A Collection of Wisdom: Folktales

Aesop's Fables

Aesop's Fables are attributed (by legend) to a Greek slave who lived 2500 years ago, and was known for his witty, sharp, lesson-filled stories. People enjoyed the stories so much, that Aesop was eventually granted his freedom.

Eagle Proposes Alliance with Lion

An eagle proposed an alliance with a lion. The lion replied, "Sounds good. Except for one thing. How can I trust someone who can just fly away from an agreement whenever he feels like it?

Bat Identifies Itself

A bat fell to the ground and was caught by a weasel. The bat pleaded to be spared his life, but the weasel refused, saying that he was by nature the enemy of all birds. The bat then remarked, "I'm a mouse, not a bird." Upon hearing this, the weasel let him go.

Shortly afterwards, the bat was caught by another weasel. Once again he entreated the weasel not to eat him, but the weasel said that he had a special hostility to mice. The bat replied, "I'm not a mouse, I'm a bird." And thus the bat escaped again.

Man Debates with Lion

A man and a lion were arguing over who was sronger. At one oint, the man pointed to a statue showing "A Lion Strangled by a Man." "See there!" said the man. "that shows how strong man is." The lion replied, "That's a statue made by a man. If lions knew how to build statues, you'd see a statue of a man under the paw of a lion."

Wolf Complains

A wolf was carrying a dead lamb to his lair. On his way, he was met by a lion, who took the lamb from him. Standing at a safe distance, the wolf exclaimed, "You have unrighteously taken what was mine!" To which the lion jeeringly replied, "Righteously yours? And I suppose you you bought it at Walmart, or you got it as a birthday gift!"

Two Bags

According to an ancient legend, every person is born into the world with two bags suspended from his neck: a bag in front that's full of his neighbors' faults, and a large bag behind that's filled with his own faults. That's why people are usually quick to see the faults of others, and blind to their own failings.

The Observant Fox

An old, injured lion deceded to hunt using trickery instead of force. He stayed in his den, and spread word that he was sick. Various animals then expressed their sorrow and came one by one to his den--and as soon as they did, the lion devoured them. The fox, however, was aware of what was going on. He showed up outside of the cave, and sked the lion how he was doing. "I'm very sick," replied the lion. "But why are you standing out there? Come in so we can talk." "No thanks," replied the fox. "I see a lot of footprints from animals who went in that cave--but I don't see any prints from animals coming out."

Man Boasts

A man returned to his hometown after traveling to many foreign lands, and boasted about the many wonderful and heroic feats he had performed during his trip. Among other things, he said that when he was at Rhodes he had leaped to such a distance that no man of his day could leap anywhere near him as to that. And he added that there were many people in Rhodes who saw him do it and whom he could call as witnesses.

One of the bystanders interrupted him, saying, "Now, my good man, if this be all true there is no need of witnesses. Suppose this to be Rhodes, and leap for us."

Why I'm Upset

A young pig was shut up in a fold-yard with a goat and a sheep. On one occasion when the shepherd laid hold of him, the pig grunted and squeaked and resisted violently.

The sheep and the goat complained of his distressing cries, saying, "He often handles us, and we do not cry out."

To this the pig replied, "Your handling and mine are very different things. He catches you only for your wool, or your milk, but he lays hold on me for my very life."

Running for Different Motives

A hound started a hare from his lair, but after a long run, gave up the chase. A goatherd, seeing him stop, mocked him, saying, "The little one is the best runner of the two."

The hound replied, "You do not see the difference between us: I was only running for a dinner, but he for his life."

Lion Wants to Marry the Woodcutter's Daughter

A lion demanded the daughter of a woodcutter in marriage. The father, unwilling to grant, and yet afraid to refuse his request, said, " I'm willing to accept you as the suitor of my daughter on one condition: that you should let me extract your teeth and cut off your claws, as my daughter is fearfully afraid of both."

The lion cheerfully assented to the proposal. But when the toothless, clawless lion returned to repeat his request, the woodcutter, no longer afraid, set upon him with his club and drove him away into the forest.

The Stag's Visitors

A sick stag lay down in a quiet corner of its pasture-ground. His companions came in great numbers to inquire after his health, and while there, each one helped himself to a share of the food which had been placed for his use. Eventually, the stag died, not from his sickness, but from starvation.

Dog Displays His Bell

A dog used to run up quietly to the heels of everyone he met, and bite them without notice. His master suspended a bell about his neck so that the dog might give notice of his presence wherever he went. Thinking it a mark of distinction, the dog grew proud of his bell and went tinkling it all over the marketplace.

One day an old hound said to him, "Why do you make such an exhibition of yourself? That bell that you carry is not, believe me, any order of merit, but on the contrary a mark of disgrace, a public notice to all men to avoid you as an ill mannered dog."

Pleasing Two Women

A middle-aged man whose hair had begun to turn gray courted two women at the same time. One of them was young, and the other well advanced in years.

The elder woman, ashamed to be courted by a man younger than herself, made a point, whenever her admirer visited her, to pull out some portion of his black hairs. The younger, on the contrary, not wishing to become the wife of an old man, was equally zealous in removing every gray hair she could find.

Thus it came to pass that between them both, he very soon found that he had not a hair left on his head.

Maidens Try to Improve Their Work Conditions

A widow who was fond of cleaning had two little maidens to wait on her. She was in the habit of waking them early in the morning, when the rooster began crowing.

The maidens, aggravated by such excessive labor, decided to kill the rooster that roused their mistress so early. When they had done this, they found that they had only prepared for themselves greater troubles, for their mistress, no longer hearing the hour from the rooster, woke them up to their work in the middle of the night.

The Boy Who Cried "Wolf!"

A shepherd-boy who watched a flock of sheep near a village, brought out the villagers three or four times by crying out, "Wolf! Wolf!" and then when his neighbors came to help him, he laughed at them for their pains.

One day, however, the wolf did truly come. The shepherd-boy, now really alarmed, shouted in an agony of terror, "Pray, do come and help me; the wolf is killing the sheep."

But no one paid any heed to his cries, nor rendered any assistance. The wolf, having no cause of fear, at his leisure lacerated or destroyed the whole flock.

Young Goat Taunts Wolf

A young goat, standing on the roof of a house and out of harm's way, saw a wolf passing by and immediately began to taunt and revile him.

The wolf, looking up, said, "You! I hear you, yet it is not you who mocks me, but the roof on which you are standing!"

Shepherd Enlists Wolf

A shepherd raised a wolf and taught it to steal lambs from the neighboring flocks. The wolf, having shown himself an apt pupil, said to the shepherd, "Since you have taught me to steal, you must keep a sharp lookout, or you will lose some of your own flock."

The Daughters' Wishes

A man had two daughters, the one married to a gardener, and the other to a tilemaker.

After a time, he went to the daughter who had married the gardener, and inquired how she was and how all things went with her. She said, "All things are prospering with me, and I have only one wish: that there may be a heavy fall of rain, in order that the plants may be well watered."

Not long after, he went to the daughter who had married the tilemaker, and likewise inquired of her how she fared. She replied, "I want for nothing, and have only one wish: that the dry weather may continue, and the sun shine hot and bright, so that the bricks might be dried."

He said to her, "If your sister wishes for rain, and you for dry weather, with which of the two am I to join my wishes?"

Useful?

A fir-tree said boastingly to the bramble, "You are useful for nothing at all; while I am everywhere used for roofs and houses."

The bramble answered, "You poor creature, if you would only call to mind the axes and saws which are about to hew you down, you would have reason to wish that you had grown up a bramble, not a fir-tree."

Some Cure!

A man who had been bitten by a dog went about in quest of someone who might heal him. A friend, meeting him and learning what he wanted, said, "If you would be cured, take a piece of bread, and dip it in the blood from your wound, and go and give it to the dog that bit you."

The man who had been bitten laughed at this advice and said, "Why? If I should do so, it would be as if I should beg every dog in the town to bite me."

Pigeons Enlist the Hawk

The pigeons, terrified by the appearance of a bird, called upon the hawk to defend them. He at once consented.

When they had admitted the hawk into their shelter, they found that he made more havoc and slew a larger number of them in one day than the other bird could pounce upon in a whole year.

The Wolf's Request

A wolf, sorely wounded and bitten by dogs, lay sick and maimed in his lair. Being in want of food, he called to a sheep who was passing, and asked him to fetch some water from a stream flowing close beside him. "For," he said, "if you will bring me drink, I will find means to provide myself with meat."

"Yes," said the sheep, "if I should bring you the drink, you would doubtless make me provide the meat also."

The Shepherd's Voyage

A shepherd, keeping watch over his sheep near the shore, saw the sea very calm and smooth, and longed to make a voyage with a view to commerce. He sold all his flock, invested it in a cargo of dates, and set sail. But a very great storm came on, and since the ship was in danger of sinking, the shepherd threw all his merchandise overboard and barely escaped with his life in the empty ship.

Not long afterwards, when someone passed by and observed the unruffled calm of the sea, the shepherd interrupted him and said, "It is again in want of dates, and therefore looks quiet."

The Donkey's False Confidence

A donkey and a rooster were in a straw-yard together when a lion, desperate from hunger, approached the spot. He was about to spring upon the donkey, when the rooster crowed loudly, and the lion (who is rumored to have a strong aversion to the rooster's voice) fled away as fast as he could.

The donkey, observing the lion's trepidation at the mere crowing of a rooster, summoned courage to attack him, and galloped after him for that purpose. He had run no long distance, when the lion, turning about, seized him and tore him to pieces.

Rivers Complain to the Sea

The rivers joined together to complain to the sea, saying, "Why is it that when we flow into your tides so potable and sweet, you work in us such a change, and make us salty and unfit to drink?"

The sea, perceiving that they intended to throw the blame on him, said, "Pray cease to flow into me, and then you will not be made briny."

Donkey Gets a Beating

A donkey climbed up to the roof of a building, and frisking about there, broke in the tiling. The owner went up after him and quickly drove him down, beating him severely with a thick wooden cudgel.

The donkey said, "Why, I saw the monkey do this very thing yesterday, and you all laughed heartily, as if it afforded you very great amusement."

According to Whom You Ask

A great city was besieged, and its inhabitants were called together to consider the best means of protecting it from the enemy.

A bricklayer earnestly recommended bricks as affording the best material for an effective resistance. A carpenter, with equal enthusiasm, proposed timber as a preferable method of defense. Then a currier stood up and said, "Sirs, I differ from you altogether: there is no material for resistance equal to a covering of hides; and nothing so good as leather."

"I Have Found an Axe"

Two men were journeying together. One of them picked up an axe that lay upon the path, and said, "I have found an axe."

"Nay, my friend," replied the other, "do not say ‘I,' but ‘We' have found an axe."

They had not gone far before they saw the owner of the axe pursuing them, and he who had picked up the axe said, "We are undone."

"Nay," replied the other, "keep to your first mode of speech, my friend. What you thought right then, think right now. Say ‘I,' not ‘We' are undone."

From Milk to Marriage

A farmer's daughter was carrying her pail of milk from the field to the farmhouse, when she fell a-musing.

"The money for which this milk will be sold, will buy at least three hundred eggs. The eggs, allowing for all mishaps, will produce two hundred and fifty chickens. The chickens will become ready for the market when poultry will fetch the highest price, so that by the end of the year I shall have money enough from my share to buy a new gown. In this dress I will go to the annual festival parties, where all the young fellows will propose to me, but I will toss my head and refuse them every one."

At this moment she tossed her head in unison with her thoughts, when down fell the milk pail to the ground, and all her imaginary schemes perished in a moment.

Anticipating the Ship

Some travelers, journeying along the seashore, climbed to the summit of a tall cliff, and looking over the sea, saw in the distance what they thought was a large ship.

They waited in the hope of seeing it enter the harbor, but as the object on which they looked was driven nearer to shore by the wind, they found that it could at the most be a small boat, and not a ship.

When however it reached the beach, they discovered that it was only a large bundle of sticks, and one of them said to his companions, "We have waited for no purpose, for after all there is nothing to see but a load of wood."

The Oak Asks the Reeds

A very large oak was uprooted by the wind and thrown across a stream. It fell among some reeds, and said to them, "I wonder how you, who are so light and weak, are not entirely crushed by these strong winds."

They replied, "You fight and contend with the wind, and consequently you are destroyed; while we on the contrary bend before the least breath of air, and therefore remain unbroken, and escape."

The Fish's Request

A fisherman who lived on the produce of his nets, one day caught a single small fish as the result of his day's labor.

The fish, panting convulsively, thus entreated for his life, "O Sir, what good can I be to you, and how little am I worth? I am not yet come to my full size. Pray spare my life, and put me back into the sea. I shall soon become a large fish fit for the tables of the rich, and then you can catch me again, and make a handsome profit of me."

The fisherman replied, "I should indeed be a very foolish fellow if, for the chance of a greater uncertain profit, I were to forego my present certain gain."

Nightingale Tries to Negotiate With Hawk

A nightingale, sitting aloft upon an oak and singing according to his wont, was seen by a hawk who, being in need of food, swooped down and seized him.

The nightingale, about to lose his life, earnestly begged the hawk to let him go, saying that he was not big enough to satisfy the hunger of a hawk who, if he wanted food, ought to pursue the larger birds.

The hawk, interrupting him, said, "I should indeed have lost my senses if I should let go food ready in my hand, for the sake of pursuing birds which are not yet even within sight."

Hunter "Pursues" a Lion

A hunter, not very bold, was searching for the tracks of a lion. He asked a man felling oaks in the forest if he had seen any marks of his footsteps or knew where his lair was.

"I will," said the man, "at once show you the lion himself!"

The hunter, turning very pale and chattering with his teeth from fear, replied, "No, thank you. I did not ask that; it is his track only I am in search of, not the lion himself."

Boar Sharpens His Teeth

A wild boar stood under a tree and rubbed his tusks against the trunk. A fox passing by asked him why he thus sharpened his teeth when there was no danger threatening from either huntsman or hound.

He replied, "I do it advisedly; for it would never do to have to sharpen my weapons just at the time I ought to be using them."

Jump In?

Two frogs dwelt in the same pool. When the pool dried up under the summer's heat, they left it and set out together for another home.

As they went along they chanced to pass a deep well, amply supplied with water, and when they saw it, one of the frogs said to the other, "Let us descend and make our abode in this well. It will furnish us with shelter and food."

The other replied with greater caution, "But suppose the water should fail us. How can we get out again from so great a depth?"

Mouse Messes with Bull

A bull was bitten by a mouse and, angered by the wound, tried to capture him. But the mouse reached his hole in safety. Though the bull dug into the walls with his horns, he tired before he could rout out the mouse, and crouching down, went to sleep outside the hole.

The mouse peeped out, crept furtively up his flank, and again biting him, retreated to his hole. The bull, rising up and not knowing what to do, was sadly perplexed, at which the mouse said, "The great do not always prevail. There are times when the small and lowly are the strongest to do mischief."

Mercury's Treasure

A poor carpenter was in the habit of making offerings to a wooden image of Mercury, amd begging 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 you are 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."

A Tale of Two Monkeys

It is said that the monkey has two young ones at each birth. The mother fondles one and nurtures it with the greatest affection and care, but hates and neglects the other.

It happened once that the young one that was caressed and loved was smothered by the too great affection of the mother, while the despised one was nurtured and reared in spite of the neglect to which it was exposed.

Lady Luck Speaks

A traveler, wearied from a long journey lay down, overcome with fatigue, on the very brink of a deep well. Just as he was about to fall into the water, Lady Luck appeared to him and waking him from his slumber said, "Good Sir, pray wake up—for if you fall into the well, the blame will be thrown on me, and I shall get an ill name among mortals; for I find that people are sure to impute their calamities to me, however much by their own folly they have really brought them on themselves."

The Lion's Share

The lion, the fox and the donkey entered into an agreement to assist each other in the chase. Having secured a large booty, the lion on their return from the forest asked the ass to allot his due portion to each of the three partners in the treaty.

The donkey carefully divided the spoil into three equal shares and modestly requested the two others to make the first choice. The lion, bursting out into a great rage, devoured the donkey. Then he requested the fox to do him the favor to make a division. The fox accumulated all that they had killed into one large heap and left to himself the smallest possible morsel.

The lion said, "Who has taught you, my very excellent fellow, the art of division? You are perfect to a fraction."

He replied, "I learned it from the donkey, by witnessing his fate."

Man's First Encounter of the Camel

When man first saw the camel, he was so frightened at his vast size that he ran away. After a time, perceiving the meekness and gentleness of the beast's temper, he summoned courage enough to approach him. Soon afterwards, observing that he was an animal altogether deficient in spirit, he assumed such boldness as to put a bridle in his mouth, and to let a child drive him.

Pond Frog and Road Frog

Two frogs were neighbors. One inhabited a deep pond, far removed from public view; the other lived in a gully containing little water, and traversed by a country road.

The frog that lived in the pond warned his friend to change his residence and entreated him to come and live with him, saying that he would enjoy greater safety from danger and more abundant food. The other refused, saying that he felt it so very hard to leave a place to which he had become accustomed. A few days afterwards, a heavy wagon passed through the gully and crushed him to death under its wheels.

Lion Among Wolves

At one time, a very large and strong wolf was born among the wolves, who exceeded all his fellow-wolves in strength, size, and swiftness, so that they unanimously decided to call him "Lion."

The wolf, with a lack of sense proportioned to his enormous size, thought that they gave him this name in earnest, and, leaving his own race, consorted exclusively with the lions.

An old sly fox, seeing this, said, "May I never make myself so ridiculous as you do in your pride and self-conceit; for even though you have the size of a lion among wolves, in a herd of lions you are definitely a wolf."

Styles Make Fights

A gnat came and said to a lion, "I do not in the least fear you, nor are you stronger than I am. For in what does your strength consist? You can scratch with your claws and bite with your teeth. I repeat that I am altogether more powerful than you; and if you doubt it, let us fight and see who will conquer."

The gnat, having sounded his horn, fastened himself upon the lion and stung him on the nostrils and the parts of the face devoid of hair. While trying to crush him, the lion tore himself with his claws, until he punished himself severely.

The gnat thus prevailed over the lion, and, buzzing about in a song of triumph, flew away.

But shortly afterwards he became entangled in the meshes of a cobweb and was eaten by a spider. He greatly lamented his fate, saying, "Woe is me!—that I, who can wage war successfully with the hugest beasts, should perish myself from this spider, the most inconsiderable of insects!"

Fortuneteller

A wizard, sitting in the marketplace, was telling the fortunes of the passers-by, when a person ran up in great haste, and announced to him that the doors of his house had been broken open and that all his goods were being stolen. He sighed heavily and hastened away as fast as he could run.

A neighbor saw him running and said, "Oh! You fellow there! You say you can foretell the fortunes of others; how is it you did not foresee your own?"

Shepherd's Distrust Turns to Trust

A wolf followed a flock of sheep for a long time and did not attempt to injure one of them. The shepherd at first stood on his guard against him, as against an enemy, and kept a strict watch over his movements. But when the wolf, day after day, kept in the company of the sheep and did not make the slightest effort to seize them, the shepherd began to look upon him as a guardian of his flock rather than as a plotter of evil against it; and when occasion called him one day into the city, he left the sheep entirely in his charge.

The wolf, now that he had the opportunity, fell upon the sheep, and destroyed the greater part of the flock. When the shepherd returned to find his flock destroyed, he exclaimed, "I have been rightly served; why did I trust my sheep to a wolf?"

Equality?

The hares harangued the assembly, and argued that all should be equal.

The lions replied, "Your words, O hares, are good; but they lack both claws and teeth such as we have."

The Dog and Rooster Team

A dog and a rooster, being great friends, agreed to travel together. At nightfall they took shelter in a thick wood. The rooster flying up, perched himself on the branches of a tree, while the dog found a bed beneath in the hollow trunk.

When the morning dawned, the rooster, as usual, crowed very loudly several times. A fox heard the sound, and wishing to make a breakfast on him, came and stood under the branches, saying how earnestly he desired to make the acquaintance of the owner of so magnificent a voice.

The rooster, suspecting his civilities, said, "Sir, I wish you would do me the favor of going around to the hollow trunk below me, and waking my porter, so that he may open the door and let you in."

When the fox approached the tree, the dog sprang out and caught him, and tore him to pieces.

Dinner Invitation

A lion, greatly desiring to capture a bull, and yet afraid to attack him on account of his great size, resorted to a trick to ensure his destruction.

He approached the bull and said, "I have slain a fine sheep, my friend; and if you will come home and partake of him with me, I shall be delighted to have your company."

The lion said this in the hope that, as the bull was in the act of reclining to eat, the lion might attack him to advantage, and make his meal on him.

The bull, on approaching the lion's den, saw the huge spits and giant caldrons, and no sign whatever of the sheep. And, without saying a word, he quietly took his departure.

The lion inquired why he went off so abruptly without a word of salutation to his host, who had not given him any cause for offense.

"I have reasons enough," said the bull. "I see no indication whatever of your having slaughtered a sheep, while I do see very plainly every preparation for your dining on a bull."

Lion Waits for Opportunity

Three bulls for a long time pastured together. A lion lay in ambush in the hope of making them his prey, but was afraid to attack them while they kept together. Having at last by guileful speeches succeeded in separating them, he attacked them without fear as they fed alone, and feasted on them one by one at his own leisure.

Sun vs. Wind

The North Wind and the Sun disputed as to which was the most powerful, and agreed that he should be declared the victor who could first strip a wayfaring man of his clothes.

The North Wind first tried his power and blew with all his might, but the keener his blasts, the closer the traveler wrapped his cloak around him, until at last, resigning all hope of victory, the Wind called upon the Sun to see what he could do.

The Sun suddenly shone out with all his warmth. The traveler no sooner felt his genial rays than he took off one garment after another, and at last, fairly overcome with heat, undressed and bathed in a stream that lay in his path.

Partridge

A man had two fighting roosters in his poultry-yard. One day by chance he found a tame partridge for sale. He purchased it and brought it home to be reared with his fighting roosters.

When the partridge was put into the poultry-yard, they struck at it and followed it about, so that the partridge became grievously troubled and supposed that he was thus evilly treated because he was a stranger.

Not long afterwards he saw the roosters fighting together and not separating before one had well beaten the other.

He then said to himself, "I shall no longer distress myself at being struck at by these roosters, when I see that they cannot even refrain from quarreling with each other."

Donkey in the Lion's Skin

A donkey, 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 voice than he exclaimed, "I might possibly have been frightened myself, if I had not heard your bray."

Satyr is Confused

A man and a satyr (half man, half goat) once drank together in token of a bond of alliance being formed between them.

One very cold wintry day, as they talked, the man put his fingers to his mouth and blew on them. When the satyr asked the reason for this, the man told him that he did it to warm his hands because they were so cold.

Later on in the day they sat down to eat, and the food prepared was quite scalding. The man raised one of the dishes a little towards his mouth and blew in it. When the satyr again inquired the reason, he said that he did it to cool the meat, which was too hot.

"I can no longer consider you as a friend," said the satyr, "a fellow who with the same breath blows hot and cold."

Gnat Sits on Bull

A gnat settled on the horn of a bull, and sat there a long time. Just as he was about to fly off, he made a buzzing noise, and inquired of the bull if he would like him to go.

The bull replied, "I did not know you had come, and I shall not miss you when you go away."

Imitation

A rich nobleman once opened the theaters without charge to the people, and gave a public notice that he would handsomely reward any person who invented a new amusement for the occasion.

Various public performers contended for the prize. Among them came a jester well known among the populace for his jokes, and said that he had a kind of entertainment that had never been brought out on any stage before. This report being spread about made a great stir, and the theater was crowded in every part.

The jester appeared alone upon the platform, without any apparatus or confederates, and the very sense of expectation caused an intense silence. He suddenly bent his head towards his bosom and imitated the squeaking of a little pig so admirably with his voice that the audience declared he had a porker under his cloak, and demanded that it should be shaken out. When that was done and nothing was found, they cheered the actor, and loaded him with the loudest applause.

A countryman in the crowd, observing all that has passed, said, "So help me, Hercules, he shall not beat me at that trick!" and at once proclaimed that he would do the same thing on the next day, though in a much more natural way.

On the next day an even larger crowd assembled in the theater, but now partiality for their favorite actor very generally prevailed, and the audience came rather to ridicule the countryman than to see the spectacle.

Both of the performers appeared on the stage. The jester grunted and squeaked away first, and obtained, as on the preceding day, the applause and cheers of the spectators.

Next the countryman commenced, and pretending that he concealed a little pig beneath his clothes—which in truth he did, but not suspected by the audience—he contrived to take hold of and to pull his ear causing the pig to squeak.

The crowd, however, cried out with one consent that the jester had given a far more exact imitation, and clamored for the countryman to be kicked out of the theater.

On this, the rustic produced the little pig from his cloak and showed by the most positive proof the greatness of their mistake.

"Look here," he said, "this shows what sort of judges you are."

A wise man, observing all that happened, remarked, "People often applaud an imitation and hiss the real thing."

Dog Swallows an Oyster

A dog, used to eating eggs, saw an oyster and, supposing it to be an egg, opened his mouth to its widest extent and swallowed it down with the utmost relish.

Soon afterwards suffering great pain in his stomach, he said, "I deserve all this torment, for my folly in thinking that everything round must be an egg."

Tree Interjects

Two travelers, worn out by the heat of the summer's sun, laid themselves down at noon under the wide spreading branches of a plane-tree.

As they rested under its shade, one of the travelers said to the other, "What a singularly useless tree is the plane! It bears no fruit, and is not of the least service to man."

The plane-tree, interrupting him, said, "You ungrateful fellows! Do you, while receiving benefits from me and resting under my shade, dare to describe me as useless and unprofitable?"

You Lucky Horse?

A donkey congratulated a horse on being so ungrudgingly and carefully provided for, while he himself had scarcely enough to eat and not even that without hard work.

But when war broke out, a heavily armed soldier mounted the horse, and riding him to the charge, rushed into the very midst of the enemy. The horse was wounded and fell dead on the battlefield.

Then the donkey, seeing all these things, changed his mind, and commiserated the horse.

Man Prays to Hercules

One rainy day, a traveler's wagon came to an abrupt stalt, prompting the man to get off and examine what had happened.

Upon noticing that his wheels were stuck in the mud, the man immediately dropped to his knees and cried out in despair for Hercules to help him.

Hercules then called out, "At least meet me halfway and put the cart on your shoulders!"

Donkey Asks Horse for Help

A horse and a donkey belonged to the same owner. They were traveling one day, when the donkey, struggling with a heavy load he was carrying, said to the horse, "Friend, can you help me out and take some of this load?'

"No!" the horse abruptly shouted back.

The unfortunate donkey continued to struggle, and not long later he dropped dead.

The owner of the animals then placed the entire load as well as the donkey's body on the horse's back, and the horse soon realized that by not helping the donkey, he now had to carry the heaviest load of all.

The Traveler's Complaint

A man who was about to go traveling saw his dog standing near the door yawning. The man complained to the dog, "Why are you just standing there like that yawning, when we are running late for our trip! Stop messing around, and come here this instant so we can leave."

The dog replied, "Actually, I was just standing here waiting for you!"

The Boy in the River

One day, a boy swimming in a river got caught in a current and was in danger. He spotted a man nearby and shouted out for help.

The man said, "You should have never went in that water, and this is not the proper behavior for children, and just wait till I tell your parents, andů"

The boy interrupted him and said, "Sir, please help me now, and you can scold me afterwards for as long as you want!"

The Mouse's Adventure

A young mouse was about to take his first trip outside of the mouse hole. Before he left, his mother warned him to watch out for danger.

The excited mouse eagerly went out, but just minutes later he came frantically running back with a terrified look on his face.

"What happened?" his concerned mother asked.

"Well," replied the young mouse, "first I saw this friendly animal with beautiful soft fur, a long tail, and gleaming green eyes. It made an inviting ‘purring' sound, and I was about to go introduce myself to the gentle creature.

"But then I saw a ferocious monster with red hair and vicious claws, and it made a terrifying noise like ‘Cock-a-doodle-do!' I was so scared that I immediately ran away and came back here."

"My son," replied the mother, "that so-called ‘friendly' animal you saw is a cat, and it eats mice like you and me. And that ‘ferocious monster' you saw is a rooster, and it does not eat mice. Remember this lesson, my son: Appearances can be deceiving."

The Fox and the Grapes

After spotting some delicious looking grapes up on a vine caught by a tre brahcn, a hungy fox eagerly began jumping in attempt to get them down.

After many unsuccessful tries, she turned around and walked away, saying to herself, "Well, they probably weren't ripe anyway."

The Shepherd's Warning

A shepherd heard his enemies approaching. He ran over to his donkey and exclaimed, "Quick, donkey, we must go now or else we are sure to be captured!"

The donkey replied, "Do you think that if your enemies conquer me, they will put double the load that you put on my back everyday?"

"No," the shepherd answered.

"Well then," the donkey continued, "as long as I will be carrying the same load, what difference does it make to me whose loads I am carrying?"

The Mother Crab's Complaint

A mother crab told her son, "Just look at how you walk that way, crooked and one sided. You should walk straight and forward."

The son replied, "OK—show me how and I will do it."

So the mother began trying to do it, but soon discovered that her walking was as crooked as the son's due to the structure of a crab's body.

The Boy's Dilemma

A boy put his hand into a container of almonds. He grasped as many almonds as he could hold, but when he tried to pull his hand out, it did not fit out of the container's neck. The boy was unwilling to let any of the almonds go, and soon began crying at his dilemma.

Finally, he let half of them out and was able to get his hand out, and realized how such a petty and trivial matter had caused him a problem.

Dispute in the Desert

A traveler wanted to cross a section of the desert, and agreed to pay a donkey owner to use his donkey while the owner would walk alongside and act as a guide. Several miles into their voyage, it had become scorching hot, and the traveler stopped to rest.

Since they were deep into the desert and there was no other alternative, the traveler laid down in the donkey's shadow for shade. But the guide protested, and said, "Hey, that's my donkey, and that's my shade. I should be the one resting there."

"Wait a minute!" the traveler replied. "I paid you so I can use this donkey. I have every right to rest under its shade."

"No," the guide retorted. "You paid to ride my donkey, but I still retain the rights to its shade!"

"The rights to its shade?" the traveler incredulously responded. "Oh come on now, that is the comment of a fool."

The guide angrily replied, "You think you can insult me? How dare you say that to me!"

They continued to argue, and soon began fighting. As they shouted and fought, the donkey grew terrified and galloped away and out of site.

The Swan's Singing

A man purchased a swan and a goose from the market, planning to eat the former, and keep the other for its singing.

However, that night,

went to get the goose to kill for his meal, but since it was dark, he could not tell them apart and grabbed the swan by accident.

As the man prepared to cut off the bird's head, the swan began singing so that the man could distinguish its identity, and thus the swan's life was saved.

The Donkey Tricks the Wolf

A donkey noticed a wolf was about to pounce on him. The donkey began limping, and calmly announced, "Wolf, I wouldn't do that if I were you. I have just stepped on a sharp thorn, and if you eat me, the thorn will cut up your throat. Let me lift up my hoof first, and then you can pull out the thorn before you eat me."

The wolf was very surprised at the donkey's behavior. He thought, "This donkey is really stupid. He should be running for his life right now, but instead, he is letting me eat him. And he is even making sure that I don't get cut by the thorn in his foot. What an idiot!"

The donkey lifted his hoof in the air, and the wolf stood behind him and searched for the thorn. Then all of a sudden, the donkey gave a powerful kick to the wolf's head, sending him sprawling several feet in the air and falling on his back.

iv)As the donkey ran away, the hurt wolf thought to himself, "That donkey is definitely not as stupid as I thought!"

The Cat's Meal

After catching a rooster, a hungry cat began thinking of a morally justifiable excuse to kill and eat him. After a few seconds, he remarked, "Your crows annoy people and keep them awake at night—and that is why you deserve to be eaten."

"Actually," the rooster replied, "my noises help people get up in time so they won't be late for their duties."

To which the other replied, "Fine—but I am hungry, so I am going to eat you anyway!"

The Difference Between Salt and Cloth

A merchant tied some baskets full of salt to his donkey and head for the bazaar. There was lots of salt, and the donkey struggled to carry the heavy load. As they crossed a shallow river, the donkey accidentally slipped and fell, and about half of the salt was washed away in the water.

The merchant was upset over the loss, but the donkey was glad that the heavy load had been lightened. When they reached the bazaar, the merchant traded his salt for cloth, and loaded it in baskets and tied it to the donkey.

As they headed home and reached the same river, the donkey remembered what happened with the salt. He pretended to slip and fall into the water so that his load could once again be lightened. But the donkey's plan backfired—the cloth did not wash away. Instead, the bags of cloth soaked up water and became twice as heavy, and the donkey had to carry the heavier load the rest of the way home.

Donkey Hears Grasshoppers Chirp

A donkey, enamored with the sound of grasshoppers chirping, approached a group of them and posed a question.

"I really love your singing," he said, "and I must know what you eat that gives you such lovely voices."

The grasshoppers replied, "We eat dew."

After hearing this, the donkey decided that he would eat only dew like the grasshoppers. He did, and three weeks later, the donkey died of starvation.

The Lion and Dolphin Alliance

A lion walked by a beach and approached a dolphin near the the shore. "We should form an alliance," remarked the Lion.

And the Dolphin,

The dolphin replied, "OK."

A few days later, the lion was in battle with a bull, and called for the dolphin to assist him. The dolphin heard this and wanted to help, but he had no way to reach the land.

The next day, the lion angrily came to the dolphin and exclaimed, "You traitor—you did not help me against the bull I was fighting yesterday."

The dolphin retorted, "Don't blame me—blame Nature instead, which gave me power in the sea, but not in the land."

The Goose and the Golden Eggs

One day, a poor man spotted a new goose among the various birds he kept in his yard. When he and his wife came to feed it the next day, it made a very strange noise, and seconds later, it laid a solid gold egg right before their very eyes!

The man, hoping that the goose might

Each day after that, it produced another golden egg; and soon, the man and his wife became quite wealthy.

bought lavish items and hired servants. In time, their lifestyle had become so expensive that they could not be supported by the goose's output.

"One egg a day isn't nearly enough," the man lamented to his wife. "We can barely afford our high dollar lifestyle anymore."

"I agree," she responded. "We should cut the goose open now so we can get all the eggs at once."

"Great idea, honey!" the man replied as he reached for a knife. He cut the goose open, but there were no gold eggs inside the now-dead goose.

The Fishermen's Early Celebration

A group of fisherman felt something heavy caught on their net, and began celebrating what they assumed to be a large catch.

However, a

after their celebrations, after pulling up the net, celebrating, they were dismayed to find that it was full of sand and stones, and contained only three small fish.

The Mice and the Cat

The mice met together one day to discuss how they could deal with the always-dangerous cat that lurked around the house. After many mice presented plans that the others rejected, one mouse suggested, "Let's hang a bell around the cat's neck—that way, we will always know where it is, and be sure to avoid it."

"A brilliant idea!" remarked one mouse.

"We're saved!" added another.

"

The mice praised his suggestion with enthusiasm, and were all elated to know that their cat problem was solved.

One of them, however, remkared, "'Tis a fine suggestion * You are all overlooking one thing—who is going to put the bell on the cat!"