"NEVER TRUST THE ADVICE OF A MAN
BELLING THE CAT
LONG ago, the mice held a general council to consider what measures they could take to outwit their common enemy, the Cat. Some said this, and some said that; but at last a young mouse got up and said he had a proposal to make, which he thought would meet the case. "You will all agree," said he, "that our chief danger consists in the sly and treacherous manner in which the enemy approaches us. Now, if we could receive some signal of her approach, we could easily escape from her.
I venture, therefore, to propose that a small bell be procured, and attached by a ribbon round the neck of the Cat. By this means we should always know when she was about, and could easily retire while she was in the neighborhood."
This proposed met with general applause, until an old mouse got up and said: "That is all very well, but who is to bell the Cat?" The mice looked at one another and nobody spoke. Then the old mouse said:
"IT IS EASY TO PROPOSE IMPOSSIBLE
THE JAY AND THE PEACOCK
A JAY venturing into a yard where Peacocks used to walk, found there a number of feathers which had fallen from the Peacocks when they were moulting. He tied them all to his tail and strutted down toward the Peacocks. When he came near them they soon discovered the cheat, and striding up to him pecked at him and plucked away his borrowed plumes.
So the Jay could do no better than go back to the other Jays, who had watched his behavior from a distance; but they were equally annoyed with him, and told him
"IT IS NOT ONLY FINE FEATHERS THAT
MAKE FINE BIRDS."
THE ASS AND THE LAP-DOG
A FARMER one day came to the stables to see to his beasts of burden: among them was his favorite Ass, that was always well fed and often carried his master. With the Farmer came his Lap-dog, who danced about and licked his hand and frisked about as happy as could be. The Farmer felt in his pocket, gave the Lap-dog some dainty food, and sat down while he gave his orders to his servants. The Lap-dog jumped into his master's lap, and lay there blinking while the Farmer stroked his ears.
The Ass, seeing this, broke loose from his halter and commenced prancing about in imitation of the Lap-dog. The Farmer could not hold his sides with laughter, so the Ass went up to him, and putting his feet upon the Farmer's shoulder attempted to climb into his lap. The Farmer's servants rushed up with sticks and pitchforks and soon taught the Ass that
"CLUMSY JESTING IS NO JOKE."
THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER
IN a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.
"Why not come and chat with me," said the Grasshopper, "instead of toiling and moiling in that way?"
"I am helping to lay up food for the winter," said the Ant, "and recommend you to do the same."
"Why bother about winter?" said the Grasshopper; "we have got plenty of food at present."
But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil.
Then the winter came the Grasshopper had no food, and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew
IT IS BEST TO PREPARE FOR THE DAYS
THE WOODMAN AND THE SERPENT
ONE wintry day a Woodman was tramping home from his work when he saw something black lying on the snow. When he came closer, he saw it was a Serpent to all appearance dead. But he took it up and put it in his bosom to warm while he hurried home. As soon as he got indoors he put the Serpent down on the hearth before the fire. The children watched it and saw it slowly come to life again. Then one of them stooped down to stroke it, but the Serpent raised its head and put out its fangs and was about to sting the child to death. So the Woodman seized his axe, and with one stroke cut the Serpent in two. "Ah," said he,
"NO GRATITUDE FROM THE WICKED."
THE MILKMAID AND HER PAIL
PATTY, the Milkmaid, was going to market carrying her milk in a Pail on her head. As she went along she began calculating what she would do with the money she would get for the milk. "I'll buy some fowls from Farmer Brown," said she, "and they will lay eggs each morning, which I will sell to the parson's wife. With the money that I get from the sale of these eggs I'll buy myself a new dimity frock and a chip hat; and when I go to market, won't all the young men come up and speak to me! Polly Shaw will be that jealous; but I don't care. I shall just look at her and toss my head like this." As she spoke, she tossed her head back, the Pail fell off it and all the milk was spilt. So she had to go home and tell her mother what had occurred.
"Ah, my child," said her mother,
DO NOT COUNT YOUR CHICKENS BEFORE
THEY ARE HATCHED.
THE LION AND THE MOUSE
ONCE when a Lion was asleep a little Mouse began running up and down upon him; this soon wakened the Lion, who placed his huge paw upon him, and opened his big jaws to swallow him. "Pardon, O King," cried the little Mouse; "forgive me this time, I shall never forget it: who knows but what I may be able to do you a turn some of these days?" The Lion was so tickled at the idea of the Mouse being able to help him, that he lifted up his paw and let him go. Some time after the Lion was caught in a trap, and the hunters, who desired to carry him alive to the King, tied him to a tree while they went in search of a wagon to carry him on. Just then the little Mouse happened to pass by, and seeing the sad plight in which the Lion was, went up to him and soon gnawed away the ropes that bound the King of the Beasts. "Was I not right?" said the little Mouse.
"LITTLE FRIENDS MAY PROVE GREAT
HERCULES AND THE WAGONER
A WAGONER was once driving a heavy load along a very muddy way. At last he came to a part of the road where the wheels sank halfway into the mire, and the more the horses pulled, the deeper sank the wheels.
So the Wagoner threw down his whip, and knelt down and prayed to Hercules the Strong. "O Hercules, help me in this my hour of distress," quote he. But Hercules appeared to him, and said:
"Tut, man, don't sprawl there. Get up and put your shoulder to the wheel."
"THE GODS HELP THEM THAT HELP
THE LION'S SHARE
THE Lion went once a-hunting along with the Fox, the Jackal, and the Wolf. They hunted and they hunted till at last they surprised a Stag, and soon took its life. Then came the question how the spoil should be divided. "Quarter me this Stag," roared the Lion; so the other animals skinned it and cut it into four parts. Then the Lion took his stand in front of the carcass and pronounced judgment: "The first quarter is for me in my capacity as King of Beasts; the second is mine as arbiter; another share comes to me for my part in the chase; and as far the fourth quarter, well, as for that, I should like to see which of you will dare to lay a paw upon it."
"Humph !" grumbled the Fox as he walked away with his tail between his legs; but he spoke in a low growl-
"YOU MAY SHARE THE LABORS OF THE