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Aesop's Fables   



The Ass in the Lion's Skin

AN ASS, having put on the Lion's skin, roamed about in the forest
and amused himself by frightening all the foolish animals he met
in his wanderings. At last coming upon a Fox, he tried to
frighten him also, but the Fox no sooner heard the sound of his
than he exclaimed, "I might possibly have been frightened
myself, if I had not heard your bray."


The Sparrow and the Hare

A HARE pounced upon by an eagle sobbed very much and uttered
cries like a child. A Sparrow upbraided her and said, "Where now
is thy remarkable swiftness of foot? Why were your feet so slow?"
While the Sparrow was thus speaking, a hawk suddenly seized him
and killed him. The Hare was comforted in her death, and
expiring said, "Ah! you who so lately, when you supposed yourself
safe, exulted over my calamity, have now reason to deplore a
similar misfortune."


The Flea and the Ox

A FLEA thus questioned an Ox: "What ails you, that being so huge
and strong, you submit to the wrongs you receive from men and
slave for them day by day, while I, being so small a creature,
mercilessly feed on their flesh and drink their blood without
stint?' The Ox replied: "I do not wish to be ungrateful, for I am
loved and well cared for by men, and they often pat my head and
shoulders." "Woe's me!" said the flea; "this very patting which
you like, whenever it happens to me, brings with it my inevitable
destruction."


The Goods and the Ills

ALL the Goods were once driven out by the Ills from that common
share which they each had in the affairs of mankind; for the Ills
by reason of their numbers had prevailed to possess the earth.
The Goods wafted themselves to heaven and asked for a righteous
vengeance on their persecutors. They entreated Jupiter that they
might no longer be associated with the Ills, as they had nothing
in common and could not live together, but were engaged in
unceasing warfare; and that an indissoluble law might be laid
down for their future protection. Jupiter granted their request
and decreed that henceforth the Ills should visit the earth in
company with each other, but that the Goods should one by one
enter the habitations of men. Hence it arises that Ills abound,
for they come not one by one, but in troops, and by no means
singly: while the Goods proceed from Jupiter, and are given, not
alike to all, but singly, and separately; and one by one to those
who are able to discern them.


The Dove and the Crow

A DOVE shut up in a cage was boasting of the large number of
young ones which she had hatched. A Crow hearing her, said: "My
good friend, cease from this unseasonable boasting. The larger
the number of your family, the greater your cause of sorrow, in
seeing them shut up in this prison-house."

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