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iEsop's Fables 

Together with 

The Life of ^sop 

Mons. De Meziriac. 

Chicago and New York: 

Rand, McNally & Company, 

^0X8 XNajixsTdaa AViStayoHa 

Copyright, 1897, by Rand, McNally & Co. 

PREFACE. i^^c^^i 

The fables of yEsop have always been esteemed the best 
lessons for youth, as best adapted to convey the most use- 
ful maxims, in the most agreeable manner. Accord- 
ingly many writers, both in verse and prose, have endea- 
vored to clothe them in an English dress. It would ill 
become the author of this work to animadvert upon their 
labors; but he thinks it may be said with truth, and he 
hopes also with modesty, that nothing of this kind which 
has been published in prose, can justly discourage him 
from the present undertaking. 

In forming this collection, he has endeavored to dis- 
tinguish the respective compositions of the earlier and 
later mythologists ; and he trusts it will not be found that 
he has often been mistaken in this regulation, though an 
error of that kind might perhaps appear of no great im- 
portance. His principal aim was to select such Fables as 
would make the strongest and most useful impressions 
on the minds of youth; and then to offer them in such un- 
affected language, as might have some tendency to im- 
prove their style. If in this he have at all succeeded, the 
work, it is presumed, will not be unserviceable to young 
readers, nor wholly unentertaining to persons of maturer 

To these he has ventured to add a number of original 
Fables; and he offers them to the public with all the 
diffidence which ought to accompany every modern pro- 
duction, when it appears in conjunction with writings of 
established reputation. Indeed, whatever hopes he has. 


that the present work may be favorably received, arise 
cliiefiy from the consideration, that he has been assisted 
in it by gentlemen of the most distinguished abilities; and 
that several, both of the old and the new Fables, are not 
written by himself, but by authors, with whom it is an 
honor to be connected, and who having condescended to 
favor him with their assistance, have given him an op- 
portunity of making some atonement for his own defects. 
The life of .lisop prefixed to this collection, is taken 
from Mons. de Mcziriac, a very learned and ingenious 
Frenchman; who being disgusted with the gross for- 
geries of Planudes, published in 1632 the best account he 
could collect from ancient writers of good authority. But 
this little book soon after became so extremely scarce, 
that Mons. Bayle, in the first edition of his dictionary, 
laments he never could get a sight of it; Dr. Bentley 
in his dissertation on ^sop's Fables makes much the 
same complaint; nor does it appear that Sir Roger Le- 
strange or Dr. Croxal, ever so much as heard of Meziriac's 
name. The work indeed in the original lias continued 
equally scarce to this day; but an English translation 
of it falling into the writer's hands, he has endeavored in 
some measure to correct the language; adding notes 
from several authors, particularly from Boyle's and Bent- 
ley's controversy on the subject; and he is persuaded 
that the judicious reader will not condemn him for adopt- 
ing it, instead of the fictitious and absurd relation of 




It happened to Homer, the prince of Grecian poets, 
that the place of his nativity was never certainly known ; 
and it would be as difficult to ascertain the country v.hich 
gave birth to ^sop, so much have ancient authors dififered 
upon this subject also. Some have thought him a Lydian, 
born in the city of Sardis, the capital of that kingdom; 
others have believed he drew his origin from the island 
of Samos. Some have maintained that he was a Thracian, 
of the city of ^lesembria; but authors are now, for the 
most part, agreed, that he was a native of Phrygia, 
either of Amorium, or Cotiaeum, both towns in the same 
province. However, as it may be allowable to conjecture 
on a point so dubious, I imagine they who have thought 
him a Lydian, or a Samian, have grounded their opinion 
on the probability of his being born in one of those places 
where he spent the greatest part of his life; and it is certain 
that during his slavery, his common habitation was in the 
island of Samos; and after he was made free, he lived 
almost wholly in the court of Croesus, king of Lydia. But 
though this opinion is not totally destitute of a plausible 
appearance, the probability of his being a Phrygian, as it 
is founded on the common consent of many ancient writ- 
ers, and supported by the most credible authority, is now 
generally received and established. 


It may perhaps be acceptable to some readers, and 
not improper in this place, to add a passage from the 
learned Mr. Sale, in his notes to the Koran, concerning 
the Eastern fabulist Lokman, who has been imagined by 
some writers to be the same person with our ^sop. The 
Arabian writers, says he, afifirm that Lokman was the son 
of Bauvan, who was the son or grandson of a sister or aunt 
of Job; and that he lived several centuries, even to the 
time of David, with whom he was conversant in Palestine. 
According to the description they give of his person, he 
must have been deformed enough; for they say he was of 
a black complexion (whence some call him an Ethiopian) 
with thick lips, and splay ieet; but in return, he received 
from God wisdom and eloquence in a great degree; 
which, some pretend, were given him in a vision, on his 
making choice of wisdom preferably to the gift of pro- 
phecy, either of which were offered him. The generalty 
of the Mohammedans therefore hold him to have been no 
prophet, but only a wise man. As to his condition, they 
say he was a slave, but obtained his liberty on the follow- 
ing occasion. His master having one day given him a 
bitter melon to eat, he paid him such exact obedience as 
to eat it all; at which his master being surprised, asked 
him, How he could eat so bitter a fruit? To which he 
replied. It was no wonder, that he should for once accept 
a bitter fruit from the same hand from which he had re- 
ceived so many favors. The commentators mention sev- 
eral quick repartees of Lokman, which, together with the 
circumstances above mentioned, agree so well with what 
Maximus Planudes has written of ^sop, that from thence, 
and from the fables attributed to Lokman by the Orien- 
tals, the latter has been generally thought to be no other 
than the .^sop of the Greeks. However that be (for I 
think the matter will bear a dispute) I am of opinion that 



Planudes borrowed great part of his life of ^Esop from the 
traditions he met with in the East concerning Lokman, 
concluding them to have been the same person, because 
they were both slaves, and supposed to be the writers of 
those fables which go under their respective names, and 
bear a great resemblance to one another; for it has long 
been observed by learned men, that the greater part of 
that monk's performance is an absurd romance, and sup- 
ported by no evidence of ancient writers. — Salens Koran, 
P- JS5- 

A collection of Lokman's fables may be found in Er- 
penius's Arabic Grammar, between thirty and forty in 
number, printed in Arabic, with a Latin translation. 
They very much resemble the fables of .Esop, and have 
most of them been inserted in our collections: particu- 
larly, The stag drinking; The old man and death; The 
hare and the tortoise; The sun and the wind — all of which 
are in Erpenius's collection, under the name of Lokman. 




It is allowed by all, that .^sop was a slave from his 
youth, and that in this condition, he served several mas- 
ters: but I am ignorant where Planudes has authority 
for asserting that he was the most deformed of all men 
living, exactly resembling Hemer's Thersites; I find no 
ancient author who thus describes him. What Planudes 
adds, that the word .'Esop signifies the same with .Ethiop, 
and was given him on account of the blackness of his vis- 
age, may also be very justly contradicted; for though 
some grammarians arc of opinion, that from the verb 
setho, which signifies to scorch, and, from the noun ops, 
which signifies visage, the word ^thiop may be formed; 
yet we learn from Eustathius, that aetho (in the future 
aeso) signifies to shine, as well as to burn; and that ops, 
with o long, signifies the eye; so that the name .^sop 
signifies a man with sparkling eyes. Neither do I give 
much credit to the same author, when he says, that .Esop 
had such an impediment in his tongue, that he could 
scarcely utter articulate sounds, as he seems to have at- 
tributed this imperfection to him, only to have some 
ground for the fabulous account which he afterwards 
gives, of Fortune's appearing to him in a dream, and be- 
stowing on him the gift of speech. Altogether as void 
of probability is the story v^^hich Apollonius tells in Philo- 
stratus; that Mercury, having distributed to other persons 
the knowledge of all the sciences, had nothing left for 
<^5op but the art of making fables, with which he en- 


doued him. But a principal reason which prevents me 
from assenting to what Planudes advances, is, that it can- 
not be supported by authority from any ancient author; 
on the contrary, it is asserted in a Greek fragment of his 
Hfe, found in the works of Aphthonius, that yEsop had an 
excellent disposition, and talents for every thing; and 
in particular, a great inclination and aptitude for music, 
which is not very consistent with his having a bad voice, 
and being dumb. 




^sop's first master, as may be gathered from the be- 
forementioncd Aphthonius, was Zemarchus, or Demar- 
chiis, surnamed Caresias, a native and inhabitant of Ath- 
ens: and his passing some part of his youth in thisiamous 
city, the mother and nurse of science and pohte learning, 
was of no small advantage to him. It is probable also, 
that his master, perceiving in him a good understand- 
ing, agreeable manners, lively genius, and a general 
capacity, and finding also that he served him with much 
afifection and fidelity; it is probable, I say, that he might 
take care to get him instructed. It was from Athens then, 
as from the fountain head, that he drew the purity of the 
Greek language. It was there too that he acquired the 
knowledge of moral philosophy, which at that time was 
the fashionable study, there being but few persons who 
made profession of the speculative sciences, as may b*^ 
concluded by the seven sages of Greece, the most cele- 
brated men of that age, amongst whom Thales the Mile- 
sian alone had the curiosity to inquire into the secrets of 
natural philosophy, and into the subtleties of mathemati- 
cal learning: the rest were not reputed wise for any other 
reason than their publishing certain grave and moral sen- 
tences, the truth of which they established and rendered 
of some authority by their prudent and virtuous lives, 
.^sop, indeed, did not follow their method: he wisely 
considered, that the meanness of his birth, and his ser- 
vile condition, would not permit him to sj^eak with suf- 


ficient authority in the way of sentence and precept; he 
therefore composed fables, which by a narration pleasing 
and full of novelty, so charms the minds, even of the most 
ignorant, that through the pleasure which they receive 
"from it, they taste imperceptibly the moral sense which 
lies concealed underneath. 

I know very well that ^Esop was not the inventor of 
those fables, in which the use of speech is given to ani- 
mals. The honor of this invention, as Quintilian alleges, 
is justly due to the poet Hesiod, who in the first book of 
his "Works and Days," relates very prettily the fable of 
the hawk and the nightingale. Be this as it may, ^sop 
has advanced so far before every competitor, that all fa- 
bles of this kind are called .-Esopic, because a great num- 
ber of them are of his composing; and the choicest pre- 
cepts of moral philosophy are by his means conveyed to 
us in this agreeable manner. And indeed, I very Highly 
approve the opinion of xA-pollonius, who maintains that 
the fables of ^sop are much more useful for the instruc- 
tion of youth, than the fables of the poets ; and his reasons 
for this assertion are very pertinent, as may be seen in 
Philostratus. But that /Esop composed all his fables 
during the time that he was a slave at Athens, I will not 
however afBrm; I only think it probable, that it was 
there he first became enamored of morality, and laid the 
plan of teaching the most beautiful and useful maxims of 
philosophy, under the veil of fables; which nevertheless 
he might not publish till long afterwards, when he had 
obtained his freedom, had acquired the reputation of 
being one of the wisest and ablest men of Greece, and was 
arrived to great esteem, not only among the common peo- 
ple, but even with princes and kings. 




Let US now resume the thread of our narration. In 
process of time, ^-Esop was sold to Xanthus, a native of the 
island of Samos; and after he had served him for a cer- 
tain time, he was again disposed of to the philosopher 
Idmon. or Jadmon, who was likewise of that country ; and 
had at the same time for his slarve that Rhodopis, who was 
afterwards so famous as a courtesan. This woman was 
endowed with very extraordinary beauty, and happening 
to be carried into Egypt, Charaxus, the brother of Sappho 
the poetess, fell so deeply in love with her, that he sold 
all he had, and reduced himself to extreme poverty, in 
order to redeem and set her at liberty. She afterwards 
rose to such eminence in her vocation, and amassed such 
heaps of wealth, that of the tithe of her gain, she caused 
great numbers of large spits of iron to be made, which 
she sent as an offering to the temple of Apollo at Delphi. 
And if we may credit certain authors, she amassed such 
immense treasures as enabled her to build one of the cele- 
brated pyramids of Egypt. So much, by the way, of this 
famous courtesan, who was fellow servant with ^sop 
while he lived with Jadmon ; to show how these two per- 
sons, born in a servile condition, arrived by very different 
methods to a more splendid fortune ; the one by his merit 
and the beauties of his mind, the other by the infamous 
trafific of her personal charms. 

For the rest, it is certain that it was Jadmon who gave 


^sop his liberty; whether as a reward for his faithful 
services, or that he was ashamed to keep longer in servi- 
tude a person whose superior qualities rendered him more 
worthy to command, may be difficult to determine: but 
the fact is to be proved, by the express testimony of the 
scholiast of Aristophanes, on the comedy of the Birds, 
as well as by the authority of Herodotus and Plutarch; 
for it follows by necessary consequence from what they 
say, as I shall show^ particularly when I come to speak 
of the death of ^sop. Planudes therefore deserves no 
credit, when he affirms that Xanthus was the last master 
of ^sop, and the person who gave him his liberty. Very 
little also must be believed of what he relates concerning 
^sop while he was in the service of Xanthus, as he makes 
him say and do so many impertinent and ridiculous 
things, that none can receive them for true, without im- 
agining ^sop an idle buffoon, rather than a serious 
philosopher. And in fine, since nothing of this ridiculous 
stuff is to be found in ancient writers, I think one may 
with justice affirm, that they are no better than idle tales, 
and mere fooleries. 

l6 THE LIFF. OF .T:S0P. 





Whatever may be doubtful in the life of ^sop, there 
is nothing more certain than that after recovering his lib- 
erty, he soon acquired a very great reputation amongst 
the Greeks, being held in almost equal estimation with 
any of the seven sages who flourished at this time, that is, 
the fifty-second olympiad. The fame of his wisdom reach- 
ing the ears of Croesus, that monarch sent for him to his 
court, admitted him to his friendship, and so obliged 
him by his favors that he engaged himself in his service 
to the end of his days. His residence in the court of this 
mighty king rendered him more polite than inost of the 
other philosophers of his time; more complaisant to the 
humors of princes, and more reconciled to monarchical 
government, of which he gave evident proofs on divers 
occasions. For instance, when Croesus had prevailed 
with the seven sages to meet in his capital city of Sardis, 
after having shown them the magnificence of his court, 
and his vast riches, he asked them. Whom they thought 
the happiest man of all they had known? Some named 
one person, and some another; Solon, in particular, gave 
this praise to Tellus, an Athenian, and also to Cleobis and 
Biton, Argians; concluding, that no one could be pro- 
nounced happy before his death, ^sop, perceiving the 
king was not well satisfied with any of their answers, 
spoke in his turn, and said: For my part, I am persuaded 
that Croesus hath as much pre-eminence in happiness 


over all other men, as the sea hath over all the rivers. The 
king was so pleased with this judgment, that he eagerly 
pronounced that sentence, which has continued ever since 
a common proverb — "The Phrygian has hit the mark." 
W'hen Solon, therefore, took leave of Croesus, who dis- 
missed him very coolly, yEsop being sorry that Solon had 
spoken to the king with so little complaisance, said to 
him, as he accompanied him part of the way, O Solon, 
either we must not speak to kings, or we must say what 
pleases them. On the contrary, answered Solon, we 
must either not speak to kings at all, or we must give 
them good and useful advice. Another time, as ^sop 
was traveling over Greece, either to satisfy his curiosity, 
or about the particular affairs of Croesus, it happened that 
he passed through Athens, just after Pisistratus had 
usurped the sovereign power, and abolished the popular 
state; seeing that the Athenians bore the yoke very im- 
patiently, longing to recover their liberty, and to rid 
themselves of Pisistratus, though his government was 
easy and moderate, iEsop related to them the fable of 
the frogs that entreated Jupiter to give them a king, ex- 
horting them to submit cheerfully to so good a prince as 
Pisistratus, lest in changing they should fall under the 
power of some mischievous and cruel tyrant. 






There are not many other particulars found concerning 
/Esop, in authors worthy of credit; except it be that he 
once again met with the seven sages of Greece, in the 
court of Periander, king of Corinth. However, I dare 
not affirm whether it was here, or in some other place, 
that, falling into discourse with Chilon, who had asked 
him, What God was doing? He answered, that he was 
humbling high things, and exalting low. Some also re- 
late, that to show how the life of man abounds w'ith mis- 
ery, and that one pleasure is accompanied with a thou- 
sand pains, ^-Esop was wont to say. that Prometheus hav- 
ing taken earth to form a man, had tempered and mois- 
tened it, not with water, but with tears. 

I reject as pure falsehood and invention, all that Pla- 
nudes writes of ^sop's travels into Egypt and Babylon, 
because he intermixes stories altogether incredible, and 
adds to them certain circumstances, which are repugnant 
to the truth of history, or which wholly overturn the order 
of time. I shall content myself with alleging two signal 
falsities, on which he builds all the rest of his narration. 
He says that the king who reigned in Babylon when 
yEsop went thither, was called Lycerus. But who has 
ever read or heard of such a king? Let the catalogue of all 
the kings of Babylon, from Xabonasser to Alexander the 
Great, be examined, and you shall not find one amongst 


them whose name is at all like Lycerus. On tlie other 
hand, by the exactest chronology it will appear, that in 
/Esop's time there could be no other king in Babylon, but 
Nebuchadnezzar, and his father, Nebopolasser ; since Neb- 
opolasser reigned one-and-twenty years, and Nebuchad- 
nezzar forty-three, who died the same year with ^sop, 
being the first of the fifty-fourth olympiad. Neither is 
it more possible to believe, that ^sop went into Egypt in 
the time of king Nectanebus, as Planudes asserts, since 
this king did not begin to reign till two hundred years 
after the death of ^sop: that is to say, in the hundred 
and fourth olympiad. And one need not be very learned 
in chronology, to be certain, that ^sop lived partly under 
the reign of Apries, and partly under that of his successor 
Amasis, kings of Egypt. 




What Planudes relates about the death of /Esop, comes 
nearer to the truth than anything which he has written 
concerning his life. However, it is still safer to rely on 
what ancient authors have said on the subject, and they 
record it thus. ^Esop, being sent by Crccsus to the city 
of Delphi, with a large sum of gold, in order to ofTer mag- 
nificent sacrifices to Apollo, and to distribute to each citi- 
zen four minae of silver; it happened that differences 
arose between him and the townsmen to such a degree, 
that he spoke of them in very provoking terms. Among 
other things, he reproached them with having hardly any 
arable land, and that were it not for the great concourse 
of strangers, and the frequent sacrifices that were ofifered 
in their temple, they would soon be reduced to die of 
hunger. Not satisfied with offending them in words, he 
proceeded to deeds; having perforaned the sacrifices in 
the manner that Croesus had ordered, he sent back the 
rest of the money to the city of Sardis, as judging the 
Delphians unworthy to partake of the king's liberality. 
This irritated them against him to such a degree, that 
they consulted how they might be revenged on him, and 
conspired by a notorious villainy to take away his life. 
They hid amongst his baggage one of the golden vessels 
consecrated to Apollo; and as ^sop departed toward 
Phocis, they sent immediate messengers after him, who, 
searching his baggage, found the vessel which they them- 
selves had there deposited. On this, they presently drag 


him to prison, accuse him of sacrilege, and sentence him 
to be precipitated from the rock Hyampia, which was 
the punishment conmionly inflicted on sacrilegious per- 
sons. As they were on the point of throwing him off, 
in order to deter them from so execrable an act by the 
apprehension of divine justice, which suffers no wicked- 
ness to go unpunished, he told them the fable of the eagle 
and the beetle. But the Delphians, paying no regard to 
his fable, pushed him down the prec!ipice. It is recorded, 
however, that their land was rendered barren, and that 
they were afflicted with many strange distempers, for sev- 
eral years afterwards. In this distress they consulted the 
oracle, and were answered, that all their miseries were 
owing to the unjust condemnation and death of ^sop. 
On this, they caused it to be proclaimed by sound of trum- 
pet, at all the public feasts and general meetings of the 
Greeks, that if there were any of the kindred of ^sop, 
who would demand satisfaction for his death, he was de- 
sired to come and exact it of them, in what manner he 
pleased. But no one was found that pretended any right 
in this affair, till the third generation; when a Samian 
presented himself, named Jadmon, grandson of that Jad- 
mon, who had been master to ^'Esop in the island of 
Samos; and the Delphians having made him some satis- 
faction, were delivered from their calamities. It is said, 
that after this time, they transferred the punishment of 
sacrilegious persons from the rock Hyampia to that of 
Nauplia. From hence it appears, as I hinted above, to be 
the opinion of Herodotus and Plutarch, that Jadmon was 
the last master of .^Esop, and he that set him free, because 
otherwise, neither he nor any of his descendants could 
have any interest in his death, nor pretend to any right of 
seeking reparation, or receiving satisfaction. 




And now I will readily agree with Planudes, that 
.-Esop was regretted by the greatest and wisest men of 
Greece, who testified to the Delphians how much they 
resented his death. But I add, that 'the Athenians, in 
particular, had ^sop in so much honor, that they erected 
for him a magnificent statue in their city; regarding 
more the greatness of his personal merit, than the mean- 
ness of his race and condition. I further say, that the 
opinion which all the world had conceived of his wisdom 
and probity, encouraged the poets to make the people be- 
lieve that the gods had raised him again to life, as they had 
done Tyndarus, Hercules, Glaucus, and Hypolitus. Nay, 
some have not scrupled to affirm, that he lived many years 
after his resurrection, and fought twice on the side of the 
Greeks against the Persians, in the straits of Thermopylae, 
which must have been above eighty years after his death. 
But these are such manifest absurdities, as confute them- 
selves. Neither is it probable, as some have asserted, that 
he wrote two books concerning what happened to him 
in the city of Delphi, unless it be supposed that he made 
two voyages thither, and wrote of the first : for in the last, 
it is very improbable he should have any time for such a 
work ; neither can it be grounded on the testimony of any 
author worthy of credit. It is indeed most probable, that 
he left nothing in writing but his fables, which, either for 
the elegance of the narration, or the usefulness of their 
morality, have always been so much esteemed, that many 


of them have preserved themselves in the memories of 
men for above two thousand years. Yet I do not assert 
that those which Planudes has pubHshed are the very 
fables which ^sop wrote, as Planudes has given us too 
many occasions to doubt of his sincerity; and also, as he 
has omitted in his collection many fables, which ancient 
authors have attributed to /Esop. If we could be certain 
that it is the genuine work of ^sop, we must doubtless 
confess, that we have no writings in prose more ancient, 
except the books of Closes, and some others of the Old 



Whoever undertakes to compose a fable, whether of 
the subHmer and more complex kind, as the epic and dra- 
matic; or of the lower and more simple, as what has 
been called the ^sopean; must first endeavor to illustrate 
some one moral or prudential maxim. To this point the 
composition in all its parts must be directed; and this will 
lead him to describe some action proper to enforce the 
maxim he has chosen. In several respects, therefore, the 
greater fable and the less agree. It is the business of 
both to teach some particular moral, exemplified by an 
action, and this enlivened by natural incidents. Both 
alike must be supported by apposite and proper char- 
acters, and both be furnished with sentiments and lan- 
guage suitable to the characters thus empjoyed. I 
would by no means, however, infer, that, to produce one 
of these small pieces requires the same degree of genius, 
as to form an epic or dramatic Fable. All I would in- 
sinuate, is, that the apologue has a right to some share of 
our esteem, from the relation it bears to the poems be- 
fore mentioned: as it is honorable to spring from a noble 
stem, although in ever so remote a branch. A perfect 
fable, even of this inferior kind, seems a much stronger 
proof of genius than the mere narrative of an event. The 
latter indeed requires judgment: the former, together 
with judgment, demands an effort of the imagination. 


Having thus endeavored to procure these little com- 
positions as much regard as they may fairly claim, I pro- 
ceed to treat of some particulars most essential to their 



It is the very essence of a Fable to convey some Moral 
or useful Truth, beneath the shadow of an allegory. It 
is this chiefly that distinguishes a Fable from a Tale, 
and indeed gives it the pre-eminence in point of use and 
dignity. A tale may consist of an event either serious or 
comic; and, provided it be told agreeably, may be excel- 
lent in its kind, though it should imply no sort of Moral. 
But the action of a Fable is contrived on purpose to teach 
and to imprint some Truth; and should clearly and ob- 
viously include the illustration of it, in the very catas- 

The Truth to be preferred on this occasion should 
neither be too obvious, nor trite, nor trivial. Such would 
ill deserve the pains employed in Fable to convey it. As 
little also should it be one that is very dubious, dark, or 
controverted. It should be of such a nature as to chal- 
lenge the assent of every ingenuous and sober judgment; 
never a point of mere speculation ; but tending to inform 
or to remind the reader of the proper means that lead to 

The reason why fable has been so much esteemed in all 
ages and in all countries, is perhaps owing to the polite 
manner in which its maxims are conveyed. The very ar- 


tide of giving instruction supposes at least a superiority 
of wisdom in the adviser; a circumstance by no means 
favorable to the ready admission of advice. It is the pe- 
culiar excellence of Fable to wave this air of superiority : 
it leaves the reader to collect the moral ; who, by thus dis- 
covering more than is shown him, finds his principle of 
self-love gratified, instead of being disgusted. The at- 
tention is either taken ofif from the adviser; or, if other- 
wise, we are at least flattered by his humility and address. 

Besides, instruction, as conveyed by Fable, does not 
only lay aside its lofty mien and supercilious aspect, but 
appears dressed in all the smiles and graces which can 
strike the imagination, or engage the passions. It pleases 
in order to convince; and it imprints its moral so much 
the deeper, in proportion as it entertains ; so that we may 
be said to feel our duties at the very instant that we com- 
prehend them. 

I am very sensible with what difficulty a Fable is 
brought to a strict agreement with the foregoing account 
of it. This, however, ought to be the writer's aim. It is 
the simple manner in which the Morals of ^sop are in- 
terwoven with his Fables, that distinguishes, and gives 
him the preference to all other mythologists. His moun- 
tain delivered of a mouse^ produces the Moral of his Fa- 
ble, in ridicule of pompous pretenders; and his crow, 
when she drops her cheese, lets fall, as it were by acci- 
dent, the strongest admonition against the power of flat- 
tery. There is no need of a separate sentence to explain 
it; no possibility of impressing it deeper, by that load we 
too often see of accumulated reflections. Indeed the Fa- 
ble of the Cock and the precious stone is in this respect 
very exceptionable. The lesson it inculcates is so dark 
and ambiguous, that different expositors have given it 
quite opposite interpretations; some imputing the cock's 


rejection of the diamond to his wisdom, and others to 
liis ignorance. 

Strictly speaking tlien, one should render needless any 
detached or explicit moral, ^sop, the father of this 
kind of writing, disclaimed any such assistance. It is the 
province of Fable to give it birth in the mind of the per- 
son for whom it is intended; otherwise the precept is di- 
rect and obvious, contrary to the nature and end of alle- 

After all, the greatest fault in any composition (for I 
can hardly allow that name to riddles) is obscurity. There 
can be no purpose answered by a w'ork that is unintelli- 
gible. Annibal Carracci and Raphael himself, rather than 
risk so unpardonable a fault, have admitted verbal expla- 
nations into some of their best pictures. It must be con- 
fessed, that every story is not capable of telling its own 
Moral. In a case of this nature, and this only, it should 
be expressly introduced. Perhaps also, where the point 
is doubtful, we ought to show enough for the less acute, 
even at the hazard of showing too much for the more 
sagacious; who, for this very reason, that they are more 
sagacious, wall pardon a superfluity which is such to them 

But on these occasions, it has been matter of dispute, 
whether the moral is better introduced at the end or be- 
ginning of a Fable, ^sop, as I said before, universally 
rejected any separate Moral. Those we now find at the 
opening of his Fables, were placed there by other hands. 
Among the ancients, Phaedrus; and Gay, among the 
moderns, inserted theirs at the beginning; La Motte pre- 
fers them at the conclusion; and Fontaine disposes of 
them indiscriminately, at the beginning or end, as he feels 
convenient. If, amidst the authority of such great names, 


I might venture to mention my own opinion, I should 
rather prefix them as an introduction, than add them 
as an appendage. For I would neither pay my reader 
nor myself so bad a compliment, as to suppose, after he 
had read the Fable, that he was not able to discover its 
meaning. Besides, when the Moral of a Fable is not very 
prominent and striking, a leading thought at the begin- 
ning puts the reader in a proper track. He knows the 
game which he pursues: and, like a beagle on a warm 
scent, he follows the sport with alacrity, in proportion to 
his intelligence. On the other hand, if he have no pre- 
vious intimation of the design, he is puzzled throughout 
the Fable; and cannot determine upon its merit without 
the trouble of a fresh perusal. A ray of light, imparted 
at first, may show him the tendency and propriety of 
every expression as he goes along; but while he travels 
in the dark no wonder if he stumble or mistake his way. 




In choosing the action or allegory, three conditions are 
altogether expedient. I. It must be clear: that is, it 
ought to show without equivocation, precisely and ob- 
viously, what we intend should be understood. II. It 
must be one and entire. That is, it must not be composed 
of separate and independent actions, but must tend in all 
its circumstances to the completion of one single event. 
III. It must be natural ; that is, founded, if not on Truth, 
at least on probability; on popular opinion; on that rela- 


tion and analogy which things bear to one another, when 
we have gratuitously endowed them with the human fac- 
ulties of speech and reason. And these conditions are 
taken from the nature o^ the human mind; which cannot 
endure to be embarrassed, to be bewildered, or to be de- 

A Fable ofTends against perspicuity, when it leaves us 
doubtful what Truth the Fabulist intended to convey. We 
have a striking example of this in Dr. Croxall's Fable of 
the creaking wheel. A coachman, says he, hearing one 
of his wheels creak, was surprised; but more especially, 
when he perceived that it w^as the w'orst wheel of the 
whole set, and which he thought had but little pretence to 
take such a liberty. But, upon his demanding the reason 
why it did so, the wdieel replied, that it was natural for 
people who labored under any affliction or calamity to 
complain. Who would imagine this Fable designed, as 
the author informs us, for an admonition to repress, or 
keep our complaints to ourselves; or if we must let our 
sorrows speak, to take care it be done in solitude and re- 
tirement. The story of this Fable is not well imagined; 
at least if meant to support the moral which the au<:hor 
has drawn from it. 

A Fable is faulty in respect to unity, when the several 
circumstances point different ways; and do not center, 
like so many lines, in one distinct and unambiguous 
moral. An example of this kind is furnished by La 
Motte in the observation he makes upon Fontaine's two 
pigeons. These pigeons had a reciprocal affection for 
each other. One of them showing a desire to travel, was 
earnestly opposed by his companion, but in vain. The 
former sets out upon his rambles, and encounters a thous- 
and unforeseen dangers; while the latter suffers near as 
much at home, through his apprehensions for his roving 


friend. However, our traveler, after many hairbreadth 
escapes, returns at length in safety, and the two pigeons 
are, once again, mutually happy in each other's com- 
pany. Now the application of this Fable is utterly vague 
and uncertain, for want Oi circumstances to determine 
whether the author designed principally to represent the 
dangers of the Traveler: his friend's anxiety during his 
absence; or their mutual happiness on his return. Where- 
as had the traveling pigeon met with no disasters on his 
way, but only found all pleasures insipid for want of his 
friend's participation ; and had he returned from no other 
motive than a desire of seeing him again, the whole then 
had happily closed in this one conspicuous inference, that 
the presence of a real friend is the most desirable of all 

The last rule I have mentioned, that a Fable should be 
natural, may be violated several Avays. It is opposed, 
when we make creatures enter into unnatural associa- 
tions. Thus the sheep or the goat must not be made to 
hunt with the lion; and it is yet more absurd, to repre- 
sent the lion as falling in love with the forester's daughter. 
It is infringed, by ascribing to them appetites and pas- 
sions that are not consistent with their known characters; 
or else by employing them in such occupations, as are 
foreign and unsuitable to their respective natures. A fox 
should not be said to long for grapes; a hedge-hog pre- 
tend to drive away flies; nor a partridge offer his service 
to delve in the vineyard. A ponderous iron and an 
earthen vase should not swim together down a river; and 
he that should make his goose lay golden eggs^ would 
show a luxuriant fancy, but very little judgment. In ^, 
short, nothing besides the faculty of speech and reason, 
which fable has been allowed to confer even upon inani- 
mates, must ever contradict the nature of things. 


Opinions indeed, although erroneous, if "ihey either are, 
or have been universally received, ma} afford sufficient 
foundation for a liable. The mandrake, here, may be 
made to utter groans and the dying swan to pour forth 
her elegy. The sphinx and the hcenix, the siren and the 
centaur, have all the existence that is requisite for fable. 
Nay, the goblin, the fairy, and even the man in the moon, 
may have each his province allotted to him, so it l)c not an 
improper one. Here the notoriety of opinion supplies 
the place of fact, and in this manner truth may fairly be 
deduced from falsehood. 

Concerning the incidents proper for Fable, it is a rule 
without exception, that they ought always to be few; it 
being foreign to the nature of this composition, to admit 
of much variety. Yet a Fable with only one single inci- 
dent, may possibly appear too naked, i!" ^sop and Phae- 
drus are herein sometimes too sparing, Fontaine and La 
]\Iotte are as often too profuse. In this, as in most other 
matters, a medium certainly is best, ^n a word, the inci- 
dents should not only be few but short; and like those in 
the Fables of "the swallow and other birds," '"the miller 
and his son," and "the court and country mouse," they 
'must naturally arise out of the subject, and serve to illus- 
trate and enforce the Moral. 




The race of animals first present themselves, as the 
proper actors in this little drama. They are indeed a 
species that approaches, in many respects, so near to our 
own, that we need only lend them speech, in order to pro- 
duce a striking resemblance. It would, however, be un- 
reasonable to expect a strict and universal similitude. 
There is a certain measure and degree of analog}', with 
which the most discerning reader will rest contented : for 
instance, he will accept the properties of animals, although 
necessary and invariable, as the images of our inclina- 
tions, though never so free. To require more than this, 
were to sap the very foundations of allegory; and even to 
deprive ourselves of half the pleasure that flows from 
poetry in general. 

Solomon sends us to the ant, to learn the wisdom of in- 
dustry: and our inimitable ethic poet introduces nature 
herself as giving us a familiar kind of counsel. 

Thus then to Man the voice of Nature spake: 
"Go, from the Creatures thy instructions take — 
"There all the forms of social union find, 
"And thence, let reason late instruct mankind." 

He supposes that animals in their native characters, 
without the advantages of speech and reason which are 
assigned them by the Fabulists, may in regard to Morals 
as well as Arts, become examples to the human race. In- 
deed, I am afraid we have so far deviated into fictitious 
appetites and fantastic manners, as to find the expediency 
of copying from them, that simplicity we ourselves have 


lost. If animals, in themselves may be thus exemplary, 
how much more may they be made instructive, under the 
direction of an able Fabulist; who by conferring upon 
them the gift of language, contrives to make their instincts 
more intelligible and their examples more determinate! 

But these are not his only actors. The Fabulist has 
one advantage above all other writers whatsoever; as all 
the works both of art and nature are more immediately at 
his disposal. He has, in this respect, a liberty not allowed 
to epic, or dramatic writers; who are undoubtedly more 
limited in the choice of persons to be employed. He has 
authority to press into his service, every kind of existence 
under heaven: not only beasts, birds, insects, and all the 
animal creation; but flowers, shrubs, trees and all the 
tribe of vegetables. Even mountains, fossils, minerals, 
and the inanimate works of nature discourse articulately 
at his command, and act the part whch he assigns them. 
The virtues, vices, and every property of beings, receive 
from him a local habitation and a name. In short he 
may personify, bestow^ life, speech and action on whatever 
he thinks proper. 

It is easy to imagine what a source of novelty and va- 
riety this must open, to a genius capable of conceiving, 
and of employing, these ideal persons in a proper man- 
ner: what an opportunity it affords him to diversify his 
images, and to treat the fancy wnth change of ob- 
jects; while he strengthens the understanding, or regu- 
lates the passions, by a succession of Truths. To 
raise beings like these into a state of action and intelli- 
gence, gives the Fabulist an undoubted claim to that 
first character of the poet, a Creator. I rank him not, 
as I said before, with the writers of epic or dramatic 
poems; but the maker of pins or needles is as much an art- 
ist, as an anchor-smith: and a painter in miniature may 


show as much skill, as he who paints in the largest pro- 

When these persons are once raised, we must carefully 
enjoin them proper tasks; and assign them sentiments 
and language suitable to their several natures, and respec- 
tive properties. 

A raven should not be extolled for her voice, nor a 
bear be represented with an elegant shape. It were a 
very obvious instance of absurdity, to paint a hare, cruel : 
or a wolf, compassionate. An ass were but ill qualified to 
be General of an army, though he may well enough serve 
perhaps for one of the trumpeters. But so long as popu- 
lar opinion allows to the lion, magnanimity; rage, to the 
tiger; strength, to the mule; cunning, to the fox; and buf- 
foonery, to the monkey; why may not they support the 
characters of an Agamemnon, Achilles, Ajax, Ulysses 
and Tliersites? The truth is, when Moral actions are 
with judgment attributed to the brute creation, we scarce 
perceive that nature is at all violated by the Fabulist. He 
appears, at most, to have only translated their language. 
His lions, wolves, and foxes, behave and argue as those 
creatures w'ould, had they originally been endowed with 
the human faculties of speech and reason. 

But greater art is yet required, whenever we personify 
inanimate beings. Here the copy so far deviates from 
the great lines of nature, that without the nicest care, rea- 
son will revolt against 'the fiction. However, beings of 
this sort, managed ingeniously and with address, recom- 
mend the Fabulist's invention by the grace of novelty and 
of variety. Indeed the analog}- between things natural 
and artificial, animal and inanimate, is often so very strik- 
ing, that we can, with seeming propriety, give passions 
and sentiments to every individual part of existence. Ap- 



pcarance favors the deception. The vine may be enam- 
ored of the elm; her embraces testify her passion. The 
swelHng mountain may, naturally enoug'h, be delivered of 
a mouse. The gourd may reproach the pine, and the sky- 
rocket, insult the stars. The axe may solicit a new han- 
dle of the forest; and the moon, in her female character, 
request a fashionable garment. Here is nothing incon- 
gruous; nothing that shocks the reader with impropriety. 
On the other hand, were the axe to desire a perriwig, and 
the moon petition for a pair of new boots; probability 
would then be violated, and the absurdity become too 



The most beautiful fables that ever were invented, may 
be disfigured by the language in which they are clothed. 
Of this, poor .i^sop, in some of his English dresses, af- 
fords a melancholy proof. The ordinary style of Fable 
should be familiar, but also elegant. Were I to instance 
any style that I should prefer on this occasion, it should 
be that of Mr. Addison's little tales in the Spectator. That 
ease and simplicity, that conciseness and propriety, that 
subdued and decent humor he so remarkably discovers 
there ; seem to have qualified him for a Fabulist, almost 
beyond any other writer. But to return. 

The Familiar, says Mr. LaMotte, to whose ingenious 
essay I have often been obliged in this discourse, is the 
general tone, or accent of fable. It was thought suffi- 
cient, on its first appearance, to lend the animals our 


most common language. Nor indeed have they any ex- 
traordinary pretensions to the sublime; it being requisite 
they should speak with the same simplicity that they 

The familiar also is more proper for insinuation, than 
the elevated; this being the language of reflection, as the 
former is the voice of sentiment. We guard ourselves 
against the one, but lie open to the other; and instruction 
will always the most effectually sway us, when it appears 
least jealous of its rights and privileges. 

The familiar style however that is here required, not- 
withstanding that appearance of ease which is its char- 
acter, is perhaps more difficult to write, than the more 
elevated or sublime. A writer more readily perceives 
when he has risen above the common language; than he 
perceives, in speaking that language, whether he has 
made the choice that is most suitable to the occasion ; and 
it is, nevertheless, upon this happy choice depends all 
the charm of the familiar. ]\Ioreover, the elevated style ' 
deceives and seduces, although it be not the best chosen; 
whereas the familiar can procure itself no sort of respect, 
if it be not easy, natural, just, delicate, and unaflfected. 
A Fabulist must therefore bestow great attention upon 
his style : and even labor it so much the more, that it may 
appear to have cost him no pains at all. 

The authority of Fontaine justifies these opinions in 
regard to style. His fables are perhaps the best ex- 
amples of the genteel familiar, as Sir Roger L'Estrange"' 
affords the grossest, of the indelicate and low. This 
may be familiar, but is also coarse and vulgar ; and cannot 
fail to disgust a reader that has the least degree of taste 
or delicacy. 


The style of Fable then must be simple and familiar; 
and it must likewise be correct and elegant. By the 
former, I would advise that it should not be loaded with 
figure and metaphor; that the disposition of words be 
natural; the turn of sentences, easy; and their construc- 
tion, unembarrassed. By elegance, I would exclude all 
coarse and privincial terms; all afifecited and puerile con- 
ceits; all obsolete and pedantic phrases. To this I would 
adjoin, as the word perhaps implies, a certain finishing 
polish, which gives a grace and spirit to the whole; and 
which though it has always the appearance of nature 
is almost ever the effect of art. 

But, notwithstanding all that has been said, there are 
some occasions on which it is allowable, and even ex- 
pedient, to change the style. The language of a Fable 
must rise or fall in conformity to the subject. A lion, 
when introduced in his regal capacity, must hold discourse 
in a strain somewhat more elevated than a Country- 
]\Iouse. The lioness then becomes his Queen, and the 
beasts of the forest are called his subjects; a method that 
offers at once to the imagination, both the animal and the 
person he is designed to represent. Again, the buffoon- 
monkey should avoid that pomp of phrase, which the owl 
en:ploys as her best pretense to wisdom. Unless the 
style be thus judiciously varied, it will be impossible to 
preserve a just distinction of character. 

Descriptions, at once concise and pertinent, add a grace 
to Fable; but are then most happy, when included in the 
action, whereof the Fable of Boreas and the sun affords 
us an example. An epithet well chosen is often a descrip- 
tion in itself, and so much the more agreeable, as it the 
less retards us, in our pursuit of the catastrophe. 

I might enlarge much further on the subject, but per- 
haps 1 may appear to have been too diffuse already. Let 


it suffice to hint, that little strokes of humor, when arising 
naturally from the subject, and incidental reflections, 
when kept in due subordination to the principal, add a 
value to these compositions. These latter however should 
be employed very sparingly, and with great address. It 
is scarcely enough that they naturally spring out of the 
subject; they should be such as to appear necessary and 
essential parts of the Fable. And when these embellish- 
ments, pleasing in themselves, tend to illustrate the main 
action, they then afiford that nameless grace remarkable 
in Fontaine and some few others, and which persons of 
the best discernment will more easily conceive, than they 
can explain. 



C^c mosi tt>ortf}lc55 persons arc generally tf?e most 


The Israelites, ever murmuring and discontented 
under the reign of Jehovah, were desirous of having a 
king, like the rest of the nations. They offered the 
kingdom to Gideon, their deliverer; to him, and to his 
posterity after him: he generously refused their offer, 
and reminded them that Jehovah was their king. When 
Gideon was dead, Abimelech, his son by a concubine, 
slew all his other sons to the number of seventy, Joatham 
alone escaping; and by the assistance of the Shechem- 
ites made himself king. Joatham, to represent to them 
their folly, and to show them that the most deserving 
are generally the least ambitious, whereas the worth- 
less grasp at power with eagerness, and exercise it with 
insolence and tyranny, spake to them in the following 

Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, so may God 
hearken unto you. The Trees, grov»'n weary of the state 
of freedom and equality in which God had placed them, 
met together to choose and to anoint a king over them: 
and they said to the Olive-tree, Reign thou over us. 
But the Olive-tree said unto them. Shall I quit my 
fatness wherewith God and man is honored, to disquiet 
myself with the cares of government, and rule over the 
Trees? And they said unto the Fig-tree, Come thou, 


and reign over us. But tlie Fig-tree said unto them, 
Shall I bid adieu to my sweetness and my pleasant fruit, 
to take upon me the painful charge of royalty, and to be 
set over the Trees? Then said the Trees unto the Vine, 
Come thou and reign over us. But the Vine said also 
unto them, Shall I leave my wine, which honoreth God 
and cheereth man, to bring upon myself nothing but 
trouble and anxiety, and to become king of the Trees? 
We are happy in our present lot: seek some other to 
reign over you. Then said all the Trees unto the 
Bramble, Come thou and reign over us. And the 
Bramble said unto them, I will be your king; come ye 
all under my shadow, and be safe; obey me, and I will 
grant you my protection. But if you obey mc not, out 
of the Bramble shall come forth a fire, which shall devour 
even the cedars of Lebanon. 

3t is better to bear wxtlf some bcfccts in a milb anb g^an-' 

tie gopernmcnt, tfjan to risk tfje greater ertls 

of tyranny anb oppression. 



As ^sop was traveling over Greece, he happened to 
pass through Athens just after Pisistratus had abolished 
the popular state, and usurped a sovereign power; when, 
perceiving that the Athenians bore the yoke, though 
mild and easy, with much impatience, he related to them 
the following fable: 

The commonwealth of Frogs, a discontented, variable 
race, weary of liberty, and fond of change, petitioned 



Jupiter to grant them a king. The good-natured deity, 
in order to indulge this their request, with as little mis- 
chief to the petitioners as possible, threw them down a 

The^ fkpGS 
^ (desiring 

a KjHG 

Log. At first they regarded their new monarch with 
great reverence, and kept from him at a most respectful 
distance: but perceiving his tame and peaceable disposi- 



tioii. thcv by degrees ventured to approach him with 
mure famiHarit\-, till at length they conceived for liim 

the utmost contempt. In this disposition, they renewed 
their request to Jupiter, and entreated him to bestow 
upon them another king. The Thunderer in his wrath 


sent them a Crane, who no sooner took possession of 
his new dominions, than he began to devour his subjects 
one after another in a most capricious and tyrannical 
manner. They were now far more dissatisfied than be- 
fore; when applying to Jupiter a third time, they were 
dismissed with being told that the evil they complained 
of they had imprudently brought upon themselves; and 
that they had no other remedy now but to submit to it 
with patience. 

XDe severely censure tfjat tn otijers, tnljicfj u)e ourselpes 
practice tpitt^out scruple. 


A Wolf, says Plutarch, peeping into a hut, where 
a company of Shepherds were regaling themselves with 
a joint of mutton; Lord, said he, what a clamor would 
these men have raised if they had caught me at such a 
banquet ! 

CF?e folly of tr>isljing to toitljljolb our part from tl?e sup= 
port of ciuil got»ernment. 


Menenius Agrippa, a Roman consul, being deputed 
by the senate to appease a dangerous tumult and sedi- 
tion of the people, who refused to pay the taxes neces- 
sary for carrying on the business of the state, con- 
vinced them of their folly by delivering to them the 
following fable: 



My friends and countrvnicn, said he, attend to my 
words. It once happened that the members of the 
human body, taking some exception at the conduct of 
the Belly, resolved no longer to grant him the usual sup- 
plies. The Tongue first, in a seditious speech, aggra- 
vated their grievances; and after highly extolling the 
activity and diligence of the Hands and Feet, set forth 
how hard and unreasonable it was, that the fruits of their 

labor should be squandered away upon the insatiable 
cravings of a fat and indolent paunch, which was en- 
tirely useless, and unable to do anything towards help- 
ing himself. This speech was received with unanimous 
applause by all the members. Immediately the Hands 
declared they would work no more : the Feet determined 
to carrv no farther the load with which thev had hith- 


erto been oppressed; nay, the very Teeth refused to 
prepare a single morsel more for his use. In this dis- 
tress the Belly besought them to consider maturely, and 
not foment so senseless a rebellion. There is none of 
you, says he, but may be sensible that whatsoever you 
bestow upon me is immediately converted to your use, 
and dispersed by me for the good of you all into every 
limb. But he remonstrated in vain; for during the 
clamors of passion the voice of reason is always unre- 
garded. It being therefore impossible for him to quiet 
the tumult, he was starved for want of their assistance, 
and the body wasted away to a skeleton. The Limbs, 
grown weak and languid, were sensible at last of their 
error, and would fain have returned to their respective 
duty, but it was now too late; death had taken posses- 
sion of the whole, and they all perished together. 

ITTc sfjoulb u?ell consiber, wl}dl}cv tijc remoDal of a 
present er>tl bozs not tenb to probuce a greater. 


Aristotle informs us that the following fable was 
spoken by /Esop to the Samians, on a debate upon 
changing their ministers, who were accused of plun- 
dering the commonwealth: 

A Fox swimming across a river, happened to be en- 
tangled in some weeds that grew near the shore, from 
which he was unable to extricate himself. As he lay thus 
exposed to whole swarms of flies, who were galling him 
and sucking his blood, a Hedgehog, observing his dis- 



tress, kindly offered to drive them away. By no means, 
said the Fox; for if these should be chased away, who 
are already sufttciently gorged, another more hungry 
swarm would succeed, and I should be robbed of every 
remaining drop of l^lood in my veins. 



IPfjereuer flattery gains abmtssion, it seems to banis^ 
common sense. 


A Fox observing a Raven perched on the branch of a 
tree, with a fine piece of cheese in her mouth, immedi- 
ately began to consider how he might possess himself of 
so delicious a morsel. Dear madam, said he, I am 
extremely glad to have the pleasure of seeing you this 
morning: your beautiful shape, and shining feathers ar'e 
the delight of my eyes; and would you condescend to 
favor me with a song? I doubt not but your voice is 
equal to the rest of your accomplishments. Deluded 
with this flattering speech, the transported Raven opened 
her mouth, in order to give him a specimen of her pipe, 
when down dropped the cheese: which the Fox imme- 
diately snatching up, bore away in triumph, leaving the 
Raven to lament her credulous vanitv at her leisure. 


Wc sl^oulb ahuays reflect, before tuc rally anotf^er, 
ipljetljer ivc can bear to I^are tl^e jest retorteb. 


The Fox, though in general more inchned to roguery 
than wit, had once a strong incHnation to play the wag 
with his neighbor, the Stork. He accordingly invited her 
to dinner in great form; but when it came upon the 
table, the Stork found it consisted entirely of different 
soups, served up in broad shallow dishes, so that she 
could only dip in the end of her bill, but could not pos- 
sibly satisfy her hunger. The Fox lapped it up very 
readily, and every now and then, addressing himself to 
his guest, desired to know how she liked her entertain- 
ment; hoped that everything was seasoned to her taste; 
and protested he was very sorry to see her eat so spar- 
ingly. The Stork, perceiving she was played upon, took 
no notice, but pretended to like every dish extremely: 
and at parting pressed the Fox so earnestly to return 
her visit, that he could not in civility refuse. When the 
day arrived, he repaired to his appointment; but to his 
great mortification, when dinner appeared, he found it 
composed of minced meat, served up in long narrow- 
necked glasses; so that he was only tantalized with the 
sight of what it was impossible for him to taste. The 
Stork thrust in her long bill, and helped herself very 
plentifully; then turning to Reynard, who was eagerly 
licking the outside of a jar where some sauce had been 
spilled — I am very glad, said she, smiling, that you 
seem to have so good an appetite; I hope you will make 
as hearty a dinner at my table as I did the other day 
at yours. Reynard hung down his head, and looked very 



much displeased. Nay, nay, said the Stork, don't pretend 
to be out of humor about the matter: they that cannot 
take a jest, should never make one. 



Co aim at figiure by tl}<i means citfjcr of borron?cb w\t, 

or borromeb money, goneralli) subjects us at 

last to tenfolb ribicule. 


A pragmatical Jackdaw was vain enough to imagine 
that he wanted nothing but the dress to render him as 
elegant a bird as the Peacock. Puffed up with this wise 
conceit, he plumed himself with a sufficient quantity of 
their most beautiful feathers, and in this borrowed garb, 
forsaking his old companions, endeavored to pass for a 
Peacock. But he no sooner attempted to associate with 
these genteel creatures than an affected strut betrayed 
the vain pretender. The offended Peacocks, plucking 
from him their degraded feathers, soon stripped him of 
his gentility, reduced him to a mere Jackdaw, and drove 
him back to his brethren ; by whom he was now equally 
despised, and justly punished with general derision and 



Cf?ose tr>{?o bo not feci tf?c sentiments of f^umantty, mill 
sclbom listen to tije picas of reason. 


A Wolf and a Lamb were accidentally quenching their 
thirst togetlier at the same rivulet. The Wolf stood 
towards the head of the stream, and the Lamb at some 
distance below. The injurious beast, resolved on a quar- 
rel, fiercely demands, How dare you disturb the water 

which I am drinking? The poor Lamb, all trembling, 
replies, How, I beseech you, can that possibly be the 
case, since the current sets from you to me? Discon- 
certed by the force of truth, he changes the accusation. 
Six months ago, says he, you vilely slandered me. Im- 
possible, returns the Lamb, for I was not then born. 
Xo matter; it was your father then, or some of your 
relations: and immediately seizing the innocent lamb, 
he tore him to pieces. 


3t is- unjuft anb cruel to raise ourselrcs mirtlj at tFjc 
expense of anotFjer's \>Qacc anb Ijayip'mcss. 


On the margin of a large lake, which was inhabited 
by a great number of Frogs, a company of Boys hap- 
pened to be at play. Their diversion was duck and drake; 
and whole volleys of stones were whirled into the water, 
to the great annoyance and danger of the poor terrified 
Frogs. At length, one of the most hardy, lifting his 
head above the surface of the lake; Ah, dear children, 
said he, why will you learn so soon the cruel practices 
of your race? Consider, I beseech you, that, though 
this may be sport to you, it is death to us. 

Co raise uncommon e.vpectations, renbcrs an orbinary 
erent ribiculous. 


A rumor once prevailed that a neighboring Mountain 
was in labor; it was afifirmed that she had been heard 
to utter prodigious groans; and a general expectation 
had been raised that some extraordinary birth was at 
hand. Multitudes flocked with much eagerness to be 
witnesses of the wonderful event: one expecting her to 
be delivered of a giant; another of some enormous mon- 
ster; and all were suspended in earnest expectation of 
somewhat grand and astonishing. When, after waiting 
with great impatience a considerable time, behold! out 
crept a little ridiculous Mouse. 




Co rely principally upon our own biliaonco in matters 
il}a\ concern ourselues alone. 


A Lark having built her nest in a field of corn, it grew 
ripe before her young were well able to fly. Appre- 
hensive for their safety, she enjoined them, while she 
went out in order to provide for their subsistence, to 
listen very attentively, if they should hear any discourse 
concerning the reaping of the field. At her return they 
told her, that the farmer and his son had been there, and 
had agreed to send to some of their neighbors to assist 
them in cutting it down the next day. And so they 
depend, it seems, upon neighbors, said the mother: 
very well; then I think we have no occasion to be 
afraid of to-morrow. The next day she went out, and 
left with them the same injunction as before. When she 
returned they acquainted her that the farmer and his 
son had again been there, but as none of their neighbors 
came to their assistance, they had deferred reaping till 
the next day, and intended to send for help to their 
friends and relations. I think we may still venture 
another day, says the mother; but, however, be care- 
ful as before, to let me know what passes in my ab- 
sence. They now inform her that the farmer and his 
son had a third time visited the field, and, finding that 
neither friend nor relation had regarded their summons, 
they were determined to come the next morning and 
cut it down themselves. Nay then, replied the Lark, 
it is time to think of removing: for as they now depend 
only upon themselves for doing their own business, it 
will undoubtedly be performed. 


CXn or>er»greeby bisposttion often subjects us to tl)c loss 
of wl}at n?e alreaby possess, 


A hungry Spaniel, having stolen a piece of flesh from 
a butcher's shop, was carrying it across a river. The 
water being clear, and the sun shining brightly, he saw 
his own image in the stream, and fancied it to be an- 
other dog, with a more delicious morsel: upon which, 
unjustly and greedily opening his jaws to snatch at the 
shadow, he lost the substance. 

Cf?c false estimate tt>e often make in preferring our 
ornamental talents to our useful ones. 


A Stag quenching his thirst in a clear lake, was struck 
with the beauty of his horns, which he saw reflected in 
the water. At the same time, observing the extreme 
slenderness of his legs; What a pity it is, said he, that 
so fine a creature should be furnished with so despicable 
a set of spindle shanks! What a truly noble animal I 
should be, were my legs in any degree answerable to 
my horns! In the midst of this soliloquy, he was 
alarmed with the cry of a pack of hounds. He imme- 
diately flies over the forest, and left his pursuers so far 
Behind that he might probably have escaped; but, tak- 
ing into a thick wood, his horns were entangled in 
the branches, where he was held till the hounds came 
up, and tore him in pieces. In his last moments he 



thus exclaimed: How ill do we judge of our own true 
advantages! The kgs which I despised would have 
borne nic away in safety, had not my favorite antlers 
betraved me to ruin. 



Some wxli listen to no conmction but toljat tfjey beripe 
from fatal experience. 


A Swallow, observing a farmer employed in sowing 
hemp, called the little birds together, informed them 
what he was about, and told them that hemp was the 
material from which the nets, so fatal to the feathered 
race, were composed: advising them unanimously to 
join in picking it up, in order to prevent the conse- 
quences. The birds, either dis- \p 
believing his information, ^^ 

or neglecting his ad- 
vice, gave themselves no trou- 
ble about the matter. In a little time the hemp appeared 
above ground: the friendly Swallow again addressed 
himself to them, told them it was not yet too late, pro- 
vided they would immediately set about the work, be- 
fore the seeds had taken too deep root. But they still 
rejecting his advice, he forsook their society, repaired 
for safety to towns and cities, and there built his habita- 
tions and kept his residence. One day, as he was skim- 
ming along the street, he happened to see a large parcel 


of those very birds, imprisoned in a cage, on the shoul- 
ders of a bird-catcher. Unhappy wretches, said he, 
you now feel the punishment of your former neglect. 
But those, who, having no foresight of their own, de- 
spise the wholesome admonitions of their friends, de- 
serve the mischiefs which their own obstinacy or negli- 
gence brings upon their heads. 

3t is tijc utmost extent of some men's gratitube to refrain 
from oppressing anb injuring their benefactors. 


A Wolf having with too much greediness swallowed a 
bone, it unfortunately stuck in his throat; and in the vio- 
lence of his pain he applied to several animals, earnestly 
entreating them to extract it. None cared to hazard the 
dangerous experiment, except the Crane, who, persuaded 
by his solemn promises of a gratuity, ventured to thrust 
her enormous length of neck down his throat, and suc- 
cessfully performed the operation. When claiming the 
recompense; See the unreasonableness of some crea- 
tures, replied the Wolf: have I not suffered thee safely 
to draw thy neck out of my jaws, and hast thou the con- 
science to demand a further reward! 


CI)C folli) of attempting to recommcnb oursclrcs by a 
bcljarior foreign to our cljaracter. 


An Ass who lived in the same family with a favorite 
Lap-dog. observing the superior degree of affection 
which the little minion enjoyed, imagined he had noth- 
ing more to do, to obtain an equal share in their good 
graces, than to imitate the Lap-dog's playful and endear- 
ing caresses. Accordingly, he began to frisk about be- 
fore his master, kicking up his heels and braying, in 
an awkward affectation of wantonness and pleasantry. 
This strange behavior could not fail of raising much 
laughter; which the Ass, mistaking for approbation and 
encouragement, He proceeded to leap upon his master's 
breast, and began very familiarly to lick his face: but 
he was presently convinced by the force of a good 
cudgel, that what is sprightly and agreeable in one, may 
in another be justly censured as rude and impertinent: 
and that the surest way to gain esteem is for every one 
to act suitablv to his own natural genius and character. 



H)e Tiuiy dll ncc6 tl^e assistance of our inferiors; anb 

sl^oulb bi) no means consiber tlje meanest amon^j 

tl?em as irl^ollij incapable of returning 

an obligation 


A Lion by accident laid his paw upon a poor, innocent 
Mouse. The frightened little creature, imagining she 
was just going to be devoured, begged hard for her life, 
urged that clemency was the fairest attribute of power, 
and earnestly entreated his majesty not to stain his illus- 
trious claws with the blood of so insignificant an animal: 
upon which the Lion very generously set her at liberty. 
It happened a few days afterwards that the Lion, rang- 
ing for his prey, fell into the toils of the hunter. The 
Mouse heard his roarings, knew the voice of her bene- 
factor, and immediately repairing to his assistance, 
gnawed in pieces the meshes of the net, and by deliver- 
ing her preserver convinced him that there is no crea- 
ture so much below another but may have it in his 
power to return a good ofifice. 



trijc folly of confcmng cttf^er pomer upon tfjc miscl^tct?^ 
0U5, or fapors on tlje unbcserptng. 


An honest Countryman observed a Snake lying under 
a hedge, almost frozen to death. He was moved with 
compassion; and bringing it home, he laid it near the 
fire, and gave it some new milk. Thus fed and cherished, 

the creature presently began to revive: but no sooner 
had he recovered strength enough to do mischief than 
he sprung upon the Countryman's wife, bit one of his 
children, and, in short, threw the whole family into con- 
fusion and terror. Ungrateful wretch! said the Man, 
thou hast sufficiently taught me how ill-judged it is to 
confer benefits on the worthless and undeserving. So 
saying, he snatched up a hatchet and cut the Snake in 



(Scntlc means, on many occasions, arc more effectual 
il}an riolent ones. 


rays, which, melting 
our Traveler by de- 
g r e e s, at length 
obliged him to throw 
aside that cloak, which 
all the rage of ^olus 
could not compel him 
to resign. Learn 
hence, said Phoebus to 
the blustering god, 
that soft and gentle 
means will often ac- 
complish what force 
and fury can never ef- 

Phoebus and /Eolus had 
once a dispute, which of them 
could soonest prevail with a 
certain Traveler to part with 
his cloak, ^olus began the 
attack, and assaulted him 
with great violence. But the 
]\Ian, wrapping his cloak still 
closer about him, doubled his 
efforts to keep it, and went on 
his way. And now Phoebus 
darted his warm, insinuating 


XPc arc altrays reaby to censure fortune for tl]e ill effects 
of our own carelessness. 


A Schoolboy, fatigued with play, threw himself down 
by the brink of a deep pit, where he fell fast asleep. For- 
tune happening to pass by, and seeing him in this dan- 
gerous situation, kindly gave him a tap on the shoul- 
der: 'Sly dear child, said she, if you had fallen into 
this pit, I should have borne the blame, though in fact 
the accident would have been wholly owing to your own 

Misfortune, said a celebrated cardinal, is but an- 
other word for imprudence. This maxim is by no means 
absolutely true; certain, however, it is, that mankind 
suffer more evils from their own imprudence than from 
events which are not in their power to control. 

CI mere competence voitl} liberty, is preferable to serpitube 
amib tfje .greatest affluence. 


A lean, half-starved Wolf inadvertently strolled in the 
way of a strong, well-fed Mastifif. The Wolf being much 
too weak to act upon the ofifensive, thought it most 
prudent to accost honest Towser in a friendly manner: 
and among other civilities, very complaisantly congrat- 
ulated him on his goodly appearance. Why, yes, re- 


turned the Mastiff, I am indeed in tolerable ease; and if 
you will follow me, you may soon be altogether in as good 
a plight. The Wolf pricked up his ears at the proposal 
and requested to be informed what he must do to earn 
such plentiful meals. Very little, replied the Mastiff; 
only drive away beggars, caress my master, and be civil 
to his family. To these conditions the hungry Wolf had 

no objection, and very readily consented to follow his 
new acquaintance wherever he would conduct him. As 
they were trotting along, the Wolf observed that the hair 
was worn in a circle round his friend's neck; which 
raised his curiosity to inquire what was the occasion of 
it? Nothing, answered the Mastiff, or a mere trifle; 
perhaps the collar to which my chain is sometimes 
fastened. Chain! replied the Wolf, with much sur- 


prise; it should seem then that you are not permitted 
to rove about where and when you please. Not al- 
ways, returned Towser, hanging down his head; but 
what does that signify? It signifies so much, re- 
joined the Wolf, that I am resolved to have no share in 
your dinners: half a meal with liberty, is in my estima- 
tion preferable to a full one without. 

Cl?c follu of arrogatitig to ourscbcs works of vo\\\z\\ \x>i 
are by no means za-!^(x\>\t, 


Some honey-combs being claimed by a swarm of 
Wasps, the right owners protested against their demand, 
and the cause was referred to a Hornet. Witnesses being 
examined, they deposed that certain winged creatures, 
who had a loud hum, were of a yellowish color, and some- 
what like Bees, were observed a considerable time Cover- 
ing about the place where this nest was found. But this 
did not sufBciently decide the question; for these char- 
acteristics, the Hornet observed, agreed no less with the 
Bees than with the Wasps, At length, a sensible old Bee 
offered to put the matter upon this decisive issue: Let a 
place be appointed, said he, by the court, for the plaintiffs 
and defendants to work in: it will then soon appear which 
of us are capable of forming such regular cells, and after- 
wards of filling them with so delicious a fluid. The Wasps 
refusing to agree to this proposal, sufficiently convinced 
the judge on which side the right lay, and he decreed the 
honey-comb accordingly. 



Cbc least consibcraMo of all manktnb arc sclbom besti= 
tuto of self-importance. 


A conceited Gnat, fully persuaded of his own impor- 
tance, having placed himself on the horn of a Bull, ex- 
pressed great uneasiness lest his weight should be incom- 
modious; and with much ceremony begged the Bull's par- 
don for the liberty he had taken; assuring him that he 
would immediately remove, if he pressed too hard upon 
him. Give yourself no uneasiness on that account, replied 
the Bull, I beseech you: for as I never perceived when 
you sat down, I shall probably not miss you whenever 
you rise up. 

Cl?e great imprubencc of an association w\ti} too por»er= 
ful allies. 


A Leopard, a Lynx, and a Wolf were ambitious of the 
honor of hunting with the Lion. His savage majesty 
graciously condescended to their desire, and it was agreed 
that they should all have an equal share in whatever 
might be taken. They scour the forest, are unanimous 
in the pursuit, and, after a very fine chase, pull down a 
noble stag. It was divided with great dexterity by the 
Lynx, into four equal parts; but just as each was going to 



secure his share — Hold, says the Lion, let no one presume 
to serve himself, till he hath heard our just and reasonable 
claims. 1 seize upon the first quarter by virtue of my 
prerogative; the second I think is due to my superior con- 
duct and courage; I cannot forego the third on account 
of the necessities of my den ; and if any one is inclined to 
dispute my right to the fourth, let him speak. Awed by 
the majesty of his fro'vvn, and the terror of his claws, they 
silently withdrew, resolving never to hunt again but with 
their equals. 


tEF?e tnbcpcnbciKC acquircb by inbustry, preferable to tijc 
most splcnbib state of rassalage. 


An Ant and a Fly had once a ridiculous contest about 
precedency, and were arguing which of the two was the 
more honorable: such disputes most frequently happen 
amongst the lowest and most worthless creatures. The 
Fly expressed great resentment, that such a poor, crawl- 
ing insect should presume to lie basking in the same sun- 
shine, with one so much her superior! Thou hast not 
surely the insolence, said she, to imagine thyself of an 
equal rank with me. I am none of your low mechanic 
creatures who live by their industry; but enjoy in plenty, 
and without labor, every thing that is truly delicious. I 
place myself uncontrolled upon the heads of kings ; I kiss 
with freedom the lips of beauties; and feast upon the 
choicest sacrifices that are oflfered to the gods. To eat 
with the gods, replied the Ant, and to enjoy the favors of 
the fair and the powerful, would be great honor indeed, 
to one who was an invited or a welcome guest ; but an im- 
pertinent intruder, who is driven out with aversion and 
contempt wherever he appears, has not much cause me- 
thinks to boast of his privileges. And as to the honor of 
not laboring for your subsistence ; here too your boast is 
only your disgrace; for hence it is, that one half of the 
year you are destitute even of the common necessaries of 
life; whilst I, at the same time retiring to the hoarded 
granaries, which my honest industry has filled, enjoy 
every satisfaction, independent of the favor either of beau- 
ties or of kings. 



Corparbs are incapable of true frienbsl^ip. 

Two Friends, setting out together upon a journey 
which led through a dangerous desert, mutually promised 
to assist each other, in whatever manner they might be 
assaulted. They had not proceeded far, before they per- 
ceived a Bear making towards them with great rage. 
There were no hopes in flight; but one of them, being 
very active, sprung up into a tree; upon which, the 

other, throwing himself flat on the ground, held his 
breath, and pretended to be dead; remembering to have 
heard it asserted that this creature wall not prey upon a 
lifeless carcass. The Bear came up, and after smelling of 
him some time, left him, and went on. When he was 
fairly out of sight and hearing, the hero from the tree 
calls out — Well, my friend, what said the Bear? He 


seemed to wliisper you very closely. He did so, replied 
the other; and gave me this good piece of advice, never 
to associate with a Wretch, who in the hour of danger 
will desert his friend. 

Cittio minbs arc so mxicl} elcratcb hy an^ abvanta3,<i gaineb 
opcr tl^cir superiors, as to ho immcbiatclij t{)ron?n 
off tf^eir guarb against a subbcn cljange of fortune. 


Avaunt! thou paltry, contemptible insect! said a proud 
Lion one day to a Gnat that was frisking about in the air 
near his den. The Gnat, enraged at this unprovoked in- 
sult, vowed revenge, and immediately settled upon the 
Lion's neck. After having sufficiently teased him in that 
quarter, she quitted her station and retired under his bel- 
ly; and from thence made her last and most formidable 
attack in his nostrils, where stinging him almost to mad- 
ness, the Lion at length fell down, utterly spent with rage, 
vexation and pain. The Gnat having thus abundantly 
gratified her resentment, flew of¥ in great exultation ; but 
in the heedless transports of her success, not sufficiently 
attending to her own security, she found herself in her 
retreat unexpectedly entangled in the web of a Spider; 
who rushing out instantly upon her, put an end at once 
to her triumph and her life. 

This fable instructs us never to sufifer success so far 
to transport us, as to throw us oft our guard against a 
reverse of fortune. 



3t is the enjoyment of what tr>e possess that alone gire; 
it any ualue. 


A Miser having scraped together a considerable sur of 
money, by denying himseh' the common conveniences of 
hfe, was much embarrassed where to lodge it most se- 
curely. After many perplexing debates with himself, 
he at length fixed upon a corner in a retired field, where 
he deposited his treasure, and with it his heart, in a hole 
which he dug for that purpose. His mind was now for 
a moment at ease, but he had not proceeded many paces 
in his way home, when all his anxiety returned, and he 
could not forbear going back to see that everything was 
safe. Tills he repeated again and again, till he was at 
last observed by a Laborer who was mending a hedge in 


an adjacent meadow. The fellow concluding that some- 
thing extraordinary must be the occasion of these fre- 
quent visits, marked the spot, and coming in the night in 
order to examine it, he discovered the prize, and bore it 
off unmolested. Early the next morning, the Miser again 
renewed his visit, when finding his treasure gone, he 
broke out into the most bitter exclamations. A Traveler, 
who happened to be passing by at the same time, was 
moved by his complaints to inquire into the occasion of 
them. Alas! replied the Miser, I have sustained the most 
cruel and irreparable loss ! some villain has robbed me of 
a sum of money, which I buried under the stone no longer 
ago than yesterday. Buried! returned the Traveler, with 
surprise, a very extraordinary method truly of disposing 
of your riches! Why did you not rather keep them in 
your house, that they might be ready for your daily oc- 
casions? Daily occasions! resumed the Miser, with an 
air of much indignation ; do you imagine I so little know 
the value of money, as to suffer it to be run away with by 
occasions? On the contrary, I had prudently resolved not 
to touch a single shilling of it. If that was your wise reso- 
lution, answered the Traveler, I see no sort of reason for 
your being thus afflicted; it is but putting this stone in 
the place of your treasure, and it will answer all your pur- 
poses full as well. 



vol)om tr>e employ to execute our ren^cance upon 
otl}<tx5, may, aftcxxvaibs, turn I^ts I^anb 
against oursebes. 


Before the use of horses was known in the world, one 
of those noble animals, having been insulted by a Stag, 
and finding himself unequal to his adversary, applied to a 
Man for assistance. The request was easily granted, and 
the Man putting a bridle in his mouth, and mounting 
upon his back, soon came up with the Stag, and laid him 
dead at his enemy's feet. The Horse having thus gratified 
his revenge, thanked his auxiliary: xA-nd now v/ill I re- 
turn in triumph, said he, and reign the undisputed lord of 
the forest. By no means, replied the ]\Ian; I shall have 
occasion for your services, and you must go home with 
me. So saying, he led him to his hovel, where the un- 
happy steed spent the remainder of his days in a laborious 
servitude : sensible, too late, that, how pleasing soever re- 
venge may appear, it always costs more to a generous 
mind than the purchase is worth. 


ilbat when me arc gotng to encounter bifficultics, wz 

f-l^oulb bcpcnb more upon our oa->n strcncjtb than 

tF^e assistance of our neigtjbors. 


A Fox and a Goat traveling together, in a very sultry 
day, found themselves exceedingly thirsty, when looking 
round the country in order to discover a place where they 
might probably meet with water, they at length descried 
a clear spring at the bottom of a pit. They both eagerly 
descended, and having sufficiently allayed their thirst, it 
was time to consider how they should get out. 'Sla.ny 
expedients for that purpose were mutually proposed, and 
rejected. At last the crafty Fox cried out with great joy, 
I have a thought just struck into my mind, which I am 
confident will extricate us out of our difficulty; do you, 
said he to the Goat, only rear yourself up upon your hind 
legs, and rest your fore feet against the side of the pit. In 
this posture, I will climb up to your head, from whence 1 
shall be able, with a spring, to reach the top; and when I 
am once there, you are sensible it will be very easy for 
me to pull you out by the horns. The simple goat liked 
tlie proposal well; and immediately placed himself as 
directed: by means of which the Fox, without much dif- 
ficulty, gained the top. And now, said the Goat, give 
me the assistance you promised. Thou old fool, replied 
the Fox, hadst thou but half as much wit as beard, thou 
wouldst never have believed that I would hazard my own 
life to save thine. However, I will leave with thee a piece 
of advice, which may be of service to thee hereafter, if 
thou shouldst have the good fortune to make thy escape : 
Never venture into a pit again, before thou hast well con- 
sidered how to get out of it. 



2]Ten unber calamity mail socm to misf? for DcatI?, but 

ttjcy sclbom bib f}im ux^Icomc wljcn Jje stares 

tf)om in tf)e face. 


A feeble old ]\Ian, quite spent with carrying a burthen 
of sticks, which with much labor he had gathered in a 
neighboring wood, called upon Death to release him from 

the fatigues he en- 
dured. Death hear- 
ing the invocation. 
was immediately at 
his e 1 b o w% and 
asked him what he 




wanted. Frightened and trembling at the unexpected 
appearance — O good sir! said he, my burthen had hke to 
have slipped from me, and being unable to recover it my- 
self, I only implored your assistance to lay it on my shoul- 
ders again. 



CI?at cr>en poverty vo'itl} peace is pi'eferaMe to tl?e greatest 
affluence amibst anxiety. 


A contented Country-mouse had once the honor to re- 
ceive a visit from an old acquaintance belonging to the 
Court. The Country-mouse, extremely glad to see her 
guest, very hospitably set before her the best cheese and 
bacon which her cottage afforded, and as to their bever- 
age, it was the purest water from the spring. The repast 
was homely indeed, but the welcome hearty : they sat and 
chatted away the evening together very agreeably, and 
then retired in peace and quietness each to her little cell. 
The next morning when the guest was to take her leave, 
she kindly pressed her country friend to accompany her; 
setting forth in very pompous terms the great elegance 
and plenty in which they lived at court. The Country- 
mouse was easily prevailed upon, and they set out to- 
gether. It was late in the evening w^hen they arrived at 
the palace ; hov.-ever, in one of the rooms, they found the 
remains of a sumptuous entertainment. There were 
creams, and jellies, and sweetmeats; and every thing, in 
short, of the most delicate kind: the cheese was Parmesan, 
and they wetted their whiskers in exquisite champagne. 
But before they had half finished their repast, they were 
alarmed with the barking and scratching of a lap-dog; 
then the mewing of a cat frightened them almost to death ; 
by and by, a whole train of serA^ants burst into the room, 
and everything was swept away in an instant. Ah! my 
dear friend, said the Country-mouse, as soon as she had 
recovered courage enough to speak, if your fine living 



is thus interrupted with fears and dangers, let nie return 
to my plain food, and my peaceful cottage; for what is 
elegance, without case; or plenty, with an aching heart? 


Ct?e surest loay to gain our cnbs is to nioberatc our 



A certain Boy, as Epictetus tells the fable, put his hand 
into a pitcher, where great plenty of figs and filberts were 
deposited; he grasped as many as his fist could possibly 
hold, but when he endeavored to pull it out, the narrow- 
ness of the neck prevented him. Unwilling to lose any of 
them, but unable to draw out his hand, he burst into 
tears, and bitterly t)emoaned his hard fortune. An honest 
fellow who stood by, gave him this wise and reasonable 
advice: Grasp only half the quantity, my boy, and you 
will easily succeed. 

Ct^ose tt){jo keep hab company must often expect to suffer 
for tl}e misbctjarior of tl^eir companions. 


A Stork was unfortunately drawn into company with 
some Cranes, who were just setting out on a party of 
pleasure, as they called it, which in truth was to rob the 
fish-ponds of a neighboring Farmer. Our simple Stork 
agreed to make one; and it so happened, that they were 
all taken in the act. The Cranes, having been old of- 
fenders, had very little to say for themselves, and were 
presently dispatched; but the Stork pleaded hard for hfs 
life; he urged that it was his first fault, that he was not 




naturally addicted to stealing fish, that he was famous for 
piety toward his parents, and in short, for many other 
virtues. Your piety and virtue, said the Farmer, may for 
aught I know be exemplary; but your being in company 
with thieves renders it very suspicious, and you must 
therefore submit with patience to share the same punish- 
ment with your companions. 

trf?e courage of meeting bnailf m an I^onorable cause is 

more commenbable tf?an any abbress or artifice u?e 

can make use of to et^abe it. 


A conceited Willow had once the vanity to challenge 
his mighty neighbor the Oak, to a trial of strength. It 
was to be determined by the next storm, and .^olus was 
addressed by both parties, to exert his most powerful 
efforts. This was no sooner asked than granted; and a 
violent hurricane arose: when the pliant Willow, bending 
from the blast, or shrinking under it, evaded all its force; 
while the generous Oak, disdaining to give way, opposed 



its fury, and was torn up by the roots. Immediately the 
Willow began to exult, and to claim the victory: when 
thus the fallen Oak interrupted his exultation: Callest 
thou this a trial of strength? Poor wretch! not to thy 
strength, but weakness; not to thy boldly facing danger, 
but meanly skulking from it, thou owest thy present 
safety. I am an oak, though fallen; thou still a willow, 
though unhurt; but who, except so mean a wretch as thy- 
self, would prefer an ignominious life, preserved by craft 
or cowardice, to the glory of meeting death in a brave 



XDc 5^}0ltl^ imincbiatclij boclino all coinniorcc w\tl} a per* 
son ivc finb to be a 6oublc-6ealcv. 


A poor man travelino^ in the depth of winter, through a 
dreary forest, no inn to receive him, no human creature to 
befriend or comfort him, was in danger of being starved 
to death. At last, however, he came to the cave of a Satyr, 
where he entreated leave to rest a while, and shelter him- 
self from the inclemency of the weather. The Satyr very 

civilly complied with his request. The man had no soon- 
er entered, than he began to blow his fingers. His host, 
surprised at the novelty of the action, was curious to 
know the meaning of it. I do it, said the Traveler, to 
warm my frozen joints, which are benumbed with cold. 
Presently the Satyr having prepared a mess of hot gruel 
to refresh his guest, the man found it necessary to blow 
his porridge, too. What, inquired the Satyr, is not your 
gruel hot enough? Yes, replied the Traveler, too hot; 


and I blow it to make it cooler. Do you so? quoth the 
Satyr; then get out of my cave as fast as you can, for I 
desire to have no communication with a creature, that 
blows hot and cold with the same breath. 

Some expect tlje tijanks tl}ai are 6ue to a cit)tltty, wl}\k 

tljey enbeapor clanbesttnely to unbermtne 

t}:iz t>alue of it. 


A Stag, who had left at some distance a pack of hounds, 
came up to a Farmer, and desired he would sufTer him to 
hide himself in a little coppice which joined to his house. 
The Farmer, on condition that he would forbear to enter 
a field of wheat, which lay before him, and was now ready 
for the sickle, immediately gave him leave, and promised 
not to betray him. The squire with his train instantly 
appeared, and inquiring whether he had not seen the 
Stag; No, said the Farmer, he has not passed this way, I 
assure you ; but, in order to curry favor at the same time 
with his worship, he pointed slyly with his finger to the 
place where the poor beast lay concealed. This, how- 
ever, the sportsman, intent on his game, did not observe, 
but passed on with his dogs across the very field. As 
soon as the Stag perceived they were gone, he prepared 
to steal off, without speaking a word. Methinks, cried 
the Farmer, you might thank me, at least, for the refuge I 
have afforded you; Yes, said the Stag, and had your 
hands been as honest as your tongue, I certainly should ; 
but all the return that a double dealer has to expect, is a 
just indignation and contempt. 



Cl?c t-illii aiuHtion to ric irttl^ ouv supcriorf, in rc.jarb 

to outiparb fiJsurc vatl^cr tl?au iiurarb accoiiipli5.l)= 

mcutf-, is often tl^o cause of utter ruin. 


A Fros:^ l)cinp: wonderfully struck with the size and 
niajt-stv of an Ox that was grazing in the marshes, could 



not forbear endeavoring- to expand herself to the same 
portly magnitude. After puffing" and swelling for some 
time: What think you, sister, said she, will this do? 
Far from it. Will this? By no means. But this 

surely will. Nothing like it. In short, after many ridicu- 
lous efforts to the same fruitless purpose, the simple frog 
burst her skin, and miserably expired upon the spot. 


Cl)orc \i no error too o.vtranaaant for prepossession anb 


Men often judge wrong from some foolish prejudice; 
anil whilst they persist in the defence of their mistakes, 
are sometimes brought to shame by incontestible evi- 

A certain wealthy patrician, intending to treat the 
Roman people with some theatrical entertainments, pub- 
lished a reward to any one who could furnish out a new 
or uncommon diversion. Excited by emulation, the 
artists assembled from all parts; among whom, a ]vlimic 
well known for his arch wit, gave out that he had a kind 
of entertainment that had never yet been produced upon 
any stage. 

This report being spread about, brought the whole city 
together. The theater could hardly contain the number 
of spectators. And when the artist appeared alone upon 
the stage, without any apparatus, without any prompter 
or assistant, curiosity and suspense kept the spectators 
in a profound silence. 

On a sudden the performer thrust down his head into 
his bosom, and mimicked the squeaking of a young pig 
so naturally, that the audience insisted upon it, he had a 
real pig under his cloak, and ordered him to be searched. 
Which being done, when nothing appeared, they loaded 
the man with encomiums and honored him with the most 
extravagant applause. 

A country fellow observing what passed — Faith, says 
he, I can do better than he; and immediately gave out 
that he would perform the same thing much better the 



next day. Accordingly, greater crowds assemble: pre- 
possessed, however, in favor of the first artist, they sit pre- 
pared to laugh at the clown, rather than to judge fairly of 
his performance. 

They both came out upon the stage. The ^limic grunts 
away first, is received with vast applause, and the loudest 
acclamations. Then the Countryman, pretending that he 
concealed a little pig under his clothes (which in fact he 
did), plucked the ear of the animal, and by the pain forced 
him to utter his natural cry. The people exclaimed aloud 
that the first performer had imitated the pig much more 
naturally, and would have hissed the Countr}'man ofif the 
stage; but producing the real pig from his bosom, and 
convincing them, by a visible proof, of their ridiculous 
error; See, gentlemen, says he, what pretty sort of judges 
you are! 


3t is opor baiiJsorous to be I01K3 conrcvsaiit nnt\) persons 
of a bab cl)avactcr. 


As a Dog was coursing the banks of the Nile, he grew 
thirsty, but fearing to be seized by the monsters of that 
river, he would not stop to satiate his thirst, but lapped as 
he ran. A Crocodile, raising his head above the surface 
of the water, asked him, Why he was in such a hurry? 
he had often, he said, wished for his acquaintance, and 
should be glad to embrace the present opportunity. You 
do ine great honor, said the Dog, but it is to avoid such 
companions as you that I am in so much haste. 

(X false estimate of our own abilities cucr exposes us to 
ribicule, anb sometimes to bangier. 


An Eagle, from the top of a high mountain, made a 
stoop at a lamb, pounced upon it, and bore it away to 
her young. A Crow, wdio had built her nest in a cedar 
near the foot of the rock, observing what passed, was am- 
bitious of performing the same exploit; and, darting from 
her nest, fixed her talons in the fleece of another lamb. 
But neither able to move her prey, nor disentangle her 
feet, she was taken by the shepherd, and carried away 
for his children to play with ; who eagerly inquiring what 
bird it was, — An hour ago, said he, she fancied herself an 
Eagle; however, I suppose she is by this time convinced 
that she is but a Crow. 



Co retort tijc artifice cmployeb a«^ainst us is an aIloa>= 
able part of self-befence. 


An experienced old Cock was setting himself to roost 
upon a high bough, when a Fox appeared under the tree. 
I am come, said the artful h3-pocrite, to acquaint you in 
the name of all my brethren, that a general peace is con- 

cluded between us and your w^hole family. Descend im- 
mediately, I beseech you, that we may mutually embrace 
upon so joyful and unexpected an event. My good 
friend, replied the Cock, nothing could be more agreeable 
to me than this news; and to hear it from you increases 
my satisfaction. But i spy two greyhounds at a dis- 


tance coming this way, who aru probal)ly dispatched as 
couriers witli tlie treaty; as they run very swiftly, and 
will certainly be here in a few minutes, I will wait their 
arrival, that we may all four embrace together. Reynard 
well knew that if this was the case, it was no time for him 
to remain there any longer; pretending, therefore, to be 
in great haste. Adieu, said he, for the present; we will 
reserve our rejoicings to another opportunity; upon 
which he darted into the woods with all imaginable ex- 
pedition. Old Chanticleer no sooner saw him depart, 
than he crowed abundantly in the triumph of his artifice, 
for by a harmless stratagem to disappoint the malevolent 
intentions of those who are endeavoring to deceive us to 
our ruin, is not only innocent but laudable. 

3t trcrc more prubent to acquiesce unber an injury from 

a single person, tfjan by an act of rengeance to bring 

upon us tlje resentment of a wl}ok community. 


A Bear happened to be stung by a Bee, and the pain 
was so acute that in the madness of revenge he ran into 
the garden, and overturned the hive. This outrage pro- 
voked their anger to a high degree, and brought the fury 
of the whole swarm upon him. They attacked him with 
such violence, that his life was in danger, and it was with 
the utmost difftculty that he made his escape, wounded 
from head to tail. In this desperate condition, lamenting 
his misfortune, and licking his sores, he could not forbear 
reflecting, how much more advisable it had been to have 
patiently acquiesced under one injury, than thus, by an 
unprofitable resentment, to have provoked a thousand. 


Ctparice often misscf. its point tl^rougl} t{?e means it uses 
to secure it. 


A diligent Ass, that had long served a severe master, 
daily loaded beyond his strength, and kept but at very 
short commons, happened one day in his old age to be op- 
pressed with a burden of earthen-ware. His strength 
being much impaired, and the road deep and uneven, he 
unfortunately made a trip, and unable to recover himself, 
fell down and broke all the vessels to pieces. His Master, 
transported with rage, began to beat him with great vio- 
lence, and without mercy. To whom the poor Ass, lifting 
up his head as he lay on the ground, strongly remonstrat- 
ed: Unfeeling wretch! to thy own avaricious cruelty in 
first pinching me of food, and then loading me beyond my 
strength, thou owest the misfortune which thou so un- 
justly imputest to me. 

Heitl^er ingenuitij nor learning is entitleb to regarb but 

in proportion as tl]ei) contribute to tlje 

f)apptness of life. 


The Bee and the Spider once entered into a warm de- 
bate which was the better artist. The Spider urged her 
skill in the mathematics; and asserted that no one was 
half so well acquainted as herself with the construction of 
lines, angles, squares, and circles; that the web she daily 


wove was a specimen of art inimitable by any other crea- 
ture in the universe; and besides, that her works were de- 
rived from herself alone, the product of her own bowels; 
whereas the boasted honey of the Bee was stolen from ev- 
ery herb and flower of the field ; nay, that she had obliga- 
tions even to the meanest weeds. To this the Bee replied, 
that she was in hopes the art of extracting honey from the 
meanest weeds, would at least have been allowed her as 
an excellence; and that as to her stealing sweets from the 
herbs and flowers of the field, her skill was there so con- 
spicuous, that no flower ever suffered the least diminu- 
tion of its fragrance from so delicate an operation. Then, 
as to the Spider's vaunted knowledge in the construction 
of lines and angles, she believed she might safely rest the 
merits of hev cause on the regularity alone of her combs; 
but since she could add to this the sweetness and excel- 
lence of her honey, and the various purposes for which 
her wax was employed, she had nothing to fear from a 
comparison of her skill with that of the weaver of a flimsy 
cobweb; for the value of every art, she observed, is chiefly 
to be estimated bv its use. 

CI?e fomentcr of miscl^icf is at least as culpable as I}e 
rpljo puts it in e.vecution. 


A Trumpeter in a certain army happened to be taken 
prisoner. He was ordered immediately to execution, but 
pleaded in excuse for himself, that it was unjust a person 
should suffer death, who, far from an intention of mischief, 



did not even wear an offensive weapon. So much the 
rather, rephed one of the enemy, shalt thou die; since 
without any design of fighting thyself, thou excitest others 

'4k ') ^^ w^y^'F^^i^ 

to the bloody business; for he that is the abettor of a bad 
action, is at least equally guilty with him that commits it. 


3t if- orcr imprubcnt to join interests w'xtl} tijose trl^oare 
aMo to impose upon us tl)cir omn conbitions. 


By the entreaties of a Hedge-hog half starved with cold, 
a Snake was once persuaded to receive him into her cell. 
He was no sooner entered, than his prickles began to be 
very uneasy to his companion; upon which, the Snake 
desired he would provide himself another lodging, as she 
found her apartment was not large enough to acconmio- 
date both. Nay, said the Hedge-hog, let them that are 
uneasy in their situation exchange it; for my own part, I 
am very well contented where I am; and if you arc not, 
you are welcome to remove w'henever you think proper. 

fortune, inittjout tF?e concurrence of rice, cannot effectu= 
ally bestroy our I^appiness; whereas rice, without tl^e 
Ijelp of fortune, can make us miserable to tfje last 


Fortune and Vice, according to Plutarch, had once a 
violent contest, which of them had it most in their power 
to make mankind unhappy. Fortune boasted that she 
could take from men every external good, and bring upon 
them every external evil. Be it so, replied Vice: but this 
is by no means sufficient without my assistance; whereas 
without yours, I am able to render them completely mis- 
erable; nay, in spite, too, of all your endeavors to make 
them happy. 


IPIjatcpcr fancy may bctermine, tl^e stanbing palue of 
all tf^tngs is in proportion to tl^eir use. 


The gods, say the heathen mythologists, have each of 
them their favorite tree. Jupiter preferred the oak, 
Venus the myrtle, and Phoebus the laurel; Cybele the 
pine, and Hercules the poplar. Minerva, continues the 
mythologist, surprised that they should choose barren 
trees, asked Jupiter the reason. It is, said he, to prevent 
any suspicion that we confer the honor we do them, for 
the sake of their fruit. Let folly suspect what it pleases, 
returned Minen^a; I shall not scruple to acknowledge, 
that I make choice of the olive for the usefulness of its 
fruit. O daughter, replied the father of the gods, it is 
with justice that men esteem thee wise; for nothing is 
trulv valuable that is not useful. 

3nbustrij is itself a treasure. 

A wealthy old Farmer, who had for some time been de- 
clining in his health, perceiving that he had not many 
days to live, called his sons together to his bedside. My 
dear children, said the dying man, I leave it with you as 
my last injunction, not to part with the farm which has 
been in our family for these hundred years; for, to dis- 
close to you a secret which I received from my father, 
and which I now think proper to communicate to you, 


iluTc is a treasure hid soiiieuhere in the grounds; tliough 
T never could discover the particular spot where it lies 
concealed. However, as soon as the harvest is got in, 
spare no pains in the search, and I am well assured you 
will not lose your labor. The wise old man was no soon- 
er laid in his grave, and the time he mentioned arrived, 
than his sons went to work, and with great vigor and 
alacrity turned up again and again every foot of ground 
belonging to their farm; the consequence of which was, al- 
though they did not find the object of their pursuit, that 
their lands yielded a far more plentiful crop than those of 
their neighbors. At the end of the year, w^hen they were 
settling their accounts, and computing their extraordi- 
nary profits, I would venture a wager, said one of the 
brothers more acute than the rest, that this w^as the con- 
cealed wealth my father meant. I am sure, at least, we 
have found by experience, that Industry is itself a trea- 

G. total neoilect is tf^e best return tfje generous can make 
to tF?e scurrility of tl^e base. 


A conceited Ass had once the impertinence to bray 
forth some contemptuous speeches against the Lion. The 
suddenness of the insult, at first raised some emotions of 
wrath in his breast; but turning his head and perceiving 
from whence it came, they immediately subsided, and he 
very sedately walked on, without deigning to honor the 
contemptible creature, even so much as with an angry 



Cbe necessity of pursuing tfje bictates of one's reason in= 
steab of attemptina to please all mankinb. 


A Miller and his Son were driving their Ass to market, 
in order to sell him. That he might get thither fresh and 
in good condition, they drove him on gently before them. 
They had not gone far, when they met a company of trav- 
elers. Sure, say they, you are mighty careful of your 
Af.s; methinks one of you might as well get up and ride, as 
let him walk on at his ease, while you trudge after him on 
foot. In compliance with this advice, the old man set his 
Son upon the beast. They had scarce advanced a quarter 
of a mile further, when they met another company. You 
lazy booby, said one of the party, why don't you get down, 
and let your poor father ride? Upon this, the old man 
made his son dismount, and got up himself. In this man- 
ner they had not marched many furlongs, when a third 
company began to insult the father. You hard-hearted, 
unnatural wretch, say they, how can you suffer that poor 



lad to wade through the dut, while you like an alderman 
ride at your ease? The good-natured Miller stood cor- 
rected, and immediately took his son up behind him. 
And now, the next man they 
met exclaimed with more ve- ^ 

hemcnce and indignation than 
all the rest. Was there 

ever such a couple of lazy boobies! to overload in so un- 
comfortable a manner a poor dumb creature, who is far 
less able to carry them than they are to carry him ! Any- 
thing to please you, said the old man; we can but try. 



So, alighting with his Son, they tied the legs of the Ass 
together, and by the help of a pole, endeavored to carry 
him on their shoulders over a bridge near the entrance 
of the town. This entertaining sight brought the people 
in crowds to laugh at it; till the Ass, not liking the noise, 
nor the strange handling he was subject to, broke the 
cords that bound him, and, tumbling off the pole, fell into 
the river and was drowned. 

Upon this, the Miller, vexed and ashamed, made the 
best of his way home again, convinced that by trying to 
please everybody he had pleased nobody, and lost his Ass 
into the bargain. 


(EI?c intomv\n-ato raac of clients giucs \hc lauiycr an 
oppovtiniitij of sciziiKj tlje property in bispute. 


A Lion and a Tiger jointly seized on a young fawn, 
which they immediately killed. This they had no sooner 
performed, than they fell to fighting, in order to decide 
whose property it should be. The battle was so bloody, 
and so obstinate, that they were both compelled, through 
weariness and loss of blood, to desist; and lay down by 
mutual consent, totally disabled. At this instant, a wily 
Fox unluckily came by; who, perceiving their situation, 
made bold to seize the contested prey, and bore it off un- 
molested. As soon as the Lion could recover breath. 
How foolish, said he, has been our conduct! Instead of 
being contented as we ought, with our respective shares, 
our senseless rage has rendered us unable to prevent this 
rascallv fox from defrauding us of the whole. 

CI?crc iDouIb be little cIjaHcc of betecting Ijypocnsij tDcrc 
it not altoays abbtcteb to or»cr=act its part. 


A Wolf who by his frequent visits to a flock of sheep in 
his neighborhood, began to be extremely well known 
to them, thought it expedient, for the more successfully 
carrying- on his depredations, to appear in a new charac- 
ter. To this end he disguised himself in a shepherd's 


habit ; and resting his fore feet upon a stick, which served 
him by way of crook, he softly made his approach toward 
the fold. It happened that the shepherd and his dog were 
both of them extended on the grass, fast asleep, so that 
he would certainly have succeeded in his project, if he 
had not imprudently attempted to imitate the shepherd's 
voice. The horrid noise awakened them both; when 
the Wolf, encumbered with his disguise, and finding it 
impossible either to resist, or to flee, yielded up his life 
an easy prey to the shepherd's dog. 

Ct?c young anb artless sfjoulb make caution supply tlje 
place of years anb experience. 


A flock of sheep were feeding in a meadow, while their 
dogs were asleep, and their shepherd at a distance playing 
on his pipe beneath the shade of a spreading elm. A 
young inexperienced Lamb,observing a half-starved Wolf 
peeping through the pales of the enclosure, entered into 
conversation with him. Pray what are you seeking for 
here? said the Lamb. I am looking, replied the Wolf, for 
some tender grass ; for nothing, you know, is more pleas- 
ant than to feed in a fresh pasture, and to slake one's 
thirst at a crystal stream; both which, I perceive, you 
enjoy wdthin these pales in their utmost perfection. Happy 
creature! continued he, how much I envy you your lot! 
who are in possession of the utmost I desire, for I have 
long been taught by philosophy, to be satisfied with a 
little. It seems then, returned the Lamb, that those 


who say you feed on flesh, accuse you falsely, since a little 
grass will easily content you. If this be true, let us for 
the future live like brethren, and feed together. So say- 
ing, the simple Lamb imprudently crept through the 
fence, and became at once a prey to our pretended phil- 
osopher, and a sacrifice to her own inexperience and 

d?c biffcrent Vu}l}is in vol)\cl} tl^tucjs appear to biffcront 

jub^ments rccommcnb respect for tf^e opinions of 

otijers, iv<in tufjen me retain our ott>n. 


Two travelers happened on their journey to be engaged 
in a warm dispute about the color of the Chameleon. One 
of them aflfirmed that it was blue ; that he had seen it with 
his own eyes, upon the naked branch of a tree, feeding on 
the air, in a very clear day. The other strongly asserted 
that it was green, and that he had viewed it very closely 
and minutely on the broad leaf of a fig tree. Both of 
them were positive, and the dispute was rising to a quar- 
rel, but a third person luckily coming by, they agreed to 
refer the question to his decision. Gentlemen, said the 
arbitrator, with a smile of great self-satisfaction, you could 
not have been more lucky in your reference, as I happen 
to have caught one of them last night ; but indeed you are 
both mistaken, for the creature is totally black. Black! 
cried they both; impossible! Nay, quoth the umpire, 
with great assurance, the matter may soon be decided, for 
I immediately enclosed my chameleon in a little paper 


box, and here he is. So saying, he drew it out of his pock- 
et, opened his box, and behold it was white as snow. The 
positive disputants looked equally surprised, and equally 
confounded, while the sagacious reptile, assuming the 
air of a philosopher, thus admonished them: Ye chil- 
dren of men, learn dififidence and moderation in your 
opinions. It is true, you happen, in the present instance, 
to be all in the right, and have only considered the subject 
under different circumstances; but pray, for the future, 
allow other men to have eyesight as well as yourselves; 
nor wonder if every one prefers the testimony of his own 
senses, to that of another's. 

tDe sl^oulb bear witi) patience a small ertl, trfjen it is 
conncctcb voit^ a greater goob. 


A Fox, closely pursued by a pack of dogs, took shelter 
under the covert of a bramble. He rejoiced in this asy- 
lum, and for a while was very happy; but soon found, 
that if he attempted to stir, he was wounded by thorns 
and prickles on every side. However, making a virtue 
of necessity, he forbore to complain, and comforted him- 
self with reflecting, that no bliss is perfect; that good and 
evil are mixed and flow from the same fountain. These 
briars indeed, said he, will tear my skin a little, yet they 
keep ofT the dogs. For the sake of the good, then, let me 
bear the evil with patience; each bitter has its sweet, and 
these brambles, though they wound my flesh, preserve my 
life from danger. 


XDc cannot reasonably expect tF^ose to bear a part in our 

ill fortune, u'>I)oni ire nerer pormitteb to sl^are 

in our prosperitij. 


As two men were traveling- on the road, one of them es- 
pied a bag of money lying on the ground, and picking it 
up, I am in luck this morning, said he, I have found a bag 
of money. Yes, replied the other, though, methinks, you 
should not say I, but we have found it, for when two 
friends arc traveling together, they ought equally to share 
in any accidental good fortune that may happen to attend 
them. No, replied the former, it was I that found it, and 
I must insist upon keeping it. He had no sooner spoken 
the words than they were alarmed with a hue and cry after 
a thief, who had that morning taken a purse upon the 
road. Lord, says the finder, this is extremely unfortu- 
nate, we shall certainly be seized. Good sir, replied the 
other, be pleased not to say we, but I; as you would 
not allow me to share in the prize, you have no right to 
make me a partner in the punishment. 

Different ktnbs of experience account for different kinbs of 


Of all the creatures I ever knew, said a Falcon to a Hen, 
you arc certainly the most ungrateful. What instance of 
ingratitude, replied the Hen, can you justly charge upon 
me? The greatest, returned the Falcon; ingratitude to 


your highest benefactors, men. Do they not feed you 
every day, and shelter you every night? Nevertheless, 
when they endeavor to court you to them, you ungrate- 
fully forget all their kindness, and fly from them as from 
an enemy. Now I, who am wild by nature, and no way 
obliged to them; yet upon the least of their caresses, suf- 
fer myself to be taken, and go or come at their command. 
All this is very true, replied the Hen, but there may be a 
sufftcient reason both for my fear, and for your familiar- 
it} : I believe you never saw a single falcon roasting at 
the fire; whereas I have seen a hundred hens trussed for 
the spit. 

(Et)cre are numbers of people wl}0 it>ouIb unl?tii<^e tf^e 

iporlb to ease ttjemselues of tlje smallest 



Night and silence had now given repose to the whole 
world; when an old, ill-natured Sorceress, in order to ex- 
ercise her infernal arts, entered into a gloomy wood, that 
trembled at her approach. The scene of her horrid in- 
cantations was within the circumference of a large circle ; 
in the center of which an altar was raised, where the hal- 
lowed vervain blazed in triangular flames, while the mis- 
chievous hag pronounced the dreadful words, which 
bound all hell in obedience to her charms. She blows a 
raging pestilence from her lips into the neighboring folds ; 
the innocent cattle die, to afford a fit sacrifice to the in- 
fernal deities. The moon, by powerful spells drawn down 


from her orbs, enters the wood; legions of spirits from 
riuto's reahiis appear before the altar, and demand her 
pleasure. Tell me, said she, where I shall find what I 
have lost, my favorite little dog. How! — cried they all, 
enraged — Impertinent Beldame! must the order of 
nature be inverted, and the repose of every creature dis- 
turbed, for the sake of thy little dog? 

V0^ greatly bimtutsf? tt?c I^appincss of life by unben?alu« 
ing all tljat is sfjort of perfection. 


In the depth of winter, a poor Ass prayed heartily for 
the spring, that he might exchange a cold lodging, and a 
heartless truss of straw, for a little warm weather, and a 
mouthful of fresh grass. In a short time, according to his 
ivish, the warm weather and the fresh grass came on; but 
brought with them so much toil and business, that he 
was soon as weary of the spring as before of the winter; 
and he now became impatient for the approach of sum- 
mer. -Summer arrives: but the heat, the harvest work, 
and other drudgeries and inconveniences of the season, 
set him as far from happiness as before; which he now 
flattered himself would be found in the plenty of autumn. 
But here too he is disappointed, for what with the carry- 
ing of apples, roots, fuel for the winter, and other provis- 
ions, he was in autumn more fatigued than ever. Having 
thus trod round the circle of the year, in a course of rest- 
less labor, uneasiness and disappointment ; and found no 


season, nor station of life, without its business and its 
trouble; he was forced at last to acquiesce in the cold 
comfort of winter, where his complaint began: convinced 
that in this world there is no true happiness. 

V0^ exclaim loubly against tfjat incotistancij in anotf^er, 
to vol:}xci} voz originallij gace occasion, by our omn. 


A fine powdered Butterfly fell in love with a beautiful 
Rose, who expanded her charms in a neighboring par- 
terre. Matters were soon adjusted between them, and they 
mutually vowed eternal fidelity. The Butterfly, perfectly 
satisfied with the success of his armor, took a tender leave 
of his mistress, and did not return again till noon. What! 
said the Rose, when she saw- him approaching, is the 
ardent passion you vowed, so soon extinguished? It is 
an age since you paid me a visit. But no wonder; for 
I observed you courting by turns every flower in the 
garden. You little coquet, replied the Butterfly, it well 
becomes you, truly, to reproach me with my gallantries ; 
when in fact I only copy the example which you yourself 
have set me. For, not to mention the satisfaction with 
which you admitted the kisses of the fragrant zephyr; 
did I not see you displaying your charms to the bee, the 
fly, the wasp, and in short, encouraging and receiving 
the addresses of every buzzing insect that fluttered with- 
in your view? 

If you will be a coquet, you must expect to find me 


f)c tt^at is cmploycb in works of use, aoncrnllij abpant= 

ages Ijimself or otl^ers; wl}\k !)c u-)!}0 toils for fame 

alone must expect to often lose Ijis labor. 


A Spider busied in spreading his web from one side of 
the room to the other, was asked by an industrious Silk- 
worm, to what end he spent so much time and labor, in 
making such a number of lines and circles? The Spider 
angrily replied, Do not disturb me, thou ignorant thing; 
I transmit my ingenuity to posterity, and fame is the 
object of my wishes. Just as he had spoken, Susan the 
chambermaid, coming into the room to feed her silk- 
worms, sees the Spider at his work; and with one stroke 
of her broom, sweeps him away, and destroys at once his 
labors and his hopes of fame. 

Curtositij often excites tf^ose people to I^azarbous un6e¥= 

takings, u?I?om nanity anb inbiscretion renber 

totally unfit for tf^em. 


A Tortoise, weary of passing her days in the same ob- 
scure corner, conceived a wonderful inclination to visit 
foreign countries. Two Ducks, whom the simple Tortoise 
acquainted with her intention, undertook to oblige her 
upon the occasion. Accordingly they told her, that if she 
would fasten her mouth to the middle of a pole, they 


would take the two ends, and transport her wherever she 
chose to be conveyed. The Tortoise approved of the 
expedient; and everything being prepared, the Ducks be- 
gan their flight with her. They had not traveled far in 
the air, when they were met by a Crow, who inquiring 
what they were bearing along, they replied, the queen 
of the tortoises. The Tortoise, vain of the new and un- 
merited appellation, was going to confirm the title, when 
opening her mouth for that purpose, she let go her hold, 
and was dashed to pieces by her fall. 

Cljere is more to be cxpecteb from stbak anb silent, tf^an 
from noisy, turbulent anb ostentatious beginnings. 


Two Springs which issued from the same mountain, 
began their course together; one of them took her way in 
a silent and gentle stream, while the other rushed along 
with a sounding and rapid current. Sister, said the latter, 
at the rate you move, you will probably be dried up be- 
fore you advance much farther; whereas, for myself, I 
will venture a wager, that within two or three hundred 
furlongs I shall become navigable, and after distributing 
commerce and wealth wherever I flow, I shall majestically 
proceed to pay my tribute to the ocean : so farewell, dear 
sister, and patiently submit to your fate. Her sister made 
no reply; but calmly descending to the meadows below, 
increased her stream by numberless little rills, which she 
collected in her progress, till at length she was enabled 
to rise into a considerable river; while the proud stream, 


which had the vanity to depend solely upon her own suf- 
ficiency, continued a shallow brook, and was glad at 
last to be helped forward, by throwing herself into the 
arms of her despised sister 

3.t^takb instances of artifice, create a suspicion tijat is 
our guarb against it. 


A certain Cat had made such unmerciful havoc among 
the vermin of his neighborhood, that not a single rat or 
mouse dared venture to appear abroad. Puss was soon 
convinced that if affairs remained in their present situa- 
tion, he must be totally unsupplied with provision. After 
mature deliberation therefore, he resolved to have re- 
course to stratagem. For this purpose, he suspended 
himself from a shelf with his head downwards, pretend- 
ing to be dead. The rats and mice observing him, as 
they peeped from their holes, in this dangling attitude, 
concluded he was hanged for some misdemeanor; and 
with great joy immediately sallied forth in quest of their 
prey. Puss, as soon as a sufficient number were collected 
together, quitting her hold, dropped into the midst of 
them; and very few had the fortune to make good their 
retreat. This artifice having succeeded so well, he was 
encouraged to try the event of a second. Accordingly, 
he whitened his coat all over, by rolling himself in a heap 
of flour, and in this disguise lay concealed in the bottom 
of a meal tub. Tliis stratagem was executed in general 
with the same effect as the former. But an old experi- 


cnced Rat, altogetlier as cunning as her adversary, was 
not so easily ensnared. I don't much Hke, said he, that 
white heap yonder; something whispers me, there is mis- 
chief concealed under it. It is true, it may be meal; but 
it may likewise be something that I shall not relish quite 
so well. There can be no harm, at least, in keeping at 
a proper distance, for caution, I am sure, is the parent 
of security. 

IDfjen tt)c btDell muci? on bistattt anb cF^imirical abvaw' 

tag,iis tDe neglect our present business, anb are 

exposeb to real misfortune. 


A Country Maid was walking very deliberately with a 
pail of milk upon her head, when she fell into the follow- 
ing train of reflections. The money for which I shall 
sell this milk, will enable me to increase my stock of eggs 
to three hundred. These eggs, allowing for what may 
prove addled, and what may be destroyed by vermin, will 
produce at least two hundred and fifty chickens. The 
chickens will be fit to carry to market about Christmas, 
when poultry always bears a good price ; so that by May- 
day, I cannot fail of having money enough to purchase a 



new gown. Green — let me consider, — yes, green be- 
comes my complexion best, and green it shall be. In 
this dress I will go to the fair, where all the young fel- 
lows will strive to have me for a partner; but I shall 

perhaps refuse every one of them, and with an air of 
disdain toss from them. Transported with this triumphant 
thought, she could not forbear acting with her head what 
thus passed in her imagination, when down came the pail 
of milk, and all her imaginary happiness vanished like a 


3t \5 extreme folly to ash. abmce of an interesteb abriscr. 


A Cormorant whose eyes were become so dim by age, 
that he could not discern his prey at the bottom of the 
waters, bethought himself of a stratagem to supply his 
wants. Hark you, friend, said he, to a Gudgeon whom 
he observed swimming near the surface of a certain canal, 
if you have any regard for yourself or your brethren, go 
this moment and acquaint them from me, that the owner 
of this piece of water is determined to drag it a week 
hence. The Gudgeon immediately swam away, and 
made his report of this terrible news to a general as- 
sembly of the fish: who unanimously agreed to send him 
back as their embassador to the Cormorant. The purport 
of his commission was to return him their thanks for the 
intelligence; and to add their entreaties, that, as he had 
been so good as to inform them of their danger, he 
would be graciously pleased to put them into a method 
of escaping it. That I will, most readily, returned the 
artful Cormorant, and assist you with my best services 
into the bargain. You have only to collect yourselves 
together at the top of the water, and I will undertake to 
transport you safely one by one to my own residence, by 
the side of a solitary pool, to which no creature but my- 
self ever found the way. The project was perfectly well 
approved by the unwary fish, and with great expedition 
executed by the deceitful Cormorant; who having placed 
them in a shallow water, the bottom of which his eye 
could easily discern, they were all devoured by him in 
their turns, as his hunger or his luxury required. 


Cl?c injuries tDC bo, anb tl}ose tre suffer, arc solbom 
ipcigl^cb in tl}C same scales. 


A Farmer came to a neighboring Lawyer, expressing 
great concern for an accident which he said had just 
happened. One of your oxen, continued he, has been 
gored by an unlucky bull of mine, and I should be glad 
to know how I am to make you reparation. Thou art a 
very honest fellow, replied the Law^yer, and wilt not think 
it unreasonable that I expect one of thy oxen, in return. 
It is no more than justice, quoth the Farmer, to be sure; 
but what did I say? — I mistake — It is your bull that has 
killed one of my oxen. Indeed! says the Lawyer, that 
alters the case; I must inquire into the affair, and if — 
And if! said the Farmer — the business I find would have 
been concluded without an if, had you been as ready to 
do justice to others, as to exact it from them. 

^e wl}o Msputes tt?e existence of a beity, tDtll finb t^itnself 
confuteb bij cpery part of nature. 


It was the fool who said in his heart. There is no God ; 
into the breast of a wise man, such a thought could never 
have entered. One of those refined reasoners common- 
ly called minute philosophers, was sitting at his ease be- 
neath the shade of a large oak, while at his side the weak 


branches of a pumpkin were trailed upon the ground. 
This put our great logician into his old train of reason- 
ing against providence. Is it consistent with common 
sense, said he, that infinite wisdom should create so large 
and stately a tree, with branches of such prodigious 
strength, to bear so small and insignificant a fruit as an 
acorn? Or that so weak a stem as that of a pumpkin 
should be loaded w-ith so disproportioned a weight? A 
child may see the absurdity of it. In the midst of this 
curious speculation, down dropped an acorn, from one of 
the highest branches of the oak, full upon his head. How 
small a trifle may overturn the systems of fallible men! 
Struck with the accident, he could not help crying out, 
How providential it is that this was not a pumpkin! 

IDe sf^oulb use tf?c talents tijat are allotteb, anb are most 
suitable to our species, insteab of bisparaging tfjose 
faculties tfjat are as properly abapteb to anotljer. 


Under the covert of a thick wood, at the foot oi a 
tree, as a Lynx lay whetting his teeth, and waiting for his 
prey, he espied a Mole, concealed under a hillock of her 
own raising. Alas, poor creature, said the Lynx, how 
much I pity thee! Surely Jupiter has been very un- 
kind, to debar thee from the light of the day, which re- 
joices the whole creation. Tliou art certainly not above 
half alive ; and it would be doing thee a service, to put an 
end to so unanimated a being. I thank you for your 
kindness, replied the Mole, but I think I have full as 


niucli vivacity as my state and circumstances require. 
For the rest, I am perfectly well contented with the facul- 
ties which Jupiter has allotted me, who I am sure wants 
not our direction in distributing his gifts with propriety. 
I have not, 'tis true, your piercing eyes; but I have ears 
which answer all my purposes full as well. Hark! for 
example, I am warned, by a noise which I hear behind 
you, to Hy from danger. So saying, he slunk into the 
earth, while a javelin from the arm of a hunter pierced 
this quick-sighted lynx to the heart. 

Ct?c greatest genius miti) a utnbtctii»e temper is far sur= 

passeb in point of Ijappiness by men of 

talents less consiberable. 


A Bee observing a Fly frisking about her hive, asked 
him in a very passionate tone, what he did there? Is it 
for such scoundrels as you, said he, to intrude into the 
company of the queens of the air? You have great rea- 
son, truly, replied the Fly, to be out of humor; I am sure 
they must be mad, who would have any concern with 
so quarrelsome a nation. And why so? thou saucy mala- 
pert, returned the enraged Bee; we have the best laws, 
and are governed by the best policy in the world. We 
feed upon the most fragrant flowers, and all our business 
is to make honey ; honey, which equals nectar, thou unsa- 
vory wretch, who livest upon nothing but putrefaction 
and excrement. We live as we can, rejoined the Fly; pov- 
erty, I hope, is no crime; but passion is, I am sure. 


The honey you make is sweet, grant you, but 
your heart is all bitterness; for to be revenged on an 
enemy, you'll destroy your own life; and are so incon- 
siderate in your rage, as to do more mischief to yourself 
than to your adversary. Take my word for it one had 
better have less considerable talents and use them with 
more discretion. 

3ntempcrance is tlje great anb original cause that gen= 
crally sl^ortens I^uman life. 


Death, the king of terrors, on the anniversary of his 
coronation was determined to choose his prime minister. 
His pale courtiers, the ghastly train of diseases, were all 
summoned to attend, and each preferred his claim to the 
honor of this illustrious office. Fever urged the numbers 
he destroyed; cold Palsy set forth his pretensions, by 
shaking all his limbs; and Dropsy, by his swelled un- 
wieldy carcass. Gout hobbled up. and alleged his great 
power in racking every joint; and Asthma's inability 
to speak, was a strong, though silent argument in favor 
of his claim. Stone and Colic pleaded their violence; 
Plague, his rapid progress in destruction ; and Consump- 
tion, though slow, insisted that he was sure. In the 
midst of this contention, the court was disturbed with the 
noise of music, dancing, feasting and revelry; when im- 
mediately entered a lady, with a bold, lascivious air, and 
a flushed and jovial countenance; she was attended on 
one hand by a troop of cooks and bacchanals; and on the 


(Jtlicr, by a train of wanton youths and damsels, who 
danced half naked to the softest musical instruments ; her 
name was Intemperance. She waved her hand, and thus 
addressed the crowd of diseases: Give way, ye sickly 
band of pretenders, nor dare to vie with my superior 
merits in the service of this great monarch. Am not I 
your parent? the author of your beings? Do ye not de- 
rive your power of shortening human life, almost wholly 
from me? W'^ho then so fit as I myself, for this important 
office? Tlie grisly monarch grinned a smile of approba- 
tion, placed her at his right hand, and she immediately 
became his prime favorite, and principal minister. 

Ctjcrc arc feit) tf^ingis trfjtcl} can be so irreparably lost as 


Genius, \'irtue, and Reputation, three great friends, 
agreed to travel over the island of Great Britain, to see 
whatever might be w'orthy of observation. But as some 
misfortune, said they, may happen to separate us; let us 
consider before we set out, by what means we may find 
each other again. Should it be my ill fate, said Genius, 
to be severed from my friends, which heaven forbid! you 
may find me kneeling in devotion before the tomb of 
Shakespeare; or rapt in some grove where Milton talked 
with angels; or musing in the grotto where Pope caught 
inspiration. Virtue, with a sigh, acknowledged, that her 
friends were not very numerous; but were I to lose you, 
she cried, with whom I am at present so happily united; 


I should choose to take sanctuary in the temples of re- 
ligion, in the palaces of royalty, or in the stately domes 
of ministers of state ; but as it may be my ill fortune to be 
there denied admittance, inquire for some cottage where 
contentment has a bower, and there you will certainly 
find me. Ah, my dear friends, said Reputation very earn- 
estly, you, I perceive, when missing, may possibly be re- 
covered ; but take care, I entreat you, always to keep sight 
of me, for if I am once lost, I am never to be retrieved. 

Cf?e means suggested by superstition to secure us from 
misfortune often bring it upon our I?eabs. 


A certain Nobleman, much infected by superstition, 
dreamed one night that his only son, a youth about fif- 
teen years of age, was thrown from his horse as he was 
hunting, and killed upon the spot. This idle dream 
made so strong an impression upon the weak and credu- 
lous father, that he formed a resolution never more to 
suffer his son to partake of this his favorite amusement. 
The next morning that the hounds went out, the young 
man requested permission to follow them; but instead of 
receiving it, as usual, his father acquainted him with his 
dream, and peremptorily enjoined him to forbear the 
sport. The youth, greatly mortified at this unexpected 
refusal, left the room much disconcerted, and it was with 
some difificulty that he restrained his passion from in- 
decently breaking out in his father's presence. But upon 
his return to his own apartment, passing through a gal- 


lery of pictures, in which was a piece representing a com- 
pany of gypsies telhng a country girl her fortune. 'Tis 
owing, said he, to a ridiculous superstition of the same 
kintl witli that of this simple wencli, that I am debarred 
from one of the principal pleasures of my life; at the 
same time, witli great emotion siriking his hand against 
the canvas, a rusty old nail behind the picture, ran far 
into his wrist. The pain and anguish of the wound 
threw the youth into a violent fever, which proved too 
powerful for the skill of the physicians, and in a few days 
put an end to his life; illustrating an observation, that an 
over-cautious attention to avoid evils, often brings them 
upon us; and that we frequently run headlong into mis- 
fortunes by the very means we pursue to avoid them. 

(Dur term of life oocs not allou? time for Iong=protractcb 


How many live in the world as useless as if they had 
never been born! They pass through life, like a bird 
through the air, and leave no track behind them; waste 
the prime of their days in deliberating what they shall do; 
and bring them to a period, without coming to any deter- 

An indolent young man, being asked why he lay in 
bed so long, jocosely and carelessly answered: Every 
morning of my life I am hearing long causes. I have two 
fine girls, their names are Industry and Sloth, close at 
my bedside, as soon as ever 1 awake, pressing their dif- 


terent suits. One entreats me to get up, the other per- 
suades me to lie still; and then they alternately give 
me various reasons, why I should rise, and why I should 
not. In the mean time, as it is the duty of an impartial 
judge to hear all that can be said on either side; before 
the pleadings are over, it is time to go to dinner. 

Wc arc no irberc out of tl]c read) of proDtbence, citt^cr 
to vHinifh or to protect us. 


It had blown a violent storm at sea, and the whole 
crew of the vessel were in imminent danger of shipwreck. 
After the rolling of the waves was somewhat abated, a 
certain Passenger who had never been at sea before, ob- 
serving the Pilot to have appeared wholly unconcerned 
even in their greatest danger, had the curiosity to ask 
him what death his father died. What death? said the 
Pilot: why he perished at sea, as my grandfather did be- 
fore him. And are not you afraid of trusting yourself 
to an element that has proved thus fatal to your family? 
Afraid ! by no means ; why, we must all die ; is not your 
father dead? Yes, but he died in his bed. And why 
then are you not afraid of trusting yourself to your bed? 
Because I am there perfectly secure. It may be so, re- 
plied the Pilot; but if the hand of providence is equally 
extended over all places, there is no more reason for me 
to be afraid of going to sea, than for you to be afraid of 
going to bed. 


iri)o ranboiu zeal of incousibcratc frienbs is often as 
tjurtful as tl^e wxciti) of enemies. 


A certain Hermit having done a good office to a Bear, 
tlic grateful creature was so sensible of his obligation, 
that he begged to be admitted as the guardian and com- 
panion of his solitude. The Hermit willingly accepted 
his offer; and conducting him to his cell, they passed 
their time together in an amicable manner. One very hot 
day, the Hermit having laid him down to sleep, the of- 
ficious Bear employed himself in driving away the flies 
from his friend's face. But in spite of all his care, one 
of the flies perpetually returned to the attack, and at last 
settled upon the hermit's nose. Now I shall have you, 
most certainly, said the Bear; and with the best intentions 
imaginable, gave him a violent blow on the face, which 
very effectually indeed demolished the fly. but at the 
same time mangled in a most shocking manner his bene- 
factor's face. 

CI prubent person n?ill not only prescrre bis innocence, 

but mill aroib tl)e consequences of any secmino, 

Ijanble I?e may afforb to tjis oppressor. 


An Elk having accidently gored a Lion, the monarch 
was so exasperated, that he sent forth an edict, command- 
ing all homed beasts, on pain of death, to depart his 
dominions. A Hare observing the shadow of her ears. 


was much alarmed at their long and lofty appearance; 
and running to one of her friends, acquainted him that 
she was resolved to quit the country. For should I hap- 
pen-, said she, however undesignedly, to give offence to 
my superiors, my ears may be construed to come within 
the horn-act. Her friend smiled at her apprehensions, 
and asked,, how it was possible that ears could be mis- 
taken for horns? Had I no more ears than an ostrich, 
replied the Hare. I would not trust them in the hands of 
an informer; for truth and innocence arc arguments of 
little force, against the logic of power and malice in con- 

IPcrc our tII=jubo;cb p'^'^lH'^'^ ^<^ ^^^ always Oiranteb, l)OW 
many woulb be niinob at tbcir oirii request! 


A Herdsman missed a young heifer out of his grounds, 
and, after having diligently sought for it in vain, when he 
could by no other means gain intelligence of it, betook 
himself at last to his prayers. Great Jupiter, said he, 
show me but the villain who has done me this injury, and 
I will give thee in sacrifice the finest kid from my flock. 
He had no sooner uttered his petition, than turning the 
corner of a wood, he was struck with the sight of a 
monstrous lion, preying on the carcass of his heifer. 
Trembling and pale, O Jupiter, cried he, I offered thee 
a kid if thou wouldst grant my petition ; I now offer thee 
a bull, if thou wilt deliver me from the consequence of it. 


^Ijc partiality of pavcnts often makes tfjemselpes ribi:ii= 
loiii-, anb tboir offspriua, unl)appy 



An Eagle and an Owl having entered into a league of 
mutual amity, one of the articles of their treaty was, that 
the former should not prey upon the younglings of the 
latter. But tell me, said the Owl, should you know my lit- 
tle ones if you were to see them? Indeed, I should not, re- 
plied the Eagle ; but if you will describe them to me it will 
be sufificient. You are to observe then, returned the Owl, 
in the first place, that the charming creatures are per- 
fectly well shaped ; in the next, that there is a remarkable 
sweetness and vivacity in their countenances; and then 
there is something in their voices so peculiarly melodious. 
'Tis enough, interrupted the Eagle; by these marks I 
cannot fail of distinguishing them, and you may depend 
upon their never receiving any injury from me. It hap- 
pened not long afterwards, as the Eagle was upon the 
wing in quest of his prey, that he discovered amidst the 
ruins of an old castle, a nest of grim-faced, ugly birds, 
w^ith gloomy countenances, and voices like those of the 
furies. These undoubtedly, said he, cannot be the off- 
spring of my friend, and so I shall venture to make free 
with them. He had scarce finished his repast and de- 
parted, when the Owl returned; who finding nothing of 
her brood remaining but the mangled carcasses, broke out 
into the most bitter exclamations against the cruel and 
perfidious author of her calamity. A neighboring Bat. 
who overheard her lamentations, and had been witness 
to what had passed between her and the Eagle, very 
gravely told her, that she had nobody to blame for this 



misfortune but herself, whose bhnd prejudices in favor 
of her children, had prompted her to give such a descrip- 
tion of them, as did not resemble them in any one single 
feature or quality. 

Parents should very carefully guard against that weak 
partiality towards their children, which renders them 
blind to their failings and imperfections, as no disposi- 
tion is more likely to prove prejudicial to their future wel- 

3t is common for men to mist? otl^crs rcbuceb to tl^cir 

oir>n kvd; awb vlk ou.jljt to guavb against sucl} 

abrice as may procccb from tijis principle. 


A Fox having been unwarily caught in a trap, at length 
with much struggling and difificulty, disengaged himself; 
not. however, without being obliged to leave his tail be- 
hind him. The joy he ^.^..^.-b-^c^^ 

felt at his escape, was 
somewhat abated when 
he began to consider the 
price he had paid for it, 
and he was a good deal 
mortified by reflecting 
on the ridiculous fig- 
ure he should make 
among his brethren, 
without a tail. In the agitation of his thoughts upon this 
occasion, an expedient occurred to him which he resolved 
to try, in order to remove this disgraceful singularity. 

ij8 iESOP'S fables. 

With this view he assembled his tribe together, and set 
forth in a most elaborate speech, how much he had at 
heart whatever tended to the public weal; he had often 
thought, he said, on the length and bushiness of their 
tails; was verily persuaded that it was much more bur- 
densome than ornamental, and rendered them besides an 
easier prey to their enemies. He earnestly recommended 
it to them, therefore, to discharge themselves of so use- 
less and dangerous an encumbrance. My good friend, 
replied an old fox, who had listened very attentively to 
his harangue, we are much obliged to you, no doubt, for 
the concern you express upon our account, but pray 
turn about before the company, for I cannot for my life 
help suspecting, that you would not be quite so solicitous 
to ease us of our tails, if you had not unluckily lost your 

CI?c poor anb I^clpless unbcrgo puntsljmcnts for small 
anb tririal offenses wl}kl} tijc riclj anb pou^erful C5= 
ca\^c, \l)oml} guilty of crimes of a muci? blacker nature. 


A mortal distemper once raged among the Beasts, and 
swept away prodigious numbers. After it had con- 
tinued some time without abatement, it was concluded in 
an assembly of the brute. creation to be a judgment in- 
flicted upon them for their sins, and a day was appointed 
for a general confession; when it vv^as agreed, that he 
who appeared to be the greatest sinner, should suffer 
death, as an atonement for the rest. The Fox was ap- 
pointed father confessor upon the occasion, and the Lion 


with great generosity condescended to be the first in 
making public confession. For my part, said he, I must 
own I have been an enormous offender; I have killed 
many innocent sheep in my time ; nay once, but it was a 
case of necessity, I made a meal of the shepherd. The 
Fox, with much gravity, acknowledged that these in any 
other than the king would have been inexpiable crimes; 
but that his majesty had certainly a right to a few silly 
sheep, nay and to the shepherd, too, in a case of necessity. 
The judgment of the Fox was applauded by all the supe- 
rior savages, and the Tiger, the Leopard, the Bear, and 
the Wolf, made confession of many enormities of the like 
sanguinary nature, which were all palliated or excused 
with the same lenity and mercy, and their crimes ac- 
counted so venial as scarce to deserve the name of of- 
fenses. At last, a poor penitent Ass, with great con- 
trition acknowledged, that once going through the par- 
son's meadow, being very hungry, and tempted by the 
sweetness of the grass, he had cropped a little of it, not 
more however in quantity than the tip of his tongue ; he 
was very sorry for the misdemeanor, and hoped, — Hope, 
exclaimed the Fox w'ith singular zeal, what canst thou 
hope for, after the commission of so heinous a crime? 
What! eat the parson's grass! O sacrilege! This, this 
is the flagrant wickedness, my brethren, which has drawn 
the wrath of heaven upon our heads, and this the notori- 
ous offender, whose death must make a propitiation for 
all our transgressions. So saying, he ordered his en- 
trails for sacrifice, and the rest of the beasts went to 
dinner upon his carcass. 


3f U1C trust iiicrohi to outtiuirb appearances ire st^all 

often err in 6istin^uisl}incj betiui.vt our 

enemies anb our frienbs. 


A young Mouse, who had seen very little of the world, 
came running one day to his mother in great haste. O, 
mother, said he, I am frightened almost to death ! I have 
seen the most extraordinary creature that ever was. He 
has a fierce angry look, and struts about upon two legs. 
A strange piece of flesh grows upon his head, and an- 
other under his throat, as red as blood. He flapped his 
arms against his sides, as if he intended to rise into the 
air, and stretching out his head, he opened a sharp- 
pointed mouth so wide, that I thought he was preparing 
to swallow me up; then he roared at me so horribly, that 
I trembled in every joint, and was glad to run home as 
fast as I could. If I had not been frightened away by 
this terrible monster, I was just going to scrape acquaint- 
ance with the prettiest creature you ever saw. She had 
a soft fur skin, thicker than ours, and all beautifully 
waved with black and gray; with a modest look, and a 
demeanor so humble and courteous that methought I 
could have fallen in love with her. Then she had a fine 
long tail, which she waved about so prettily, and looked 
so earnestly at me, that I do believe she was just going 
to speak to me, when the horrid monster frightened me 
away. Ah, my dear child, said the mother; you have in- 
deed escaped being devoured but not by that monster you 
were so much afraid of. which in truth was only a bird, and 
would have done you no manner of harm. Whereas the 


sweet creature, of whom you seem so fond, was no other 
than a cat; who, under that hypocritical countenance, 
conceals the most inveterate hatred to all our race, and 
subsists entirely by devouring- mice. Learn from this in- 
cident, my dear, never while you live to rely on outward 

Scl^emcs of ambition, mitijout proper talent, always ter= 
mtnate in bisgrace. 


A young Owl having accidentally seen himself in a 
crystal fountain, conceived the highest opinion of his per- 
sonal perfections. It is time, said he, that Hymen should 
give me children as beautiful as myself, to be the glory 
of the night, and the ornament of our groves. What 
pity would it be, if the race of the most accomplished 
of birds should be extinct for my want of a mate! Happy 
the female who is destined to spend her life with me! 
Full of these self-approving thoughts, he entreated the 
Crow to propose a match between him and the royal 
daughter of the Eagle. Do you imagine, said the Crow, 
that the noble Eagle, Vi'hose pride it is to gaze on the 
brightest of the heavenly luminaries, will consent to marry 
his daughter to you, who cannot so much as open your 
eyes whilst it is day-light? But the self-conceited Owl 
was deaf to all that his friend could urge; who after much 
persuasion, was at length prevailed upon to undertake 
the commission. His proposal was received in the man- 
ner that might be expected: the king of birds laughed 
him to scorn. However, being a monarch of some 


liinuur, he ordered him to acquaint the ( )\vl, that if he 
would meet him the next morning at sunrise in the middle 
of the sky, he would consent to give him his daughter in 
marriage. The presumptions Owl undertook to perform 
the condition; but being dazzled with the sun, and his 
head growing giddy, he fell from his height upon a 
rock; from whence being pursued by a flight of birds, 
he was glad at last to make his escape into the hollow of 
an old oak, where he passed the remainder of his days in 
that obscurity for which nature designed him. 

ilTcn tpf^o mebitatc miscl^tcf suoigci-t t()c same to otl^ers; 

anb generally pay bear for tl]ctr fro= 

wavb aratification. 


A Lion, having surfeited himself with feasting too lux- 
uriously on the carcass of a wild boar, was seized with a 
violent and dangerous disorder. The beasts of the forest 
flocked in great numbers to pay their respects to him 
upon the occasion, and scarce one was absent except the 
Fox. The Wolf, an ill-natured and malicious beast, seized 
this opportunity to accuse the Fox of pride, ingratitude 
and disaffection to his majesty. In the midst of his in- 
vective, the Fox entered; who having heard part of the 
Wolf's accusation, and observing the Lion's countenance 
to be kindling into wrath, thus adroitly excused himself 
and retorted upon his accuser. With a tone of zealous 
loyalty he addressed the assembly thus: May the king 
live forever! Then turning to the Lion — I see many here, 
who with mere lip service have pretended to show you 


their loyalty; but for my part, from the moment I heard 
of your majesty's illness, neglecting useless compliments, 
I employed myself day and night to inquire among the 
most learned physicians, an infallible remedy for your 
disease, and have at length happily been informed of 
one. It is a plaster made from part of the skin of a Wolf, 

taken warm from his back, and laid to your majesty's 
stomach. This remedy was no sooner proposed, than it 
was determined that the experiment should be tried, and 
whilst the operation was performing, the Fox, with a sar- 
castic smile, whispered this useful maxim in the Wolf's 
ear : If you would be safe from harm yourself, learn 
for the future not to meditate mischief against others. 

134 ii;S01'S FABLES. 

ilTcn expostulate to little purpose u^Ijen tt)eiv ou^n example 
confutes tl^eir avaument. 


A Gnat half starved with cold and pinched with hunger, 
came early one morning to a bee-hive, begged the relief 
of charity, and oflfered to teach music in the family, on 
the humble terms of diet and lodging. The Bee received 
her petitioner with a cold civility, and desired to be ex- 
cused. I bring up all my children, said she, to my own 
useful trade, that they may be able when they grow up, 
to get an honest livelihood by their industry. Besides, 
how do you think I could be so imprudent as to teach 
them an art, which I sec has reduced its professor to in- 
digence and beggary? 

3t is often move prubent to suppress our sentiments tijan 
eitljer to flatter, or to rail. 


The tyrant of the forest issued a proclamation, com- 
manding all his subjects to repair immediately to his royal 
den. Among the rest, the Bear made his appearance; but 
pretending to be offended with the steams which issued 
from the monarch's apartments, he was imprudent 
enough to hold his nose in his majesty's presence. This 
insolence was so highly resented, that the Lion in a rage 
laid him dead at his feet. The Monkey, observing what 
had passed, trembled for his carcass, and attempted to 


conciliate favor by the most abject flattery. He began 
with protesting, that for his part, he thought the apart- 
ments were perfumed with Arabian spices, and exclaim- 
ing against the rudeness of the Bear, admired the beauty 
of his majesty's paws, so happily formed, he said, to cor- 
rect the insolence of clowns. This fulsome adulation, in- 
stead of being received as he expected, proved no less 
offensive than the rudeness of the Bear, and the courtly 
Monkey was in like manner extended by the side of Sir 
Bruin. And now his majesty cast his eye upon the Fox. 
Well, Reynard, said he, and what scent do you discover 
here? Great prince, replied the cautious Fox, my nose 
was never esteemed my most distinguishing sense, and at 
present I would by no means venture to give my opinion, 
as I have unfortunately got a terrible cold. 

3t is natural for a pcbant to bcspise tfjosc arts tDljicl? 
polist} our manners, anb moulb extirpate pebantry. 


A formal solemn Owl had many years made his habita- 
tion in a grove amongst the ruins of an old monastery, 
and had pored so often over some mouldy manuscripts, 
the stupid relics of a monkish library, that he grew in- 
fected with the pride and pedantry of the place, and mis- 
taking gravity for wisdom, would sit whole days with his 
eyes half shut, fancying himself profoundly learned. It 
happened as he sat one evening, half buried in medita- 
tion, and half in sleep, that a Nightingale, unluckily 
perching near him, began her melodious lays. He started 


from his reverie, and with a horrid screech interrupting 
licr song; — Re gone, cried he, thou impertinent minstrel, 
nor distract with noisy dissonance my sulilime contem- 
plations: and know, vain songster, that harmony con- 
sists in trutli alone, which is gained by lal)orious study; 
■and not in languishing notes, fit only to soothe the 
ear of a love-sick maid. Conceited pedant, returned the 
Nightingale, whose wisdom lies only in the feathers that 
muffle up thy unmeaning face; music is a natural and 
rational entertainment, and though not adapted to the 
ears of an Owl, has ever been relished and admired by 
the best formed minds. 

Harroip niinbs tl^ink tt)c system of tlje unirersc sl}0ul6 
I^apc been contrtpeb to suit tl^nnselres alone. 


An Owl sat blinking in the trunk of a hollow tree, and 
arraigned the brightness of the sun. What is the use of 
its beams, said she, but to dazzle one's eyes so that one 
cannot see a mouse. For my part, I am at a loss to con- 
ceive for what purpose so glaring an object was created. 
We had certainly been much better without it. O foo!! 
replied an Eagle, who was perched on a branch of the 
same tree, to rail at excellence which thou canst not 
taste, and not to perceive that the fault is not in the sun. 
but in thyself. All, it is true, have not faculties to under- 
stand, or powers to enjoy the benefits of it; but must the 
business and the pleasures of the world be obstructed, 
that an owl mav catch mice? 



3t is easy to be bvavc from a safe btstance. 

A Kid was perched up on the top of a house, and 
looking down saw a Wolf passing under him. Imme- 
diately he began to revile and attack his enemy. Mur- 

derer and thief, he cried, what do you here near honest 
folks' houses? How dare you make an appearance 
where your vile deeds are known? 

Curse away, my young friend, said the W^olf. 


CI?c ir»aut5 anb weaknesses of inbiDtbuals form tl;e 
connections of society 


A Blind Man being stopped in a bad piece of road, 
meets with a Lame Man, and entreats him to guide him 
through the difficulty he was got into. How can I do 
that, replied the Lame Man, since I am scarce able to 
drag myself along? but as you appear to be very strong, if 
you will carry me, we will seek our fortunes together. 
It will then be my interest to warn you of anything that 
may obstruct your way; your feet shall be my feet, and 
my eyes yours. With all my heart, returned the Blind 
Man; let us render each other our mutual services. So 
taking his lame companion on his back, they by means 
of their union traveled on with safety and pleasure. 

CI?e greater room tijere appears for resentment, ttje more 

careful sljoulb toe be not to accuse an 

innocent person. 


A Farmer who had just stepped into his field to mend 
a gap in one of his fences, found at his return, the 
cradle where he had left his only child asleep, turned up- 
side down, the clothes all torn and bloody, and his Dog 
lying near it besmeared also with blood. Immediately 
conceiving that the creature had destroyed his child, he 


instantly dashed out his brains with the hatchet in his 
hand, when turning up the cradle, he found his child 
unliurt, and an enormous serpent lying dead on the floor, 
killed by that faithful Dog, whose courage and fidelity in 
preserving the life of his son, deserved another kind of 
reward; these affecting circumstances afforded him a 
striking lesson, how dangerous it is too hastily to give 
way to the blind impulse of a sudden oassion. 

Boys of no uery promising appearance often make tl?e 
greatest men. 


xA.s a Caterpillar was creeping very slowly along one of 
the alleys of a beautiful garden, he was met by a pert 
lively Ant, who, tossing up her head with a scornful air, 
cried: Prithee get out of the way, thou poor creeping 
animal, and do not presume to obstruct the paths of thy 
superiors, by crawling along the road, and besmearing 
the walks appropriated to their footsteps. Poor crea- 
ture! thou lookest like a thing half made, which nature 
not liking threw by unfinished. I could almost pity 
thee, methinks, but it is beneath one of my quality to talk 
to such little mean creatures as thee; and so, poor, creep- 
ing wretch, adieu. 

The humble Caterpillar, struck dumb with this disdain- 
ful language, retired, went to work, wound himself up in 
a silken cell, and at the appointed time came out a beauti- 
ful butterfly. Just as he was issuing forth, he observed 
the scornful x-\nt passing by. Stop a moment, madam. 


said he, and listen to what I shall say. Let me advise you 
never to despise any one for his condition, as there are 
none so mean but they may one day change their fortune. 
You behold me now exalted in the air, whereas you must 
creep as long as you live. 

CI?c most important acts of c^ratitube are often performeb 
by tl?e most unlikely instruments. 


We should always be ready to do good offices, even to 
the meanest of our fellow creatures, as there is no one to 
whose assistance we may not, upon some occasion or 
other, be greatly indebted. 

A Dove was sipping from the banks of a rivulet, when 
an Ant, who was at the same time trailing a grain of corn 
along the edge of the brook, inadvertently fell in. The 
Dove observing the helpless insect struggling in vain to 
reach the shore, was touched with compassion, and pluck- 
ing a blade of grass, dropped it into the stream ; by means 
of which the poor Ant, like a ship-Vv'recked sailor upon a 
plank, got safe to land. She had scarcely arrived there, 
when she perceived a fowler just going to discharge his 
piece at her deliverer; upon which she instantly crept up 
his foot and stung him on the ankle. The sportsman 
starting, occasioned a rustling among the boughs, which 
alarmed the Dove, who immediately sprung up, and by 
that means escaped the danger with which she was threat- 



C{?cre is almays some one worse off ttjan oursclpcs. 


The Hares were so persecuted by the other beasts 
they did not know where to go. As soon as they saw a 
single animal approach them, off they used to run. One 
day they saw a troop of wild Horses stampeding about, 
and in quite a panic all the Hares scuttled off to a lake 
hard by, determined to drown themselves rather than live 
in such a continual state of fear. But just as they got 
near the bank of the lake, a troop of Frogs, frightened 
in their turn by the approach of the Hares, scuttled off, 
and jumped into the water. Truly, said one of the Hares, 
things are not so bad as they seem. 


Cfjc superior safety of an obscure anb IjumMe station is 
a balance for tl^c Ijonors of a l)ial? anb cnoicb life. 


As two Lizards were basking under a south wall, how 
contemptible, said one of them, is our condition! We 
exist, it is true, but that is all, for we hold no sort of rank 
in the creation, and are utterl}- unnoticed by the world. 
Cursed obscurity! Why was I not rather born a Stag, 
to range at large, the pride and glory of some royal for- 
est? It happened that in the midst of these unjust mur- 
murs, a pack of Hounds was heart in full cry after the 
very creature he was envying, who being quite spent with 
the chase, was torn in pieces by the dogs in sight of our 
two Lizards. And is this the lordly Stag, whose place in 
the creation you wished to hold? replied the wiser Lizard 
to his complaining friend. Let his sad fate teach you to 
bless providence for placing you in that humbler situa- 
tion, w'hich secures you from the dangers of a more ele- 
vated rank. 

Ctjc object of our ptibe is often tlfc cause of our misfortune. 

Two Horses were traveling the road together, one load- 
ed with a sack of flour, the other with a sum of money. 
The latter, proud of his splendid burden, tossed his head 
with an air of conscious superiority, and every now and 
then cast a look of contempt upon his humble compan- 


ion. In passing through a wood, they were met by a 
gang of highwaymen, who immediately seized upon the 
horse that was carrying the treasure; but the spirited 
steed, not being altogether disposed to stand so quietly 
as was necessary for their purpose, they beat him most 
unmercifully, and after plundering him of his boasted 
load, left him to lament at his leisure the cruel wounds 
he had received. Friend, said his despised companion to 
him, who had now reason to triumph in his turn, distin- 
guished posts are often dangerous to those who possess 
them ; if you had served a miller, as I do, you might have 
traveled the road unmolested. 

IDe sljoulb epcr q,natb against Itjose r>tcc5 ttjat are ctjtefly 
incibcnt to our time of life: excess anb riot, tpEjtIe toe are 
young,, anb egregious parsimony, as voz grotr» in years. 


Two Foxes formed a strategem to enter a hen roost, 
which having successfully executed, and killed the cock, 
the hens and the chickens, they began to feed upon them 
with singular satisfaction. One of the Foxes, who was 
young and inconsiderate, was for devouring them all upon 
the spot; the other, who was old and covetous, proposed 
the reserving some of them for another time. For experi- 
ence, child, said he, has made me wise, and I have seen 
many unexpected events since I came into the world. 
Let us provide, therefore, against what may happen, and 
not consume all our store at one meal. All this is won- 
drous wise, replied the young Fox, but for my part, I am 
resolved not to stir till I have eaten as much as wdll serve 


mc a whole week; for who would be mad enough to re- 
turn hither? It is certain the owner of these fowls will 
watch for us, and if he should catch us, would infallibly 
put us to death. After this short discourse, each pursued 
his own fancy: the young Fox ate till he burst himself, 
and had scarcely strength to reach his hole before he died. 
The old one, who thought it much better to deny his ap- 
petite for t'hc present, and lay up provision for the future, 
returned the next day, and was killed by the farmer. Thus 
every age has its peculiar vice : the young suffer by their 
insatiable thirst after pleasure, and the old, by their in- 
corrigible and inordinate avarice. 

Pcr50ii5 may tDrite fine systems of morality icljo nerer 
practiceb a sttigle rirtue. 


Nothing is more common than for men to condenm the 
very same actions in others, which they practice them- 
selves whenever occasion offers. 

A Fox and a Cat having made a party to travel to- 
gether, beguiled the tediousness of their journey by a va- 
riety of philosophical conversations. Of all the moral 
virtues, exclaimed Reynard, mercy is sure the noblest! 
What say you, my sage friend, is it not so? Undoubt- 
edly, replied the Cat, with a most demure countenance; 
nothing is more becoming, in a creature of any sensi- 
bilitv. than a compassionate disposition. While they 
were thus philosophizing, and mutually complimenting 
each other on the wisdom of their respective reflections, 
a Wolf darted out from a wood upon a flock of Sheep 


which were feeding in an adjacent meadow, and with- 
out being the least affected by the moving lamenta- 
tions of a poor Lamb, devotired it before their eyes. 
Horrible cruelty! exclaimed the Cat; why does he not 
feed on vermin, instead of making his barbarous meals 
on such innocent creatures? Reynard agreed with his 
friend in the observation, to which he added several 
very pathetic remarks on the odiousness of a sanguinary 
temper. Their indignation was rising in its warmth and 
zeal, when they arrived at a little cottage by the way- 
side, where the tender-hearted Reynard immediately cast 
his eye upon a fine Cock that was strutting about in 
the yard. And now adieu moralizing: he leaped over 
the pales, and without any sort of scruple demolished 
his prize in an instant. In the meanwhile, a plump Rat 
which ran out of the stable, totally put to flight our Cat's 
philosophy, who fell to the repast without the least com- 

Hibiculc appears witl} a r>cry ill grace in person? wl}0 
possess no one talent besibe. 


There is a certain bird in the West Indies, which has 
the faculty of mimicing the notes of every other songster, 
without being able himself to add any original strains to 
the concert. As one of these Mocking-birds w^as dis- 
playing his talent of ridicule among the branches of a 
venerable wood: It is very well, said a little songster, 
speaking in the name of all the rest, we grant you that 
our music is not without its faults, but why will you not 
favor us with a strain of your own? 



Hott^inoi escapes tljc oyc of the nuistcr. 

A Hart hotly pursiul by the hounds fled for refuge into 
an ox-stall, and buried itself in a truss of hay, leaving; 
nothing- to be seen but the tips of his horns. Soon after 
the Hunters came up and asked if any one had seen the 
Hart. The stable boys, who had been resting after their 
dinner, looked round, but could see nothing, and the 

Hunters went aw-ay. Shortly afterwards the master came 
in, and looking round, saw that something unusual had 
taken place. He pointed to the truss of hay and said: 
What are those two curious things sticking out of the 
hay? And when the stable boys came to look they dis- 
covered the Hart, and soon made an end of him. He 
thus learnt that the servant's eye is not so keen as that 
of the master. 


21TutuaI compliances arc necessary to matrimonial 


A Huntsman was leading forth his Hounds one morn- 
ing to the chase, and had Hnked several of the young dogs 
in Couples, to prevent their following every scent, and 
hunting disorderly, as their own inclinations and fancy 
should direct them. Among others, it was the fate of 
Jowler and \^ixen to be thus yoked together. Jowler 
and Mxen were both young and inexperienced, but had 
for some time been constant companions, and seemed to 
have entertained a great fondness for each other; they 
used to be perpetually playing together, and in any quar- 
rel that happened, always took one another's part; it 
might have been expected therefore that it would not be 
disagreeable to them to be still more closely united. How- 
ever in fact it proved otherwise; they had not been long 
joined together before both parties begun to express un- 
easiness at their present situation. Different inclinations 
and opposite wills began to discover and to exert them- 
selves : if one chose to go this way, the other was as eager 
to take the contrary; if one was pressing forward, the 
other was sure to lag behind ; Mxen pulled back Jowler, 
and Jowler dragged along Vixen; Jowler growled at 
Vixen, and Vixen snapped at Jowler, till at last it came to 
a downright quarrel between them; and Jowler treated 
Vixen in a very rough and ungenerous manner, without 
any regard to the inferiority of her strength, or the ten- 
derness of her sex. As they were thus continually vexing 
and tormenting one another, an old hound, who had ob- 
served all that passed, came up to them, and thus reproved 


them : What a couple of silly puppies you are, to be per- 
petually worrying- yourselves at this rate! What hin- 
ders your going on peaceably and quietly together? Can- 
not you compromise the matter between you by each con- 
sulting the other's inclination a little! at least, try to 
make a virtue of necessity, and submit to what you can- 
not remedy; you cannot get rid of the chain, but you may 
make it fit easy upon you. I am an old dog, and let my 
age and experience instruct you; when I was in the same 
circumstances with you, I soon found that thwarting my 
companion was only tormenting myself; and my yoke- 
fellow happily came into the same way of thinking. We 
endeavored to join in the same pursuits, and to follow 
one another's inclinations, and so we jogged on together, 
not only with ease and quiet, but with comfort and plea- 
sure. We found by experience, that mutual compliance 
not only compensates for liberty, but is even attended 
with a satisfaction and delight, beyond what liberty itself 
can give. 

CI?e pleasures of parental fonbncss make large amenbs 
for all its aiLxieties. 


The Ostrich one day met the Pelican, and observing 
her breast all bloody. Good God! says she to her, what is 
the matter? What accident has befallen you? You cer- 
tainly have been seized by some savage beast of prey, and 
have with difficulty escaped from his merciless claws. Do 
not be surprised, friend, replied the Pelican; no such ac- 
cident, nor indeed anything more than common, hath 


happened to me. I have only been engaged in my or- 
dinary employment of tending my nest, of feeding my 
dear little ones, and nourishing them with the vital blood 
from my bosom. Your answer, returned the Ostrich, 
astonishes me still more than the horrid figure you make. 
What, is this your practice, to tear your own flesh, to 
spill your own blood, and to sacrifice yourself in this cruel 
manner to the importunate cravings of your young ones? 
I know not which to pity most, your misery or your folly. 
Be advised by me: have some regard for yourself, and 
leave off this barbarous custom of mangling your own 
body; as for your children, commit them to the care of 
providence, and make yourself quite easy about them. 
My example may be of use to you. I lay my eggs upon 
the ground, and just cover them lightly over with sand; 
if they have the good luck to escape being crushed by the 
tread of man or beast, the warmth of the sun broods upon, 
and hatches them, and in due time my young ones come 
forth ; I leave them to be nursed by nature, and fostered 
by the elements; I give myself no trouble about them, and 
I neither know nor care what becomes of them. Unhap- 
py wretch, says the Pelican, who hardenest thyself against 
thy own offspring, and through want of natural affection 
renderest thy travail fruitless to thyself! who knowest not 
the sweets of a parent's anxiety ; the tender delights of a 
mother's sufferings! It is not I, but thou, that art cruel to 
thy own flesh. Thy insensibility may exempt thee from 
a temporary inconvenience, and an inconsiderable pain, 
but at the same time it makes thee inattentive to a most 
necessary duty, and incapable of relishing the pleasure 
that attends it; a pleasure, the most exquisite that nature 
hath indulged to us; in which pain itself is swallowed up 
and lost, or only serves to heighten the enjoyment. 


tDc often niif-f' our point by biinbino; our attention. 

As a Sportsman ranf,a-cl the fields with his gun, at- 
tended by an experienced old Spaniel, he happened to 
spring a Snipe; and, nearly at the same instant, a covey 
of Partridges. Suri)riscd at the accident, and divided in 
his aim, he let fly too indeterminately, and by this means 
missed them both. Ah, my good master, said the Span- 
iel, you should never have two aims at once. Had you 
not been dazzled and seduced by the extravagant hope 
of Partridge, you would most probably have secured your 

3t is useless attacktncj tlje insensible. 

A Serpent in the course of its wanderings came into 
an armourer's shop. As he glided over the floor he felt 
his skin pricked by a file lying there. In a rage he 
turned round upon it and tried to dart his fangs into it; 
but he could do no harm to heavy iron and had soon 
to give over his wrath. 





Co be set in a strong point of lic^t^t is as farorable to 
nicvit as it is bostructipc to imposture. 


A Diamond happened to fall from the solitaire of a 
young lady as she was walking one evening on a terrace 
in her garden. A Glow-worm who had beheld it sparkle 
in its descent, soon as the gloom of night had eclipsed its 
luster began to mock and to insult it. Art thou that won- 
drous thing that vaunteth of such prodigious brightness? 
Where now is all thy boasted brilliancy? Alas, in an evil 
hour has fortune thrown thee within the reach of my su- 
perior blaze. Conceited insect, replied the gem, that 
oweth thy feeble glimmer to the darkness that surrounds 
thee; know, that my luster bears the test of day, and even 
derives its chief advantage from that distinguishing light, 
which discovers thee to be no more than a dark and pal- 
try worm. 

©rarity, tl^ougt? sometimes tl?e mten of misbom, is often 
founb to be tf)e mask of ignorance. 


A certain Widower, in order to amuse his solitary 
hours, and in some measure supply the conversation of bis 
departed helpmate of loquacious memory, determined to 
purchase a Parrot, ^^'ith this view he applied to a dealer 
in birds, who showed him a large collection of parrots of 
various kinds. While they were exercising their talkative 


talents before him, one repeating the cries of the town, 
another asking for a cup of sack, and a third bawUng out 
for a coach, he observed a green Parrot, perched in a 
thoughtful manner at a distance upon the foot of a table: 
And so you, my grave gentleman, said he, are quite silent. 
To which the Parrot replied, like a philosophical bird, I 
think the more. Pleased with this sensible answer, our 
Widower immediately paid down his price, and took home 
the bird; conceiving great things from a creature, who 
had given so striking a specimen of his parts. But after 
having instructed him during a whole month, he found to 
his great disappointment, that he could get nothing more 
from him than the fatiguing repetition of the same dull 
sentence, I think the more. I find, said he in great wrath, 
that thou art a most invincible fool, and ten times more 
a fool was I, for having formed a favorable opinion of thy 
abilities upon no better foundation than an affected sol- 

inclination seems to fjare got tijc start of buty, tuljen a»c 
seek to finb it in books of casuistry. 


A Cat having devoured a favorite Bullfinch of her mas- 
ter's, overheard him threatening to put her to death the 
moment he could find her. In this distress she preferred 
a prayer to Jupiter, vowing, if he would deliver her from 
her present danger, that never while she lived would she 
eat another bird. Not long afterwards a Bat most invit- 
ingly liew into the room where puss was purring in the 
window. The question was, how to act upon so tempting 



an occasion? Her appciite pressed liard on one side, 
and her vow tiirew sonic scruples in her way on the other. 
At length she hit upon a most convenient distinction to 
remove all difficulties, by determining that as a bird in- 
deed it was an unlawful prize, but as a mouse she might 
very conscientiously eat it, and accordingly without fur- 
ther debate fell to the repast. 

Thus it is that men are apt to impose upon themselves 
by vain and groundless distinctions, when conscience and 
principle are at variance with interest and inclination. 

CI?c folly of supplying to otl^ers tijc means of our own 


A Man came into a Wood one day with an axe in his 
hand, and begged all the Trees to give him a small 
branch which he wanted for a particular purpose. The 
Trees were good-natured and gave him one of their 



branches. What did the Alan do but fix it into the axe- 
head, and soon set to work cutting down tree after tree. 
Then the Trees saw how fooHsh they had been in giving 
their enemy the means of destroying themselves. 

^olli), passing w'ltl} men for toisbom, makes liacl) con-- 
tentcb will} l}\5 own sfjare of unberstanbing. 


Jupiter, in order to please mankind, directed Alercury 
to give notice that he had established a lottery, in which 
there were no blanks ; and that amongst a variety of other 
valuable chances, wisdom was the highest prize. It was 
Jupiter's command that in this lottery some of the gods 
should also become adventurers. The tickets being dis- 


posed of, and the wheels placed. Mercury was employed 
to preside at the drawing. It happened that the best prize 
fell to Minerva, upon which a general murmur ran 
through the assembly, and hints were thrown out that 
Jupiter had used some unfair practices to secure this de- 
sirable lot to his daughter. Jupiter, that he might at once 
punish and silence these impious clamors of the human 
race, presented them with folly in the place of wisdom; 
with which they went away perfectly well contented, and 
from that time the greatest fools have always looked upon 
themselves as the wisest men. 

trf?c scales of 3usticc are sclbom poiseb until tl^ere is 
little or notfjing remaining in eitljer. 


Two Cats having stolen some cheese, could not agree 
about dividing their prize. In order therefore to settle 
the dispute, they consented to refer the matter to a Mon- 
key. The proposed arbitrator very readily accepted the 
ofificc, and producing a balance, put a part into each scale. 
Let me see (said he), ay, this lump outw^eighs the other; 
and immediately bit off a considerable piece in order to 
reduce it, he observed, to an equilibrium. The opposite 
scale was now become the heaviest, which afforded our 
conscientious judge an additional reason for a second 
mouthful. Hold, hold, said the two Cats, who began to 
be alarmed for the event, give us our respective shares, 
and we are satisfied. If you are satisfied, returned the 
Monkey, justice is not; a case of this intricate nature is by 


no means so soon determined. Upon which he contin- 
ued to nibble first one piece and then the other, till the 
poor Cats, seeing their cheese gradually diminishing, en- 
treated him to give himself no farther trouble, but to de- 
liver to them what remained. Not so fast, I beseech ye, 
friends, replied the Monkey; we owe justice to ourselves 
as well as to you ; what remains is due to me in right of 
my office. Upon which, he stufifed the whole into his 
mouth, and with great gravity dismissed the court. 

Our own moberatton will not secure us from bisturbance 

if wz connect ourselpes voiti} men of turbulent 

anb litigious dispositions. 


Hasty and inconsiderate connections are generally at- 
tended with great disadvantages, and much of every man's 
good or ill fortune depends upon the choice he makes of 
his friends. 

A good-natured Spaniel overtook a surly MastifT, as 
he was traveling upon the high road. Tray, although an 
entire stranger to Tiger, very civilly accosted him : And if 
it would be no interruption, he said, he should be glad to 
bear him company on his way. Tiger, who happened not 
to be altogether in so growling a mood as usual, accepted 
the proposal ; and they very amicably pursued their jour- 
ney together. In the midst of their conversation they ar- 
rived at the next village, where Tiger began to display 
his malignant disposition, by an unprovoked attack upon 
every dog he met. The villagers immediately sallied 


forth with great iiKhgnation to rescue their respective 
favorites, and falHiig upon our two friends without dis- 
tinction or mercy, poor Tray was most cruelly treated, for 
no other reason l)ut from being found in Ijad company. 

CDiiv ovnnions of tl^iiias arc altoyCtl]cr as vav'xons as 
tljouoit} nacl} saw tl^cni tt^rouc;!? a biffcrcnt ntcbium; 
our attacl^nicnts to those opinions as fixcb anb firm as 
tl)oual? all saip tbcni tl^rouo,!} the mobiiim of tnitl). 


Jupiter one ciay, enjoying himself over a bowl of nectar, 
and in a merry humor, determined to make mankind a 
present. Momus was appointed to convey it to them; 
who mounted on a rapid car, was presently on earth. 
Come hither, says he, ye happy mortals, great Jupiter 
has opened for your benefit his all-gracious hands. It 
is true, he made you somewhat short-sighted, but to rem- 
edv that inconvenience, behold how^ he has favored you ! 
So saying, he unloosed his portmanteau ; an infinite num- 
ber of spectacles tumbled out, and mankind picked them 
up with great eagerness. There was enough for all, every 
man had his pair. But it was soon found that these spec- 
tacles did not represent objects to all mankind alike, for 
one pair was purple, another blue; one was white, and 
another black; some of the glasses were red, some green, 
and some yellow. In short, there were of all manner of 
colors, and every shade of color. However, notwith- 
standing this diversity, every man was charmed with his 
own, as believing it the best, and enjoyed in opinion, all 
the satisfaction of truth. 



(Dutsibc sl}ow is a poor substitute for inner voovtl}. 

A Fox had by some means got into the store-room of 
a theater. Suddenly he observed a face glaring down on 
him, and began to be very frightened ; but looking more 
closely he found it was only a Mask, such as actors use 
to put over their face. Ah, said the Fox, you look very 
fine ; it is a pity you have not got any brains. 


illcn arc sclbom founb to conbcmn tF?emscIro:r, otl^crtt>isc 

tl)an by tl)c censures tl)ci) pafs upon tl^oir 

omn faults, ill otl^cr people. 


As a Miser sat at his desk, counting over his heaps of 
gold, a Magpie, eloping from his cage, picked up a gui- 
nea, and hopped away with it. The Miser, who never fail- 
ed to count his money over a second time, immediately 
missed the piece, and rising up from his feet in the utmost 
consternation, observed the felon hiding it in a crevice 
of the floor. And art thou, cried he, that worst of thieves, 
who hast robbed me of my gold, without the plea of neces- 
sity, and without regard to its proper use? But thy life 
shall atone for so preposterous a villainy. Soft words, 
good master, quoth the iMagpie. Have I then injured 
you, in any other sense than you defraud the public? And 
am I not using your money in the same manner you do 
yourself? If I must lose my life for hiding a single gui- 
nea, what do you, I pray, deserve, who secrete so many 

Ct liar u?ill not be bclict)cb, cren wi}cn fjc speaks tf?c trutlj. 

There was once a young Shepherd Boy who tended his 
sheep at the foot of a mountain near a dark forest. It 
was rather lonely for him all day, so he thought upon a 
plan by which he could get a little company and some 
excitement. He rushed down towards the village calling 



out Wolf, Wolf, and the villagers came out to meet him, 
and some of them stopped with him for a considerable 
time. This pleased the boy so much that a few days 
afterwards he tried the same trick, and again the villagers 
came to his help. But shortly after this a Wolf actually 
did come out from the forest, and began to worry the 
sheep, and the boy of course cried out Wolf, Wolf, still 
louder than before. But this time the villagers, who had 
been fooled twice before, thought the boy was again de- 
ceiving them, and nobody stirred to come to his help. 
So the Wolf made a good meal off the boy's flock, and 
when the boy complained, the wise man of the village 
said: It is your own fault if, after so often taking your 
lie for a truth we at last took your truth for a lie. 



tEl?c abiHintaijcs of moberation, anb extreme follij of 


On n fine morning in May, two Bees set forward in 
quest of honey; the one wise and temperate, the other 
careless and extravagant. They soon arrived at a garden 
enriched with aromatic herbs, the most fragrant flowers, 
and the most dcHcioiis fruits. They regaled themselves 
for a time on the various dainties that were spread before 
them: the one loading his thigh at intervals with provi- 
sions for the hive against the distant winter; the other, 
revelling in sweets without regard to anything but his 
present gratification. At length they found a wide- 
mouthed phial, that hung beneath the bough of a peach- 
tree, filled with honey ready tempered, and exposed to 
their taste in the most alluring manner. The thoughtless 
epicure, spite of all his friend's remonstrances, plunged 
headlong into the vessel, resolving to indulge himself in 
all the pleasures of sensuality. The Philosopher, on the 
other hand, sipped a little with caution, but being sus- 
picious of danger, flew ofT to fruits and flowers; where 
by the moderation of his meals, he improved his relish for 
the true enjoyment of them. In the evening, however, 
he called upon his friend, to inquire whether he would 
return to the hive; but found him surfeited in sweets, 
which he was as unable to leave, as to enjoy. Clogged 
in his wings, enfeebled in his feet, and his whole frame 
totally enervated, he was but just able to bid his friend 
adieu, and to lament with his last breath, that though a 
taste of pleasure might quicken the relish of life, an un- 
restrained indulgence is inevitable destruction. 


Cl?c suggestions of raiuty are as bclusire as tljose of 


As a Poet sat in his closet, feasting his imagination on 
the hopes of fame and immortaUty, he was startled on a 
sudden with the ominous sound of a Death-watch. How- 
ever, immediately recollecting himself; Vain insect, said 
he, cease thy impertinent forebodings, sufficient indeed 
to frighten the weakness of women or of children, but far 
beneath the notice of a Poet and Philosopher. As for 
me, whatever accident may threaten my life, my fame, 
spite of thy prognostics, shall live to future ages. May 
be so, replied the insect, I find at least, thou hadst rather 
listen to the maggot in thy head, than to the worm be- 
neath thy table ; but know, that the suggestions of vanity 
are altogether as deceitful as those of superstition. 

trije young sfjoulb not act as tl^ougl? ttjey toere exempt 

from beatf); nor tf^e olb forget to guarb against 

tl?e follies of lore. 


Jupiter sent forth Death and Cupid to travel round the 
world, giving each of them a bow in his hand, and a qui- 
ver of arrows at his back. It was ordered by the disposer 
of human affairs that the arrows of Love should only 
wound the young, in order to supply the decays of mortal 


men. and those of Death were to strike old age, and free 
the world from a useless cliarge. Our travelers being one 
day extremely fatigued with their journey, rested them- 
selves under the covert of a wood, and throwing down 
their arrows in a promiscuous manner before them, they 
both fell fast asleep. They had not reposed themselves 
long, before thev were awakened by a sudden noise, when 
hastily gathering up their arms, each in the confusion 
took by mistake some of the darts that belonged to the 
other. By this means, it frequently happened that Death 
vanquished the young, and Cupid subdued the old. Jupi- 
ter observed the error, but did not think proper to re- 
dress it, foreseeing that some good might arise from 
their unlucky exchange. And in fact, if men were wise, 
they would learn from this mistake to be apprehensive 
of death in their youth, and to guard against the amor- 
ous passions in their old age. 

(Enemies' promises mere mabe to be broken. 

Be quiet now, said an old Nurse to a child sitting on 
her lap. If you make that noise again I will throw you 
to the Wolf. 

Now it chanced that a Wolf was passing close under 
the window as this was said. So he crouched down by 
the side of the house and waited. I am in good luck 
to-day, thought he. It is sure to cry soon, and a daintier 
morsel I haven't had for many a long day. So he waited, 
and he waited, and he waited, till at last the child began 
to cry, and the Wolf came forward before the window, 




and looked up to the Nurse, wagging his tail. But all 
the Nurse did was to shut down the window and call 
for help, and the dogs of the house came rushing out. 
Ah, said the Wolf as he galloped away, that old nurse is 
no friend of mine. 

CI milb bisposition anb a vxnbktim temper generally 
meet wxil) suitable returns. 


A Thistle happened to spring up very near to a Sensi- 
tive Plant. The former observing the extreme bashful- 
ness and delicacy of the latter, addressed her in the fol- 
lowing manner: Why are you so modest and reserved, 
my good neighbor, as to withdraw your leaves at the ap- 
proach of strangers? Why do you shrink as if 3'ou were 
afraid, from the touch of every hand? Take example and 
advice from me: If I liked not their familiarity, I would 
make them keep their distance, nor should any saucy fin- 
ger provoke me unrevenged. Our tempers and qualities, 
replied the other, are widely different; I have neither the 
ability nor inclination to give ofifense ; you it seems are by 
no means destitute of either. My desire is to live peace- 
ably in the station wherein I am placed; and though my 
humility may now and then cause me a moment's uneasi- 
ness, it tends on the whole to preserve my tranquillity. 
The case is otherwise with you, whose irritable temper, 
and revengeful disposition, will probably one time or 
other be the cause of your destruction. While they were 
thus arguing the point, the gardener came with his little 


spade, in order to lighten the earth round the stem of the 
Sensitive Plant; but perceiving the Thistle, he thrust his 
instrument through the root of it, and directly tossed it 
out of his garden. 

Cf?e folhi of estimating tl?c wovilj of otf^crs by iVjC sole 
stanbavb of our oum conceptions. 


Pythagoras was one day very earnestly engaged in 
taking an exact measure of the length of the Olympic 
course. One of those conceited Critics, who aim at every 
thing, and are ready to interpose with their opinion upon 
all subjects, happened to be present, and could not help 
smiling to himself to see the Philosopher so employed, 
and to observe what great attention and pains he be- 
stowed upon such a business. And pray, says he, accost- 
ing Pythagoras, may I presume to ask, with what design 
you have given yourself this trouble? Of that, replied 
the Philosopher, I shall very readily inform you. We 
are assured, that Hercules, when he instituted the Olympic 
games, himself laid out this course by measure, and de- 
termined it to the length of six hundred feet, measuring 
it by the standard of his own foot. Now, by taking an 
exact measure of this space, and seeing how much it ex- 
ceeds the measure of the same number of feet now in 
use, we can find how much the foot of Hercules, and in 
proportion his whole stature, exceeded that of the pres- 
ent generation. A very curious speculation, says the 
Critic, and of great use and importance, no doubt! And 
so you will demonstrate to us, that the bulk of this fabu- 
lous hero was equal to his extravagant enterprises and 

i68 ;esops fables. 

Ills marvelous exploits. And pray Sir, what may be the 
result of your inquiry at last? 1 suppose, you can not tell 
me exactly to a hair's breadth, how tall Hercules was. 
The result of my inquiry, replied the Philosopher, is this: 
and it is a conclusion of greater use and importance than 
you seem to expect from it, that if you will always esti- 
mate the labors of the philosopher, the designs of the 
patriot, and the actions of the hero, by the standard of 
your own narrow conceptions, you will ever be greatly 
mistaken in your judgment concerning them. 

imitation may be parbonaMc, irl^crc emulation iroult) 
be presumptuous. 


As a Red-breast was singing on a tree by the side of a 
rural cottage, a Sparrow perched upon the thatch took 
occasion thus to reprimand him: And dost thou, said 
he, with thy dull autumnal note, presume to emulate the 
Birds of Spring? Can thy weak warblings pretend to vie 
with the sprightly accents of the Thrush and Blackbird? 
with the various melody of the Lark or Nightingale? 
whom other birds far thy superiors, have been long con- 
tent to admire in silence. Judge with candor at least, 
rephed the Robin; nor impute those efforts to ambition 
solely, which may sometimes flow from the love of art. I 
reverence indeed, but by no means envy, the birds whose 
fame has stood the test of ages. Their songs have 
charmed both hill and dale, but their season is past, 
and their throats are silent. I feel not, however, the am- 
bition to surpass or equal them ; my eflforts are of a much 


humbler nature, and I may surely hope for pardon, while 
I endeavor to cheer these forsaken valleys, by an attempt 
to imitate the strains I love. 

Itntteb a>c stanb, btt)ibeb me fall. 

A Lion used to prowl about a field in which Four 
Oxen used to dwell. ]\Iany a time he tried to attack 
them, but whenever he came near they turned their tails 
to one another, so that whichever way he approached 
them he was met by the horns of one of them. At last, 
how^ever, they fell a-quarreling among themselves, and 
each went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the 
field. Then the Lion attacked them one by one and 
soon made an end of all four. 


3t is Ijarbli) possible to bcprice malcDoIencc of cpcry 
occasion for a caril. 


It is said that Momus was perpetually blaming and ridi- 
culing whatever he saw. Even the works of the gods 
themselves could not escape his universal censure. The 
eyes of the bull, he said, were so placed by Jupiter, that 
they could not direct his horns in pushing at his enemies. 
The houses which Minerva had instructed men to build, 
were contrived so very injudiciously, that they could not 
remove them from a bad neighborhood, nor from any 
other inconvenience. In short, the frame of man him- 
self was in his opinion extremely defective, having no 
window in his bosom that might demonstrate his sin- 
cerity, or betray his wicked purposes and prevent their 
execution. These and many other faults were found in 
the productions of nature, but when he surveyed the 
works of art, there was no end of his altercations. Jupi- 
ter, being resolved to try how far his malice would pro- 
ceed, sent his daughter Venus to desire that he would 
give his opinion of her beauty. She appeared accord- 
ingly before the churlish god, trembling at the apprehen- 
sion of his known severity. He examined her propor- 
tions with all the rigor of an envious critic. }jut her 
shape and complexion were so striking, and her smiles 
and graces so very engaging, that he found it impossible 
to give the least color to any objection he could make. 
Yet, to show how hard malevolence will struggle for a 
cavil: as she w'as retiring from his presence, he begged 
she would acquaint her father, that whatever grace might 
be in her motion, yet — her slippers were too noisy. 



^inc clotljcs may bisgutse, but stlly vootbs mill bisclose 

a fool. 


An Ass once found a Lion's skin which the hunters 
had left out in the sun to dry. He put it on and went 
towards his native village. All fled at his approach, 
both men and animals, and he was a proud Ass that day. 

" I • knew • you • by your • voice I" 

In his delight he lifted up his voice and brayed, but then 
every one knew him, and his owner came up and gave 
him a sound cudgeling for the fright he had caused. And 
shortly afterwards a Fox came up to him and said: Ah, 
I knew you by your voice. 


(In immoocratc pursuit of pleasure is generally 6estruc= 
tiro of its object. 


A Boy, greatly smitten with the colors of a Butterfly, 
pursued it from flower to flower with irdcfatigable pains. 
First he aimed to surprise it among the leaves of a rose; 
then to cover it with his hat, as it was feeding on a 
daisy; now hoped to secure it, as it rested on a sprig of 
myrtle; and now grew sure of his prize, perceiving it 
loiter on a bed of violets. But the fickle Fly, continually 
changing one blossom for another, still eluded his 
attempts. At length, observing it half buried in the cup 
of a tulip, he rushed forward, and snatching it with vio- 
lence, crushed it all to pieces. The dying insect, seeing 
the poor boy somewhat chagrined at his disappointment, 
addressed him with all the calmness of a stoic, in the fol- 
lowing manner. — Behold! now the end of thy unprofitable 
solicitude! and learn, for the benefit of thy future life, 
that all pleasure is but a painted Butterfly; which, al- 
though it may serve to amuse thee in the pursuit, if em- 
braced with too much ardor, will perish in thy grasp. 

you tDill only injure yourself if you take notice of bcs-- 
picable enemies. 


There was once a Bald Man who sat down after work 
on a hot summer's day. A Fly came up and kept buz- 
zing about his bald pate, and stinging him from time to 



174 iT:sors 

time. The Man aimed a blow at liis little enemy, but — 
whack — his palm came on his head instead; again the 
Fly tormented him, but this time the Man was wiser and 
said: Since T cannot hit this lively j^est, T will not beat 
my own head in the attempt. 

trije rain beliepe t!}cir imaginary perfections engross tlje 
attention of all niankinb. 


The vain hear the flatteries of their own imagination, 
and fancy them to be the voice of fame. 

A solemn Owl, puffed up with vanity, sat repeating her 
screams at midnight, from the hollow of a blasted oak. 
And whence, cried she, proceeds this awful silence, unless 
it be to favor my superior melody? Surely the groves 
are hushed in expectation of my voice, and when I sing, 
all nature listens. An Echo resounding from an adjacent 
rock, replied immediately, All nature listens. The night- 
ingale, resumed she, has usurped the sovereignty by 
night: her note indeed is musical, but mine is sweeter far. 
The voice, confirming her opinion, replied again. Is 
SAveeter far. Why then am I dif^dent, continued she, why 
do I fear to join the tuneful choir? The Echo, still flatter- 
ing her vanity, repeated, Join the tuneful choir. Roused 
by this empty phantom of encouragement, she on the 
morrow mingled her hootings with the harmony of the 
groves. But the tuneful songsters, disgusted with her 
noise, and affronted by her impudence, unanimously 
drove her from their society, and still continue to pursue 
her wherever she appears. 


^ops may boast of extensile traDcb, but it is only a feu) 

Mscermng persons tl)at make tl?e proper 

use of tl?em. 


A Butterfly, proudly perched on the gaudy leaves of a 
French marigold, was boasting the vast extent and variety 
of his travels. I have ranged, said he, over the graceful 
and majestic fences of Hagley,t and have feasted my eyes 
with elegance and variety at the Leasowes.* I have 
wandered through regions of Eglantine and Honey- 
suckle, I have revelled in kisses on beds of Violets and 
Cowslips, and have enjoyed the delicious fragrance of 
Roses and Carnations. In short, my fancy unbounded, 
and my flights unrestrained, I have visited with perfect 
freedom all the flowers of the field or garden, and must 
be allowed to know the world, in a superlative degree. 

A Snail, who hung attentive to his wonders on a cab- 
bage-leaf, was struck with admiration, and concluded 
him. from all this experience, to be the wisest of animal 

It happened that a Bee pursued her occupation on a 
neighboring bed of marjoram, and having heard our 
ostentatious vagrant, reprimanded him in this manner. 
Vain, empty flutterer, said she, whom instruction cannot 
improve, nor experience itself enlighten ! Thou hast ram- 
bled over the world; wherein does thy knowledge of it 
consist? Thou hast seen variety of objects, what conclu- 
sions hast thou drawn from them? Thou hast tasted of 
every amusement, hast thou extracted anything for use? 

tLord Lyttehon's. *Mr. Shenstone's. 


I, too, am a traveler; go and look into my hive, and let 
my treasures shadow out to thee, that the intent of trav- 
eling is, to collect materials either for the use and emolu- 
ment of private life, or for the advantage of the com- 

3t is easy to propose impossible rcmebies. 

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 pro- 
posal 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 ven- 
ture, 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 w^as about 
and could easily retire while she was in the neighbor- 

This i^roposal 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: While you 
are belling the cat you will be in reach of her paws. 




d?e fop wl}0 prtbes fjtmscif upon a lar^c acquaintance 
is sclbom capahk of real frienbsl^ip 


There was a certain ^Magpie, more busy and more lo- 
quacious than any of his tribe. His tongue was in per- 
petual motion, and himself continually upon the wing, 
fluttering from place to place, and very seldom appear- 
ing twice together in the same company. 

Sometimes you saw him with a flock of pigeons, plun- 
dering a field of new sown corn; anon, perched upon a 
cherry tree with a parcel of tom-tits; the next moment, 
you would be surprised to find the same individual bird 
engaged with a flight of crows, and feasting upon a car- 

He took it one day into his head to visit an old Raven, 
who lived retired among the branches of a venerable oak, 
and there, at the foot of a lonely mountain, had passed 
near half a century. 

I admire, says the prating bird, your most roman- 
tic situation, and the wildness of these rocks and preci- 
pices around you; I am absolutely transported with the 
murmur of that water-fall ; methinks it diffuses a tran- 
quillity, surpassing all the joys of public life. What an 
agreeable sequestration from worldly bustle and imperti- 
nence! What an opportunity of contemplating the divine 
beauties of nature! I shall most certainly, my dear, quit 
the gaieties of town, and for the sake of these rural 
scenes, and my good friend's conversation, pass the re- 
mainder of my days in the solitude he has chosen. 

Well, Sir, replies the Raven, I shall be at all times glad 
to receive you in my old fashioned way, but you and I 


should certainly prove most unsuitable companions. 
Your whole ambition is to shine in company, and to rec- 
ommend yourself to the world by universal complaisance; 
whereas my greatest happiness consists in ease and pri- 
vacy, and the select conversation of a few whom I es- 
teem. I prefer a good heart to the most voluble tongue; 
and though questionless obliged to you for the polite- 
ness of your professions, yet I see your benevolence di- 
vided among so numerous an acquaintance, that a very 
slender share of it can remain for those you are pleased 
to honor with the name of friends. 

d?c blessing of Ijopc is better abapteb to tl?e state of 
mortals il}an tf?e gift of prescience. 


Prometheus formed man of the finest clay, and ani- 
mated his work with fire stolen from heaven. He en- 
dowed him with all the faculties that are to be found 
amongst the animal creation ; he gave him the courage of 
the lion, the subtlety of the fox, the providence of the ant, 
and the industry of the bee; and he enabled him by the 
superiority of his understanding, to subdue them all, and 
to make them subservient to his use and pleasure. He 
discovered to him the metals hidden in the bowels of the 
earth, and showed him their several uses. He instructed 
him in everything that might tend to cultivate and civ- 
ilize human life; he taught him to till the ground, and 
to improve the fertility of nature; to build houses, to cover 
himself with garments, and to defend himself against the 


inclemencies of the air and the seasons; to compound 
medicines of salutary herbs, to heal wounds, and to cure 
diseases; to construct ships, to cross the seas, and to 
communicate to every country the riches of all. In a 
word, he imbued him with sense and memory, with 
sagacity and invention, with art and science, and to 
crown all, he gave him an insight into futurity. But, alas! 
this latter gift, instead of improving, wholly destroyed 
the proper efTect of all the former. Furnished with all the 
means and instruments of happiness, man nevertheless 
was miserable; through the knowledge and dread of 
future evil, he was incapable of enjoying present good. 
Prometheus saw, and immediately resolved to remedy 
this inconvenience; he effectually restored man to a 
capacity of happiness, by depriving him of prescience, 
and giving him hope in its stead. 

People often grubge otijers mt^at they cannot enjoy 


A Dog looking out for its afternoon nap jumped into 
the Manger of an Ox and lay there cosily upon the 
straw. But soon the Ox, returning from its afternoon 
work, came up to the Manger and wanted to eat some 
of the straw. The Dog in a rage, being awakened from 
its slumber, stood up and barked at the Ox, and when- 
ever it came near attempted to bite it. At last the Ox 
had to give up the hope of getting at the straw, and went 
away muttering: This surly beast will not yield to an- 
other that which is of no use to himself. 





yiclb to all anb you mill soon f^arc noticing to ijielb. 

In the old days, wlicn men were allowed to have many 
wives, a middle-aged Man had one wife that was old and 
one that was young; each loved him very much, and de- 
sired to see him like her- 
self. Now the Man's hair 
was turning gray, whicli 
the young Wife did not 
like, as it made him look 
too old for her husband. 
So every night she used to 
comb his hair and pick out 
the white ones. But the 
elder Wife saw her hus- 
band growing gray with 
great pleasure, for she did not like to be mistaken for 
his mother. So every morning she used to arrange his 
hair and pick out as many of the black ones as she could. 
The consequence was the Man soon found himself en- 
tirely bald. 

Cf?c rubcttess of consibcrtng religious opinions as tt?c 
proper object of ribicule. 


A Bear who was bred in the savage deserts of Siberia, 
had an inclination to see the world. He traveled from 
forest to forest, and from one kingdom to another, mak- 


ing many profound observations in his way. Among 
the rest of his excursions, he came by accident into a far- 
mer's yard, where he saw a number of poultry standing 
to drink by the side of a pool. Observing that at every 
sip they turned up their heads toward the sky, he could 
not forbear inquiring the reason of so peculiar a cere- 
mony. They told him it was by way of returning thanks 
to heaven for the benefits they received, and was indeed 
an ancient and religious custom, which they could not, 
with a safe conscience, or without impiety, omit. Here 
the Bear burst into a fit of laughter, at once mimicing 
their gestures, and ridiculing their superstition, in the 
most contemptuous manner. On this, the Cock, with 
a spirit suitable to the boldness of his character, addressed 
him in the following words: As you are a stranger. Sir, 
you perhaps may be excused the indecency of this be- 
havior; yet give me leave to tell you, that none but a Bear 
would ridicule any religious ceremony whatsoever, in the 
presence of those who believe them of importance. 

Cf?c weakness of placing tl?c essence of religion in tF?e 
mere obserpance of rites anb ceremonies. 


A Stork and a Crow had once a strong contention, 
which of them stood highest in the favor of Jupiter. The 
Crow alleged his skill in omens, his infallibilty in pro- 
phecies, and his great use to the priests of that deity in all 
their sacrifices and religious ceremonies. The Stork 
urged only his blameless life, the care he took to preserve 

1^4 /liSOP'S FAPLES. 

his offspring', and the assistance lie lent his parents under 
the infirmities of old age. It happened, as it generally 
does in religious disputes, that neither of them could con- 
fute the other; so they both agreed to refer the decision to 
Jupiter himself. On their joint application the god de- 
termined thus between them. Let none of my creatures 
despair of my regard; I know their weakness, I pity their 
errors, and whatever is well meant, T accq:)t as it was in- 
tended. Yet sacrifices or ceremonies are in themselves 
of no importance, and every attempt to penetrate the 
counsels of the gods, is altogether as vain as it is pre- 
sumptuous; but he who pays to Jupiter a just honor and 
reverence, who leads the most temperate life, and who 
does the most good in proportion to his abilities, as he 
best answ^ers the end of his creation, will assuredly stand 
highest in the favor of his creator. 

Ptccs are tF^eir Ottm punisf^ment. 


Two neighbors came before Jupiter and prayed him to 
grant their hearts' desire. Now the one was full of ava- 
rice, and the other eaten up with envy. So to punish 
them both, Jupiter granted that each might have what- 
ever he wished for himself, but only on condition that 
his neighbor had twice as much. The Avaricious man 
prayed to have a room full of gold. No sooner said than 
done; but all his joy was turned to grief w^hen he found 
that his neighbor had two rooms full of the precious 
metal. Then came the turn of the Envious man, who 



could not bear to think that his neighbor had any joy at 
all. So he prayed that he might have one of his own 
eyes put out, by which means his companion would 
become totally blind. 


^I)c oircatcst merit is often conccaleb unber tlje most 
unpromising appearances. 


A Diamond of great beauty and luster, observing, not 
only many other gems of a lower class ranged together 
with him in the same cabinet, but a Loadstone likewise 
placed not far from liim, began to question the latter, 
how he came there, and what pretensions he had to be 
ranked among the precious stones; he, who appeared 
to be no better tlian a mere Hint; a sorry, coarse, rusty- 
looking pebble, without any the least shining quality to 
advance him to such an honor, and concluded with desir- 
ing him to keep his distance, and pay a proper respect 
to his superiors. I find, said the Loadstone, that you 
judge by external appearances, and it is your interest, that 
others should form their judgment by the same rule. I 
must own I have nothing to boast of in that respect, but 
I may venture to say, that I make amends for my out- 
ward defects, by my inward qualities. The great im- 
provement of navigation in these latter ages is entirely 
owing to me. It is owing to me, that the distant parts 
of the world are known and accessible to each other; that 
the remotest peoples are connected together, and all in 
a manner united into one common society; that by a 
mutual intercourse they relieve one another's wants, and 
all enjoy the several blessings peculiar to each. Great 
nations are indebted to me for their wealth, splendor^ and 
power; and the arts and sciences are in a great measure 
obliged to me for their late improvements, and their con- 
tinual increase. I am willing to allow you your due praise 
in its full extent; you are a very pretty bauble; I am 
mightily delighted to see you glitter and sparkle; I look 



upon you with pleasure and surprise, but I must be con- 
vinced that you are of some sort of use, before I acknowl- 
edge that you have any real merit, or treat you with that 
respect which you seem to demand. 

kittle by little bocs tl^e trick. 


A Crow, half-dead with thirst, came upon a Pitcher 
which had once been full of water, but when the Crow 
put its beak into the mouth of the Pitcher he found that 
only very little water was left in it, and that he could not 
reach far enough down to get at it. He tried, and he 
tried, but at last had to give up in despair. Then a 
thought came to him, and he took 
a pebble and dropped it into the 
Pitcher. Then he took anoth- 
er pebble and dropped it 

into the Pitcher. Then he 

took another pebble 

and dropped that i 

to the Pitcher. 

Then he took 

another pebble 

and dropped'"^ - __-_ ^ . 

that into the^^/^C:*''^^ 

Pitcher. Then ^ Q y ;;; 7:::g»>j:^r- _^ ^ _ 

he took anoth- ■-- «__«^_— — — — 

er pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher. Then he 
took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher. 
At last, at last, he saw the water mount up near him ; and 
after casting in a few more pebbles he was able to quench 
his thirst and save his life. 



^l)c farors of tl?c arcat arc too often obstructcb by tfje 
inutbious offices of tl^eir mean bcpcnbents. 


One day when the Moon was under an Eclipse, she 
complained thus to the Sun of the discontinuance of his 
favors. My dearest friend, said she, why do you not 
shine upon me as you used to do? Do I not shine upon 
thee? said the Sun; I am very sure that I intend it. O 
no, replies the Moon, but I now perceive the reason. I 
see that dirty planet the earth, is got between us. 

The good influences of the great would perhaps be 
more diffusive, were it not for their mischievous de- 
pendents, who are so frequently suffered to interpose. 

©rccb often operreacl^cs itself. 

One day a countryman, go- 
ing to the nest of his 
Goose, found there an 
tgg all yellow and 
glittering. When 
he took it up it 
was as heavy as 
lead and he was 
going to throw it 
away, because he 
thought a trick 

had been played '.n' 



[gte-.OooseigiiCT: cHeiOoLPea • eaos: 



upon liini. But he look it home on second 
thought's, and soon found to liis dehij^lu that it was an 
e^^ of pure gold. Every morning the same thing oc- 
curred, and he soon l)ccame ricli hy selHng liis eggs. As 

he grew rich he grew greedy, and thinking to get at once 
all the gold the Goose could give, he killed it and opened 
it only to find — nothing. 


G. lazy reliance on tl?e antiquity of a family is, by far, 
less F)onorabIe tijan an t}onest inbustry. 


As some workmen were digging marble in a mountain 
of Scythia, they discerned a toad of an enormous size in 
the midst of a sohd roclc They were very much sur- 
prised at so uncommon an appearance, and the more 
they considered the circumstances of it, the more their 
wonder increased. It was hard to conceive by what 
means this creature had preserved hfe and nourishment 
in so narrow a prison ; and still more difficult to account 
for his birth and existence in a place so totally inac- 
cessible to all of his species. They could conclude no 
other, than that he was formed together with the rock 
in which he had been bred, and was coeval with the 
mountain itself. While they were pursuing these specu- 
lations the Toad sat swelling and bloating, till he was 
ready to burst with pride and self-importance; to which 
at last he thus gave vent: — Yes, says he, you behold in me 
a specimen of the Antediluvian race of animals. I was 
begotten before the flood; and who is there among the 
present upstart race of mortals, that shall dare to con- 
tend with me in nobility of birth or dignity of character? 
An Ephemeron, sprung that morning from the river 
Hypanis, as he was flying about from place to place, 
chanced to be present, and observed all that passed with 
great attention and curiosity. \"ain boaster, says he, 
what foundation hast thou for pride, either in thy de- 
scent, merely because it is ancient; or thy life, because 
it hath been long? What good qualities hast thou re- 
ceived from thy ancestors? Insignificant even to thy- 


self, as well as useless to others, thou art almost as in- 
sensible as the block in which thou wast bred. Even I, 
that had my birth only from the scum of the neighboring 
river, at the rising of this day's sun, and who shall die at 
its setting, have more reason to applaud my condition, 
than thou hast to be proud of thine. I have enjoyed the 
warmth of the sun, the light of the day, and the purity 
of the air; I have flown from stream to stream, from tree 
to tree, and from the plain to the mountain; I have pro- 
vided for posterity, and shall leave behind me a numerous 
offspring to people the next age of to-morrow^; in short, 
I have fulfilled all the ends of my being, and I have been 
happy. My whole life, it is true, is but of twelve hours; 
but even one hour of it is to be preferred to a thousand 
vears of mere existence; or that have been spent, like 
thine, in sloth, ignorance, and stupidity. 

Core can tame tfje milbcst. 

A Lion once fell in love with a beautiful maiden and 
proposed marriage to her parents. The old people did 
not know what to say. They did not like to give their 
daughter to the Lion, yet they did not wish to enrage 
the King of Beasts. At last the father said: We feel 
highly honored by your Majesty's proposal, but you see 
our daughter is a tender young thing, and we fear that 
in the vehemence of your afifection you might possibly 
do her some injury. Might I venture to suggest that 
your I^Iajesty should have your claws removed, and your 



teeth extracted, then we would oladly consider your pro- 
posal again. The Lion was so much in love that he had 
his claws trimmed and his big teeth taken out. But 

4 \. ^r*i 

when he came again to the parents of the young girl 
they simply laughed in his face, and bade him do his 



. H /^//^//^V/ 

3t is easy to bcspisc n?t?at you cannot get. 

One hot summer's day a Fox was strolling through an 
orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening 
on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. 
Just the thing to quench my thirst, quoth he. Drawing 
back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just 
missed the bunch. Turning round again wdth a One, 
Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. 
Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but 
at last he had to give it up, and walked away with his 
nose in the air, saying: I am sure they are sour. 



CI?cre are certain persons wl)0 require to be treateb ratEjer 

tcitl} spirit anb resolution tl^an voiti} tenber= 

ness anb belicacy. 


A Little Boy, playing in the fields, chanced to be stung 
by a Nettle, and came crying to his father; he told him he 
had been hurt by that nasty weed several times before, 
that he was always afraid of it, and that now he did but 
just touch it, as lightly as possible, when he was so se- 
verely stung. Child, says the father, your touching it so 
gently and timorously is the very reason of its hurting 
you. A Nettle may be handled safely, if you do it with 
courage and resolution ; if you seize it boldly, and grip it 
fast, depend upon it, it will never sting you ; and you will 
meet with many sorts of persons, as well as things in the 
world, which ought to be treated in the very same man- 

C{?e misery of bepenbtn^ upon patrons toljose cljaritij 
\}as too miicl} to bo at Ijome. 


A Beggar and his Dog sat at the gate of a noble 
Courtier, and w^ere preparing to make a meal on a bowl 
of fragments from the Kitchenmaid. A poor dependent 
of his Lordship's, who had been sharing the singular 
favor of a dinner at the steward's table, was struck with 
their appearance, and stopped a little to observe them. 



The Hcg-gar, hungry and voracious as any Courtier in 
Christendom, seized with greediness the choicest morsels, 
and swallowed them himself; the residue was divided into 
portions for his children. A scrag was thrust into one 
pocket for honest Jack, a crust into another for bashful 
Tom, and a luncheon of cheese wrapt up with care for the 
little favorite of his hopeful family. In short, if anything 
was thrown to the Dog, it was a bone so closely picked, 
that it scarce afforded a pittance to keep life and soul to- 
gether. How exactly alike, said the dependent, is this 
poor Dog's case and mine! He is watching for a dinner 
from a master who cannot spare it; I for a place from a 
needy Lord, whose wants perhaps are greater than my 
own ; and whose relations, more clamorous than any of 
this Beggar's brats. Shrewdly was it said by an in- 
genious writer, a Courtier's Dependent is a Beggar's Dog. 

IDit l}as always an answur rcaby. 

The Lion and the Fox went hunting together. The 
Lion, on the advice of the Fox, sent a message to the 
Ass, proposing to make an alliance between their two 
families. The Ass came to the place of meeting, over- 
joyed at the prospect of a royal alliance. But when he 
came there the Lion simply pounced on the Ass, and 
said to the Fox: Here is our dinner for to-day. Watch 
you here while I go and have a nap. Woe betide you 
if you touch my prey. The Lion went away and the 
Fox waited; but finding that his master did not return, 




ventured to take out the brains of the Ass and ate tliem 
up. When the Lion came back he soon noticed the ab- 
sence of the brains, and asked the Fox in a terrible 
voice: What have you done with the brains? 

Brains, your Majesty! it had none, or it would never 
have fallen into your trap. 

CI)e vl»^^^ui^*^^ of life upoulb be a balance for tlje ^axns, 
bib u?e not increase tl^e latter by our perpcrseness. 


A Bee complained to Jupiter, of the numerous evils to 
which her condition exposed her. Her body, she said, 
was weak and feeble, yet was she condemned to get her 
living by perpetual toil ; she was benumbed by the cold of 
■winter, and relaxed by the heat of summer. Her haunts 
were infected with poisonous weeds, and her flights ob- 
structed by storms and tempests. In short, what with 
dangers from without, and diseases from within, her life 
was rendered one continual scene of anxiety and wretch- 
edness. Behold now, said Jupiter, the frowardness and 
folly of this unthankful race! The flowers of the field I 
have spread before them as a feast, and have endeavored 
to regale them with an endless variety. They now revel 
on odoriferous beds of thyme and lavender, and now on 
the still more fragrant banks of violets and roses. Tlie 
business they complain of, is the extraction of honey; 
and, to alleviate their toil, I have allowed them wings, 
which readily transport them from one delicious banquet 
to another. Storms, tempests, and noxious weeds, I have 


given them sagacity to shun; and if ever they are misled, 
'tis through the perverseness of their indinations. But 
thus it is with Bees, and thus with Alen; they miscon- 
strue the benevolence of my designs, and then complain 
that my decrees are rigid; they ungratefully overlook all 
the advantages, and magnify all the inconveniences of 
their station. But let my creatures pursue their happi- 
ness, through the paths marked out by nature; and they 
will then feel no pains, which they have not pleasures to 

CI?e folly of resting in seconb causes tpitljout reference 
to tF?e first. 


A Tuberose in a bow-window on the north side of a 
stately villa, addressed a Sun-flower which grew on a 
slope, that was contiguous to the house. Pray, says he, 
neighbor Turnsole, to what purpose do you pay all this 
devotion to that fictitious deity of yours, the Sun? Why 
are you continually distorting your body, and casting up 
your eyes to that glaring luminary? What superstition 
induces you to think that we flowers exist only through 
his influence? Both you and I are surely indebted to 
the hot-bed, and to the diligence of the gardener, for our 
production and support. For my part, I shall reserve 
my homage, together witli my sweets, for that benevo- 
lent master who is continually watering and refreshing 
me ; nor do I desire ever to see the face of that Sun you 
so vainly idolize, while I can enjoy the cool shade of this 
magnificent saloon. Truce with thy blasphemies, re- 



plied the Sun-flower; why dost thou revile that glorious 
being, who dispenses life and vigor, not only to us, but to 
every part of the creation? Without this, alas! how in- 
effectual were the skill and vigilance of thy boasted mas- 
ter, either to support thy tender frame, or even to preserve 
his own ! But this must ever be the case with such con- 
tracted understandings who think it sufficient to point out 
our more immediate benefactors, without regarding that 
original source, from which all beneficence proceeds. 

XDt^eti you are in a man's pother you must bo as {)e 
Hbs you. 


A Fisher once took his bagpipes to the bank of a 
river, and played upon them with the hope of making 
the fish rise; but never a one put his nose out of the 
water. So he cast his net into the river and soon drew it 
forth filled with fish. Then he took his bagpipes again, 
and, as he played, the fish leapt up in the net. Ah, you 
dance now when I play, said he. 

Yes, said an old Fish, but not to your music; it is 
under the constraint of your power. 




^olly l-}as often too arcat an tnfluoncc in tf?o bircctton of 
our amours. 


In the most early state of things, and among the eldest 
of beings, existed that God as the poets entitle him, or 
rather that Daemon as Plato calls him, whose name is 
Love. He was assisting the father of the Gods in re- 
ducing Chaos into order, in establishing the harmony of 
the universe, and in regulating and putting in execution 
the laws by which the operations of nature are per- 
formed, and the frame of the world subsists. Universal 
good seemed to be his only study, and he was the su- 
preme delight both of Gods and men. But in process of 
time, among other disorders that arose in the universe, 
it appeared that Love began to deviate very often from 
what had seemed till now to be his chief pursuit; he 
would raise frequent disturbances and confusion in the 
course of nature ; though it was always under the pretense 
of maintaining order and agreement. It seems he had 
entered into a very intimate ac(|uaintance with a person, 
who had but lately made her appearance in the world. 
This person was Folly, the daughter of Pride and Ignor- 
ance. They were very often together, and as often as 
they were, some mischief was sure to be the consequence. 
By degrees he introduced her into the heavens; where it 
was their great joy by various artifices to lead the Gods 
into such measures as involved them in many inconveni- 
ences, and exposed them to much ridicule. They de- 
luded them all in their turns, except ]\Iinerva, the only 
divinity that escaped their wiles. Even Jupiter himself 
was induced by them to take some steps not at all suit- 


able to the dignity of his character. Folly had gotten the 
entire ascendant over her companion; however, she was 
resolved to make still more sure of him, and engross 
him wholly to herself; with this design she infused a 
certain intoxicating juice into his nectar, the effects of 
which were so powerful that in the end it utterly deprived 
him of his sight. Love was too much prejudiced in her 
favor, to apprehend her to be the cause of his misfortune; 
nor indeed did he seem to be in the least sensible of his 
condition. But his mother Venus soon found it out; 
and in the excess of her grief and rage carried her com- 
plaint to Jupiter, conjuring him to punish the sorceress 
who had blinded her son. Jupiter, willing to clear the 
heavens of such troublesome company, called both par- 
ties before him, and inquired into their conduct. After 
a full hearing, he determined that Folly should make 
some sort of reparation for the injury done to Love; and 
being resolved to punish both for the many irregularities 
which they had lately introduced, he condemned Love to 
wander about the earth, and ordered Folly to be his 

Ci?at fricnb is t^tal^Iy to bz respcctcb at all times, mljosc 
fricnbsfjip is cl^tcfli) btstinguisl^cb in abucrsity. 


In the quarters of a shrubbery, where deciduous plants 
and evergreens were intermingled with an air of negli- 
gence, it happened that a Rose grew not far from a 
Laurustinus. The Rose, enlivened by the breath of June, 
and attired in all its gorgeous blossoms, looked with 


much contempt on the Laurustinus; who had nothing to 
thsplay l)ut the dusky verdure of its leaves. What a 
wretched neighborhood, -cried she, is this! and how un- 
worthy to partake the honor of my company! Better to 
bloom and die in the desert, than to associate myself here 
with such low and dirty vegetables. And is this my lot 
at last, whom every nation has agreed to honor, and every 
Poet conspired to reverence, as the undoubted sovereign 
of the field and garden? If I really am so, let my sub- 
jects at least keep their distance, and let a circle remain 
vacant round me, suitable to the state my rank requires. 
Here, gardener — bring thy hatchet; prithee cut down 
this Laurustinus; or at least remove it to its proper 
sphere. Be pacified, my lovely Rose, replied the Gar- 
dener; enjoy thy sovereignty with moderation, and thou 
shalt receive all the homage which thy beauty can re- 
quire. But remember that in winter, when neither thou 
nor any of thy tribe produce one flower or leaf to cheer 
me, this faithful shrub, which thou despiseth, will become 
the glory of my garden. Prudence therefore as well as 
gratitude is concerned in the protection of a friend, that 
will show his friendship in adversity. 

familiarity brccbs contempt. 


When first the Fox saw the Lion he was terribly 
frightened, and ran away and hid himself in the wood. 
Next time however he came near the King of Beasts he 
stopped at a safe distance and watched him pass by. The 
third time thev came near one another the Fox went 




Straight up to the Lion and passed the time of day with 
him, asking liim how his family were, and when he should 
have the pleasure of seeing him again; then turning his 
tail, he parted from the Lion without much ceremony. 

Ct?c facility w\ti} \vI}'kI} many epils may be conquereb at 

first, iDl^ict?, bcinij \o\\j> ncglectcb, become 



A Crocodile of prodigious size, and uncommon fierce- 
ness, infested the banks of the Nile, and spread desola- 
tion through all the neighboring country. He seized the 
shepherd together with the sheep, and devoured the 
herdsmen as well as the cattle. Emboldened by success, 
and the terror which prevailed wherever he appeared, he 
ventured to carry his incursions even into the island of 
Tentyra, and to brave the people, who boast themselves 
the only tamers of his race. The Tentyrites themselves 
were struck with horror, at the appearance of a monster 
so much more terrible than they had even seen before; 
even the boldest of them dared not to attack him openly; 
and the most experienced long endeavored with all their 
art and address to surprise him, but in vain. As they 


were consulting together, what they should do in these 
circumstances, an Ichneumon stepped forth, and thus ad- 
dressed them: I perceive your distress, neighbors; and 
though I cannot assist you in the present difficulty, yet 
give me leave to offer you some advice that may be of 
use to you for the future. A little prudence is worth all 
your art and your courage; it may be glorious to over- 
come a great evil, but the wisest way is to prevent it. 
You despise the Crocodile while he is smah and weak; and 
do not sufficiently consider, that as he is a long-lived 
animal, so it is his peculiar property to grow as long as 
he lives. You see I am a poor, little, feeble creature ; yet 
am I much more terrible to the Crocodile, and more use- 
ful to the country, than you are. I attack him in the 
egg', and while you are contriving for months together, 
how to get the better of one Crocodile, and all to no pur- 
pose, I effectually destroy fifty of them in a day. 

(External beauty mill oftett ca\)i\vak; but it is internal 
merit tijat secures tl?e conquest. 


A Tulip and a Rose happened to be near neighbors in 
the same garden. They were both indeed extremely beau- 
tiful; yet the Rose engaged considerably more than an 
equal share of the gardeners attention. Enamored, as 
in truth he was, of the delicious odor it ditTused ; he ap- 
peared, in the eye of the Tulip, to be always kissing and 
caressing it. The envy and jealousy of rival beauties are 
not easilv to be concealed. The Tulip, vain of its ex- 


tcrnal charms, and unable to bear the thought of being 
forsaken for anotlier, remonstrated in these words against 
the gardener's partiaHty: Why are my beauties thus 
neglected? Are not my colors more bright, more vari- 
ous, and more inviting, than any which that red-faced 
Thing has to display? Why then is she to engross your 
whole affection, and thus forever to be preferred? — Be 
not dissatisfied, my fair Tulip, said the gardener; I 
acknowledge thy beauties, and admire them as they de- 
serve. But there arc found in my favorite Rose such at- 
tractive odors, such internal charms, that I enjoy a ban- 
(|uct in their fragrance, which no mere beauty can pre- 
tend to furnish. 

Ct poracious appetite, anb a fonbncss for bainties, equally 
take off our attention from more material concerns. 


A Woodcock and a Mallard were feeding together in 
some marshy ground at the tail of a mill-pond. Lord, 
says the squeamish Woodcock, in what a voracious and 
beastly manner do you devour all that comes before you ! 
Neither snail, frog, toad, nor any kind of filth, can es- 
cape the fury of your enormous appetite. All alike goes 
down, without measure and without distinction. — What 
an odious vice is Gluttony! 

Good-lack! replied the Mallard, pray how came you 
to be my accuser? And whence has your excessive deli- 
cacy a right to censure my plain eating? Is it a crime to 
fill one's belly? Or is it not indeed a virtue rather, to 
be pleased with the food which nature offers us? Surely 


I would sooner be charged with ghittony, than with that 
finical and sickly appetite, on which yoti are pleased to 
ground your superiority of taste. — What a silly vice is 

Thus endeavoring to palliate their respective passions, 
our epicures parted with a mutual contempt. The Mal- 
lard hasting to devour some garbage, which was in reality 
a bait, immediately gorged a hook through mere greedi- 
ness and oversight; while the Woodcock, flying through 
a glade, in order to seek his favorite juices, was entangled 
in a net, spread across it for that purpose; falling each 
of them a sacrifice to their different, but eqttal, foibles. 

VOd slfonlb ncoer estimate tilings beyonb our reactj by tlje 
iiarrotD stanbarb of our own capacities. 


As a Fly was crawding leisurely up one of the columns 
of St. Paul's 'Cupola, she often stopped, surveyed, exam- 
ined, and at last broke forth into the following exclama- 
tion. Strange! that any one who pretended to be an 
artist, should ever leave so superb a structure, with so 
many roughnesses unpolished! Ah, my friend! said a 
very learned architect, who hung in his web under one 
of the capitals, you should never decide of things beyond 
the extent of your capacity. This lofty building was not 
erected for such diminutive animals as you or me; but for 
a certain sort of creatures, who are at least ten thousand 
times as large; to their eyes, it is very possible, these 
columns may seem as smooth, as to you appear the 
wings of your favorite Mistress. 



n)e muft toil in i-uinnicr if toe vooulb cat in tDtnter. 

In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hop- 
ping 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 Grasshop- 
per, 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. When 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. 


(Xn excess of belicacy is to be consibereb rattier as an 
infirmity tF)an as a indue. 


The Sensitive Plant being brought out of the green- 
house on a fine summer's day, and placed in a beautiful 
grove adorned with the finest forest trees and the most 
curious plants, began to give himself great airs, and to 
treat all that were about him with much petulance and 
disdain. Lord! says he, how could the gardener think 
of setting me among a parcel of trees, gross, inanimate 
things, mere vegetables, and perfect stocks! Sure he 
does not take me for a common plant, when he knows, 
that I have the sense of feeling in a more exquisite de- 
gree than he has himself. It really shocks me to see into 
what wretched low company he has introduced me; it is 
more than the delicacy of my constitution, and the ex- 
treme tenderness of my nerves, can bear. Pray, Mr, 
Acacia, stand a little farther ofT, and don't presume quite 
so much upon your idle pretense of being my cousin. 
Good Mr. Citron, keep your distance, I beseech you ; your 
strong scent quite overpowers me. Friend Palmtree, 
your offensive shade is really more than I am able to 
support. The lofty Palmtree, though little moved by so 
unmannerly an attack, condescended to rebuke the im- 
pertinent creature in the following manner: Thou veg- 
etable fribble ! learn to know thyself, and thy own worth- 
lessness and insignificancy. Thou vainest thyself on a 
vicious softness, a false delicacy, the very defect and im- 
becility of thy nature. What art thou good for, that 
shrinkest at a touch, and droopest at a breath of air; 
feeble and barren, a perpetual torment to thyself, and 



wholly useless to others. Whereas we, whom thou 
treatest with such disdain, make a grateful return to man 
for his care of us; some of us yield him fruit; others are 
serviceable to him by their strength and firmness; we 
shade him from the heat of the sun, and we defend him 
from the violence of the winds. I am particularly dis- 
tinguished for my hardiness and perseverance, my steadi- 
ness and constancy; and on account of those very quali- 
ties which thou wantest and aftectest to despise, have the 
honor to be made the emblem of conquest, and the re- 
ward of the Conqueror, 

a person can tjarbly be beemcb too cautious rcl^erc tl^e 
first mistake is irretriepable, or fatal. 


A Fisherman in the Month of May, stood angling on 
the bank of a river, with an artificial fly. He threw his 
bait with so much art, that a young Trout was rushing 
towards it, when she was prevented by her mother. 
Never, said she, my child, be too precipitate, where there 
is a possibility of danger. Take due time to consider, 
before you risk an action that may be fatal. How know 
you whether yon appearance be indeed a fly, or the 
snare of an enemy? Let someone else make the experi- 
ment before you. If it be a fly, he very probably will 
elude the first attack, and then the second may be made, 
if not with success, at least with safety. She had no 
sooner uttered this caution, than a Gudgeon seized upon 
the pretended fly, and became an example to the giddy 
daughter, of the great importance of her mother's counsel. 



f^umility extenuates a crime; but I^ypocrisy anb impu* 
bencc arc equal aggrauations of it. 


A Wolf, a Fox and a Hare happened one evening to be 
foraging in different parts of a Farmer's yard. Their 
first effort was pretty successful, and they returned in 
safety to their several quarters; however, not so happy 
as to be unperceived by the Farmer's watchful eye ; who, 
placing several kinds of snares, made each of them his 
prisoner in the next attempt. He first took the Hare to 
task, who confessed she had eaten a few turnip-tops, 
merely to satisfy her hunger; besought him piteously to 
spare her life, and promised never to enter his grounds 
again. He then accosted the Fox; who in a fawning ob- 
sequious tone, protested that he came into his premises, 
through no other motive than pure good will, to restrain 
the Hares and other vermin from the plunder of his corn; 
and that, whatever evil tongues might say, he had too 
great a regard both for him and for justice, to be in the 
least capable of any dishonest action. He last of all ex- 
amined the Wolf, what business brought him within the 
purlieus of a Farmer's yard. The Wolf very impudently 
declared, it was with a view of destroying his lambs, to 
which he had an undoubted right ; that the Farmer him- 
self was the only felon, who robbed the community of 
Wolves of what was meant to be their proper food: — That 
this, at least, was his opinion; and, whatever fate at- 
tended him, he should not scruple to risk his life in the 
pursuit of his lawful prey. 

The Farmer having heard their pleas, determined the 
cause in the following manner. The Hare, said he, de- 


serves compassion, for the penitence he shows, and the 
humble confession he has made: — As for the Fox and the 
Wolf, let them be hanged together; their crimes them- 
selves alike deserve it, and are equally heightened by the 
aggravations of hypocrisy and of impudence. 

CI?c fault wz somettntcs impute to a diaxackt is only to 
be founb in tlje obseruer. 


An Astronomer was observing the Sun through a tele- 
scope, in order to take an exact draught of the several 
spots, which appear upon the face of it. While he was 
intent upon his observations, he was on a sudden sur- 
prised with a new and astonishing appearance; a large 
portion of the surface of the Sun was at once covered 
by a monster of enormous size and horrible form ; it had 
an immense pair of wings, a great number of legs, and a 
long and vast proboscis; and that it was alive was very 
apparent, from his quick and violent motions, which the 
observer could from time to time plainly perceive. Be- 
ing sure of the fact (for how could he be mistaken in what 
he saw so clearly?) our Philosopher began to draw many 
surprising conclusions from premises so well established. 
He calculated the magnitude of this extraordinary ani- 
mal, and found that he covered about two square degrees 
of the Sun's surface ; that placed upon the earth he would 
spread over half one hemisphere of it; and that he was 
seven or eight times as big as the moon. But what was 
most astonishing, was the prodigious heat that he must 


endure; it was plain, that he was something of the na- 
ture of the salamander, but of a far more fiery tempera- 
ment; for it was demonstrable from the clearest princi- 
ples, that in his present situation he must have acquired 
a degree of heat two thousand times exceeding that of 
red hot iron. It was a problem worth considering, 
whether he subsisted upon the gross vapors of the Sun, 
and so from time to time cleared away those spots which 
they are perpetually forming, and which would otherwise 
wholly obscure and incrustate its face; or whether it 
might not feed on the solid substance of the orb itself, 
which by this means, together with the constant expense 
of light, must soon be exhausted and consumed; or 
whether he was not now and then supplied by the falling 
of some eccentric Comet into the Sun. However this 
might be, he found by computation that the earth would 
be but short allowance for him for a few months; and 
farther, it was no improbable conjecture, that, as the 
earth was destined to be destroyed by fire, this fiery flying 
jMonster would remove hither at the appointed time, and 
might much more easily and conveniently effect a con- 
flagration, than any Comet, hitherto provided for that 
service. In the earnest pursuit of these, and many the 
like deep and curious speculations, the Astronomer was 
engaged, and was preparing to communicate them to the 
public. In the meantime, the discovery began to be 
much talked of; and all the virtuosi gathered together to 
see so strange a sight. They were equally convinced of 
the accuracy of the observation, and of the conclusions 
so clearly deduced from it. At last, one, more cautious 
than the rest, was resolved, before he gave a full assent 
to the report of his senses, to examine the whole process 
of the affair, and all the parts of the instrument; he 
opened the Telescope, and behold! a small Fly w^as in- 


closed in it, which having settled on the center of the 
object-glass had given occasion to all this marvelous 

How often do men, through prejudice and passion, 
through envy and malice, fix upon the brightest and most 
exalted characters the grossest and most improbable im- 
putations. It behooves us upon such occasions to be upon 
our guard, and to suspend our judgments; the fault per- 
haps is not in the object, but in the mind of the observer. 



^c tf?at f^as many frtcnbs, \\<xs no frtcnbs. 

A Hare was very popular with the other beasts, who all 
claimed to be her friends. But one day she heard the 
hounds approaching and hoped to escape them by the 
aid of her many Friends. So she went to the horse, 
and asked him to carry her away from the hounds on 
his back. But he declined, stating that he had import- 
ant work to do for his master. He felt sure, he said, that 
all her other friends would come to her assistance. She 
then applied to the bull, and hoped that he would repel 
the hounds with his horns. The bull replied: I am ver}' 
sorry, but I have an appointment with a lady; but I feel 
sure that our friend the goat will do what you want. The 
goat, however, feared that his back might do her some 


harm if he took her upon it. The ram, he felt sure, was 
the proper friend to apply to. So she went to the ram 
and told him the case. The ram replied: Another time, 
my dear friend. I do not like to interfere on the present 
occasion, as hounds have been known to eat sheep as 
well as hares. The Hare then applied, as a last hope, to 
the calf, who regretted that he was unable to help her, 
as he did not like to take the responsibility upon him- 
self, as so many persons older than himself had declined 
the task. By this time the hounds were quite near, and 
the Hare took to her heels and luckily escaped. 

<X cjencrous nature roill finb resources in economy for tlje 
occasional exercise of beneficence anb I^ospitality. 


From the head of a narrow valley that is wholly over- 
shaded by the growth of trees, a large cascade bursts 
forth with a luxuriance unexpected. First the current 
rushes down a precipice with headlong impetuosity; then 
dashes from rock to rock, and divided as it rolls along 
by fragments of stone or trunks of trees, it assumes a 
milk-white appearance, and sparkles through the gloom. 
All is intricacy; all is profusion; and the tide, however 
ample, appears yet more considerable by the fantastic 
growth of roots that hide the limits of its channel. Thus 
bounding down from one descent to another, it no sooner 
gains the level, than it sinks beneath the earth, and buries 
all its glory at our feet, 

A spectator, privy to the scanty source which furnished 
out this grand appearance, stood one day in a musing 


posture, and began to moralize on its prodigality. Ah 
silly stream ! said he, why wilt thou hasten to exhaust thy 
source, and thus wilfully incur the contempt that waits 
on poverty? Art thou ignorant that thy funds are by no 
means equal to this expense? Fear not, my kind ad- 
viser, replied the generous cascade; the gratitude I owe 
my master, who collected my rills into a stream, induces 
me to entertain his friends in the best manner I am able; 
when alone, I act with more economy. 

People vol}o prtbc tfjcmsclDes upon tf^etr inbcpenbence 
often sitgljt economy, tl?e sole founbatton of it. 

THE el:^i tree and the vine. 

An extravagant young Vine, vainly ambitious of in- 
dependency, and fond of rambling at large, despised the 
alliance of a stately Elm that grew near, and courted her 
embraces. Having risen to some small height without 
any kind of support, she shot forth her flimsy branches 
to a very uncommon and superfluous length; calling on 
her neighbor to take notice how little she wanted his as- 
sistance. Poor infatuated shrub, replied the Elm, how 
inconsistent is thy conduct! Wouldst thou be truly in- 
dependent, thou shouldst carefully apply those juices to 
the enlargement of thy stem, which thou lavishest in vain 
upon unnecessary foliage. I shortly shall behold thee 
groveling on the ground; yet countenanced, indeed, by 
many of the human race, who intoxicated with vanity, 
have despised economy; and who, to support for a mo- 
ment their empty boast of independence, have exhausted 
the very source of it in frivolous expenses. 



Ctppearanccs arc bcccpttre. 

A Wolf found great difificulty in getting at the sheep 
owing to the vigilance of the shepherd and his dogs. 
But one day it found the skin of a sheep that had been 
flayed and thrown aside, so it put it on over its own pelt 
and strolled down among the sheep. The Lamb that 
belonged to the sheep, whose skin the Wolf was wearing, 
began to follow the Wolf in the Sheep's clothing; so, 
leading the Lamb a little apart, he soon made a meal 
off her, and for some time he succeeded in deceiving the 
sheep, and enjoying hearty meals. 


^rutt?, tijougl? ranquisljcb, returns aa^ain; slanbtr is 
neper of a burable nature. 


In the evening of a summer's day, as the Sun de- 
scended behind the western hills, he beheld a thick and 
unwholesome Vapor extending itself over the whole face 
of the valleys. Every shrub and every flower immedi- 
ately folded up its leaves, and shrunk from the touch of 
this detested enemy. Well hast thou chosen, said the 
god of day, this the hour of my departure, to spread thy 
pestilential influence, and taint the beauties of creation. 
Enjoy for a short space the notable triumphs of thy 
malignity. I shall return again with the morning, re- 
pair thy mischiefs, and put an end to thy existence. May 
the slanderer, in time discern the fate of calumny, and be 
warned to dread the return of the Truth. 

CI?e parabe anb ceremony helongin^j to tf)e great are often 
a restraint upon tl^cir freebom anb activity. 


The Peacock, who at first v.^as distinguished only by 
a crest of feathers, preferred a petition to Juno that he 
might be honored also with a train. As the bird was a 
particular favorite, Juno readily enough assented ; and his 
train was ordered to surpass that of every fowl in the 
creation. The Minion, conscious of his superb appear- 
ance, thought it requisite to assume a proportionable dig- 



nity of gait and manners. The common poultry of the 
farm-yard were quite astonished at his magnificence; and 
even the pheasants themselves beheld him with an eye of 

^ Juno: 

envy. — But when he attempted to fly, he perceived him- 
self to have sacrificed all his activity to ostentation; and 
that he was encumbered by the pomp in which he placed 
his glory. 


Cearning \s unboubtebly of tfje utmost abuantage to real 
genius: ijct, wl}in put in competition, tf?e resources of 
tlje one are limiteb, anb of tl?e otI?er inexfjausttble. 


A Nightingale and a Bullfinch occupied two cages in 
the same apartment. The Nightingale perpetually varied 
her song, and every effort she made, afforded fresh enter- 
tainment. The Bullfinch always whistled the same dull 
tune that he had learnt, till all the family grew weary of the 
disgustful repetition. What is the reason, said the Bull- 
finch one day to his neighbor, that your songs are always 
heard with peculiar attention, w^hile mine, I observe, are 
almost as wholly disregarded? The reason, replied the 
Nightingale, is obvious; your audience are sufficiently 
acquainted with every note you have been taught, and 
thev know your natural abilities too well, to expect any- 
thing new from that quarter. How then can you suppose 
they will listen to a songster, from whom nothing native 
or original is to be expected? 

Better fjumble security tfjan gtlbeb banger. 

A Horse and an Ass were traveling together, the 
Horse prancing along in its fine trappings, the Ass car- 
rying with difficulty the heavy weight in its panniers. 
I wish I were you, sighed the Ass; nothing to do and 


well fed, and all that fine harness upon you. Next day, 
however, there was a great battle, and the Horse was 
wounded to death in the final charge ot the day. His 

friend, the Ass, happened to pass by shortly afterwards 
and found him on the point of death. 1 w^as wrong, 
said the Ass. One has to pay dearly for honors. 


^e vol}0 is puffeb up toxtl} tijc least gale of prosperity, mill 
as subbenlij sink beneati? tl?e Masts of misfortune. 


A Sycamore grew beside an Oak; and being not a little 
elevated by the first warm days in spring, began to pour 
forth its leaves apace, and to despise the naked Oak for 
insensibility, and want of spirit. The Oak, conscious of 
its superior nature, made this stoical reply. Be not, my 
friend, so much delighted with the first address of every 
fickle zephyr; consider the frosts may yet return; do not 
afiford them an opportunity to nip thy beauties in their 
bud, if thou covetest an equal share in all the glories of 
the rising year. As for me, I only wait to see this genial 
warmth a little confirmed; and, whenever this is the case, 
I shall perhaps display a majesty that will not easily be 
shaken. But the tree that appears too suddenly affected 
by the first favorable glance of spring, will ever be the 
first to shed its verdure, and to droop beneath the 
frowns of winter. 

3iikv one safe tr»aij tFjan a fjunbreb on voI}'kI} you can- 
not reckon. 


A Fox was boasting to a Cat of its clever devices for 
escaping its enemies. I have a whole bag of tricks, he 
said, which contains a hundred ways of escaping my 



I have only one, said tlic Cat; but I can generally man- 
age with that. Just at that moment they heard the cry 
of a pack of hounds coming towards them, and the Cat 
ininiediately scampered up a tree and hid herself in the 
boughs. Tliis is my plaM, said the Cat. What are you 

going to do? The Fox thought first of one way, then 
of another, and while he was debating the hounds came 
nearer and nearer, and at last the Fox in his confusion 
was caught up by the hounds and soon killed by the 
huntsmen. Miss Puss, who had been looking on, said: 
One safe way is enough for me. 


ITTcn's natural tempers rt>ill best birect tfjcm to tljeir proper 
spljere, in tlje pursuit of fjappiness. 


As a Kingfisher was sitting beneath the shade, upon the 
banks of a river, she was surprised on a sudden by the 
fluttering of a Sparrow, that had eloped from the neigh- 
boring town, to visit her. When the first compHments 
were over, How is it possible, said the Sparrow, that a 
bird so finely adorned, can think of spending all her days 
in the very depth of retirement! The golden plumage of 
your breast, the shining azure of your pinions, were never 
given you to be concealed, but to attract the wonder of 
beholders. Why then should you not endeavor to know 
the world, and be, at the same time, yourself, both known 
and admired? You are very complaisant at least, replied 
the Kingfisher, to conclude that my being admired would 
be the consequence of my being known. But it has 
sometimes been my lot, in the lonesome valleys that I 
frequent, to hear the complaints of beauty that has been 
neglected; and of worth that has been despised. Pos- 
sibly it does not always happen, that even superior excel- 
lence is found to excite admiration, or to obtain encour- 
agement. I have learned besides, not to build my happi- 
ness upon the opinion of others, so much as upon my 
own conviction, and the approbation of my own heart. 
Remember, I am a King-fisher; these woods and streams 
are my delight ; and so long as they are free from winds 
and tempests, believe me, I am perfectly content with 
my situation. Why therefore should I court the noise 
and bustle of the world, which I find so little agreeable to 
my native disposition? It may be the joy of a Sparrow to 



indulge his curiosity, and to display his eloquence. I, 
for my part, love silence, privacy, and contemplation; and 
think that everyone should consult the native bias of his 
temper, before he chooses the way of life in which he ex- 
pects to meet with happiness. 

^Ije goobncss of Procibcrtcc, apparent in I)t5 roorks, is a 

proper niotipe for tranquillitij antibst eueri) 

exertion of l}is poruer. 


A certain Hermit had scooped his cave near the summit 
of a lofty mountain, from whence he had an opportunity 
of surveying a large extent both of sea and land. He sat, 
one evening, contemplating with pleasure on the various 
objects that lay diffused before him. Tlie woods were 
dressed in the brightest verdure; the thickets adorned 
with the gayest blossoms. The birds carolled beneath the 
branches; the lambs frolicked around the meads; the 
peasant whrstled beside his team; and the ships driven 
by gentle gales were returning safely into their proper 
harbors. In short, the arrival of spring had doubly en- 
livened the whole scene before his eye; and every object 
yielded a display either of beauty or of happiness. 

On a sudden arose a violent storm. The winds mus- 
tered all their fury, and whole forests of oak lay scattered 
on the ground. Darkness instantly succeeded; hail- 
stones and rain were poured forth in cataracts, and light- 
ning and thunder added horror to the gloom. 

And now the sea piled up in mountains bore aloft the 


largest vessels, while the horrid uproar of its waves 
drowned the shrieks of the wretched mariners. When 
the whole tempest had exhausted its fur}', it was in- 
stantly followed by the shock of an earthquake. 

The poor inhabitants of the neighboring villages 
flocked in crowds to our Hermit's cave; fully convinced, 
that his well-known sanctity would be able to protect 
them in their distress. They were, however, not a little 
surprised at the profound tranquillity that appeared in his 
countenance. My friends, said he, be not dismayed. 
Terrible to me, as well as to you, would have been the 
war of elements we have just beheld; but that I have 
meditated with so much attention on the various works 
of Providence, as to be persuaded that his goodness is 
eqitel to his power. 

Common I^onesty is a better prtnciple tijan wl}at wc often 
compliment witl} tfje name of t^eroism. 


A Wolf ranging over tlie forest came within the borders 
of a sheep-walk ; when meeting with the Shepherd's Dog, 
that with a surly sort of growl demanded his business 
there, he thought proper to put on as innocent an ap- 
pearance as he could, and protested upon his honor that 
he meant not the least offense. I am afraid, said the 
Dog, the pledge of your honor is but a poor deposit for 
your honesty; you must not take it amiss, if I object to 
the security. No slur upon my reputation, replied the 
\YoU, I beg of you. My sense of honor is as delicate, as 
my great achievements are renowned. I would not leave 


a stain upon niy memory for the world. The fame of 
what are commonly called great achievements is very 
precious, to be sure, returned the Dog; almost equal to 
the character of an excellent butcher, a gallant highway- 
man, or an expert assassin. While the Dog was yet 
speaking, a lamb happened to stray within reach of our 
hero. The temptation was stronger than he was able to 
resist: He sprung upon his prey, and was scouring 
hastily away with it. However, the Dog seized, and held 
him, till the arrival of the Shepherd, who took measures 
for his execution. Just as he was going to dispatch him, 
I observe, says the Dog, that one of your noble achieve- 
ments, is the destruction of the innocent. You are wel- 
come to the renown, as you are also to the reward of it. 
As for me, I shall prefer the credit of having honestly de- 
fended my master's property, to any fame you have 
acquired by thus heroically invading it. 

Hcper soar aloft on an enemy's pinions. 

A Tortoise desired to change its place of fesidence, 
so he asked an Elagle to carry him to his new home, 
promising her a rich reward for her trouble. The Eagle 
agreed, and seizing the Tortoise by the shell with her 
talons, soared aloft. On their way they met a Crow, who 
said to the Eagle: Tortoise is good eating. The shell 
is too hard, said the Eagle, in reply. The rocks will soon 
crack the shell, was the Crowd's answer, and the Eagle, 
taking the hint, let fall the Tortoise on a sharp rock, and 
the two birds made a hearty meal off the Tortoise. 



Knade a 
hearty meal 



tEI?c canbib rcabcr mill flnb improDcmcnt tutjcrc tijc fro» 
marb critic finbs only matter of censure. 


On the leaves and flowers of the same shrub, a Spider 
and a Bee pursued their several occupations; the one cov- 
ering her thighs with honey ; the other distending his bag 
with poison. The Spider, as he glanced his eye obliquely 
at the Bee, was ruminating with spleen on the superiority 
of her productions. And how happens it, said he, in a 
peevish tone, that I am able to collect nothing but poison, 
from the self-same plant that supplies thee with honey? 
My pains and industry are not less than thine; in those 
respects, we are each indefatigable. It proceeds only, 
replied the Bee, from our opposite tempers and constitu- 
tion. The benevolence and sweetness of my disposition 
gives a similar flavor to everything I touch ; whereas thy 
malignity turns even that to poison, which by a different 
process had been the purest of honey. 

Union gices strengtl^. 


An old man on the point of death summoned his sons 
around him to give them some parting advice. He or- 
dered his servants to bring in a faggot of sticks, and said 
to his eldest son: Break it. The son strained and 
strained, but with all his efforts was unable to break the 



Bundle. The other sons also tried, but none of them 
was successful. Untie the faggots, said the father, and 
each of you take a stick. When they had done so, he 


LI '" ' 

called out to them: Now break; and each stick was 
easily broken. You see my meaning, said their father. 
Let affection bind you to one another. Together you 
are strong; separated you are weak. 


3t is tI)o fate of cnuij to attack ecen tf^ose cljaracrers 
ir)l?icl? are superior to its malice 


A Statue of the Medicean \'enus was erected in a grove 
sacred to beauty and the fine arts. Its modest attitude, 
its elegant proportions, assisted by the situation in which 
it was placed, attracted the regard of every delicate -ob- 
server. A Snail, who had fixed himself beneath the moul- 
ding of the pedestal, beheld with an evil eye the admira- 
tion it excited. Wherefore, watching his opportunity, he 
strove, by trailing his filthy slime over every limb and 
feature, to obliterate those beauties which he could not 
endure to hear so much applauded. An honest linnet, 
however, who observed him at his dirty work, took the 
freedom to assure him that he would infallibly lose his 
labor: For although, said he, to an injudicious eye, thou 
mayst sully the perfections of this finished piece; yet a 
more accurate and close inspector will admire its beauty, 
through all the blemishes with which thou hast endeav- 
ored to disguise it. 

beauty joineb it>itl? innocence is universally respecteb; 
malice abbcb to beformity is unipersally abfjorreb. 


As a Goldfish, newly brought from the warm regions 
of the East, displayed his beauties in the sun; a Toad, who 
had long eyed him with no small degree of envy, broke 
out into this exclamation: How partial and how fan- 


tastic is the favor of mankind! Regardless of every ex- 
cellence that is obvious and familiar ; and only struck with 
what is imported from a distant climate at a large ex- 
pense! What a pompous basin is here constructed, and 
what extreme fondness is here shown, for this insignificant 
stranger! When a quadruped of my importance is neg- 
lected, shunned, and even persecuted. Surely were I 
to appear in China. I should receive the same or perhaps 
greater honors than are lavished here upon this tinsel 

The Goldfish, conscious of his real beauty, and some- 
what angry to be thus insulted by so very unsightly and 
deformed a creature, made this rational reply: It must 
be confessed that the opinions of men are sometimes 
guided by the caprice you mention. Yet, as for me and 
the rest of my tribe, it is well known that if we are ad- 
mired abroad, we are not less admired at home; being 
there esteemed by the greatest mandarins, fed by stated 
officers, and lodged in basins as superb as any your na- 
tion has to boast. Perhaps then, notwithstanding }our 
sage remark, there are some virtues and some qualities 
that please or disgust almost universally; and as inno- 
cence joined to beauty seldom fails to procure esteem, so 
malice added to deformity will cause as general a de- 

0nli) comarbs insult bying majesty. 

A Lion, worn out with old age, lay drawing his last 
breath, and several of the beasts who had formerly been 
sufferers by him came and revenged themselves. The 



Boar, with his powerful tusks, ripped his flank, and the 
Bull gored his sides with his horns. Tlie Ass, too, seeing 
there was no danger, came up and threw his heels into 

the Lion's face. Thereupon the poor old expiring tyrant, 
with his dying groan uttered these words: How much 
worse than a thousand deaths it is to be spurned by so 
base a creature ! 


C^e man toi}0 r»alues Ijimsclf too Ijtgljlij on tjis birtfj Ijas 
selbom muci? claim to any otljcr merit. 


An Acorn fell from the top of an old venerable Oak, 
full on the head of a Mushroom that unhappily sprung 
up beneath it. Wounded by the blow, the ^Mushroom com- 
plained of the incivility. Impertinent upstart, replied the 
Acorn, why didst thou, with familiar boldness, approach 
so near to thy superiors? Shall the wretched offspring of 
a dunghill presume to raise its head on a spot ennobled by 
my ancestor for so many generations? I do not mean, 
returned the Mushroom, to dispute the honor of thy 
birth, or to put my own in competition with it. On the 
contrary, I must acknowledge that I hardly know from 
whence I sprung. But sure it is merit, and not mere 
ancestry, that obtains the regard of those whose appro- 
bation is truly valuable. I have little perhaps to boast, 
but surely thou who hast thus insulted me, canst have no 
pretense to any. I please the palates of mankind, and 
give a poignant flavor to their most elegant entertain- 
ments; while thou, with all thy boasted ancestry, art fit 
to fatten Hogs alone. 

CI?e gobs I?elp tt?cm tl?at Ijelp tijcmscbcs. 


A Waggoner 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 half-way into the mire, and 



the more the horses pulled, the deeper sank the wheels. 
So the Waggoner threw down his whip, and knelt down 
and prayed to Hercules the Strong: O Hercules, help 

me in this my hour of distress, quoth he. But Hercules 
appeared to him, and said: 

Tut, man, don't sprawl there. Get up and put your 
shoulder to the wheel. 

THE DOVE. 239 

Ct?e Dulgar arc captti?atcb by tl?e works of art; but tl?e 
pljtlosopl^er abmtres tt?e toorks of nature. 


As a Rocket, on a rejoicing' night, ascended through 
the air, and observed the stream of light that dis- 
tinguished his passage, he could not forbear exulting in 
his elevation, and calling upon the Stars to do him rever- 
ence. Behold, said he, what gazing multitudes admire 
the luster of my train, whilst all your feeble sparks of 
light pass unobserved, or disregarded ! The Stars heard 
his empty boast with a silent indignation; the Dog-Star 
only vouchsafed to answer him. How erroneous, said 
he, are their conclusions who listen to the voice of popu- 
lar applause! It is true, the novelty of thy appearance 
may procure to thee more admiration than is allotted to 
our daily course, although indeed a lasting miracle. But 
do not estimate thy importance by the capricious fancy 
of misguided men. Know thyself to be the useless pa- 
geant, the frail production of a mortal hand. Even while 
I speak, thy blaze is extinguished, and thou art sunk into 
oblivion. We, on the other hand, were lighted up by 
heaven for the advantage of mankind, and our glory 
shall endure forever. 

Cl?e lope of liberty, in mell constituteb minbs, tjolbs a 
place little inferior to tijat of natural affection. 


A Dove that had a mate and young ones, happening to 
spy her cage door open, was driven by a sudden impulse 
to fly out into an adjacent grove. There, perched upon 
the bough of a sycamore, she sat as it were wrapt in 


deep contemplation ; not recovering from her reverie, un- 
til the owner drew nigh unseen, and brought her back 
to her little family. 

Art thou not ashamed then, says her mate, thus to 
desert thy helpless offspring? Art thou not base to 
abandon me, for the company of birds to whom thou art 
a stranger? Could I have harbored such a thought? I, 
who have been ever constant to our first engagement; 
and must have died of mere despair, hadst thou not re- 
turned to my embraces? But how, alas, returned? Not, 
as it seems, by choice; but ensnared by dint of artifice, 
and brought hither by constraint. 

Have patience, replied the rambler, and hear the plea 
of thy repentant mate. Witness all ye powers of wedlock, 
ye that know what passes in the hearts of Doves, if ever, 
before this unhappy moment, I felt a wish to part from 
thee! The door, so seldom open, allowed but one mo- 
ment for deliberation, and I happened to decide amiss. 
When removed to yonder wood, the air of liberty breathed 
so sweet, that, with horror I speak it, I felt a suspense 
about returning to the cage. Pardon, I pray thee, this 
one crime, and be well assured I will relapse no more. 
And that thou mayst be the more induced to pardon it, 
know that the love of liberty burns ever the strongest in 
bosoms that are most prone to conjugal affection and the 
love of young. 

Citigious V arsons rarely wtiq>li tl^e cause, togctl^er mttf 
tlje consequence, of tijetr impetuositij. 


Two Cocks of the genuine game-breed, met by chance 
upon the confines of their respective walks. To such 
great and heroic souls, the smallest matter imaginable af- 


fords occasion for dispute. They approach each other 
with pride and indignation ; they look defiance, they crow 
a challenge; and immediately commences a long and 
bloody battle. It was fought on both sides with so much 
courage and dexterity; they gave and they received such 
deep and desperate wounds; that they both lay down 
upon the turf utterly spent, blinded, and disabled. While 
this was their situation, a Turkey that had been a spec- 
tator of all that passed between them, drew near to the 
field of battle, and reproved them in this manner. How 
foolish and absurd has been your quarrel, my good neigh- 
bors! A more ridiculous one could scarce have hap- 
pened, among the most contentious of all creatures, men. 
Because you have crowed perhaps in each other's hear- 
ing, or that one of you has picked up a grain of corn upon 
the territories of his rival, you have both rendered your- 
selves miserable for the remainder of your days 

piobbtng triins tl?e race. 

The Hare was once boasting of his speed before the 
other animals. I have never yet been beaten, said he, 
when I put forth my full speed. I challenge any one 
here to race with me. 

The Tortoise said quietly: I accept your challenge. 

That is a good joke, said the Hare; I could dance 
round you all the way. 

Keep your boasting till you ve .^eaten, answered the 
Tortoise. Shall we race? 



Su a course was fixed and a start was made. The Hare 
darted almost out of sight at once, but soon stopped 
and, to show his contempt for the Tortoise, lay down to 
have a nap. The Tortoise plodded on and plodded on 
and when the Hare awoke from his nap, he saw the Tor- 
toise just near the winning-post and could not run up in 
time to save the race. Then said the Tortoise: Slow 
and steadv does it 





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