« 上一页继续 »
Early the next morning the labourer came for the ox, yoked him to the plough, and set him to work as usual. The ox, who had not forgotten the advice he had received, was very unruly the whole day; and at night when the labourer attempted, as usual, to fasten him to the stall, the malicious animal, instead of turning his horns towards him for that purpose, began to be outrageous, and ran roaring back. He even put down his horns to strike the man; in short, he did exactly as the ass had advised him.
The day following, when the labourer came for the ox, he found the manger still full of beans and chaff, and the ox lying on the ground, with his legs stretched out, making a strange groaning: The man thought him very ill, and that it would be useless to take him to work. He therefore went at once, and informed the merchant of it.
The merchant perceived that the bad advice of the ass had been followed; and in order to punish him as he deserved, he told the labourer to go and take the ass instead of the ox, and not fail to give him plenty of exercise. The man obeyed; and the ass was obliged to drag the plough the whole day, which tired him the more because he was not used to it. Besides this, he was so severely beaten that he could scarcely hold himself up when he came back.
In the meantime, the ox was very well satisfied; he eat all that was in his rack, and rested the whole day. He was highly pleased with himself for having followed the advice of the ass, and blessed him a thousand times for the good he had been the means of procuring him. As soon as he saw him return, he did not fail to repeat his thanks.
The ass was so enraged at the treatment he had received, that he would not answer a word. “My own imprudence,” said he to himself," has brought this misfortune upon me. I lived happily, everything was pleasant, I had all I wished for, and I have only to thank myself for this change. If I cannot contrive some trick to get out of this scrape, my destruction is certain.” In saying this his strength was so much exhausted, that he fell down in his stall, half dead.
Later on in the evening, the ass began to converse with the ox. He said to him, “Tell me, brother, what do you mean to do when the labourer brings you food to-morrow?” “ Mean to do!” replied the ox, “why what you taught me. At first I shall begin to retreat, then put down my horns, as yesterday, and pretend to be ill and almost dying.”
“Take care," said the ass," what you are about, lest you destroy yourself; for in coming home yesterday evening, I heard the merchant, our master, say what made me tremble for you.” “What did you hear ?” enquired the ox; "conceal nothing from me, I entreat you."
« Our master" replied the ass," addressed the labourer in these sad words: Since the ox can neither eat norsupport himself, I wish him to be killed to-morrow; we will give his flesh as alms to the poor, and you
shall carry his skin, which will be useful, to the currier; do not, therefore, fail to send for the butcher.'
“This is what I heard, and the interest I take in your safety and the friendship I have for you, induces me to mention it, and offer you my opinion on the subject. At first, when they bring you beans and chaff, get up, and begin eating directly. Our master by this will suppose that you are well again, and will, without doubt, revoke your sentence of death. If you act otherwise, , in my opinion, it is all over with you.”
This speech produced the desired effect. The ox was much troubled, and lowed with fear. He readily ate the beans and chaff that were brought him in the morning, and allowed himself to be taken to the plough as usual. The ass, fortunate in so easily escaping from his new employment, resolved to mind his own business in the future.
CÆSAR AND POMPEY. These two dogs, although they were of the same family were of very different tempers. Cæsar was extremely meek and docile; Pompey was rough and quarrelsome. Cæsar jumped for joy when anybody stroked him, and was glad to see his companion treated in the same manner. The surly Pompey, however, even when he was in his master's lap, would growl if he took the least notice of Cæsar.
When people came to visit at the house, and brought their dogs with them, Cæsar would at once go amongst them, and try to amuse them. He would frisk and play about with them as if they had always been his companions. But Pompey would get in a corner, and all day long bark at the strangers. If unhappily they went too near him, he would grin and snarl, and often bite their tail or their ears. If his master patted one of them, and seemed pleased with him, Pompey would howl with all his might, as if the house were being robbed.
One day as their master sat at table, Pompey and Cæsar were near, waiting for any bits that might fall to their share. Pompey was the nearest, for Cæsar, who was a gentle dog, rather than have a quarrel, allowed him that privilege. Mr. Grant gave Pompey a nice piece of juicy meat, which he at once began to chew. Cæsar did not interfere with him, but waited patiently till his turn should come.
Soon after his master threw him his share, but it was nothing more than a hard dry bone.
The greedy Pompey thought Cæsar must have had something better than himself, for he left his meat, and fell on Cæsar to obtain his bone. Cæsar made no resistance to him, but yielded to him at once.
Mr. Grant then gave Cæsar the piece of meat he had given Pompey first, but which Pompey had rejected.
This meekness on Cæsar's part was not owing to cowardice; for a few days before, Pompey, on account of his surly temper, had provoked a dog who lived near, and they therefore had a fight together. Cæsar was so generous, that seeing Pompey attacked, he at once ran to take his part. Pompey had not fought above five minutes before he ran away, while Cæsar, though without a friend to help him, continued the battle like a hero, and made his enemy run away.
Pompey's surly conduct so displeased his master that he gave orders to tie him up in the yard; while Cæsar was allowed to go about the house just as he chose. So the carpenter built a kennel, and they put a chain round his neck, and tied him to it. While here, the generous Cæsar used to carry him bits of meat, visit him frequently, and try to amuse him in every possible way.
But Pompey, far from thanking him for these kind actions, never welcomed Cæsar to his kennel, nor received him in any other manner than by a dismal howl. Soon after this Pompey fell sick and died. His constant bad temper made his food disagree with him; and when it was found he was dead, nobody was sorry for him. Boys and girls, which would you rather imitate, the conduct of Cæsar, or that of Pompey?
THE GENEROUS BLACKSMITH. A rich gentleman, passing very late one night by a blacksmith's shop, was surprised to see him busy at his forge, when every person in the neighbourhood had gone to rest. He was curious to know what reason he could have for working so late; and if twelve hours' labour a day would