A farmer being on the point of death and wishing to show his sons the way to success in farming, called them to him, and said; “My children, I am now departing from this life, but all that I have to leave you, you will find in the vineyard.”
The sons, supposing that he referred to some hidden treasure, as soon as the old man was dead, set to work with their spades and ploughs and every implement that was at hand, and turned up the soil over and over again. They found indeed not treasure, but the vines, strengthened and improved by this thorough tillage, yielded a finer vintage than they had ever yielded before. This more than repaid the young husbandmen for all their trouble.
A crow had snatched a goodly piece of cheese out of a window, and flew with it into a high tree, intent to enjoy her prize. A fox spied the dainty morsel and thus planned his approaches.
“Oh crow,” said he, “how beautiful are thy wings, how bright thine eye! How graceful thy neck! Thy breast is the breast of an eagle! Thy claws?I beg pardon?thy talons, are a match for all the beasts of the field. Oh! That such a bird should be dumb, and want only a voice!”
The crow, pleased with the flattery and chuckling to think how she would surprise the fox with her caw, opened her mouth. Down dropped the cheese! The fox snapping up observed, as he walked away, that ?whatever he had remarked of her beauty, he had said nothing yet of her brains.?
Men seldom flatter without some private end in view, and they who listen to such music may expect to have to pay the piper.
One day, Zeus declared a order, he wanted to select the most beautiful bird as a king of birds. All of birds were busied to dress up themselves.
A Jackdaw wished he is the one which is selected.
Now the black Jackdaw was not a very handsome bird. Yet he imagined that all he needed to make himself fit for the society of the other birds was a dress like theirs. So he borrowed a feather from the Peacock and stuck them among his own black plumes. And so on, he continued to borrow kinds of feather from all of birds.
Dressed in his borrowed finery he strutted loftily among the birds of his own kind. On that day, all the birds dressed up and walked to Zeus. Zeus saw the colorful Jackdaw at a glance and immediately prepared to make him king. But birds soon saw who he was. Angry at the cheat, they flew at him, plucking away the borrowed feathers and also some of his own.
It was a stormy day, and the snow was falling fast, when a goatherd drove his goats, all white with snow, into a desert cave for shelter. There he found that a herd of wild goats, more numerous and larger than his own, had already taken shelter.
Thinking to secure them all, he left his own goats to take care of themselves and threw the branches he had brought for them to the wild goats to browse on. But when the weather cleared up, he found his own goats had perished from hunger, while the wild goats were off and away to the hills and woods.
The goatherd returned a laughing-stock to his neighbors, having failed to gain the wild goats and having lost his own.
They, who neglect their old friends for the sake of new, are rightly served if they lose both.
Once upon a time, in a very warm summer, it was reported that the sun was going to be married.
All the birds and beasts were delighted at the thought. The frogs, above all others, were determined to have a good holiday.
But an old toad put a stop to their festivities by observing that it was an occasion for sorrow rather than for joy. “For if,” said he, “the sun of himself now parches up the marshes so that we can hardly bear it, what will become of us if he should have half a dozen little suns in addition?”
It happened in the days of old that a lion fell in love with a woodsman’s daughter and had the folly to ask her of her father in marriage. The woodsman was not much pleased with the offer and declined the honor of so dangerous an alliance.
Upon the lion threatening him with his royal displeasure, the poor man, seeing that so formidable a creature was not to be denied, hit at length upon this expedient: “I feel greatly flattered,” said he, “with your proposal. But, noble sir, what great teeth you have got! And what great claws you have got! Where is the damsel that would not be frightened at such weapons as these? You must have your teeth drawn and your claws pared before you can be a suitable bridegroom for my daughter.”
The lion straightway submitted, for what will not a body do for love, and then called upon the father to accept him as a son-in-law. But the woodsman, no longer afraid of the tamed and disarmed bully, seized a stout cudgel and drove the unreasonable suitor from his door.
The lion called the sheep to ask her if his breath smelled. She said Aye, so he bit off her head for a fool. He called the wolf and asked him. He said No, so he tore him in pieces for a flatterer. At last he called the fox and asked him. Truly he had got a cold, and could not smell.
A lion and a bear found the carcass of a fawn and had a long fight for it. The contest was so hard and even that, at last, both of them, half-blinded and half-dead, lay panting on the ground, without strength to touch the prize that was stretched between them. A fox coming by at the time, and seeing their helpless condition, stepped in between the combatants and carried off the booty.
“Poor creatures that we are,” cried they, “who have been exhausting all our strength and injuring one another, merely to give a rogue a dinner!”