صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني


A WOLF, clothing himself in the skin of a sheep, and getting in among the flock, by this means took the opportunity to devour many of them. At last the shepherd discovered him, and cunningly fastening a rope about his neck, tied him up to a tree which stood hard by. Some other shepherds happening to pass that way, and observing what he was about, drew near, and expressed their admiration at it. “What!” says one of them, “ brother, do you make hanging of a sheep ?” “No," replied the other, “but I make hanging of a Wolf whenever I catch him, though in the habit and garb of a sheep.” Then he showed them their mistake, and they applauded the justice of the execution.


A SATYR, as he was ranging the forest in an exceeding cold, snowy season, met with a Traveller half-starved with the extremity of the weather. He took compassion on him, and kindly invited him home to a warm, comfortable cave he had in the hollow of a rock. As soon as they had entered and sat down, notwithstanding there was a good fire in the place, the chilly Traveller could not forbear blowing his fingers' ends. Upon the Satyr's asking why he did so, he answered, that he did it to warm his hands. The honest sylvan having seen little of the world, admired a man who was master of so valuable a quality as that of blowing heat, and therefore was resolved to entertain him in the best manner he could. He spread the table before him with dried fruits of several sorts ; and produced a remnant of cold wine, which as the rigor of the season made very proper, he mulled with some warm spices, infused over the fire, and presented to his shivering guest. But this the Traveller thought fit to blow likewise; and upon the Satyr's demanding a reason why he blowed again, he replied, to cool his dish. This second answer provoked the Satyr's indignation as much as the first had kindled his surprise : so, taking the man by the shoulder, he thrust him out of doors, saying he would have nothing to do with a wretch who had so vile a quality as to blow hot and cold with the

same mouth.


The Lion and several other beasts entered into an alliance, offensive and defensive, and were to live very sociably together in the forest. One day, having made a sort of an excursion by way of hunting, they took a very fine, large, fat deer, which was divided into four parts; there happening to be then present his Majesty the Lion, and only three others. After the division was made, and the parts were set out, his Majesty, advancing forward some steps and pointing to one of the shares, was pleased to declare himself after the following manner:“ This I seize and take possession of as my right, which devolves to me, as I am descended by a true, lineal, hereditary succession from the royal family of Lion. That (pointing to the second] I claim by, I think, no unreasonable demand; considering that all the engagements you have with the enemy turn chiefly upon my courage and conduct, and you very well know that wars are too expensive to be carried on without proper supplies. Then [nodding his head toward the third] that I shall take by virtue of my prerogative; to which, I make no question but so dutiful and loyal a people will pay all the deference and regard that I can desire. Now, as for the remaining part, the necessity of our present affairs is so very urgent, our stock so low, and our credit so impaired and weakened, that I must insist upon your granting that, without any hesitation or demur; and hereof fail not at your peril.”


The Ass, observing how great a favorite the little Dog was with his Master, how much caressed and fondled, and fed with good bits at every meal; and for no other reason, as he could perceive, but for skipping and frisking about, wagging his tail, and leaping up into his Master's lap: he was resolved to imitate the same, and see whether such a behavior would not procure him the same favors. Accordingly, the Master was no sooner come home from walking about his fields and gardens, and was seated in his easy-chair, but the Ass, who observed him, came gambolling and braying towards him, in a very awkward manner. The Master could not help laughing aloud at the odd sight. But his jest was soon turned into earnest, when he felt the rough salute of the Ass's fore-feet, who, raising himself upon his hinder legs, pawed against his breast with a most loving air, and would fain have jumped into his lap. The good man, terrified at this outrageous behavior, and unable to endure the weight of so heavy a beast, cried out; upon which, one of his servants running in with a good stick, and laying on heartily upon the bones of the poor Ass, soon convinced him that every one who desires it is not qualified to be a favorite.


An honest, plain, sensible Country Mouse is said to have entertained at his hole one day a fine Mouse of the Town. Having formerly been playfellows together, they were old acquaintances, which served as an apology for the visit. However, as master of the house, he thought himself obliged to do the honors of it in all respects, and to make as great a stranger of his guest as he possibly could. In order to do this he set before him a reserve of delicate gray pease and bacon, a dish of fine oatmeal, some parings of new cheese, and, to crown all with a dessert, a remnant of a charming mellow apple. In good manners, he forebore to eat any himself, lest the stranger should not have enough; but that he might seem to bear the other company, sat and nibbled a piece of a wheaten straw very busily. At last, says the spark of the town:-“Old crony, give me leave to be a little free with you: how can you bear to live in this nasty, dirty, melancholy hole here, with nothing but woods, and meadows, and mountains, and rivulets about you? Do not you prefer the conversation of the world to the chirping of birds, and the splendor of a court to the rude aspect of an uncultivated desert ? Come, take my word for it, you will find it a change for the better. Never stand considering, but away this moment. Remember, we are not immortal, and therefore have no time to lose. Make sure of to-day, and spend it as agreeably as you can: you know not what may happen to-morrow.” In short, these and such like arguments prevailed, and his Country Acquaintance was resolved to go to town that night. So they both set out upon their journey together, proposing to sneak in after the close of the evening. They did so; and about midnight made their entry into a certain great house, where there had been an extraordinary entertainment the day before, and several tit-bits, which some of the servants had purloined, were hid under the seat of a window. The Country Guest was immediately placed in the midst of a rich Persian carpet: and now it was the Courtier's turn to entertain; who indeed acquitted himself in that capacity with the utmost readiness and address, changing the courses as elegantly, and tasting everything first as judiciously, as any clerk of the kitchen. The other sat and enjoyed himself like a delighted epicure, tickled to the last degree with this new turn of his affairs; when on a sudden, a noise of somebody opening the door made them start from their seats, and scuttle in confusion about the dining-room. Our Country Friend, in particular, was ready to die with fear at the barking of a huge mastiff or two, which opened their throats just about the same time, and made the whole house echo. At last, recovering himself:-“Well,” says he, “if this be your town-life, much good may you do with it: give me my poor, quiet hole again, with my homely but comfortable gray pease.”


An Eagle sat on a lofty rock, watching the movements of a Hare whom he sought to make his prey. An Archer, who saw him from a place of concealment, took an accurate aim, and wounded him mortally. The Eagle gave one look at the arrow that had entered his heart, and saw in that single glance that its feathers had been furnished by himself. “It is a double

“ grief to me,” he exclaimed, “ that I should perish by an arrow feathered from my own wings!”


A MAN came into the forest, and made a petition to the Trees to provide him a handle for his axe. The Trees consented to his request, and gave him a young ash-tree. No sooner had the man fitted from it a new handle to his axe than he began 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.”


An Old Man that had travelled a long way with a great bundle of fagots, found himself so weary that he flung it down, and called upon Death to deliver him from his most miserable existence. Death came straightway at his call and asked him what he wanted. “Pray, good Sir,” said the Old Man, “just do me the favor to help me up with my bundle of fagots.”


As a Wolf was lapping at the head of a running brook, he spied a stray Lamb paddling at some distance down the stream. Having made up his mind to seize her, he bethought himself how he might justify his violence. “ Villain !” said he, running up to her, “how dare you muddle the water that I am drinking ?” –“Indeed,” said the Lamb, humbly, “I do not see how I can disturb the water, since it runs from you to me, not from me to you.” — “ Be that as it may,” replied the Wolf, “it was but a year ago that you called me many ill names." —“Oh, Sir," said the Lamb, trembling, “ a year ago I was not born.”

, "Well," replied the Wolf, " if it was not you, it was your father, and that is all the same; but it is no use trying to argue me out of my supper.” And without another word he fell upon the poor helpless Lamb, and tore her to pieces.


A Shepherd-boy, who tended his flock not far from a village, used to amuse himself at times in crying out “ Wolf!" Twice or thrice his trick succeeded. The whole village came running out to his assistance; and all the return they got was to be laughed at for their pains. At last, one day the Wolf came indeed; and the Boy cried out in earnest. But the neighbors, supposing him to be at his old sport, paid no heed to his cries, and the Wolf devoured the sheep. So the Boy learned, when it was too late, that Liars are not believed even when they tell the truth.

« السابقةمتابعة »