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Aesop's Fables   




The Thief and the Innkeeper

A THIEF hired a room in a tavern and stayed a while in the hope
of stealing something which should enable him to pay his
reckoning. When he had waited some days in vain, he saw the
Innkeeper dressed in a new and handsome coat and sitting before
his door. The Thief sat down beside him and talked with him. As
the conversation began to flag, the Thief yawned terribly and at
the same time howled like a wolf. The Innkeeper said, "Why do
you howl so fearfully?' "I will tell you," said the Thief, "but
first let me ask you to hold my clothes, or I shall tear them to
pieces. I know not, sir, when I got this habit of yawning, nor
whether these attacks of howling were inflicted on me as a
judgment for my crimes, or for any other cause; but this I do
know, that when I yawn for the third time, I actually turn into a
wolf and attack men." With this speech he commenced a second fit
of yawning and again howled like a wolf, as he had at first. The
Innkeeper. hearing his tale and believing what he said, became
greatly alarmed and, rising from his seat, attempted to run away.
The Thief laid hold of his coat and entreated him to stop,
saying, "Pray wait, sir, and hold my clothes, or I shall tear
them to pieces in my fury, when I turn into a wolf." At the same
moment he yawned the third time and set up a terrible howl. The
Innkeeper, frightened lest he should be attacked, left his new
coat in the Thief's hand and ran as fast as he could into the inn
for safety. The Thief made off with the coat and did not return
again to the inn.

Every tale is not to be believed.


The Mule

A MULE, frolicsome from lack of work and from too much corn,
galloped about in a very extravagant manner, and said to himself:
"My father surely was a high-mettled racer, and I am his own
child in speed and spirit." On the next day, being driven a long
journey, and feeling very wearied, he exclaimed in a disconsolate
tone: "I must have made a mistake; my father, after all, could
have been only an ass."


The Hart and the Vine

A HART, hard pressed in the chase, hid himself beneath the large
leaves of a Vine. The huntsmen, in their haste, overshot the
place of his concealment. Supposing all danger to have passed,
the Hart began to nibble the tendrils of the Vine. One of the
huntsmen, attracted by the rustling of the leaves, looked back,
and seeing the Hart, shot an arrow from his bow and struck it.
The Hart, at the point of death, groaned: "I am rightly served,
for I should not have maltreated the Vine that saved me."


The Serpent and the Eagle

A SERPENT and an Eagle were struggling with each other in deadly
conflict. The Serpent had the advantage, and was about to
strangle the bird. A countryman saw them, and running up, loosed
the coil of the Serpent and let the Eagle go free. The Serpent,
irritated at the escape of his prey, injected his poison into the
drinking horn of the countryman. The rustic, ignorant of his

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