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Aesop's Fables   

Mercury and the Workmen

A WORKMAN, felling wood by the side of a river, let his axe drop
- by accident into a deep pool. Being thus deprived of the means
of his livelihood, he sat down on the bank and lamented his hard
fate. Mercury appeared and demanded the cause of his tears.
After he told him his misfortune, Mercury plunged into the
stream, and, bringing up a golden axe, inquired if that were the
one he had lost. On his saying that it was not his, Mercury
disappeared beneath the water a second time, returned with a
silver axe in his hand, and again asked the Workman if it were
his. When the Workman said it was not, he dived into the pool
for the third time and brought up the axe that had been lost.
The Workman claimed it and expressed his joy at its recovery.
Mercury, pleased with his honesty, gave him the golden and silver
axes in addition to his own. The Workman, on his return to his
house, related to his companions all that had happened. One of
them at once resolved to try and secure the same good fortune for
himself. He ran to the river and threw his axe on purpose into
the pool at the same place, and sat down on the bank to weep.
Mercury appeared to him just as he hoped he would; and having
learned the cause of his grief, plunged into the stream and
brought up a golden axe, inquiring if he had lost it. The
Workman seized it greedily, and declared that truly it was the
very same axe that he had lost. Mercury, displeased at his
knavery, not only took away the golden axe, but refused to
recover for him the axe he had thrown into the pool.

The Eagle and the Jackdaw

AN EAGLE, flying down from his perch on a lofty rock, seized upon
a lamb and carried him aloft in his talons. A Jackdaw, who
witnessed the capture of the lamb, was stirred with envy and
determined to emulate the strength and flight of the Eagle. He
flew around with a great whir of his wings and settled upon a
large ram, with the intention of carrying him off, but his claws
became entangled in the ram's fleece and he was not able to
release himself, although he fluttered with his feathers as much
as he could. The shepherd, seeing what had happened, ran up and
caught him. He at once clipped the Jackdaw's wings, and taking
him home at night, gave him to his children. On their saying,
"Father, what kind of bird is it?' he replied, "To my certain
knowledge he is a Daw; but he would like you to think an Eagle."

The Fox and the Crane

A FOX invited a Crane to supper and provided nothing for his
entertainment but some soup made of pulse, which was poured out
into a broad flat stone dish. The soup fell out of the long bill
of the Crane at every mouthful, and his vexation at not being
able to eat afforded the Fox much amusement. The Crane, in his
turn, asked the Fox to sup with him, and set before her a flagon
with a long narrow mouth, so that he could easily insert his neck
and enjoy its contents at his leisure. The Fox, unable even to
taste it, met with a fitting requital, after the fashion of her
own hospitality.

Jupiter, Neptune, Minerva, and Momus

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