« 上一頁繼續 »
THE FOX AND THE WOLF.
A Wolf, who had once laid in a great stock of good things to eat, kept close to home. A Fox, whose eyes were quick to find out what was none of his own, had a mind, as they, say, to share with him; that is, to take all he could get. So off he went to a man that kept sheep and told him where the cave of the Wolf was. When the man heard of it, he took a large club, and went and killed the Wolf.
But in a short time, as he went the. same way, he found the Fox in the same cave. Now, as lie knew him to be as vile a thief as the wolf had been, he fell on him too, and broke one of his legs. The sight of a Bear, who came in view just then, made the man run off. Well, as the Bear had heard of the trick which the Fox had played on the Wolf, he said to him, as he saw him limp off, "Harm watch, harm catch; you now share with the Wolf in a way you did not dream of."
Tittle-Tattle Tit, your tongue shall be slit.
THE PEBBLES. Flobjan, a young wagon-driver, had brought a dangerous illness on himself through drinking spirits.
The doctor said to him, "If you do not entirely give up spirits, you will certainly die; for they are poison to the young."
The patient said, "That I can't do. I am already so accustomed to it that I am obliged to drink up this bottleful every day."
The doctor said, "Well, well; I must then think of some other remedy." On the following day he brought a little painted box full of pebbles, and said, "Put one of these stones into your bottle every day. let it always remain in, and so the spirits will not do you any harm."
The sick man believed that the pebbles had some virtue to make the spirits harmless, and every day put one into the bottle. In this way he daily drank a few drops less, without observing it himself; and when the bottle was at length full of pebbles, he had weaned himself from the bad habit of spirit-drinking.
"Who day by day his evil habit betters,
THE NOBLE LION. As a fine young Lion was standing over the carcass of a newly slain Heifer, up came a bold robber, and demanded his share. "I would readily give it you," said the generous beast, "if it was not your practice to help yourself before you are asked." So off he sent the villain about his business.
But a harmless traveller, coming by chance to the same spot, modestly retired as soon as he beheld the Lion. The monarch of the forest observing this, "You have nothing to be afraid of here," said he; "therefore come forward boldly, and take the share which is justly due to your modesty."
Having thus spoken, and divided the carcass of the . Heifer, he withdrew into the woods, and left the good man to help himself at his leisure.
THE MAN AND THE DOG. A Man who had been bitten by a mischievous dog, threw the cur a piece of bread which had been dipped in the blood, because this, he had heard, was an excellent cure. But as iEsop happened to be present, and saw what he did, "Pray, my good friend," said he, "don't practice this before any other dogs; for once they find that they are to be so well rewarded for their mischief, they will soon devour us alive."
Encourage one rogue and you will presently make two.
THE E.CHO. A Little boy, named George, knew nothing yet of an echo. He once cried out in the meadow, "Oh, hop!" when he was directly answered from the wood close by with, "Oh, hop I" Amazed at this, he cried out, "Who are you?" The voice replied, " Who are you?" He then screamed out, " You are a silly fellow I and "silly fellow" was answered from the wood.
George was very angry, and went on calling worse nicknames towards the wood. They were all repeated exactly the same. He therefore went to look for the boy whom he supposed to be in the wood, in order to give him a beating; but could find nobody.
So he ran home, and complained to his mother how an impudent fellow had hid himself in the wood, and called him nicknames.
His mother said, "This time you have accused yourself. You have heard nothing except the echo of your own words: if you had called out a civil word towards the wood, a civil word would then have been returned to you."
But so it is in ordinary life: the behaviour of others towards us is, for the most part, only the echo of ours towards them. If we treat people civilly, they treat us civilly in return. But if we are uncivil, rough, andunmannerly towards them, we cannot expect anything better from them.
"Just as the words are utter'd, bad or good, So faithful Echo answers from the wood."*
THE FOX WHO HAD LOST HIS TAIL.
Once on a time, a Fox had the ill-luck to be caught in a steel-trap, and was glad to get out of it with the loss of his tail. Yet in a short time, the shame which this loss brought on him was so great, that he would have been glad if he had lost his life.
Poor wretch, what could he do? Why he spoke first to this Fox, and then to that; and told them that as he found his tail had so much weight in it, and was so long, that he could not run with it easily. As he thought, too, that he had not a clean smart look, he had been at the pains to cut it quite off: "And if I," said he, "were in your place, I would do so too by all means. Do but see, my dear, how nice and spruce I look: now I have got rid of my brush, they tell me that I am quite a beau."
But an old sly Fox, who knew how the case stood, took him up as short as could be- "I think," said he, "good Sir Crop, that it will then be the time for me to part with my tail, when I have the same cause to do it as you had."
Selfish folks in trouble like others to be so too.
THE COCK AND THE FOX. A Cock saw through a hedge a Fox caught fast in a trap. The cock who stood near, saw what had past, and went step by step to peep at him, though with some sort of fear.
As soon as the Fox saw him, "0, my dear!" says he, "you see what a fine hole I am in here, and all for your sake. For as I went on my way home, I heard you crow, and could not go on till I had stept back to ask you how you do."
"But as I strove to creep through the hedge, I was caught as you see. Let me, then, beg of you to fetch me a knife to cut the string, or at least not to speak of my ill chance till I can gnaw it in two with my teeth; but fetch a knife, now do, there's a good euz."
The Cock, when he saw how the case stood, did not speak a word, but went as fast as he could to tell the good man of the house. He soon came with a stout club to wish the Fox joy, and pay him for his old tricks.
A rogue has seldom mercy shown him.
THE SELF-CONCEITED CALF. A Calf, who was full of fun, seeing a poor Ox ploughing, frisks up to him as merry as a grig. "Well, well," said he, " what a sorry poor drudge art thou! There you creep from hour to hour with a clumsy yoke on your neck, and a heavy plough at your tail, and all this to turn the ground for a sorry rogue of a master. But to be sure, you must be a wretched dull slave, and know no better. See what a happy life I lead!" and with this he began to jump and caper about as if he had been out of his senses.
The Ox not at all moved by his insults, went calmly on with his work, and three or four hours before night he had his yoke taken off, and was turned loose. Soon after he saw the silly Calf taken out of the field, and brought to the altar.
There he stood all in a tremble, with his neck bound round with wreaths of flowers, and the fatal knife at his throat. "And is this the end of all your pride?" said the Ox. "Pray who has the best of it now, my friend, you, or I?"
Reprove not a scorner lest he hate thee; rebuke a wise man, and he shall love thee.