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Aesop's Fables   

Translated by George Fyler Townsend



The Wolf and the Lamb

WOLF, meeting with a Lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to
lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea to justify to the
Lamb the Wolf's right to eat him. He thus addressed him:
"Sirrah, last year you grossly insulted me." "Indeed," bleated
the Lamb in a mournful tone of voice, "I was not then born." Then
said the Wolf, "You feed in my pasture." "No, good sir," replied
the Lamb, "I have not yet tasted grass." Again said the Wolf,
"You drink of my well." "No," exclaimed the Lamb, "I never yet
drank water, for as yet my mother's milk is both food and drink
to me." Upon which the Wolf seized him and ate him up, saying,
"Well! I won't remain supperless, even though you refute every
one of my imputations." The tyrant will always find a pretext for
his tyranny.

The Bat and the Weasels

A BAT who fell upon the ground and was caught by a Weasel pleaded
to be spared his life. The Weasel refused, saying that he was by
nature the enemy of all birds. The Bat assured him that he was
not a bird, but a mouse, and thus was set free. Shortly
afterwards the Bat again fell to the ground and was caught by
another Weasel, whom he likewise entreated not to eat him. The
Weasel said that he had a special hostility to mice. The Bat
assured him that he was not a mouse, but a bat, and thus a second
time escaped.
It is wise to turn circumstances to good account.

The Ass and the Grasshopper

AN ASS having heard some Grasshoppers chirping, was highly
enchanted; and, desiring to possess the same charms of melody,
demanded what sort of food they lived on to give them such
beautiful voices. They replied, "The dew." The Ass resolved that
he would live only upon dew, and in a short time died of hunger.

The Lion and the Mouse

A LION was awakened from sleep by a Mouse running over his face.
Rising up angrily, he caught him and was about to kill him, when
the Mouse piteously entreated, saying: "If you would only spare
my life, I would be sure to repay your kindness." The Lion
laughed and let him go. It happened shortly after this that the
Lion was caught by some hunters, who bound him by st ropes to the
ground. The Mouse, recognizing his roar, came gnawed the rope
with his teeth, and set him free, exclaim
"You ridiculed the idea of my ever being able to help you,
expecting to receive from me any repayment of your favor; I now
you know that it is possible for even a Mouse to con benefits on
a Lion."

The Charcoal-Burner and the Fuller

A CHARCOAL-BURNER carried on his trade in his own house. One day
he met a friend, a Fuller, and entreated him to come and live
with him, saying that they should be far better neighbors and
that their housekeeping expenses would be lessened. The Fuller
replied, "The arrangement is impossible as far as I am concerned,
for whatever I should whiten, you would immediately blacken again

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