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Aesop's Fables   

in his turn and dance for their amusement. He moved about in so
utterly ridiculous a manner that the Beasts, in a fit of
indignation, set upon him with clubs and drove him out of the

It is absurd to ape our betters.

The Peasant and the Apple-Tree

A PEASANT had in his garden an Apple-Tree which bore no fruit but
only served as a harbor for the sparrows and grasshoppers. He
resolved to cut it down, and taking his axe in his hand, made a
bold stroke at its roots. The grasshoppers and sparrows
entreated him not to cut down the tree that sheltered them, but
to spare it, and they would sing to him and lighten his labors.
He paid no attention to their request, but gave the tree a second
and a third blow with his axe. When he reached the hollow of the
tree, he found a hive full of honey. Having tasted the
honeycomb, he threw down his axe, and looking on the tree as
sacred, took great care of it.

Self-interest alone moves some men.

The Two Soldiers and the Robber

TWO SOLDIERS traveling together were set upon by a Robber. The
one fled away; the other stood his ground and defended himself
with his stout right hand. The Robber being slain, the timid
companion ran up and drew his sword, and then, throwing back his
traveling cloak said, "I'll at him, and I'll take care he shall
learn whom he has attacked." On this, he who had fought with the
Robber made answer, "I only wish that you had helped me just now,
even if it had been only with those words, for I should have been
the more encouraged, believing them to be true; but now put up
your sword in its sheath and hold your equally useless tongue,
till you can deceive others who do not know you. I, indeed, who
have experienced with what speed you run away, know right well
that no dependence can be placed on your valor."

The Trees Under the Protection of the Gods

THE GODS, according to an ancient legend, made choice of certain
trees to be under their special protection. Jupiter chose the
oak, Venus the myrtle, Apollo the laurel, Cybele the pine, and
Hercules the poplar. Minerva, wondering why they had preferred
trees not yielding fruit, inquired the reason for their choice.
Jupiter replied, "It is lest we should seem to covet the honor
for the fruit." But said Minerva, "Let anyone say what he will
the olive is more dear to me on account of its fruit." Then said
Jupiter, "My daughter, you are rightly called wise; for unless
what we do is useful, the glory of it is vain."

The Mother and the Wolf

A FAMISHED WOLF was prowling about in the morning in search of
food. As he passed the door of a cottage built in the forest, he
heard a Mother say to her child, "Be quiet, or I will throw you
out of the window, and the Wolf shall eat you." The Wolf sat all
day waiting at the door. In the evening he heard the same woman
fondling her child and saying: "You are quiet now, and if the

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