but they must be things without life." Then he answered,
"Then I ask for a fire, a turning-lathe, and a cutting-board with the
knife." The King had these things carried into the castle for him
during the day. When night was drawing near, the youth went up and
made himself a bright fire in one of the rooms, placed the cutting-
board and knife beside it, and seated himself by the turning-lathe.
"Ah, if I could but shudder!" said he, "but I shall not learn it here
either." Toward midnight he was about to poke his fire, and as he was
blowing it, something cried suddenly from one cornier, "Au, miau! how
cold we are!" "You simpletons!" cried he, "what are you crying about?
If you are cold, come and take a seat by the fire and warm yourselves."
And when he had said that, two great black cats came with one
tremendous leap and sat down on each side of him, and looked savagely
at him with their fiery eyes. After a short time, when they had warmed
themselves, they said: "Comrade, shall we have a game at cards?" "Why
not?" he replied, "but just show me your paws. Then they stretched out
their claws. "Oh," said he, "what long nails you have! Wait, I must
first cut them a little for you." Thereupon he seized them by the
throats, put them on the cutting-board and screwed their feet fast. "I
have looked at your fingers," said he, "and my fancy for card-playing
has gone, and he struck them dead and threw them out into the water.
But when he had made away with these two, and was about to sit down
again by his fire, out from every hole and corner came black cats and
black dogs with red-hot chains, and more and more of them came until he
could no longer stir, and they yelled horribly, and got on his fire,
pulled it to pieces, and wanted to put it out. He watched them for a
while quietly, but at last when they were going too far, he seized his
cutting knife, and cried: "Away with ye, vermin," and began to cut them
down. Part of them ran away, the others he killed, and threw out into
the fish pond. When he came back he blew up the embers of his fire
again and warmed himself. And as he thus sat, his eyes would keep open
no longer, and he felt a desire to sleep. Then he looked round and saw
a great bed in the corner. "That is the very thing for me," said he,
and got into it. When he was just going to shut his eyes, however, the
bed began to move of its own accord, and went over the whole of the
castle. 'That's right," said he, "but go faster." Then the bed rolled
on as if six horses were harnessed to it, up and down, over thresholds
and steps, but suddenly, hop, hop, it turned over upside down, and lay
on him like a mountain. But he threw quilts and pillows up in the air,
got out and said: "Now any one who likes may drive," and lay down by
his fire, and slept until it was day. In the morning the King came,
and when he saw him lying there on the ground, he thought the spirits
had killed him and he was dead. Then said he: "After all it is a pity-
he is a handsome man." The youth heard it, got up, and said: "It has
not come to that yet." Then the King was astonished, but very glad,
and asked how he had fared. "Very well indeed," answered he; "one
night is over, the two others will get over likewise." Then he went to
the innkeeper, who opened his eyes very wide, and said: "I never
expected to see thee alive again! Hast thou learned how to shudder
yet?" "No," said he, "it is all in vain. If some one would but tell
The second night he again went up into the old castle, sat down by the
fire, and once more began his old song: "If I could but shudder!" When
midnight came, an uproar and noise of tumbling about was heard; at
first it was low, but it grew louder and louder. Then it was quiet for
a while, and at length with a loud scream, half a man came down the
chimney and fell before him. "Hollo!" cried he, "another half belongs
to this. This is too little!" Then the uproar began again, there was
a roaring and howling, and the other half fell down likewise. "Wait,"
said he, "I will just blow up the fire a little for thee." When he had
done that and looked round again, the two pieces were joined together,
and a frightful man was sitting in his place. "That is no part of our
bargain," said the youth, "the bench is mine." The man wanted to push
him away; the youth, however, would not allow that, but thrust him off
with all his strength, and seated himself again, in his own place.
Then still more men fell down, one after the other; they brought nine
dead men's legs and two skulls, and set them up and played at ninepins
with them. The youth also wanted to play and said: "Hark you, can I
join you?" "Yes, if thou hast any money." "Money enough," replied he,
"but your balls are not quite round." Then he took the skulls and put
them in the lathe and turned them till they were round. "There, now,
they will roll better!" said he. "Hurrah! now it goes merrily!" He
played with them and lost some of his money, but when it struck twelve,
everything vanished from his sight. He lay down and quietly fell
asleep. Next morning the King came to inquire after him. "How has it
fared with thee this time?" asked he. "I have been playing at
ninepins," he answered, "and have lost a couple of farthings." "Hast
thou not shuddered then?" "Eh, what?" said he, "I have made merry. If
I did but know what it was to shudder!"
The third night he sat down again on his bench and said quite sadly:
"If I could but shudder." When it grew late, six tall men came in and
brought a coffin. Then said he: "Ha, ha, that is certainly my little
cousin, who only died a few days ago," and he beckoned with his finger,
and cried: "Come, little cousin, come." They placed the coffin on the
ground, but he went to it and took the lid off, and a dead man lay
therein. He felt his face, but it was cold as ice. "Stop," said he,
"I will warm thee a, little," and went to the fire and warmed his hand
and laid it on the dead man's face, but he remained cold. Then he took
him out, and sat down by the fire and laid him on his breast and rubbed
his arms that the blood might circulate again. As this also did no
good, he thought to himself: "When two people lie in bed together, they
warm each other," and carried him to bed, covered him over and lay down
by him. After a short time the dead man became warm too, and began to
move. Then said the youth: "See, little cousin, have I not warmed
thee?" The dead man, however, got up and cried, "Now will I strangle
"What!" said he, "is that the way thou thankest me? Thou shalt at once
go into thy coffin again," and he took him up, threw him into it, and
shut the lid.
Then came the six men and carried him away again. "I cannot manage to
shudder," said he. "I shall never learn it here as long as I live."
Then a man entered who was taller than all others, and looked terrible.
He was old, however, and had a long white beard. "Thou wretch," cried
he, "thou shalt soon learn what it is to shudder, for thou shalt die."
"Not so fast," replied the youth, "If I am to die, I shall have to have
a say in it." "I will soon seize thee," said the fiend. "Softly,
softly, do not talk so big. I am as strong as thou art, and perhaps
even stronger." "We shall see," said the old man. "If thou art
stronger, I will let thee go-come, we will try." Then he led him by
dark passages to a smith's forge, took an ax, and with one blow struck
an anvil into the ground. "I can do that better still," said the
youth, and went to the other anvil. The old man placed himself near
and wanted to look on, and his white heard hung down. Then the youth
seized the ax, split the anvil with one blow, and struck the old man's
beard in with it. "Now I have thee," said the youth. "Now it is thou
who wilt have to die." Then he seized an iron bar and beat the old man
till he moaned and entreated him to stop, and he would give him great
riches. The youth drew out the ax and let him go. The old man led him
back into the castle, and in a cellar showed him three chests full of
gold. "Of these," said he, "one part is for the poor, the other is for
the king, the third is thine." In the meantime it struck twelve, and
the spirit disappeared; the youth, therefore, was left in darkness. "I
shall still be able to find my way out," said he, and felt about, found
the way into the room, and slept there by his fire. Next morning the
King came and said, "Now thou must have learned what shuddering is?"
"No," he answered; "what can it be? My dead cousin was here, and a
bearded man came and showed me a great deal of money down below, but no
one told me what it was to shudder." "Then," said the King, "thou hast
delivered the castle, and shalt marry my daughter." "That is all very
well," said he, "but still I do not know what it is to shudder!"
Then the gold was brought up and the wedding celebrated; but howsoever
much the young King loved his wife, and however happy he was, he still
said always: "If I could but shudder-if I could but shudder." And at
last she was angry at this. Her waiting-maid said, "I will find a cure
for him; he shall soon learn what it is to shudder." She went out to
the stream which flowed through the garden, and had a whole bucketful
of gudgeons brought to her. At night when the young King was sleeping,
his wife was to draw the clothes off him and empty the bucketful of
cold water with the gudgeons in it over him, so that the little fishes
would sprawl about him. When this was done, he woke up and cried: "Oh,
what makes me shudder so?-what makes me shudder so, dear wife? Ah! now
I know what it is to shudder!"
This has come to be the commonly accepted name for the well-known
collection of stories about animals, though we cannot be sure that any
of them, were written by the Greek slave of that name, who, Herodotus
tells us, lived about the year 55O B.C. The fable about animals is
probably the oldest form of story known. Its object is to teach a
lesson to men and women, without seeming to do so, and because of this
concealed lesson it has always been a great favorite with all nations.
In Russia, for example, where a man did not dare say what he thought
about a Government officer, he could tell a fable about the Dog in the
THE TOWN MOUSE AND THE COUNTRY MOUSE
NOW you must know that a Town Mouse once upon a time went on a visit to
his cousin in the country. He was rough and ready, this cousin, but he
loved his town friend and made him heartily welcome. Beans and bacon,
cheese and bread, were all he had to offer, but he offered them freely.
The Town Mouse rather turned up his long nose at this country fare, and
said: "I cannot understand, Cousin, how you can put up with such poor
food as this, but of course you cannot expect anything better in the
country; come you with me and I will show you how to live. When you
have been in town a week you will wonder how you could ever have stood
a country life." No sooner said than done: the two mice set off for
the town and arrived at the Town Mouse's residence late at night. "You
will want some refreshment after our long journey," said the polite
Town Mouse, and took his friend into the grand dining-room. There they
found the remains of a fine feast, and soon the two mice were eating up
jellies and cakes and all that was nice. Suddenly they heard growling
and barking. "What is that?" said the Country Mouse. "It is only the
dogs of the house," answered the other. "Only!" said the Country
Mouse. "I do not like that music at my dinner." Just at that moment
the door flew open, in came two huge mastiffs, and the two mice had to
scamper down and run off. "Good-by, Cousin," said the Country Mouse.
"What! going so soon?" said .the other. "Yes," he replied;
"BETTER BEANS AND BACON IN PEACE
THAN CAKES AND ALE IN FEAR."
THE MAN, THE BOY, AND DONKEY
A MAN and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they
were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: "You
fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?"
So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But
soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: "See that lazy
youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides."
So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they
hadn't gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the
other: "Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge
Well, the Man didn't know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up
before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and
the passers-by began to jeer and point to them. The Man stopped and
asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: "Aren't you ashamed of
yourself for overloading that poor Donkey of yours-you and your hulking
The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought
and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the Donkey's
feet to it, and raised the pole and the Donkey to their shoulders.
They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to
Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked
out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle
the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together
he was drowned.
"That will teach you," said an old man who had followed them:
"PLEASE ALL, AND YOU WILL PLEASE
THE SHEPHERD'S BOY
THERE was once a young Shepherd Boy who tended his sheep at the foot of
near a dark forest. It was rather lonely for him all day, so he
thought upon a plan by which he could get a little company and some
excitement. He rushed down toward the village calling out "Wolf,
'Wolf," and the villagers came out to meet him, and some of them
stopped with him for a considerable time.
This pleased the boy so much that a few days afterward he tried the
same trick, and again the villagers came to his help.
But shortly after this a Wolf actually did come out from the forest,
and began to worry the sheep, and the boy of course cried out "Wolf,
Wolf," still louder than before. But this time the villagers who had
been fooled twice before, thought the boy was again deceiving them, and
nobody stirred to come to bis help.
So the Wolf made a good meal off the boy's flock, and when the boy
complained, the wise man of the village said:
"A LIAR WILL NOT BE BELIEVED, EVEN
WHEN HE SPEAKS THE TRUTH."
A SLAVE named Androcles once escaped from his master and fled to the
forest. As he was wandering about there he came upon a Lion lying down
moaning and groaning.
At first he turned to flee, but finding that the Lion did not pursue
him, he turned back and went up to him.
As he came near, the Lion put out his paw, which was all swollen and
bleeding, and Androcles found that a huge thorn had got into it, and
was causing all the pain. He pulled out the thorn and bound up the paw
of the Lion, who was soon able to rise and lick the hand of Androcles
like a dog.
Then the Lion took Androcles to his cave, and every day used to bring
him meat from which to live.
But shortly afterward both Androcles and the Lion were captured, and
the slave was sentenced to be thrown to the Lion, after the latter had
been kept without food for several days. The Emperor and all his Court
came to see the spectacle and Androcles was led out into the middle of
the arena. Soon the Lion was let loose from his den, and rushed
bounding and roaring toward his victim. But as soon as he came near to
Androcles he recognized his friend, and fawned upon him, and licked his
hands like a friendly dog. The Emperor, surprised at this, summoned
Androcles to him, who told him the whole story. Whereupon the slave
was pardoned and freed, and the Lion let loose to his native forest.
"GRATITUDE IS THE SIGN OF NOBLE SOULS."
THE FOX AND THE STORK
AT one time the Fox and the Stork were on visiting terms and seemed
very good friends. So the Fox invited the Stork to dinner, and for a
joke put nothing before her but some soup in a very shallow dish. This
the Fox could easily lap up, but the Stork could only wet the end of
her long bill in it, and left the meal as hungry as when she began.
"I am sorry," said the Fox, "the soup is not to your liking."
"Pray do not apologize," said the Stork. "I hope you will return this
visit, and come and dine with me soon."
So a day was appointed when the Fox should visit the Stork; but when
they were seated at table all that was for their dinner was contained
in a very long-necked jar with a narrow mouth, in which the Fox could
not insert his snout, so all he could manage to do was to lick the
outside of the jar.
"I will not apologize for the dinner," said the Stork:
"ONE BAD TURN DESERVES ANOTHER."
THE CROW AND THE PITCHER
A CROW, half-dead with thirst, came upon a Pitcher which had once been
full of water; but when the Crow put its beak into the mouth of the
Pitcher he found that only very little water was left in it, and that
he could not reach far enough down to get at it.
He tried, and he tried, but at last had to give up in despair.
Then a thought came to him, and he took a pebble and dropped it into
the Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped it into the
Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the
Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the
Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the
Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the
At last, at last, he saw the water mount up near him; and after casting
in a few more pebbles he was able to quench his thirst and save his
"LITTLE BY LITTLE DOES THE TRICK."
THE FROGS DESIRING A KING
THE Frogs were living as happy as could be in a marshy swamp that just
suited them; they went splashing about caring for nobody and nobody
troubling with them. But some of them thought that this was not right,
that they should have a King and a proper constitution, so they
determined to send up a petition to Jove to give them what they wanted.
"Mighty Jove," they cried, "send unto us a King that will rule over us
and keep us in order." Jove laughed at their croaking, and threw down
into the swamp a huge Log, which came down-kerplash-into the swamp.
The Frogs were frightened out of their lives by the commotion made in
their midst, and all rushed to the bank to look at the horrible
monster; but after a time, seeing that it did not move, one or two of
the boldest of them ventured out toward the Log, and even dared to
touch it; still it did not move. Then the greatest hero of the Frogs
jumped upon the Log and commenced dancing up and down upon it,
thereupon all the Frogs came and did the same; and for sometime the
Frogs went about their business every day without taking the slightest
notice of the new King Log lying in their midst.
But this did not suit them, so they sent another petition to Jove, and
said to him: "We want a real King; one that will really rule over us."
Now this made Jove angry, so he sent among them a big Stork that soon
set to work gobbling them all up. Then the Frogs repented when too
"BETTER NO RULE THAN CRUEL RULE."
THE FROG AND THE OX
"OH, FATHER," said a little Frog to the big one sitting by the side of
a pool, "I have seen such a terrible monster! It was as big as a
mountain, with horns on its head, and a long tail, and it had hoofs
divided in two."
"Tush, child, tush," said the old Frog, "that was only Farmer White's
Ox. It isn't so big either; he may be a little bit taller than I, but
I could easily make myself quite as broad; just you see." So he blew
himself out, and blew himself out, and blew himself out. "Was he as
big as that?" asked he.
"Oh, much bigger than that," said the young Frog.
Again the old one blew himself out, and asked the young one if the Ox
was as big as that.
"Bigger, father, bigger," was the reply.
So the Frog took a deep breath, and blew and blew and blew, and swelled
and swelled and swelled. And then he said: "I'm sure the Ox is not as
big as ______" But at this moment he burst.
"SELF-CONCEIT MAY LEAD TO SELF-DESTRUCTION."
THE COCK AND THE PEARL
A COCK was once strutting up and down the farmyard among the hens when
suddenly he espied something shining and the straw. "Ho! ho!" quoth
he, "that's for me," and soon rooted it out from beneath the straw.
What did it turn out to be but a Pearl that by some chance had been
lost in the yard? "You may be a treasure," quoth Master Cock, "to men
that prize you, but for me I would rather have a single barley corn
than a peck of pearls."
"PRECIOUS THINGS ARE FOR THOSE THAT CAN PRIZE THEM."
THE FOX WITHOUT A TAIL
IT happened that a Fox caught its tail in a trap, and in struggling to
release himself lost all of it but the stump. At first he was ashamed
to show himself among his fellow foxes. But at last he determined to
put a bolder face upon his misfortune, and summoned all the foxes to a
general meeting to consider a proposal which he had to place before
When they had assembled together the Fox proposed that they should all
do away with their tails. He pointed out how inconvenient a tail was
when they were pursued by their enemies, the dogs; how much it was in
the way when they desired to sit down and hold a friendly conversation
with one another. He failed to see any advantage in carrying about
such a useless encumbrance.
"That is all very well," said one of the older foxes; "but I do not
think you would have recommended us to dispense with our chief ornament
if you had not happened to lose it yourself."
"DISTRUST INTERESTED ADVICE."
THE FOX AND THE CAT
A FOX was boasting to a Cat of its clever devices for escaping its
enemies. "I have a whole bag of tricks," he said, "which contains a
hundred ways of escaping my enemies."
"I have only one," said the Cat; "but I can generally manage with
that." Just at that moment they heard the cry of a pack of hounds
coming toward them, and the Cat immediately scampered up a tree and hid
herself in the boughs. "This is my plan," said the Cat. "What are you
going to do?" The Fox thought first of one way, then of another, and
while he was debating the hounds came nearer and nearer, and at last
the Fox in his confusion was caught up by the hounds and soon killed by
the huntsmen. Miss Puss, who had been looking on, said:
"BETTER ONE SAFE WAY THAN A HUNDRED
ON WHICH YOU CANNOT
THE DOG IN THE MANGER
A DOG looking out for its afternoon nap jumped into the Manger of an Ox
and lay there cosily upon the straw. But soon the Ox, returning from
its afternoon work, came up to the Manger and wanted to eat some of the
straw. The Dog in a rage, being awakened from its slumber, stood up
and barked at the Ox, and whenever it came near attempted to bite it.
At last the Ox had to give up the hope of getting at the straw, and
went away muttering:
"AH, PEOPLE OFTEN GRUDGE OTHERS
WHAT THEY CANNOT ENJOY
THE FOX AND THE GOAT
By an unlucky chance a Fox fell into a deep well from which he could
not get out. A Goat passed by shortly afterward, and asked the Fox
what he was doing down there. "Oh, have you not heard?" said the Fox;
"there is going to be a great drought, so I jumped down here in order
to be sure to have water by me. Why don't you come down, too?" The
Goat thought well of this advice, and jumped down into the well. But
the Fox immediately jumped on her back, and by putting his foot on her
long horns managed to jump up to the edge of the well. "Good-by,
friend," said the Fox ;-"remember next time,
"NEVER TRUST THE ADVICE OF A MAN
BELLING THE CAT
LONG ago, the mice held a general council to consider what measures
they could take to outwit their common enemy, the Cat. Some said this,
and some said that; but at last a young mouse got up and said he had a
proposal to make, which he thought would meet the case. "You will all
agree," said he, "that our chief danger consists in the sly and
treacherous manner in which the enemy approaches us. Now, if we could
receive some signal of her approach, we could easily escape from her.
I venture, therefore, to propose that a small bell be procured, and
attached by a ribbon round the neck of the Cat. By this means we
should always know when she was about, and could easily retire while
she was in the neighborhood."
This proposed met with general applause, until an old mouse got up and
said: "That is all very well, but who is to bell the Cat?" The mice
looked at one another and nobody spoke. Then the old mouse said:
"IT IS EASY TO PROPOSE IMPOSSIBLE
THE JAY AND THE PEACOCK
A JAY venturing into a yard where Peacocks used to walk, found there a
number of feathers which had fallen from the Peacocks when they were
moulting. He tied them all to his tail and strutted down toward the
Peacocks. When he came near them they soon discovered the cheat, and
striding up to him pecked at him and plucked away his borrowed plumes.
So the Jay could do no better than go back to the other Jays, who had
watched his behavior from a distance; but they were equally annoyed
with him, and told him
"IT IS NOT ONLY FINE FEATHERS THAT
MAKE FINE BIRDS."
THE ASS AND THE LAP-DOG
A FARMER one day came to the stables to see to his beasts of burden:
among them was his favorite Ass, that was always well fed and often
carried his master. With the Farmer came his Lap-dog, who danced about
and licked his hand and frisked about as happy as could be. The Farmer
felt in his pocket, gave the Lap-dog some dainty food, and sat down
while he gave his orders to his servants. The Lap-dog jumped into his
master's lap, and lay there blinking while the Farmer stroked his ears.
The Ass, seeing this, broke loose from his halter and commenced
prancing about in imitation of the Lap-dog. The Farmer could not hold
his sides with laughter, so the Ass went up to him, and putting his
feet upon the Farmer's shoulder attempted to climb into his lap. The
Farmer's servants rushed up with sticks and pitchforks and soon taught
the Ass that
"CLUMSY JESTING IS NO JOKE."
THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER
IN a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping
and singing to its heart's content. An Ant passed by, bearing along
with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.
"Why not come and chat with me," said the Grasshopper, "instead of
toiling and moiling in that way?"
"I am helping to lay up food for the winter," said the Ant, "and
recommend you to do the same."
"Why bother about winter?" said the Grasshopper; "we have got plenty
of food at present."
But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil.
Then the winter came the Grasshopper had no food, and found itself
dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and
grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the
IT IS BEST TO PREPARE FOR THE DAYS
THE WOODMAN AND THE SERPENT
ONE wintry day a Woodman was tramping home from his work when he saw
something black lying on the snow. When he came closer, he saw it was
a Serpent to all appearance dead. But he took it up and put it in his
bosom to warm while he hurried home. As soon as he got indoors he put
the Serpent down on the hearth before the fire. The children watched
it and saw it slowly come to life again. Then one of them stooped down
to stroke it, but the Serpent raised its head and put out its fangs and
was about to sting the child to death. So the Woodman seized his axe,
and with one stroke cut the Serpent in two. "Ah," said he,
"NO GRATITUDE FROM THE WICKED."
THE MILKMAID AND HER PAIL
PATTY, the Milkmaid, was going to market carrying her milk in a Pail on
her head. As she went along she began calculating what she would do
with the money she would get for the milk. "I'll buy some fowls from
Farmer Brown," said she, "and they will lay eggs each morning, which I
will sell to the parson's wife. With the money that I get from the
sale of these eggs I'll buy myself a new dimity frock and a chip hat;
and when I go to market, won't all the young men come up and speak to
me! Polly Shaw will be that jealous; but I don't care. I shall just
look at her and toss my head like this." As she spoke, she tossed her
head back, the Pail fell off it and all the milk was spilt. So she had
to go home and tell her mother what had occurred.
"Ah, my child," said her mother,
DO NOT COUNT YOUR CHICKENS BEFORE
THEY ARE HATCHED.
THE LION AND THE MOUSE
ONCE when a Lion was asleep a little Mouse began running up and down
upon him; this soon wakened the Lion, who placed his huge paw upon him,
and opened his big jaws to swallow him. "Pardon, O King," cried the
little Mouse; "forgive me this time, I shall never forget it: who knows
but what I may be able to do you a turn some of these days?" The Lion
was so tickled at the idea of the Mouse being able to help him, that he
lifted up his paw and let him go. Some time after the Lion was caught
in a trap, and the hunters, who desired to carry him alive to the King,
tied him to a tree while they went in search of a wagon to carry him
on. Just then the little Mouse happened to pass by, and seeing the sad
plight in which the Lion was, went up to him and soon gnawed away the
ropes that bound the King of the Beasts. "Was I not right?" said the
"LITTLE FRIENDS MAY PROVE GREAT
HERCULES AND THE WAGONER
A WAGONER was once driving a heavy load along a very muddy way. At
last he came to a part of the road where the wheels sank halfway into
the mire, and the more the horses pulled, the deeper sank the wheels.
So the Wagoner threw down his whip, and knelt down and prayed to
Hercules the Strong. "O Hercules, help me in this my hour of
distress," quote he. But Hercules appeared to him, and said:
"Tut, man, don't sprawl there. Get up and put your shoulder to the
"THE GODS HELP THEM THAT HELP
THE LION'S SHARE
THE Lion went once a-hunting along with the Fox, the Jackal, and the
Wolf. They hunted and they hunted till at last they surprised a Stag,
and soon took its life. Then came the question how the spoil should be
divided. "Quarter me this Stag," roared the Lion; so the other animals
skinned it and cut it into four parts. Then the Lion took his stand in
front of the carcass and pronounced judgment: "The first quarter is for
me in my capacity as King of Beasts; the second is mine as arbiter;
another share comes to me for my part in the chase; and as far the
fourth quarter, well, as for that, I should like to see which of you
will dare to lay a paw upon it."
"Humph !" grumbled the Fox as he walked away with his tail between his
legs; but he spoke in a low growl-
"YOU MAY SHARE THE LABORS OF THE
GREAT, BUT YOU WILL NOT SHARE
THE FOX AND THE CROW
A FOX once saw a Crow fly off with a piece of cheese in its beak and
settle on a branch of a tree. "That's for me, as I am a Fox," said
Master Reynard, and he walked up to the foot of the tree. "Good-day,
Mistress Crow," he cried. "How well you are looking to-day: how glossy
your feathers; how bright your eye. I feel sure your voice must
surpass that of other birds, just as your figure does; let me hear but
one song from you that I may greet you as the Queen of Birds." The
Crow lifted up her head and began to caw her best, but the moment she
opened her mouth the piece of cheese fell to the ground, only to be
snapped up by Master Fox. "That will do," said he. "That was all I
wanted. In exchange for your cheese I will give you a piece of advice
for the future-
"DO NOT TRUST FLATTERERS.
THE DOG AND THE SHADOW
IT happened that a Dog had got a piece of meat and was carrying it home
in his mouth to eat it in peace. Now on his way home he had to cross a
plank lying across a running brook. As he crossed, he looked down and
saw his own shadow reflected in the water beneath. Thinking it was
another dog with another piece of meat, he made up his mind to have
that also. So he made a snap at the shadow in the water, but as he
opened his mouth the piece of meat fell out, dropped into the water and
was never seen more.
"BEWARE LEST YOU LOSE THE SUBSTANCE
BY GRASPING AT THE SHADOW."
THE WOLF AND THE LAMB
ONCE upon a time a Wolf was lapping at a spring on a hillside, when,
looking up, what should he see but a Lamb just beginning to drink a
little lower down. "There's my supper," thought he, "if only I can
find some excuse to seize it." Then he called out to the Lamb, "How
dare you muddle the water from which I am drinking?"
"Nay, master, nay," said Lambikin; "if the water be muddy up there, I
cannot be the cause of it, for it runs down from you to me."
"Well, then," said the Wolf, "why did you call me bad names this time
"That cannot be," said the Lamb; "I am only six months old."
"I don't care," snarled the Wolf; "if it was not you it was your
father;" and with that he rushed upon the poor little Lamb and-
WARRA WARRA WARRA WARRA WARRA-
ate her all up. But before- she died she gasped out-
"ANY EXCUSE WILL SERVE A TYRANT."
THE BAT, THE BIRDS, AND THE BEASTS
A GREAT conflict was about to come off between the Birds and the
Beasts. When the two armies were collected together the Bat hesitated
which to join. The Birds that passed his perch said: "Come with us;"
but he said: "I am a Beast." Later on, some Beasts who were passing
underneath him looked up and said: "Come with us;" but he said: "I am a
Bird." Luckily at the last moment peace was made, and no battle took
place, so the Bat came to the Birds and wished to join in the
rejoicings, but they all turned against him and he had to fly away. He
then went to the Beasts, but soon had to beat a retreat, or else they
would have torn him to pieces. "Ah," said the Bat, "I see now
HE THAT IS NEITHER ONE THING NOR
THE OTHER HAS NO FRIENDS."
THE BELLY AND THE MEMBERS
ONE fine day it occurred to the Members of the Body that they were
doing all the work and the Belly was having all the food. So they held
a meeting, and after a long discussion, decided to strike work till the
Belly consented to take its proper share of the work. So for a day or
two the Hands refused to take the food, the Mouth refused to receive
it, and the Teeth had no work to do. But after a day or two the
Members began to find that they themselves were not in a very active
condition: the Hands could hardly move, and the Mouth was all parched
and dry, while the Legs were unable to support the rest. So thus they
found that even the Belly in its dull quiet way was doing necessary
work for the Body, and that all must work together or the Body will go
THE FOX AND THE GRAPES
ONE hot summer's day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he
came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been
trained over a lofty branch. "Just the thing to quench my thirst,"
quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just
missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he
jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after
the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away
with his nose in the air, saying: "I am sure they are sour."
"IT IS EASY TO DESPISE WHAT YOU
THE SWALLOW AND THE OTHER BIRDS
IT happened that a Countryman was sowing some hemp seed in a field
where a Swallow and some other birds were hopping about picking up
their food. "Beware of that man," quoth the Swallow. "Why, what is he
doing?" said the others. "That is hemp seed he is sowing; be careful
to pick up every one of the seeds, or else you will repent it." The
birds paid no heed to the Swallow's words, and by and by the hemp grew
up and was made into cord, and of the cords nets were made, and many a
bird that had despised the Swallow's advice was caught in nets made out
of that very hemp. "What did I tell you?" said the Swallow.
"DESTROY THE SEED OF EVIL, OR IT
WILL GROW UP TO YOUR RUIN."