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Aesop's Fables   




The Lion and the Hare

A LION came across a Hare, who was fast asleep. He was just in
the act of seizing her, when a fine young Hart trotted by, and he
left the Hare to follow him. The Hare, scared by the noise,
awoke and scudded away. The Lion was unable after a long chase
to catch the Hart, and returned to feed upon the Hare. On
finding that the Hare also had run off, he said, "I am rightly
served, for having let go of the food that I had in my hand for
the chance of obtaining more."


The Peasant and the Eagle

A PEASANT found an Eagle captured in a trap, and much admiring
the bird, set him free. The Eagle did not prove ungrateful to
his deliverer, for seeing the Peasant sitting under a wall which
was not safe, he flew toward him and with his talons snatched a
bundle from his head. When the Peasant rose in pursuit, the
Eagle let the bundle fall again. Taking it up, the man returned
to the same place, to find that the wall under which he had been
sitting had fallen to pieces; and he marveled at the service
rendered him by the Eagle.


The Image of Mercury and the Carpenter

A VERY POOR MAN, a Carpenter by trade, had a wooden image of
Mercury, before which he made offerings day by day, and begged
the idol to make him rich, but in spite of his entreaties he
became poorer and poorer. At last, being very angry, he took his
image down from its pedestal and dashed it against the wall.
When its head was knocked off, out came a stream of gold, which
the Carpenter quickly picked up and said, "Well, I think thou art
altogether contradictory and unreasonable; for when I paid you
honor, I reaped no benefits: but now that I maltreat you I am
loaded with an abundance of riches."


The Bull and the Goat

A BULL, escaping from a Lion, hid in a cave which some shepherds
had recently occupied. As soon as he entered, a He-Goat left in
the cave sharply attacked him with his horns. The Bull quietly
addressed him: "Butt away as much as you will. I have no fear of
you, but of the Lion. Let that monster go away and I will soon
let you know what is the respective strength of a Goat and a
Bull."

It shows an evil disposition to take advantage of a friend in
distress.


The Dancing Monkeys

A PRINCE had some Monkeys trained to dance. Being naturally
great mimics of men's actions, they showed themselves most apt
pupils, and when arrayed in their rich clothes and masks, they
danced as well as any of the courtiers. The spectacle was often
repeated with great applause, till on one occasion a courtier,
bent on mischief, took from his pocket a handful of nuts and
threw them upon the stage. The Monkeys at the sight of the nuts

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