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The Tale, the Parable, and the Fable are all common 
and popular modes of conveying instruction. Each is 
distinguished by its own special characteristics. The 
Tale consists simply in the narration of a story either 
founded on facts, or created solely by the imagination, 
and not necessarily associated with the teaching of any 
moral lesson. The Parable is the designed use of lan- 
guage purposely intended to convey a hidden and secret 
meaning other than that contained in the words them- 
selves; and which may or may not bear a special reference 
to the hearer or reader. The Fable partly agrees with, 
and partly differs from, both of these. It will contain, 
like the Tale, a short but real narrative ; it will seek, like 
the Parable, to convey a hidden meaning, and that not 
so much by the use of language, as. by the skilful intro- 
duction of fictitious characters; and yet, unlike to either 
Tale or. Parable, it will ever keep in view, as its high 
prerogative, and inseparable attribute, the great purpose 
of instruction, and will necessarily seek to inculcate some 
moral maxim, social duty, or political truth. The true 
Fable* if it rise to its high requirements, ever aims at 

vi Preface. 

one great end and purpose — the representation of human 
motive, and the improvement of human conduct, and yet 
it so conceals its design under the disguise of fictitious 
characters, by clothing with speech the animals of the 
field, the birds of the air, the trees of the wood, or the 
beasts of the forest, that the reader shall receive advice 
without perceiving the presence of the adviser. Thus 
the superiority of the counsellor, which often renders 
counsel unpalatable, is kept out of view, and the lesson 
comes with the greater acceptance when the reader is 
led, unconsciously to himself, to have his sympathies en- 
listed in behalf of what is pure, honourable, and praise- 
worthy, and to have his indignation excited against what 
is low, ignoble, and unworthy. The true fabulist, there- 
fore, discharges a most important function. He is neither 
a narrator, nor an allegorist. He is a great teacher, a 
corrector of morals, a censor of vice, and a commender 
of virtue. In this consists the superiority of the Fable 
over the Tale or the Parable. The fabulist is to create 
a laugh, but yet, under a merry guise, to convey instruc- 
tion. Phsedrus, the great imitator of ^Esop, plainly in- 
dicates this double purpose to be the true office of the 
writer of fables. 

Duplex iibelli dos est: quod risum movet, 
Et quod prudenti vitain consilio monet. 

The continual observance of this twofold aim created 
the charm, and accounts for the universal favour, of the 
fables of iEsop. " The fable," says Professor K. O. 
Mueller, " originated in Greece in an intentional travestie 

Preface. vii 

of human affairs. The * ainos/ as its name denotes, 13 
an admonition, or rather a reproof, veiled, either from 
fear of an excess of frankness, or from a love of fun and 
jest, beneath the fiction of an occurrence happening 
among beasts; and wherever we have any ancient and 
authentic account of the iEsopian fables, we find it to 
be the same."* 

The construction of a fable involves a minute atten- 
tion to (i), the narration itself; (2), the deduction of the 
moral; and (3), a careful maintenance of the individual 
characteristics of the fictitious personages introduced into 
it. The narration should relate to one simple action, 
consistent with itself, and neither be overladen with a 
multiplicity of details, nor distracted by a variety of 
circumstances. The moral or lesson should be so plain, 
and so intimately interwoven with, and so necessarily 
dependent on, the narration, that every reader should be 
compelled to give to it the same undeniable interpre- 
tation. The introduction of the animals or fictitious 
characters should be marked with an unexceptionable 
care and attention to their natural attributes, and to the 
qualities attributed to thein by universal popular consent. 
The Fox should be always cunning, the Hare timid, the 
Lion bold, the Wolf cruel, the Bull strong, the Horse 
proud, and the Ass patient. Many of these fables are 
characterized by the strictest observance of these rules. 
They are occupied with one short narrative, from which 

* A History of the Literature of Ancient Greece, by K. O. 
Mueller. Vol. i. p. 191. London^ Parker, 185S- 

viii Preface. 

the moral naturally flows, and with which it is intimately 
associated. " 'Tis the simple manner," says Dodsley,* 
" in which the morals of ^Esop are interwoven with his 
fables that distinguishes him, and gives him the pre- 
ference over all other mythologists. * His Mountain 
delivered of a Mouse' produces the moral of his fable 
in ridicule of pompous pretenders; and his Crow, when 
she drops her cheese, lets fall, as it were by accident, 
the strongest admonition against the power of flattery. 
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."f An equal 
amount of praise is due for the consistency with which 

* Select Fables of ^Esop and other Fabulists. In three books, 
translated by Robert Dodsley, accompanied with a selection of 
notes, and an Essay on Fable.— Birmingham, 1864. P. 6o t 

+ Some of these fables had, no doubt, in the first instance, a 
primary and private interpretation. On the first occasion of their 
being composed they were intended to refer to some passing event, 
or to some individual acts of wrong-doing. Thus, the fables of the 
"Eagle and the Fox" (p. 164), of the "Fox and Monkey" (p. 67), 
are supposed to have been written by Archilochus, to avenge the 
injuries done him by Lycambes. So also the fables of the " Swollen 
Fox" (p. 100), of the " Frogs asking a King" (p. 53), were spoken 
by yEsop for the immediate purpose of reconciling the inhabitants 
of Samos and Athens to their respective rulers, Periander and 
Pisistratus: while the fable of the "Horse and Stag" was com- 
posed to caution the inhabitants of Himera against granting a body- 
guard to Phalaris. In a similar manner, the fable from Phaedrus, 
the "Marriage of the Sun," is supposed to have reference to the 
contemplated union of Livia, the daughter of Drusus, with Sejanus 
the favourite, and minister of Trajan. These fables, however, 
though thus originating in special events, and designed at first to 
meet special circumstances, are so admirably constructed as to be 
fraught with lessons of general utility, and of universal application. 

Preface. ix 

the characters of the animals, fictitiously introduced, are 
marked. While they are made to depict the motives 
and passions of men, they retain, in an eminent degree, 
their own special features of craft or counsel, of cowar- 
dice or courage, of generosity or rapacity. 

These terms of praise, it must be confessed, cannot 
be bestowed on all the fables in this collection. Many 
of them lack that unity of design, that close connexion 
of the moral with the narrative, that wise choice in the 
introduction of the animals, which constitute the charm 
and excellency of true ^Esopian fable. This inferiority 
of some to others is sufficiently accounted for in the 
history of the origin and descent of these fables. The 
great bulk of them are not the immediate work of ^Esop. 
Many are obtained from ancient authors prior to the 
time in which he lived. Thus, the fable of the " Hawk 
and the Nightingale" is related by Hesiod;* the "Eagle 
wounded by an Arrow winged with its own feathers," by 
^Eschylus;f the "Fox avenging his wrongs on the 
Eagle," by Archilochus.J Many of them again are of 
later origin, and are to be traced to the monks of the 
middle ages : and yet this collection, though thus made 
up of fables both earlier and later than the era o{ 
JEsop, rightfully bears his name, because he composed 

* Hesiod. Opera et Dies, verse 202. 

+ ^Eschylus. Fragment of the Myrmidons. iEschylus speaks cf 
this fable as existing before his day. ws 5' £<ttI fitiduv tQv 
Ai^vcttlkQv \oyos. See Scholiast on the Aves of Aristophanes, 
line 808. 

X Fragment, 38, ed. Gaisford. See also Mueller's History of the 
Literature of Ancient Greece,, vol. i. pp. 190—193. 

x Preface, 

so large a number (all framed in the same mould, 
and conformed to the same fashion, and stamped with 
the same lineaments, image, and superscription) as to 
secure to himself the right to be considered the father 
of Greek fables, and the founder of this class of writing, 
which has ever since borne his name, and has secured 
for him, through all succeeding ages, the position of the 
first of moralists.* 

The fables were in the first instance only narrated by 
^Esop, and for a long time were handed down by the 
uncertain channel of oral tradition. Socrates is men- 
tioned by Plato f as having employed his time while in 
prison, awaiting the return of the sacred ship from 
Delphos which was to be the signal of his death, in 
turning some of these fables into verse, but he thus 
versified only such as he remembered. Demetrius 
Phalereus, a philosopher at Athens about 300 B.C., is 
said to have made the first collection of these fables. 
Phaedrus, a slave by birth or by subsequent misfortunes, 
and admitted by Augustus to the honours of a freed- 
man, imitated many of these fables in Latin iambics 

* M. Bayle has well put this in his account of ^Esop. " II n'y a 
point d'apparence que les fables qui portent aujourd'hui son nom 
soient les memes qu'il avait faites ; elles viennent bien de lui pour 
la phi part, quant a la matiere et la pensee ; mais les paroles sont 
d'un autre." And again, " C'est done a Hesiode, que j'aimerais 
mieux attribuer la gloire Je l'invention ; mais sans doute il laissa la 
chose tres imparfaite. Esope la perfectionne si heureusement, 
qu'on l'a regarde comme le vrai pere de cette sorte de production." 
■ — Bayle, Dictionnaire Historique. 

+ Plato in Phaedone. 

Preface. x i 

about the commencement of the Christian era. Aph- 
thonius, a rhetorician of Antioch, a.c. 315, wrote a 
treatise on, and converted into Latin prose, some of 
these fables. This translation is the more worthy of 
notice, as it illustrates a custom of common use, both 
in these and in later times. The rhetoricians and philo- 
sophers were accustomed to give the Fables of ^Esop as 
an exercise to their scholars, not only inviting them to 
discuss the moral of the tale, but also to practise and 
to perfect themselves thereby in style and rules ot 
grammar, by making for themselves new and various 
versions of the fables. Ausonius, the friend of the 
Emperor Valentinian, and the latest poet of eminence 
in the Western Empire, has handed down some of these 
fables in verse, which J ulianus Titianus, a contemporary 
writer of no great name, translated into prose. Avienus, 
also a contemporary of Ausonius, put some of these 
fables into Latin elegiacs, which are given by Nevelet 
(in a book we shall refer to hereafter), and are occa- 
sionally incorporated with the editions of Phsedrus. 

Seven centuries elapsed before the next notice is found 
of the Fables of ^Esop. During this long period these 

* Apologos en ! misit tibi 
Ab usque Rheni limite 
Ausonius nomen Italum 
Praeceptor Augusti tui 
iEsopiam trimetriam ; 
Quam vertit exiTi stylo 
Pedestre concinnans opus 
Fandi Titianus artifex. 

Ausonii Epistola, xvi. 75~8a 

xii Preface, 

fables seem to have suffered an eclipse, to have dis- 
appeared, and to have been forgotten ; and it is at the 
commencement of the fourteenth century, when the 
Byzantine emperors were the great patrons of learning, 
and amidst the splendours of an Asiatic court, that we 
next find honours paid to the name and memory of 
^Esop. Maximus Pianudes, a learned monk of Constan- 
tinople, made a collection of aboit a hundred and fifty 
of these fables. Little is known of his history. Pianudes, 
however, was no mere recluse, shut up in his monastery. 
He took an active part in public affairs. In 1327 a.d. 
he was sent on a diplomatic mission to Venice by the 
Emperor Andronicus the Elder. This brought him into 
•immediate contact with the Western Patriarch, whose 
interests he henceforth advocated with so much zeal as 
to bring on him suspicion and persecution from the 
rulers of the Eastern Church. Pianudes has been ex- 
posed to a two-fold accusation. He is charged on the 
one hand with having had before him a copy of Babrias 
(to whom we shall have occasion to refer at greater 
length in the end of this Preface), and to have had the 
bad taste " to transpose," or to turn his poetical version 
into prose : and he is asserted, on the other hand, never 
to have seen the Fables of ^Esop at all, but to have him- 
self invented and made the fables which he palmed off 
under the name of the famous Greek fabulist. The truth 
lies between these two extremes. Pianudes may have 
invented some few fables, or have inserted some that 
were current in his day; but there is an abundance of 
unanswerable internal evidence to prove that he had an 

Preface. xiii 

acquaintance with the veritable fables of ^Esop, although 
the versions he had access to were probably corrupt, as 
contained in the various translations and disquisitional 
exercises of the rhetoricians and philosophers. His col- 
lection is interesting and important, not only as the 
parent source or foundation of the earlier printed ver- 
sions of ^Esop, but as the direct channel of attracting to 
these fables the attention of the learned. 

The eventual re-introduction, however, of these Fables 
of ^Esop to their high place in the general literature of 
Christendom, is to be looked for in the West rather than 
in the East. The calamities gradually thickening round 
the Eastern Empire, and the fall of Constantinople, 
1453 a.d., combined with other events to promote the 
rapid restoration of learning in Italy; and with that 
recovery of learning the revival of an interest in the 
Fables of ^Esop is closely identified. These fables, 
indeed, were among the first writings of an earlier anti- 
quity that attracted attention. They took their place 
beside the Holy Scriptures and the ancient classic 
authors, in the minds of the great students of that day. 
Lorenzo Valla, one of the most famous promoters of 
Italian learning, not only translated into Latin the Iliad 
of Homer and the Histories of Herodotus and Thucy- 
dides, but also the Fables of ^Esop. 

These fables, again, were among the books brought 
into an extended circulation by the agency of the 
printing press. Bonus Accursius, as early as 147 5- 1480, 
printed the collection of these fables, made by Planudes, 
which, within five years afterwards, Caxton translated 

xiv Preface. 

into English, and printed at his press in Westminster 
Abbey, 1485.* It must be mentioned also that the 
learning of this age has left permanent traces of its 
influence on these fables, f by causing the interpolation 
with them (as a Krjjjua tig hi) of some of those amusing 
stories which were so frequently introduced into the 
public discourses of the great preachers of those days, 
and of which specimens are yet to be found in the 
extant sermons of Jean Raulin, Meffreth, and Gabriel 
Barlette.J The publication of this era which most pro- 

* Both these publications are in the British Museum, and are 
placed in the library in cases under glass, for the inspection of the 

+ Fables may possibly have been not entirely unknown to the 
mediaeval scholars. There are two celebrated works which might 
by some be classed amongst works of this description. The one is 
the "Speculum Sapientiae," attributed to St. Cyril, Archbishop of 
Jerusalem, but of a considerably later origin, and existing only in 
Latin. It is divided into four books, and consists of long conversa- 
tions conducted by fictitious characters under the figures of the 
beasts of the field and forest, and aimed at the rebuke of particular 
classes of men, the boastful, the proud, the luxurious, the wrathful, 
&c. None of the stories are precisely those of ^Esop, and none 
have the concinnity, terseness, and unmistakable deduction of the 
lesson intended to be taught by the fable, so conspicuous in the great 
Greek fabulist. The exact title of the book is this: "Speculum 
Sapientise, B. Cyrilli Episcopi : alias quadripartitus apologeticus 
vocatus, in cujus quidem proverbiis omnis et totius sapientiae specu- 
lum claret et feliciter incipit." The other is a larger work in two 
volumes, published in the fourteenth century by Caesar Heisterbach, 
a Cistercian monk, under the title of " Dialogus Miraculorum," 
reprinted in 1 851. This work consists of conversations in which 
many stories are interwoven on all kinds of subjects. It has no 
correspondence with the pure ^sopian fable. 

t Post-mediaeval Preachers, by S. Baring-Gould. Rivingtons, 

Preface, xv 

bably has influenced these fables, is the " Liber Face- 
tiarum,"* a book consisting of a hundred jests and 
stories, by the celebrated Poggio Bracciolini, pub- 
lished a.d. 147 1 ,from which the tv.o fables of the 
" Miller, his Son, and their Ass./' p. 79, and the 
"Fox and the Woodcutter," p. 71, are undoubtedly 

The knowledge of these fables rapidly spread from 
Italy into Germany, and their popularity was increased 
by the favour and sanction given to them by the great 
fathers of the Reformation, who frequently used them 
as vehicles for satire and protest against the tricks and 
abuses of the Romish ecclesiastics. The zealous and 
renowned Camerarius, who took an active part in the 
preparation of the Confession of Augsburgh, found time, 
amidst his numerous avocations, to prepare a version for 
the students in the University of Tubingen, in which he 
was a professor. Martin Luther translated twenty of 
these fables, and was urged by Melancthon to complete 
the whole; while Gottfried Arnold, the celebrated Lu- 
theran theologian and librarian to Frederick I., king of 
Prussia, mentions that the great Reformer valued the 
Fables of ^Esop next after the Holy Scriptures. In 
1546 a.d. the second printed edition of the collection of 
the Fables made by Planudes, was issued from the 
printing-press of Robert Stephens, in which were inserted 
some additional fables from a MS. in the Bibliotheque 
du Roy at Paris. 

* For an account of this work see the Life of Poggio Bracciolini, 
by the Rev. William Shepherd. Liverpool, 1801. 

xvi Preface. 

The greatest advance, however, towards a re-introduc- 
tion of the Fables of ^Esop to a place in the literature 
of the world, was made in the early part of the seven- 
teenth century. In the year 1610, a learned Swiss, 
Isaac Nicholas Nevelet, sent forth the third printed 
edition of these fables, in a work entitled " Mythologia 
./Esopica." This was a noble effort to do honour to the 
great fabulist, and was the most perfect collection of 
.^Esopian fables ever yet published. It consisted, in 
addition to the collection of fables given by Planudes 
and reprinted in the various earlier editions, of one 
hundred and thirty-six new fables (never before pub- 
lished) from MSS. in the Library of the Vatican, of 
forty fables attributed to Aphthonius, and of forty-three 
from Babrias. It also contained the Latin versions 
of the same fables by Phaedrus, Avienus, and other 
authors. This volume of Nevelet forms a complete 
" Corpus Fabularum ^Esopicarum ; " and to his labours 
JEsop owes his restoration to universal favour as one 
of the wise moralists and great teachers of mankind 
During the interval of three centuries which has elapsed 
since the publication of this volume of Nevelefs, no 
book, with the exception of the Holy Scriptures, has 
had a wider circulaticn than ^Esop's Fables. They 
have been translated into the greater number of the 
languages both of Europe and of the East, and have 
been read, and will be read, for generations, alike by 
Jew, Heathen, Mahommedan, and Christian. They are y 
at the present time, not only engrafted into the litera- 
ture of the civilized world, but are familiar as house- 

Preface. xvii 

hold words in the common intercourse and daily con- 
versation of the inhabitants of all countries. 

This collection of Nevelet's is the great culminating 
point in the history of the revival of the fame and 
reputation of ^Esopian Fables. It is remarkable, also, 
as containing in its preface the germ of an idea, which 
has been since proved to have been correct by a strange 
chain of circumstances. Nevelet intimates an opinion 
that a writer named Babrias would be found to be the 
veritable author of the existing form of ^Esopian Fables. 
This intimation has since given rise to a series of 
inquiries, the knowledge of which is necessary, in the 
present day, to a full understanding of the true position 
of iEsop in connexion with the writings that bear his 

The history of Babrias is so strange and interesting, 
that it might not unfitly be enumerated among the 
curiosities of literature. He is generally supposed to 
have been a Greek of Asia Minor, of one of the Ionic 
Colonies, but the exact period in which he lived and 
wrote is yet unsettled. He is placed, by one critic,* 
as far back as the institution of the Achaian League, 
B.C. 250 j by another as late as the Emperor Severus, 
who died a.d. 235 ; while others make him a contem- 
porary with Phsedrus in the time of Augustus. At 
whatever time he wrote his version" of iEsop, by some 
strange accident it seems to have entirely disappeared, 
and to have been lost sight of. His name is mentioned 

* Professor Theodore Bergh. See Classical Museum, No. viii. 
July, 1849. 


xv iii Preface. 

by Avienus ; by Suidas, a celebrated critic, at the close 
of the eleventh century, who gives in his lexicon several 
isolated verses of his version of the fables ; and by John 
Tzetzes, a grammarian and poet of Constantinople, 
who lived during the latter half of the twelfth century. 
Nevelet, in the preface to the volume which we have 
described, points out that the Fables of Planudes could 
not be the work of .Esop, as they contain a reference 
in two places to " Holy Monks," and gives a verse from 
the Epistle of St. James as an " Epimith " to one 
of the fables, and suggests Babrias as their author. 
Francis Vavassor,* a learned French Jesuit, entered at 
greater length on this subject, and produced further 
proofs from internal evidence, from the use of the word 
Piraeus in describing the harbour of Athens, a name 
which was not given till two hundred years after ^Esop, 
and from the introduction of other modern words, that 
many of these fables must have been at least committed 
to writing posterior to the time of ^Esop, and more 
boldly suggests Babrias as their author or collector, f 

* Vavassor's treatise, entitled " De Ludicra Dictione," was 
written A.d. 1658, at the request of the celebrated M. Balzac 
(though published after his death), for the purpose of showing that 
the burlesque style of writing adopted by Scarron and D'Assouci, 
and at that time so popular in France, had no sanction from the 
ancient classic writers. Francisci Vavassoris opera omnia. Am- 
sterdam, 1709. 

+ The claims of Babrias also found a warm advocate in the 
learned Frenchman, M. Bayle, who, in his admirable Dictionary 
(Dictionnaire Historique et Critique de Pierre Bayle. Paris, 1 820), 
gives additional arguments in confirmation of the opinions of his 
learned predecessors, Nevelet and Vavassor. 

Preface. xix 

These various references to Babrias induced Dr. Richard 
Bentley, at the close of the seventeenth century, to 
examine more minutely the existing versions of ^Esop's 
JFables, and he maintained that many of them could, 
with a slight change of words, be resolved into the 
Scazonic* iambics, in which Babrias is known to have 
written : and, with a greater freedom than the evidence 
then justified, he put forth, in behalf of Babrias, a claim 
to the exclusive authorship of these fables. Such a 
seemingly extravagant theory, thus roundly asserted, 
excited much opposition. Dr. Bentleyf met with an 
able antagonist in a member of the University of 
Oxford, the Hon. Mr. Charles Boyle, J afterwards Earl 
of Orrery. Their letters and disputations on this sub- 
ject, enlivened on both sides with much wit and learning, 
will ever bear a conspicuous place in the literary history 
of the seventeenth century. The arguments of Dr. 
Bentley were yet further defended a few years later by 
Mr. Thomas Tyrwhitt, a well-read scholar, who gave up 
high civil distinctions that he might devote himself the 
more unreservedly to literary pursuits. Mr. Tyrwhitt 
published, a.d. 1776, a Dissertation on Babrias, and a 

* Scazonic, or halting, iambics ; a choliambic (a lame, halt- 
ing iambic) differs from the iambic Senarius in always having a 
spondee or trochee for its last foot ; the fifth foot, to avoid short- 
ness of metre, being generally an iambic. See Fables of Babrias, 
translated by Rev. James Davies. Lockwood, i860. Preface, 
p. 27. 

+ See Dr. Bentley's Dissertations upon the Epistles of Phalaris. 

% Dr. Bentley's Dissertations on the Epistles of Phalaris, 
and Fables of JSsop examined. By the Honourable Charles 

xx Preface. 

collection of his fables in choliambic metre found in 
a MS. in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. Francesco de 
Furia, a learned Italian, contributed further testimony 
to the correctness of the supposition that Babrias had 
made a veritable collection of fables by printing from a 
MS. contained in the Vatican library several fables never 
before published. In the year 1844, however, new and 
unexpected light was thrown upon this subject. A verit- 
able copy of Babrias was found in a manner as singular 
as were the MSS. of Quinctilian's Institutes, and of 
Cicero's Orations by Poggio in the monastery of St Gall, 
a.d. 1 41 6. M. Menoides, at the suggestion of M. Ville- 
main, Minister of Public Instruction to King Louis 
Philippe, had been entrusted with a commission to 
search for ancient MSS., and in carrying out his instruc- 
tions he found a MS. at the convent of St. Laura, on 
Mount Athos, which proved to be a copy of the long- 
suspected and wished-for choliambic version of Babrias. 
This MS. was found to be divided into two books, the 
one containing a hundred and twenty-five, and the other 
ninety-five fables. This discovery attracted very general 
attention, not only as confirming, in a singular manner, 
the conjectures so boldly made by a long chain of critics, 
but as bringing to light valuable literary treasures tend- 
ing to establish the reputation, and to confirm the 
antiquity and authenticity of the great mass of ^sopian 
Fable. The Fables thus recovered were soon published. 
They found a most worthy editor in the late distinguished 
Sir George Cornewall Lewis, and a translator equally 
qualified for his task, in the Reverend James Davies, 

Preface. xxi 

M.A., sometime a scholar of Lincoln College, Oxford, 
and himself a relation of their English editor. Thus, 
after an eclipse of many centuries, Babrias shines out as 
the earliest and most reliable collector of veritable 
x^Esopian Fables. 

Having thus given a complete synopsis of the origin, 
descent, and history of these fables, it only remains to 
explain the reasons which have induced the Publishers 
to prepare a new edition of ^Esop, and to state the 
grounds on which they hope to establish a claim for 
support and public approval in their undertaking. They 
boldly assert that the new light thrown upon these tables 
by the discovery of the metrical version by Babrias, 
renders a new translation an inevitable necessity. The 
two chief existing English versions of ^Esop are those by 
Archdeacon Croxall, and by the late Rev. Thomas 
James, canon of Peterborough. The first of these 
deviates so very far from the text, that it degenerates 
into a parody. The fables are so padded, diluted, and 
altered, as to give very little idea to the reader either of 
the terseness or the meaning of the original. The second 
of these is an improvement on its predecessor, but Mr. 
James, either out of compliance with the wishes of the 
publishers, or in condescension to the taste prevalent 
some twenty years ago, has so freely introduced as the 
point of the fable conventional English sayings which 
are not sanctioned by the Greek, and which in many 
instances are scarcely equivalent to it, that his version 
frequently approaches a paraphrase rather than a 

xxii Preface. 

The Publishers therefore ground their first claim for 
public approval on the necessity of a new translation. 
They trust further that their present work will have met 
that necessity in a satisfactory manner. They have 
sought to give as nearly a literal translation as possible 
of the Greek text ; and they hope that if the reader 
should miss the smoothness and thoroughly English 
tone which characterized the previous version of these 
fables, he will be more than repaid by gaining a nearer 
approach to the spirit, thoughts, and (in some cases) to 
the epigrammatic terseness of the original. The Pub- 
lishers trust to vindicate, on another ground, their claims 
to a share of public patronage. They have inserted a 
hundred new fables, and they have the satisfaction of 
knowing that this edition, on which they have spared no 
pains nor cost, will afford a larger choice, and greater 
variety, to the numerous and increasing circle of the 
admirers of ^Esopian Fables. Whatever be the result 
of their labours, they will be content to have contributed 
towards promoting a wider acquaintance with fables, 
the wisdom, excellency, and wonderful suitableness of 
which to every condition of humanity has been attested 
and confirmed by the experience of so many genera- 
tions ; and which in all ages, amidst the ever changing 
fluctuations of human opinion, are adapted alike to 
amuse the young, and to instruct the thoughtful, and are 
well fitted to teach all who study them lessons useful 
for their guidance in every position of political, social, 
civil, or domestic life. 

The Editor must claim the privilege of adding a few 

Preface. xxiii 

words on a matter personal to himself. He has already 
within the last few months been connected with one 
edition of iEsop, and it may seem strange that he 
should be willing to undertake the superintendence 
of another. His answer is, that the two works on 
which he has been engaged were totally distinct, and 
entirety independent of each other. The first was a 
request to furnish new morals and applications to a 
definite number of fables; the other was a commis- 
sion to add a large number of additional fables and 
to make a wholly new translation. The necessity of 
a new and improved translation the Editor then re- 
cognized, and would have willingly undertaken. It 
was a wish he had much at heart, and when the pro- 
posal was voluntarily made to him by the present 
Publishers, to undertake the task of a new translation 
of an enlarged number of ^Esop's Fables, he saw nd 
reason for refusing the offer because of his prior dis- 
charge of a totally different design; and he resolved to 
comply with the request submitted to him, and to do 
his best towards the attainment of so desirable an 
object as a purer translation and more literal rendering 
of fables so justly celebrated. 

The following are the sources from which the present 
translation has been prepared : — 

Babrii Fabulae -/Esopea:. George Cornewall Lewis. Oxford, 

Babrii Fabulae ^Esopeae. E codice manuscripto partem 
secundam edidit. George Cornewall Lewis. London: Parker, 

xxiv Preface. 

Mythologica JEsopica. Opera et studia Isaaci Nicholai Ne-/e- 
leti. Frankfort, 1610. 

Fabulae ^Isopiacae, quales ante Planudem ferebantur cura et 
studio Francisci de Furia. Lipsise, 1810. 

Alawireluv Mvd&v 'Zvvaywy-f}. Ex recognitione Caroli HalmiL 
Lipsise, 1851. 

Phteuri Fabulse Esopiae. Delphin Classics. 1822. 


The Life and History of ^Esop is involved, like that oi 
Homer, the most famous of Greek poets, in much 
obscurity. Sardis, the capital of Lydia; Samos, a Greek 
island ; Mesembria, an ancient colony in Thrace ; and 
Cotiseum, the chief city of a province of Phrygia, con- 
tend for the distinction of being the birthplace of ^Esop. 
Although the honour thus claimed cannot be definitely 
assigned to any one of these places, yet there are a 
few incidents now generally accepted by scholars as 
established facts, relating to the birth, life, and death of 
^Esop. He is, by an almost universal consent, allowed 
to have been born about the year 620 B.C., and to have 
been by birth a slave. He was owned by two masters 
in succession, both inhabitants of Samos, Xanthus and 
Jadmon, the latter of whom gave him his liberty as a 
reward for his learning and wit. One of the privileges 
of a freedman in the ancient republics of Greece, was 
the permission to take an active interest in public affairs ; 
and JEsop, like the philosophers Phaedo, Menippus, and 
Epictetus, in later times, raised himself from the indignity 

xx vi The Life of JEsop. 

of a servile condition to a position of high renown. In 
his desire alike to instruct and to be instructed, he 
travelled through many countries, and among others 
came to Sardis, the capital of the famous king of Lydia, 
the great patron, in that day, of learning and of learned 
men. He met at the court of Croesus with Solon, 
Thales, and other sages, and is related so to have 
pleased his royal master by the part he took in the 
conversations held with these philosophers, that he 
applied to him an expression which has since passed 
into a proverb, " /maWov 6 <Pp6%" "The Phrygian 
has spoken better than all." 

On the invitation of Croesus he fixed his residence at 
Sardis, and was employed by that monarch in various 
difficult and delicate affairs of State. In his discharge 
of these commissions he visited the different petty re- 
publics of Greece. At one time he is found in Corinth, 
and at another in Athens, endeavouring, by the narration 
of some of his wise fables, to reconcile the inhabitants 
of those cities to the administration of their respective 
rulers, Periander and Pisistratus. One of these ambas- 
sadorial missions, undertaken at the command of Croesus, 
was the occasion of his death. Having been sent to 
Delphi with a large sum of gold for distribution among 
the citizens, he was so provoked at their covetousness 
that he refused to divide the money, and sent it back to 
his master. The Delphians, enraged at this treatment, 
accused him of impiety, and, in spite of his sacred 
character as ambassador, executed him as a public 
criminal. This cruel death of ^Esop was not unavenged. 

The Life of JEsop. xxvii 

The citizens of Delphi were visited with a series of 
calamities, until they made a public reparation of their 
crime ; and " the blood of ^Esop " became a well- 
known adage, bearing witness to the truth that deeds of 
wrong would not pass unpunished. Neither did the 
great fabulist lack posthumous honours ; for a statue 
was erected to his memory at Athens, the work of 
Lysippus, one of the most famous of Greek sculptors. 
Phsedrus thus immortalizes the event : — 

iEsopo ingentem statuam posuere Attici, 
Servumque collocarunt seterna in basi : 
Patere honoris scirent ut cuncti viam ; 
Nee generi tribui sed virtuti gloriam. 

These few facts are all that can be relied on with 
any degree of certainty, in reference to the birth, life, 
and death of ^Esop. They were first brought to light, 
after a patient search and diligent perusal of ancient 
authors, by a Frenchman, M. Claude Gaspard Bachet 
de Mezeriac, who declined the honour of being tutor to 
Louis XIII. of France from his desire to devote him- 
self exclusively to literature. He published his Life of 
^Esop, Anno Domini 1632. The later investigations of 
a. host of English and German scholars have added very 
little to the facts given by M. Mezeriac. The substan- 
tial truth of his statements has been confirmed by later 
criticism and inquiry. It remains to state that, prior to 
this publication of M. Mezeriac, the life of ^Esop was 
from the pen of Maximus Planudes, a monk of Constan- 
tinople, who was sent on an embassy to Venice by the 
Byzantine Emperor Andronicus the elder, and who 

xxviii The Life of Aisop. 

wrote in the early part of the fourteenth century. His 
life was prefixed to all the early editions of these fables, 
and was republished as late as 1727 by Archdeacon 
Croxall as the introduction to his edition ot ^Esop. 
This life by Planudes contains, however, so small an 
amount of truth, and is so full of absurd pictures of the 
grotesque deformity of ^Esop, of wondrous apocryphal 
stories, of lying legends, and gross anachronisms, that it 
is now universally condemned as false, puerile, and 
unauthentic* It is given up in the present day, by 
general consent, as unworthy of the slightest credit 

* M. Bayle thus characterises this Life of ^Esop by Planudes, 
"Tous les habiles gens conviennent que c'est un roman, et que les 
absurdites grossieres qui Ton y trouve le rendent indigne de toute 
creance." — Dictionnaire Huierique. Art. Esopc. 



Ihe Lion and tlie Mouse ....... 31 

Wolf and the Crane 33 

Cock and the Jewel 35 

Hare and the Tortoise 37 

Dog and the Shadow 39 

Fawn and his Mother 41 

Dog in the Manger .47 

Frogs asking for a King . . . . . . 53 

Horse and Groom . . 55 

Mischievous Dog 59 

Sick Stag . . . 61 

Vain Jackdaw 63 

Dx and the Frog 65 

Vine and the Goat 69 

Mouse, the Frog, and the Hawk . . • . • 74 

Stag in the Ox-stall 78 

Eagle and the Arrow . • • • • • .81 

One-eyed Doe ........ 83 

Wolf and the House-Dog . . . . . .87 

Old Hound 89 

Fox and the Woodcutter 93 

Wolf and the Lion 95 

Hares and the Frogs 97 

Camel and the Arab 101 

Cat and the Mice 103 

Lion, the Bear, and the Fox . . , . . 107 

Fox and the Leopard 109 

xxx List of Illustrations, 


The Bull and the Goat in 

Hare and the Hound . 1 13 

Fox and the Hedgehog ...... 1 19 

Mule 122 

Crow and the Pitcher , 125 

The Hart and the Vine 127 

The Kid and the Wolf 129 

The Thief and the House- Dog 133 

Fox and the Lion ■ .... 135 

Wolf and the Shepherd 137 

Lark and her Young Ones 139 

Ass and the Wolf 141 

Fox and the Mask 143 

Lion and the Three Bulls 145 

Town Mouse and the Country Mouse . . . 147 

Wolf and the Horse .151 

Quack Frog 153 

Ass in the Lion's Skin 159 

Dove and the Crow ....... 161 

Eagle and the Jackdaw . . . . . . .163 

Dogs and the Hides 167 

Lion and the Fox ........ 171 

Ass and the Charger • 176 




A Lion was awakened from sleep by a Mouse running 
over his face. Rising up in anger, he caught him and 
was about to kill him, when the Mouse piteously 
entreated, saying : " If you would only spare my life, 
I would be sure to repay your kindness." The Lion 
laughed and let him go. It happened shortly after this 
that the Lion was caught by some hunters, who bound 

32 The Fables of Alsop. 

hiin by strong ropes to the ground. The Mouse, re- 
cognizing his roar, came up, and gnawed the rope with 
his teeth, and setting him free, exclaimed : " You ridi- 
culed the idea of my ever being able to help you, not 
expecting to receive from me any repayment of your 
favour ; but now you know that it is possible for even a 
Mouse to confer benefits on a Lion." 

A Wolf meeting with a Lamb astray from the fold, 
resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find 
some plea, which should justify to the Lamb himself his 
right to eat him. He thus addressed him : " Sirrah, last 
year you grossly insulted me." " Indeed," bleated the 
Lamb in a mournful tone of voice, " I was not then 
born." Then said the Wolf, " You feed in my pasture." 
"No, good sir," replied the Lamb, "I have not yet 
tasted grass." Again said the Wolf, " You drink of my 
well." " No," exclaimed the Lamb, "I never yet drank 
water, for as yet my mother's milk is both food and 
drink to me." On which the Wolf seized him, and ate 
him up, saying, " Well ! I won't remain supperless, even 
though you refute every one of my imputations." 
The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny. 

An Ass having heard some Grasshoppers chirping, was 
highly enchanted; and, desiring to possess the same 
charms of melody, demanded what sort of food they 
lived on, to give them such beautiful voices. They 
replied, " The dew." The Ass resolved that he would 
only live upon dew, and in a short time died of hunger. 


A Wolf, having a bone stuck in his throat, hired a 
Crane, for a large sum, to put her head into his throat, and 
draw out the bone. When the Crane had extracted the 
bone, and demanded the promised payment, the W r olf, 
grinning and grinding his teeth, exclaimed : " Why, you 
have surely already a sufficient recompense, in having 
been permitted to draw out your head in safety from the 
mouth and jaws of a wolf." 

In serving the wicked, expect no reward, and be 
thankful if you escape injury for your pains. 


34 The Fables of Aisop. 


A Father had a family of sons who were perpetually 
quarrelling among themselves. When he failed to heal 
their disputes by his exhortations, he determined to 
give them a practical illustration of the evils of dis- 
union ; and for this purpose he one day told them to 
bring him a bundle of sticks. When they had done so, 
he placed the faggot into the hands of each of them 
in succession, and ordered them to break it in pieces. 
They each tried with all their strength, and were not 
able to do it. He next unclosed the faggot, and took 
the sticks separately, one by one, and again put them 
into their hands, on which they broke them easily. He 
then addressed them in these words : " My sons, if you 
are of one mind, and unite to assist each other, you 
will be as this faggot, uninjured by all the attempts of 
your enemies ; but if you are divided among yourselves, 
you will be broken as easily as these sticks." 


A Bat falling upon the ground was caught by a Weasel, 
of whom he earnestly besought his life. The Weasel re- 
fused, saying, that he was by nature the enemy of all 
birds. The Bat assured him that he was not a bird, but 
a mouse, and thus saved his life. Shortly afterwards the 
Bat again fell on the ground, and was caught by another 
Weasel, whom he likewise entreated not to eat him. 
The Weasel said that he had a special hostility to mice. 
The Bat assured him that he was not a mouse, but a 
bat; and thus a second time escaped. 

It is wise to turn circumst^^es to good account. 


A Cock, scratching for food for himself and his hens, 
found a precious stone \ on which he said : " If your 
owner had found thee, and not I, he would have taken 
thee up, and have set thee in thy first estate ; but I have 
found thee for no purpose. I would rather have one 
barleycorn than all the jewels in the world." 


The Swallow and the Crow had a contention about 
their plumage. The Crow put an end to the dispute by 
saying : " Your feathers are all very well in the spring, 
but mine protect me against the winter." 
Fine weather friends are not worth much. 

36 The Fables of Atsop. 


The beasts of the field and forest had a Lion as their 
king. He was neither wrathful, cruel, nor tyrannical, but 
just and gentle as a king could be. He made during his 
reign a royal proclamation for a general assembly of all 
the birds and beasts, and drew up conditions for an uni- 
versal league, in which the Wolf and the Lamb, the 
Panther and the Kid, the Tig«r and the Stag, the Dog and 
the Hare, should live together in perfect peace and amity. 
The Hare said, " Oh, how I have longed to see this day, 
in which the weak shall take their place with impunity by 
the side of the strong." 


A Traveller, about to set out on his journey, saw his 
Dog stand at the door stretching himself. He asked 
him sharply : " What do you stand gaping there for ? 
Everything is ready but you; so come with me instantly." 
The Dog, wagging his tail, replied : " O, master ! I am 
quite ready ; it is you for whom I am waiting." 

The loiterer often imputes delay to his more active 


The Ants were employing a fine winter's day in drying 
grain collected in the summer time. A Grasshopper, 
perishing with famine, passed by and earnestly begged 
for a little food. The Ants enquired of him, " Why did 
you not treasure up food during the summer ? " He re- 
plied, " I had not leisure enough. I passed the days in 
singing." Thej then said in derision : " If you were 
foolish enough to sing all the summer, you must dance 
supperless to bed in the winter." 


A Hare one day ridiculed the short feet and slow pace 
of the Tortoise. The latter, laughing, said : " Though 
you be swift as the wind, I will beat you in a race." 
The Hare, deeming her assertion to be simply impossible, 
assented to the proposal ; and they agreed that the Fox 
should choose the course, and fix the goal. On the day 
appointed for the race they started together. The 
Tortoise never for a moment stopped, but went on with 
a slow but steady pace straight to the end of the course. 
The Hare, trusting to his native swiftness, cared little 
about the race, and lying down by the wayside, fell fast 
asleep. At last waking up, and moving as fast as he 
could, he saw the Tortoise had reached the goal, and was 
comfortably dozing after her fatigue. 

38 The Fables of Alsop. 


A Charcoal-burner carried on his trade in his own 
house. One day he met a friend, a Fuller, and entreated 
him to come and live with him, saying, that they should 
be far better neighbours, and that their housekeeping ex- 
penses would be lessened. The Fuller replied, "The 
arrangement is impossible as far as I am concerned, for j 
whatever I should whiten, you would immediately blacken 
again with your charcoal." 
Like will draw like. 


A Boy was hunting for locusts. He had caught a goodly 
number, when he saw a Scorpion, and, mistaking him for 
a locust, reached out his hand to take him. The Scorpion, 
showing his sting, said : "If you had but touched me, 
my friend, you would have lost me, and all your locusts 


A Fisherman skilled in music took his flute and his 
nets to the sea-shore. Standing on a projecting rock he 
played several tunes, in the hope that the fish, attracted 
by his melody, would of their own accord dance into his 
net, which he had placed below. At last, having long 
waited in vain, he laid aside his flute, and casting his net 
into the sea, made an excellent haul of fish. When he 
saw them leaping about in the net upon the rock he 
said : " O you most perverse creatures, when I piped 
you would not dance, but now that I have ceased you do 
so merrily." 


A Dog, crossing a bridge over a stream with a piece of 
flesh in his mouth, saw his own shadow in the water, and 
took it for that of another Dog, with a piece of meat 
double his own in size. He therefore let go his own, 
and fiercely attacked the other Dog, to get his larger 
piece from him. He thus lost both : that which he 
grasped at in the water, because it was a shadow ; and 
his own, because the stream swept it away. 


A Carter was driving a waggon along a country lane, 
when the wheels sank down deep into a rut. The rustic 
driver, stupefied and aghast, stood looking at the waggon, 

40 The Fables of AZsop. 

and did nothing but utter loud cries to Hercules to come 
and help him. Hercules, it is said, appeared, and thus 
addressed him : — " Put your shoulders to the wheels, my 
man. Goad on your bullocks, and never more pray to 
me for help, until you have done your best to help, your- 
self, or depend upon it you will henceforth pray in vain." 
Self-help is the best help. 


A Mole, a creature blind from its birth, once said to his 
mother : " I am sure that I can see, mother ! " In the 
desire to prove to him his mistake, his mother placed 
before him a few grains of frankincense, and asked, 
" What is it ? '* The young Mole said, " It is a pebble." 
His mother exclaimed : " My son, I am afraid that you 
are not only blind, but that you have lost your sense of 


A Herdsman tending kine in a forest, lost a Bull calf 
from the fold. After a long and fruitless search, he made 
a vow that, if he could only discover the thief who had 
stolen the Calf, he would offer a lamb in sacrifice to 
Hermes, Pan, and the Guardian Deities of the forest. 
Not long afterwards, as he ascended a small hillock, he 
saw at its foot a Lion feeding on the Calf. Terrified at 
the sight, he lifted his eyes and his hands to heaven, and 
said : "Just now I vowed to offer a lamb to the Guardian 
Deities of the forest if I could only find out who had 
robbed me ; but now that I have discovered the thief, I 
would willingly add a full-grown Bull to the Calf I have 
lost, if I may only secure mv own escape from him in 



A young Fawn once said to his mother, * You are larger 
than a dog, and swifter, and more used to running, and 
you have, too, your horns as a defence ; why, then, 
Mother ! are you always in such a terrible fright of the 
hounds ? " She smiled, and said : " I know full well, my 
son, that all you say is true. I have the advantages you 
mention, but yet when I hear only the bark of a single 
dog I feel ready to faint, and fly away as fast as I can." 
No arguments will give courage to the coward. 


The Ass and the Fox having entered into partnership 
together for their mutual protection, went out into the 

42 The Fables of ^Esop. 

forest to hunt. They had not proceeded far, when they 
met a Lion. The Fox, seeing the imminency of the 
danger, approached the Lion, and promised to contrive 
for him the capture of the Ass, if he would pledge his 
word that his own life should not be endangered. On 
his assuring him that he would not injure him, the Fox 
led the Ass to a deep pit, and contrived that he should 
fall into it. The Lion seeing that the Ass was secured, 
immediately clutched the Fox, and then attacked the Ass 
at his leisure. 


A Jar of Honey having been upset in a housekeeper's 
room, a number of flies were attracted by its sweetness, 
and placing their feet in it, ate it greedily. Their feet, 
however, became so smeared with the honey that they 
could not use their wings, nor release themselves, and 
were suffocated. Just as they were expiring, they ex- 
claimed, " O foolish creatures that we are, for the sake of 
a little pleasure we have destroyed ourselves." 
Pleasure bought with pains, hurts. 

A controversy prevailed among the beasts of the field, 
as to which of the animals deserved the most credit for 
producing the greatest number of whelps at a birth. 
They rushed clamorously into the presence of the Lioness 
and demanded of her the settlement of the dispute. 
" And you," they said, " how many sons have you at a 
birth ? " The Lioness laughed at them, and said : 
" Why ! I have only one ; but that one is altogether a 
thorough-bred Lion." 

The value is in the worth, not in tne number. 


The Fables of JEsop. 43 


A Farmer found in the winter time a Snake stiff and 
frozen with cold. He had compassion on it, and taking 
it up placed it in his bosom. The Snake on being 
thawed by the warmth quickly revived, when, resuming 
its natural instincts, he bit his benefactor, inflicting on 
him a mortal wound. The Farmer said with his latest 
breath, " I am rightly served for pitying a scoundrel ! " 
The greatest benefits will not bind the ungrateful. 


A Man and a lion travelled together through the forest. 
They soon began to boast of their respective superiority 
to each other in strength and prowess. As they were dis- 
puting, they passed a statue, carved in stone, which re- 
presented "a Lion strangled by a Man." The traveller 
pointed to it and said : " See there ! How strong we are, 
and how we prevail over even the king of beasts." The 
Lion replied : " That statue was made by one of you men. 
If we Lions knew how to erect statues, you would see the 
Man placed under the paw of the Lion." 
One story is good, till another is told. 


The Pomegranate and Apple-tree disputed as to which 
was the most beautiful. When their strife was at its 
height, a Bramble from the neighbouring hedge lifted up 
its voice, and said in a boastful tone : " Pray, my dear 
friends, in my presence at least cease from such vain 

44 The Fables of AZsop. 


A Farmer placed nets on his newly-sown plough lands, 
and caught a quantity of Cranes, which came to pick up 
his seed. With them he trapped a Stork also. The 
. Stork having his leg fractured by the net, earnestly be- 
sought the Farmer to spare his life. "Pray, save me, 
Master/' he said, " and let me go free this once. My 
broken limb should excite your pity. Besides, I am no 
Crane, I am a Stork, a bird of excellent character ; and 
see how I love and slave for my father and mother. Look 
too, at my feathers, they are not the least like to those of 
a Crane." The Farmer laughed aloud, and said, " It may ** 
be all as you say ; I only know this, I have taken you 
with these robbers, the Cranes, and you must die in their 

Birds of a feather flock together. 


A Mountain was once greatly agitated. Loud groans 
and noises were heard ; and crowds of people came from 
all parts to see what was the matter. While they were 
assembled in anxious expectation of some terrible cala- 
mity, out came a Mouse. 

Don't make much ado about nothing. 


A Bear boasted very much of his philanthropy, saying 
" that of all animals he was the most tender in his regard 
for man, for he had such respect for him, that he would 
not even touch his dead body." A Fox hearing these 
words said with a smile to the Bear, "Oh ! that you would 
eat the dead and not the living." 

The Fables of AZsop. 4$ 

A Tortoise, lazily basking in the sun, complained to the 
sea-birds of her hard fate, that no one would teach her 
to fly. An Eagle hovering near, heard her lamentation, 
and demanded what reward she would give him, if he 
would take her aloft, and float her in the air. " I will 
give you," she said, "all the riches of the Red Sea." " I 
will teach you to fly then," said the Eagle ; and taking 
her up in his talons, he carried her almost to the clouds, 
— when suddenly letting her go, she fell on a lofty 
mountain, and dashed her shell to pieces. The Tortoise 
exclaimed in the moment of death : " I have deserved 
my present fate 3 for what had I to do with wings and 
clouds, who can with difficulty move about on the 

If men had all they wished, they would be often 


A Fox having fallen into a deep well, was detained a 
prisoner there, as he could find no means of escape. A 
Goat, overcome with thirst, came to the same well, and, 
seeing the Fox, enquired if the water was good. The 
Fox, concealing his sad plight under a merry guise, in- 
dulged in a lavish praise of the water, saying it was 
beyond measure excellent, and encouraged him to de- 
scend. The Goat, mindful only of his thirst, thought- 
lessly jumped down, when just as he quenched his thirst, 
the Fox informed him of the difficulty they were both in, 
and suggested a scheme for their common escape. " If," 
said he, "you will place your fore-feet upon the wall, and 
bend your head, I will run up your back and escape, and 
will help you out afterwards." On the Goat readily as- 

46 The Fables of AZsop. 

senting to this second proposal, the Fox leapt upon his 
back, and steadying himself with the Goat's horns, 
reached in safety the mouth of the well, when he imme- 
diately made off as fast as he could. The Goat upbraided 
him with the breach of his bargain, when he turned round 
and cried out : " You foolish old fellow ! If you had as 
many brains in your head as you have hairs in your 
beard, you would never have gone down before you had 
inspected the way up, nor have exposed yourself to dan- 
gers from which you had no means of escape." 
Look before you leap. 

A. Raven saw a Swan, and desired to secure for himself 
a like beauty of plumage. Supposing that his splendid 
white colour arose from his washing in the water in which 
he swam, the Raven left the altars in the neighbourhood 
of which he picked up his living, and took up his abode 
in the lakes and pools. But cleansing his feathers as 
often as he would, he could not change their colour, 
while through want of food he perished. 
Change of habit cannot alter Nature. 

4 O v 


A Pigeon, oppressed by excessive thirst, saw a goblet 
of water painted on a sign-board. Not supposing it to 
be only a picture, she flew towards it with a loud whirr, 
and unwittingly dashed against the sign -board and jarred 
herself terribly. Having broken her wings by the blow, 
she fell to the ground, and was caught by one of the 

Zeal should not outrun discretion. 


A Dog lay in a manger, and by his growling and snapping 
prevented the oxen from eating the hay which had been 
placed for them. " What a selfish Dog ! " said one of 
them to his companions ; " he cannot eat the hay him- 
self, and yet refuses to allow those to eat who can." 


A heavy waggon was being dragged along a country lane 
by a team of oxen. The axle-trees groaned and creaked 
terribly : when the oxen turning round, thus addressed 
the wheels. " Hullo there ! why do you make so much 
noise ? We bear all the labour, and we, not you, ought 
to cry out." 

Those who suffer most cry out thejeast 


4$ The Fables of AZsop. 

Some Cranes made their feeding grounds on some plough 
lands newly sown with wheat. For a long time the 
Farmer, brandishing an empty sling, chased them away 
by the terror he inspired ; but when the birds found that 
the sling was only swung in the air, they ceased to take 
any notice of it, and would not move. The Farmer on 
seeing this, charged his sling with stones, and killed a 
great number. They at once forsook his plough-lands, 
and cried to each other, " It is time for us to be off to 
Liliput : for this man is no longer content to scare us, 
but begins to show us in earnest what he can do." 
If words suffice not, blows must follow. 

A Lion being unable from old age and infirmities to 
provide himself with food by force, resolved to do so by 
artifice. He betook himself to his den, and lying down 
there, pretended to be sick, taking care that his sickness 
should be publicly known. The beasts expressed their 
sorrow, and came one by one to his den to visit him, 
when the Lion devoured them. After many of the beasts 
had thus disappeared, the Fox discovered the trick, and 
presenting himself to the Lion, stood on the outside of 
the cave, at a respectful distance, and asked of him how 
he did; to whom he replied, " I am very middling, but 
why do you stand without? pray enter within to talk 
with me." The Fox replied, " No, thank you, I notice 
that there are many prints of feet entering your cave, but 
I see no trace of any returning." 

He is wise who is warned by the misfortunes ol 

The Fables of JEsop. 49 


Two men were travelling together, when a Bear suddenly 
met them on their path. One of them climbed up 
quickly into a tree, and concealed himself in the branches. 
The other, seeing that he must be attacked, fell flat on 
the ground, and when the Bear came up and felt him 
with his snout, and smelt him all over, he held his 
breath, and feigned the appearance of death as much as 
he could. The Bear soon left him, for it is said he will 
not touch a dead body. When he was quite gone the 
other traveller descended from the tree, and accosting 
his friend, jocularly inquired "what it was the Bear had 
whispered in his ear ? " He replied, " He gave me this 
advice : Never travel with a friend who deserts you at 
the approach of danger." 

Misfortune tests the sincerity of friends. 


A Fox caught in a trap, escaped with the loss of his 
" brush." Henoeforth feeling his life a burden from the 
shame and ridicule to which he was exposed, he schemed 
to bring all the other Foxes into a like condition with 
himself, that in the common loss he might the better 
conceal his own deprivation. He assembled a good 
many Foxes, and publicly advised them to cut off their 
tails, saying "that they would not only look much 
better without them, but that they would get rid of the 
weight of the brush, which was a very great incon- 
venience." One of them interrupting him said, " If you 
had not yourself lost your tail, my friend, you would not 
thus counsel us." 


50 The Fables of Aisop. 

A Cat caught a Cock, and took counsel with himself 
how he might find a reasonable excuse for eating him. 
He accused him as being a nuisance to men, by crowing 
in the night time, and not permitting them to sleep. 
The Cock defended himself by saying, that he did this 
for the benefit of men, that they might rise betimes for 
their labours. The Cat replied, "Although you abound 
in specious apologies, I shall not remain supperless ;'' 
and he made a meal of him. 

Once upon a time a Wolf resolved to disguise his nature 
by his habit, that so he might get food without stint. 
Encased in the skin of a sheep, he pastured with the 
flock, beguiling the shepherd by his artifice. In the 
evening he was shut up by the shepherd in the fold ; the 
gate was closed, and the entrance made thoroughly secure. 
The shepherd coming into the fold during the night to 
provide food for the morrow, caught up the Wolf, instead 
of a sheep, and killed him with his knife in the fold. 
Harm seek, harm find. 

A Goatherd had sought to bring back a stray goat to 
his flock. He whistled and sounded his horn in vain ; 
the straggler paid no attention to the summons. At last 
the Goatherd threw a stone, and breaking its horn be- 
sought the Goat not to tell his master. The Goat replied, 
" Why, you silly fellow, the horn will speak though I be 

Do not attempt to hide things which cannot be hidden. 

The Fables of Aisop. 51 


A man who had travelled in foreign lands, boasted very 
much, on returning to his own country, of the many 
wonderful and heroic things he had done in the different 
places he had visited. Among other things, he said that 
when he was at Rhodes he had leaped to such a distance 
that no man of his day could leap anywhere near him — 
and as to that, there were in Rhodes many persons who 
saw him do it, and whom he could call as witnesses. 
One of the bystanders interrupting him, said, " Now, my 
good man, if this be all true there is no need of witnesses. 
Suppose this to be Rhodes • and now for your leap." 

A Lion demanded the daughter of a woodcutter in mar- 
riage. The Father, unwilling to grant, and yet afraid to 
refuse his request, hit upon this expedient to rid himself 
of his importunities. He expressed his willingness to 
accept him as the suitor of his daughter on one condition ; 
that he should allow him to extract his teeth, and cut off 
his claws, as his daughter was fearfully afraid of both. 
The Lion cheerfully assented to the proposal : when how- 
ever he next repeated his request, the woodman, no longer 
afraid, set upon him with his club, and drove him away 
into the forest. 


A Miser sold all that he had, and bought a lump of 
gold, which he took and buried in a hole dug in the 
ground by the side of an old wall, and went daily to 
look at it. One of his workmen, observing his frequent 
visits to the snot, watched his movements, discovered 

52 The Fables of AZsop. 

the secret of the hidden treasure, and digging down, 
came to tho lump of gold, and stole it. The Miser, 
on his next visit, found the hole empty, and began to 
tear his hair, and to make loud lamentations. A 
neighbour, seeing him overcome with grief, and learning 
the cause, said, " Pray do not grieve so ; but go and 
take a stone, and place it in the hole, and fancy that 
the gold is still lying there. It will do you quite the 
same service ; for when the gold was there, you had it 
not, as you did not make the slightest use of it." 


A young Pig was shut up in a fold-yard with a Goat and 
a Sheep. On one occasion the shepherd laid hold of him, 
when he grunted, and squeaked, and resisted violently. 
The Sheep and the Goat complained of his distressing 
cries, and said, " He often handles us, and we do not cry 
out." To this he replied, " Your handling and mine are 
very different things. He catches you only for your 
wool, or your milk, but he lays hold on me for my very 


A Boy put his hand into a pitcher full of filberts. He 
grasped as many as he could possibly hold, but when he 
endeavoured to pull out his hand, he was prevented from 
doing so by the neck of the pitcher. Unwilling to lose 
his filberts, and yet unable to withdraw his hand, he burst 
into tears, and bitterly lamented his disappointment. A 
bystander said to him, " Be satisfied with half the quan- 
tity, and you will readily draw out your hand." 
Do not attempt too much at once. 


The Frogs, grieved at having no established Ruler, sent 
ambassadors to Jupiter entreating for a King. He, per- 
ceiving their simplicity, cast down a huge log into the 
lake. The Frogs, terrified at the splash occasioned by 
its fall, hid themselves in the depths of the pool. But 
no sooner did they see that the huge log continued mo- 
tionless, than they swam again to the top of the water, 
dismissed their fears, and came so to despise it as to 
climb up, and to squat upon it. After some time they 
began to think themselves ill-treated in the appointment 
of so inert a Ruler, and sent a second deputation to 
Jupiter to pray that he would set over them another 
sovereign. He then gave them an Eel to govern them. 
When the Frogs discovered his easy good-nature, they 
yet a third time sent to Jupiter to beg that he would 

54 The Fables of ^Esop. 

once more choose for them another King. Jupiter, dis- 
pleased at their complaints, sent a Heron, who preyed 
upon the Frogs day by day till there were none left to 
croak upon the lake. 

A Snake, having made his hole close to the porch of a 
cottage, inflicted a severe bite on the Cottager's infant 
son, of which he died, to the great grief of his parents. 
The father resolved to kill the Snake, and the next day. 
on its coming out of its hole for food, took up his axe ; 
but, making too much haste to hit him as he wriggled 
away, missed his head, and cut off only the end of his 
tail. After some time the Cottager, afraid lest the Snake 
should bite him also, endeavoured to make peace, and 
placed some bread and salt in his hole. The Snake, 
slightly hissing, said : " There can henceforth be no 
peace between us ; for whenever I see you I shall re- 
member the loss of my tail, and whenever you see me 
you will be thinking of the death of your son." 

No one truly forgets injuries in the presence of him 
who caused the injury. 

A Lion, fatigued by the heat of a summer's day, fell fast 
asleen in his den. A Mouse ran over his mane and ears, 
and woke him from his slumbers. He rose up and shook 
himself in great wrath, and searched every corner of his 
den to find the Mouse. A Fox seeing him, said : " A 
fine Lion you are, to be frightened of a Mouse." " 'Tis 
not the Mouse I fear," said the Lion ; " I resent his 
familiarity and ill-breeding." 

Lktle liberties are great offences. 

A Groom used to spend whole days in currycombing 
and rubbing down his Horse, but at the same time stole 
his oats, and sold them for his own profit. " Alas ! n 
said the Horse, " if you really wish me to be in good 
condition, you should groom me less, and feed me 

Honesty is the best policy. 


A Muleteer set forth on a journey, driving before him 
an Ass and a Mule, both well laden. The Ass, as long 
as he travelled along the plain, carried his load with ease; 
but when he begun to ascend the steep path of the 
mountain, he felt his load to be more than he could 

The Fables oj sEsop. 

bear. He entreated his companion to relieve him of a 
small portion, that he might carry home the rest; but 
the Mule paid no attention to the request The Ass 
shortly afterwards fell down dead under his burden. The 
Muleteer, not knowing what else to do in so wild a 
region, placed upon the Mule the load carried by the 
Ass in addition to his own, and at the top of all placed 
the hide of the Ass, after he had flayed him. The Mule, 
groaning beneath his heavy burden, said thus to himself, 
" I am treated according to my deserts. If I had only 
been willing to assist the Ass a little in his need, I should 
not now be bearing, together with his burden, himself as 


A Man had an Ass, and a Maltese Lap-dog, a very 
great beauty. The Ass was left in a stable, and had 
plenty of oats and hay to eat, just as any other Ass 
would. The Lap-dog knew many tricks, and was a 
great favourite with his master, who often fondled him ; 
and seldom went out to dine or to sup without bringing 
him home some tid-bit to eat, when he frisked and jumped 
about him in a manner pleasant to see. The Ass, on the 
contrary, had much work to do, in grinding the corn- 
mill, and in carrying wood from the forest or burdens 
from the farm. He often lamented his own hard fate, 
and contrasted it with the luxury and idleness of the 
Lap-dog, till at last one day he broke his cords and 
halter, and galloped into his master's house, kicking up 
his heels without measure, and frisking and fawning as 
well as he could. He next tried to jump about his 
master as he had seen the Lap-dog do, but he broke the 
table, and smashed all the dishes upon it to atoms. He 

The Fables of JEsop. 57 

then attempted to lick his master, and jumped upon his 
back. The servants hearing the strange hubbub, and 
perceiving the danger of their master, quickly relieved 
him, and drove out the Ass to his stable, with kicks, 
and clubs, and cirffs. The Ass, as he returned to his 
stall beaten nearly to death, thus lamented : " I have 
brought it all on myself ! Why could I not have been 
contented to labour with my companions, and not wish 
to be idle all the day like that useless little Lap-dog ! " 


The Oxen once on a time sought to destroy the 
Butchers, who practised a trade destructive to their race. 
They assembled on a certain day to carry out their 
purpose, and sharpened their horns for the contest. One 
of them, an exceedingly old one (for many a field had he 
ploughed), thus spoke : " These Butchers, it is true, 
slaughter us, but they do so with skilful hands, and with 
no unnecessary pain. If we get rid of them, we shall fall 
into the hands of unskilful operators, and thus suffer a 
double death : for you may be assured, that though all 
the Butchers, should perish, yet will men never want 

Do not be in a hurry to change one evil for another. 



A Shepherd-boy, who watched a flock of sheep near a 
village, brought out the villagers three or four times by 
crying out, "Wolf! Wolf!" and when his neighbours 
came to help him, laughed at them for their pains. The 
Wolf, however, did truly come at last. The Shepherd- 
boy, now really alarmed, shouted in an agony of terror ; 

5 8 The Fables of ALsop. 

41 Pray, do come and help me ; the wolf is killing the 
sheep ; " but no one paid any heed to his cries, nor 
rendered any assistance. The Wolf, having no cause of 
fear, took ijt easily, and lacerated or destroyed the whole 

There is no believing a liar, even when he speaks the 
truth. , 

Some Boys, playing near a pond, saw a number of Frogs 
in the water, and beagn to pelt them with stones. They 
killed several of them, when one of the Frogs, lifting his 
head out of the water, cried out : " Pray stop, my boys • 
what is sport to you, is death to us." 

A Pedlar, dealing in salt, drove his Ass to the sea-shore 
to buy salt. His road home lay across a stream, in pass- 
ing which his Ass, making a false step, fell by accident 
into the water, and rose up again with his load consider- 
ably lighter, as the water melted the salt. The Pedlar 
retraced his steps, and refilled his panniers with a larger 
quantity of salt than before. When he came again to the 
stream, the Ass fell down on purpose in the same spot, 
and, regaining his feet with the weight of his load much 
diminished, brayed triumphantly as if he had obtained 
what he desired. The Pedlar saw through his trick, and 
drove him for the third time to the coast, where he bought 
a cargo of sponges instead of salt. The Ass, again play- 
ing the knave, when he reached the stream, fell down on 
purpose, when the sponges becoming swollen with the 
water, his load was very "greatly increased ; and thus his 
trick recoiled on himself in fitting to his back a doubled 

A Dog used to run up quietly to the heels of everyone he 
met, and to bite them without notice. His master sus- 
pended a bell about his neck, that he might give notice 
of his presence wherever he went. The Dog grew proud 
of his bell, and went tinkling it all over the market-place. 
An old hound said to him : " Why do you make such an 
exhibition of yourself? That bell that you carry is not, 
believe me, any order of merit, but, on the contrary, a 
mark of disgrace, a public notice to all men to avoid you 
as an ill-mannered dog." 

Notoriety is often mistaken for fame. 

A Goatherd, driving his flock from their pasture at 
eventide, found some wild goats mingled among them, 

6o The Fables of ^Esop. 

and shut them up together with his own for the night. 
On the morrow it snowed very hard, so that he could 
not take the herd to their usual feeding-places, but was 
obliged to keep them in the fold.. He gave his own 
goats just sufficient food to keep them alive, but fed the 
strangers more abundantly, in the hope of enticing them 
to stay with him, and of making them his own. When 
the thaw set in, he led them all out to feed, and the wild 
goats scampered away as fast as they could to the moun- 
tains. The Goatherd taxed them with their ingratitude 
in leaving him, when during the storm he had taken more 
care of them than of his own herd. One of them turn- 
ing about said to him, "That is the very reason why 
we are so cautious; for if you yesterday treated us better 
than the Goats you have had so long, it is plain also that 
if others came after us, you would, in the same manner, 
prefer them to ourselves." 

Old friends cannot with impunity be sacrificed for new 

A. middle-aged man, whose hair had begun to turn grey, 
courted two women at the same time. One of them 
was young ; and the other well advanced in years. The 
elder woman, ashamed to be courted by a man younger 
than herself, made a point, whenever her admirer visited 
her, to pull out some portion of his black hairs. The 
younger, on the contrary, not wishing to become the 
wife of an old man, was equally zealous in removing 
every grey hair she could find. Thus it came to pass, 
that between them both he very soon found that he had 
rot a hair left on his head.. 
Those who seek to please everybody please nobody. 

A sick Stag lay down in a quiet corner of its pasture- 
ground. His companions came in great numbers to 
inquire after his health, and each one helped himself to a 
share of the food which had been placed for his use ; so 
that he died, not from his sickness, but from the failure 
of the means of living. . 

Evil companions bring more hurt than profit.* 

A Boy was stung by a Nettle. He ran home and told 
his mother, saying, " Although it pains me so much, I 
did but touch it ever so gently." " That was just it," 
said his mother, " which caused it to sting you. The next 
time you touch a Nettle, grasp it boldly, and it will be as 
soft as silk to your hand, and not in the least hurt you." 
Whatever you do, do with all your might 

62 The Fables of Aisop. 

An Astronomer used to go out of a night to observe tVj* 
stars. One evening, as he wandered through the suburbs 
with his whole attention fixed on the sky, he fell un- 
awares into a deep well. While he lamented and be- 
wailed his sores and bruises, and cried loudly for help. 
a neighbour ran to the well, and learning what had 
happened, said : " Hark ye, old fellow, why, in striving 
to pry into what is in heaven, do you no* manage to see 
what is on earth ? " 

" Why should there always be this internecine and im- 
placable warfare between us ? " said the Wolves to the 
Sheep. "Those evil-disposed Dogs have much to 
answer for. They always bark whenever we approach 
you, and attack us before we have done any harm. If 
you would only dismiss them from your heels, there 
might soon be treaties of peace and of reconciliation 
between us." The Sheep, poor silly creatures ! were 
easily beguiled, and dismissed the Dogs. The Wolves 
destroyed the unguarded flock at their own pleasure. 

A Cat, hearing that the Birds in a certain aviary were 
ailing, dressed himself up as a physician, and, taking 
with him his cane and the instruments becoming his 
profession, went to the aviary, knocked at the door, and 
inquired of the inmates how they all did, saying that h 
they were ill, he would be happy to prescribe for them 
and cure them. They replied, " We are all very well, 
and shall continue so, if you will only be good enough 
to go away, and leave us as we are." 



Jupiter determined, it is said, to create a- sovereign 
over the birds ; and made proclamation that, on a cer- 
tain day, they should all present themselves before him, 
when he would himself choose the most beautiful 
among them to be king. The Jackdaw, knowing his 
own ugliness, searched through the woods and fields, 
and collected the feathers which had fallen from the 
wings of his companions, and stuck them in all parts 
of his body, hoping thereby to make himself the most 
beautiful of all. When the appointed day arrived, and 
the birds had assembled before Jupiter, the Jackdaw 
also made his appearance in his many-feathered finery. 
On Jupiter proposing to make him king, on account of 
the beauty of his plumage, the birds indignantly pro- 
tested, and each plucking from him his own leathers, 
the Jackdaw was again nothing but a Jackdaw. 

64 The Fables of JEsop. 

A Kid standing on the roof of a house, out of harm's 
way, saw a Wolf passing by : and immediately began 
to taunt and revile him. The Wolf, looking up, said : 
" Sirrah ! I hear thee : yet it is not thou who mockest 
me, but the roof on which thou art standing." 

Time and place often give the advantage to the weak 
over the strong. 

An old woman having lost the use of her eyes, called in 
a Physician to heal them, and made this bargain with him 
in the presence of witnesses : that if he should cure her 
blindness, he should receive from her a sum of money ; 
but if her infirmity remained, she should give him nothing. 
This agreement being entered into, the Physician, time 
after time, applied his salve to her eyes, and on every 
visit taking something away, stole by little and little all 
her property : and when he had got all she had, he healed 
her, and demanded the promised payment. The old 
woman, when she recovered her sight and saw none of 
her goods in her house, would give him nothing. The 
Physician insisted on his claim, and, as she still refused, 
summoned her before the Archons. The old woman 
standing up in the Court thus spoke : — " This man here 
speaks the truth in what he says ; for I did promise to 
give him a sum of money, if I should recover my sight : 
but if I continued blind, I was to give him nothing. 
Now he declares ' that I am healed.' I on the contrary 
affirm ' that I am still blind j ' for when I lost the use of 
my eyes, I saw in my house various chattels and valuable 
goods : but now, though he swears I am cured of my 
blindness, I am not able to see a single thing in it." 



An Ox drinking at a pool, trod on a brood of young 
frogs, and crushed one of them to death. The mother 
coming up, and missing one of her sons, inquired of his 
brothers what had become of him. "He is dead, dear 
mother ; for just now a very huge beast with four great 
feet came to the pool, and crushed him to death with his 
cloven heel." The Frog, puffing herself out, inquired, 
" if the beast was as big as that in size." " Cease, 
mother, to puff yourself out," said her son, "and do not 
be angry; for you would, I assure you, sooner burst than 
successfully imitate the hugeness of that monster." 


66 The Fables of ALsop. 

A Farmer being on the point of death, wished to insure 
from his sons the same attention to his farm as he had 
himself given it. He called them to his bedside, and 
said, " My sons, there is agreat treasure hidden in one of 
my vineyards." The sons after his death took their 
spades and mattocks, and carefully dug over every 
portion of their land. They found no treasure, but the 
vines repaid their labour by an extraordinary and super- 
abundant crop. 

A Heifer saw an Ox hard at work harnessed to a plough, 
and tormented him with reflections on his unhappy fate 
in being compelled to labour. Shortly afterwards, at the 
harvest home, the owner released the Ox from his yoke, 
but bound the Heifer with cords, and led her away to 
the altar to be slain in honour of the festival. The Ox 
saw what was being done, and said with a smile to the 
Heifer : " For this you were allowed to live in idleness, 
because you were presently to be sacrificed. " 

Two Game Cocks were fiercely fighting for the mastery 
of the farm-yard. One at last put the other to flight. The 
vanquished Cock skulked away and hid himself in a quiet 
corner. The conqueror, flying up to a high wall, flapped 
his wings and crowed exultingly with all his might. An 
Eagle sailing through the air pounced upon him, and 
carried him off in his talons. The vanquished Cock 
immediately came out of his corner, and ruled henceforth 
with undisputed mastery, 

Pride goes before destruction. 

The Fables of JEsop. 6j 

A. Charger, feeling the infirmities of age, betook him to 
a mill instead of going out to battle. But when he was 
compelled to grind instead of serving in the wars, he 
bewailed his change of fortune, and called to mind his 
former state, saying, " Ah ! Miller, I had indeed to go 
campaigning before, but I was barbed from counter to 
tail, and a man went along to groom me ; and now, I 
cannot tell what ailed me to prefer the mill before the 
battle." " Forbear," said the Miller to him, " harping 
on what you were of yore, for it is the common lot of 
mortals to sustain the ups and downs of fortune." 

A Monkey once danced in an assembly of the Beasts, 
and so pleased them all by his performance that they 
elected him their King. A Fox envying him the honour, 
discovered a piece of meat lying in a trap, and leading 
the Monkey to the place where it was, said " that she had 
found a store, but had not used it, but had kept it for 
him as a treasure trove of his kingdom, and counselled 
him to lay hold of it." The Monkey approached care- 
lessly, and was caught in the trap ; and on his accusing 
the Fox of purposely leading him into the snare, she 
replied, " O Monkey, and- are you, with such a mind as 
yours, going to be King over the Beasts ? " 

A Horse Soldier took the utmost pains with his charger. 
As long as the war lasted, he looked upon him as his 
fellow-helper in all emergencies, and fed him carefully 
with hay and corn. When the war was over, he only 

68 The Fables of ^Esop. 

allowed him chaff to eat, and made him carry heavy loads 
of wood, and subjected him to much slavish drudgery 
and ill-treatment. War, however, being again proclaimed, 
and the trumpet summoning him to his standard, the 
soldier put on his charger its military trappings, and 
mounted, being clad in his heavy coat of mail. The 
Horse fell down straightway under the weight, no longer 
equal to the burden, and said to his master, " You must 
now e'en go to the war on foot, for you have transformed 
me from a Horse into an Ass ; and how can you expect 
that I can again turn in a moment from an Ass to a 

The members of the Body rebelled against the Belly, and 
said, "Why should we be perpetually engaged in ad- 
ministering to your wants, while you do nothing but take 
your rest, and enjoy yourself in luxury and self-indul- 
gence?" The membtrs carried out their resolve, and 
refused their assistance to the Body. The whole Body 
quickly became debilitated, and the hands, feet, mouth, 
and eyes, when too late, repented of their folly. 

A widow woman, fond of cleaning, had two little maidens 
to wait on her. She was in the habit of waking them 
early in the morning, at cockcrow. The maidens being 
aggrieved by such excessive labour, resolved to kill the 
cock who roused their mistress so early. When they had 
done this, they found that they had only prepared for 
themselves greater troubles, for their mistress, no longer 
hearing the hour from the cock, woke them up to their 
work in the middle of the night. 

A Vine was luxuriant in the time of vintage with leaves 
and grapes. A Goat, passing by, nibbled its young ten- 
drils and its leaves. The Vine addressed him, and said : 
" Why do you thus injure me without a cause, and crop 
my leaves ? Is there no young grass left ? But I shall 
not have to wait long for my just revenge ; for if you now 
should crop my leaves, and cut me down to my root, I 
shall provide the wine to pour over you when you are led 
as a victim to the sacrifice." 

Jupiter issued a proclamation to all the beasts of the 
forest, and promised a royal reward to the one whose 
offspring should be deemed the handsomest The Mou- 

yo The Fables of ALsop. 

key came with the rest, and presented, with all a mother's 
tenderness, a flat-nosed, hairless, ill-featured young Mon- 
key as a candidate for the promised reward. A general 
laugh saluted her on the presentation of her son. She 
resolutely said, " I know not whether Jupiter will allot 
the prize to my son ; but this I do know, that he is, at 
least in the eyes of me, his mother, the dearest, hand- 
somest, and most beautiful of all." 

The Pigeons, terrified by the appearance of a Kite, 
called upon the Hawk to defend them. He at once 
consented. When they had admitted him into the cote, 
they found that he made more havoc, and slew a larger 
number of them in one day, than the Kite could pounce 
upon in a whole year. 

Avoid a remedy that is worse than the disease. 

The Dolphins and Whales waged a fierce warfare with 
each other. When the battle was at its height, a Sprat 
lifted its head out of the waves, and said that he would 
reconcile their differences, if they would accept him as 
an umpire. One of the Dolphins replied, " We would 
far rather be destroyed in our battle with each other, than 
admit any interference from you in our affairs." 


A Swallow, returning from abroad, and ever fond of 
dwelling with men, built herself a nest in the wall of a 
Court of Justice, and there hatched seven young birds. 

The Fables of AZsop. 71 

A Serpent gliding past the nest, from its hole in the wall, 
ate up the young unfledged nestlings. The Swallow, 
finding her nest empty, lamented greatly, and exclaimed : 
" Woe to me a stranger ! that in this place where all 
others' rights are protected, I alone should suffer wrong." 

A river carried down in its stream two Pots, one made 
of earthenware, and the other of brass. The Earthen 
Pot said to the Brass Pot, " Pray keep at a distance, and 
do not come near me ; for if you touch me ever so 
slightly, I shall be broken in pieces ; and besides, I by 
no means wish to come near you." 
Equals make the best friends. 

A Shepherd once found the whelp of a Wolf, and 
brought it up, and after awhile taught it to steal lambs 
from the neighbouring flocks. The Wolf having shown 
himself an apt pupil, said to the Shepherd, " Since you 
have taught me to steal, you must keep a sharp look-out, 
or you will lose some of your own flock. " 

A Crab said to her son, " Why do you walk so onesided, 
my child ? It is far more becoming to go straightfor- 
ward." The young Crab replied : " Quite true, dear 
mother ; and if you will show me the straight way, I will 
promise to walk in it." The mother tried in vain, and 
submitted without remonstrance to the reproof of her 

Example is more powerful than precept 

J 2 The Fables of ALsop. 

A Man had two daughters, the one married to a gardener, 
and the other to a tile-maker. After a time he went to 
the daughter who had married the gardener, and inquired 
how she was, and how all things went with her. She- 
said, " All things are prospering with me, and I have only 
one wish, that there may be a heavy fall of rain, in order 
that the plants may be well watered." Not long after he 
went to the daughter who had married the tile-maker, and 
likewise inquired of her how she fared ; she replied, " I 
want for nothing, and have only one wish, that the dry 
weather may continue, and the sun shine hot and bright, 
so that the bricks might be dried." He said to her, " If 
your sister wishes for rain, and you for dry weather, with 
which of the two am I to join my wishes ? " 


A Boy stole a lesson-book from one of his school-fellows, 
and took it home to his mother. She not only abstained 
from beating him, but encouraged him. He next time 
stole a cloak and brought it to her, when she yet further 
commended him. The Youth, advanced to man's estate, 
proceeded to steal things of greater value. At last he 
was taken in the very act, and having his hands bound 
behind him, was led away to the place of public execu- 
tion. His mother followed in the crowd and violently 
beat her breast in sorrow, whereon the young man 
said, " I wish to say something to my mother in her ear." 
She came close to him, when he quickly seized her ear 
with his teeth and bit it off. The mother upbraided him 
as an unnatural child, whereon he replied, " Ah ! if you 
had beaten me, when I first stole and brought to you that 

The Fables of JEsop. 73 

!esson-book, I should not have come to this, nor have 
been thus led to a disgraceful death." 

An old man was employed in cutting wood in the forest, 
and, in carrying the faggots into the city for sale one day, 
being very wearied with his long journey, he sat down 
by the wayside, and, throwing down his load, besought 
" Death " to come. " Death " immediately appeared, in 
answer to his summons, and asked for what reason he 
had called him. The old man replied, " That, lifting up 
the load, you may place it again upon my shoulders." 

A Fir Tree said boastingly to the Bramble, " You are 
useful for nothing at all ; while I am everywhere used for 
roofs and houses." The Bramble made answer : " You, 
poor creature, if you would only call to mind the axes 
and saws which are about to hew you down, you would 
have reason to wish that you had grown up a Bramble, 
not a Fir Tree." 

Better poverty without care, than riches with. 

The purchaser of a black servant was persuaded that the 
colour of his skin arose from dirt contracted through the 
neglect of his former masters. On bringing him home he 
resorted to every means of cleaning, and subjected him 
to incessant scrubbings. He caught a severe cold, but 
he never changed his colour nor complexion. 
What's bred in the bone will stick to the flesh. 

A Mouse who always lived on the land, by an unlucky 
chance formed an intimate acquaintance with a Frog, 
who lived for the most part in the water. The Frog, 
one day intent on mischief, bound the foot of the 
Mouse tightly to his own. Thus joined together, the 
Frog first of all led his friend the Mouse to the mea- 
dow where they were accustomed to find their food. 
After this, he gradually led him towards the pool in 
which he lived, until he reached the very brink, when 
suddenly jumping in he dragged the Mouse with him. 
The Frog enjoyed the water amazingly, and swam croak- 
ing about, as if he had done a meritorious action. The 
unhappy Mouse was soon suffocated with the water, and 
his dead body floated about on the surface, tied to the 
foot of the Frog. A Hawk observed it, and, pouncing 
upon it with his talons, carried it up aloft. The Frog 

The Fables of Aisop. 75 

being still fastened to the leg of the Mouse, was also 
carried off a prisoner, and was eaten by the Hawk. 
Harm hatch, harm catch. | 

A Fisherman, engaged in his calling, made a very 
successful cast, and captured a great haul of fish. He 
managed by a skilful handling of his net to retain all the 
large fish, and to draw them to the shore ; but he could 
not prevent the smaller fish from falling back through the 
meshes of the net into the sea. 

A Wolf, sorely wounded and bitten by dogs, lay sick 
and maimed in his lair. Being in want of food, he called 
to a Sheep, who was passing, and asked him to fetch 
some water from a stream flowing close beside him. 
" For,' 5 he said, " if you will bring me drink, I will find 
means to provide myself with meat." " Yes," said the 
Sheep, " if I should bring you the draught, you would 
doubtless make me provide the meat also." 
Hypocritical speeches are easily seen through. 

An Old Woman found an empty jar which had lately been 
full of prime old wine, and which still retained the frag- 
rant smell of its former contents. She greedily placed it 
several times to her nose, and drawing it backwards and 
forwards said, " O most delicious ! How nice must the 
wine itself have been, when it leaves behind in the very 
vessel which contained it so sweet a perfume !" 
The memory of a pr^od deed lives, 


fS The Fables of Aisop. 

A Man who had been bitten by a Dog, went about in 
quest of some one who might heal him. A friend meet- 
ing him, and learning what he wanted, said, " If you 
would be cured, take a piece of bread, and dip it in the 
blood from your wound, and go and give it to the Dog 
that bit you." The man who had been bitten laughed 
at this advice, and said, " Why ? If I should do so, it 
would be as if I should pray every Dog in the town 
to bite me." 

Benefits bestowed upon the evil-disposed, increase 
their means of injuring you. 


A Huntsman, returning with his dogs from the field, fell 
in by chance with a Fisherman, bringing home a basket 
well laden with fish. The Huntsman wished to have the 
fish \ and their owner experienced an equal longing for 
the contents of the game-bag. They quickly agreed to 
exchange the produce of their day's sport. Each was so 
veil pleased with his bargain, that they made for some 
time the same exchange day after day. A neighbour 
said to them, " If you go on in this way, you will soon 
destroy, by frequent use, the pleasure of your exchange, 
and each will again wish to retain the fruits of his owp 
Abstain and enjoy. 

A Crow having stolen a bit of flesh, perched in a tree, 
and held it in her beak. A Fox seeing her, longed to 
possess himself of the flesh : and by a wily stratagem sue- 

The Fables of ALsop. 77 

ceeded. " How handsome is the Crow," he exclaimed, 
" in the beauty of her shape and in the fairness of her 
complexion ! Oh, if her voice were only equal to her 
beauty, she would deservedly be considered the Queen ot 
Birds ! ,; This he said deceitfully; but the Crow, anxious 
to refute the reflection cast upon her voice, set up a loud 
caw, and dropped the flesh. The Fox quickly picked it 
up, and thus addressed the Crow : " My good Crow, 
your voice is right enough, but your wit is wanting." 

A certain poor Widow had one solitary Sheep. At 
shearing time, wishing to take his fleece, and to avoid 
expense, she sheared him herself, but used the shears 
so unskilfully, that with the fleece she sheared the flesh. 
The Sheep, writhing with pain, said, " Why do you hurt 
me so, Mistress ? What weight can my blood add to the 
wool ? If you want my flesh, there is the butcher, who 
will kill me in a trice ; but if you want my fleece and 
wool, there is the shearer, who will shear and not hurt me." 
The least outlay is not always the greatest gain. 

An Ass climbed up to the roof of a building, and, frisk- 
ing about there, broke in the tiling. The owner went up 
after him, and quickly drove him down, beating him 
severely with a thick wooden cudgel. The Ass said, 
" Why, I saw the Monkey do this very thing yesterday, 
and you all laughed heartily, as if it afforded you very 
great amusement." 

Those who do not know their right place must be 
taught it. 

A Stag, hardly pressed by the hounds, and blind through 
fear to the danger he was running into, took shelter in a 
farm-yard, and hid himself in a shed among the oxen. An 
Ox gsve him this kindly warning : " O unhappy creature J 
why should you thus, of your own accord, incur destruc- 
tion, and trust yourself in the house of your enemy?" 
The Stag replied : " Do you only suffer me, friend, to stay 
where I am, and I will undertake to find some favourable 
opportunity of effecting my escape." At the approach of 
the evening the herdsman came to feed his cattle, but did 
not see the Stag ; and even the farm-bailiff, with several 
labourers, passed through the shed, and failed to notice 
him. The Stag, congratulating himself on his safety, 
began to express his sincere thanks to the Oxen who had 
kindly afforded him help in the hour of need. One of 

The Fables of JEsop. 79 

them again answered him : ; * We indeed wish you well, 
but the danger is not over. There is one other yet to 
pass through the shed, who has as it were a hundred eyes, 
and until he has come and gone, your life is still in peril." 
At that moment the master himself entered, and having 
had to complain that his oxen had not been properly fed, 
he went up to their racks, and cried out : "Why is there 
such a scarcity of fodder? There is not half enough 
straw for them to lie on. Those lazy fellows have not 
even swept the cobwebs away." While he thus examined 
everything in turn, he spied the tips of the antlers of the 
Stag peeping out of the straw. Then summoning his 
labourers, he ordered that the Stag should be seized, and 


A Man had two dogs ; a Hound, trained to assist him in 
his sports, and a House-dog, taught to watch the house. 
When he returned home after a good day's sport, he 
always gave the House-dog a large share of his spoil 
The Hound feeling much aggrieved at this, reproached 
his companion, saying, " It is very hard to have all this 
labour, while you, who do not assist in the chase, luxu- 
riate on the fruits of my exertions." The House-dog 
replied, " Do not blame me, my friend, but find fault 
with the master, who has not taught me to labour, but to 
depend for subsistence on the labour of others." 

Children are not to be blamed for the faults of their 

A wild Ass and a Lion entered into an alliance, that they 
might capture the beasts of the forest with the greater 

80 The Fables of JEsop. 

ease. The Lion agreed to assist the Wild Ass with his 
strength, while the Wild Ass gave the Lion the benefit of 
his greater speed. When they had taken as many beasts 
as their necessities required, the Lion undertook to dis- 
tribute the prey, and for this purpose divided it into 
three shares. " I will take the first share," he said, " be- 
cause I am King : and the second share, as a partner 
with you in the chase : and the third share (believe met 
will be a source of great evil to you, unless you willingly 
resign it to me, and set off as fast as you can." 
Might makes right. 

A Lion roaming by the sea-shore, saw a Dolphin lift 
up its head out of the waves, and asked him to contract 
an alliance with him ; saying that of all the animals they 
ought to be the best friends, since the one was the king 
of beasts on the earth, and the other was the sovereign 
ruler of all the inhabitants of the ocean. The Dolphin 
gladly consented to this request. Not long afterwards 
the Lion had a combat with a wild bull, and called on 
the Dolphin to help him. The Dolphin, though quite 
willing to give him assistance, was unable to do so, as 
he could not by any means reach the land. The Lion 
abused him as a traitor. The Dolphin replied, " Nay, 
my friend, blame not me, but Nature, which, while giving 
me the sovereignty of the sea, has quite denied me the 
power of living upon the land." 

An Eagle sat on a lofty rock, watching the movements 
of a Hare, whom he sought to make his prey. An 
archer who saw him from a place of concealment, took 
an accurate aim, and wounded him mortally. The 
Eagle gave one look at the arrow that had entered his 
heart, and saw in that single glance that its feathers had 
been furnished by himself. "It is a double grief to 
me," he exclaimed, " that I should perish by an arrow 
feathered from my own wings." 

A consciousness of misfortunes arising from a man's 
own misconduct aggravates their bitterness. 

A Kite, sick unto death, said to his mother: "O < 
Mother ! do not mourn, but at once invoke the gods 

82 The Fables of AZsop. 

that my life may be prolonged" She replied, " Alas ! 
my son, which of the gods do you think will pity you ? 
Is there one whom you have not outraged by filching 
from their very altars a part of the sacrifice offered up to 

We must make friends in prosperity ^ if we would have 
their help in adversity. 

On a summer day, when the great heat induced a 
general thirst, a Lion and a Boar came at the same 
moment to a small well to drink. They fiercely dis- 
puted which of them should drink first, and were soon 
engaged in the agonies of a mortal combat. On their 
stopping on a sudden to take breath for the fiercer 
renewal of the strife, they saw some Vultures waiting 
in the distance to feast on the one which should fall 
first. They at once made up their quarrel, saying, " It 
is better for us to make friends, than to become the food 
of Crows or Vultures." 

The Mice summoned a council to decide how they 
might best devise means for obtaining notice of the 
approach of their great enemy the Cat. Among the 
many plans devised, the one that found most favour 
was the proposal to tie a bell to the neck of the Cat, 
that the Mice being warned by the sound of the tink- 
ling might run away and hide themselves in their holes 
at his approach. But when the Mice further debated 
v who among them should thus " bell the Cat," there was 
no one found to do it. 

A Doe, blind of an eye, was accustomed to graze as 
near to^he edge of the cliff as she possibly could, in 
the hope of securing her greater safety. 'She turned 
her sound eye towards the land, that she might get the 
earliest tidings of the approach of hunter or hound, and 
her injured eye towards the sea, from whence she enter- 
tained no anticipation of danger. Some boatmen sail- 
ing by, saw her, and taking a successful aim, mortally 
wounded her. Yielding up her breath, she gasped forth 
this lament : " O wretche I creature that I am I to take 
sucn precaution against tne land, and after all to find 
this sea-shore, to which I had come for safety, so much 
more perilous." 

The Weasels and the Mice waged a perpetual warfare 
with each other, in which much blood was shed. The 

^4 The Fables of s£sqp. 

Weasels were always the victors. The Mice thought 
that the cause of their frequent defeats was, that they 
had not leaders set apart from the general army to 
command them, and that they were exposed to dangers 
from want of discipline. They chose therefore such 
mice as were most renowned for their family descent, 
strength, and counsel, as well as most noted for their 
courage in the fight, that they might marshal them in 
battle array, and form them into troops, regiments, 
and battalions. When all this was done, and the army 
disciplined, and the herald Mouse had duly proclaimed 
war by challenging the Weasels, the newly chosen 
generals bound their heads with straws, that they might 
be more conspicuous to all their troops. Scarcely had 
the battle commenced, when a great rout overwhelmed 
the Mice, who scampered off as fast as they could to 
their holes. The generals not being able to get in on 
account of the ornaments on their heads, were all cap- 
tured and eaten by the Weasels. 
The more»honour the more danger. 

A Shepherd, keeping watch over his sheep near the 
shore, saw the Sea very calm and smooth, and longed 
to make a voyage with a view to traffic. He sold all 
his flock, and invested it in a cargo of dates and set 
sail. But a very great tempest coming on, and the 
ship being in danger of sinking, he threw all his mer- 
chandise overboard, and hardly escaped with his life 
in the empty ship. Not long afterwards, on some one 
passing by, and observing the unruffled calm of the sea, 
he interrupted him and said, "Belike it is again in want 
of dates, and therefore looks quiet." 

The Fables of AZsop. s$ 

An Ass and a Cock were in a straw-yard together, when 
a Lion, desperate from hunger, approached the spot, 
lie was about to spring upon the Ass, when the Cock 
(to the sound of whose voice the Lion, it is said, has a 
singular aversion) crowed loudly, and the Lion fled 
away as fast as he could. The Ass observing his trepi- 
dation at the mere crowing of a Cock, summoned 
courage to attack him, and galloped after him for that 
purpose. He had run no long distance, when the Lion 
turning about, seized him and tore him to pieces. 
False confidence often leads into danger. 

The Rivers joined together to complain to the Sea, 
saying, "Why is it that when we flow into your tides 
so potable and sweet, you work in us such a change, 
and make us salt and unfit to drink?" The Sea, per- 
ceiving that they intended to throw the blame on him, 
said, "Pray cease to flow into me, and then you will 
not be made briny." 

Some find fault with those things by which they are 
chiefly benefited. 

A Wild Boar stood under a tree, and rubbed his tusks 
against the trunk. A Fox passing by, asked him why 
he thus sharpened his teeth when there was no danger 
threatening from either huntsman or hound. He replied, 
"I do it advisedly; for it would never do to have to 
sharpen my weapons just at the time I ought to be using 

To be well prepared for war is the best guarantee of 

86 The Fables of Atsop. 

A Farmer's daughter was carrying her pail of milk 
from the field to the farm-house, when she fell a-musing. 
"The money for which this milk will be sold, will buy 
at least three hundred eggs. The eggs, allowing for all 
mishaps, will produce two hundred and fifty chickens. 
The chickens will become ready for the market when 
poultry will fetch the highest price ; so that by the end 
of the year I shall have money enough from the per- 
quisites that will fall to my share, to buy a new gown. 
In this dress I will go to the Christmas junketings, 
when all the young fellows will propose to me, but I 
will toss my head, and refuse them every one." At this 
moment she tossed her head in unison with her thoughts, 
when down fell the Milk-pail to the ground, and all her 
imaginary schemes perished in a moment. 


A Bee from Mount Hymettus, the queen of the hive, 
ascended to Olympus, to present to Jupiter some honey 
fresh from her combs. Jupiter, delighted with the 
offering of honey, promised to give whatever she should 
ask. She therefore besought him saying, " Give me, I 
pray thee, a sting, that if any mortal shall approach to 
take my honey, I may kill him." Jupiter was much 
displeased, for he loved much the race of man; but 
could not refuse the request on account of his promise. 
He thus answered the Bee : " You shall have your 
request; but it will be at the peril of your own life. 
For if you use your sting, it shall remain in the wound 
you make, and then you will die from the loss of it." 
Evil wishes, like chickens, come home to roost 

A Wolf, meeting with a big well-fed Mastiff having 
a wooden collar about his neck, inquired of him who 
it was that fed him so well, and yet compelled him 
to drag that heavy log about wherever he went. " The 
master," he replied. Then said the Wolf: "May no 
friend of mine ever be in such a plight ; for the weight 
of this chain is enough to spoil the appetite." 

A great city was besieged, and its inhabitants were 
called together to consider the best means of protect- 
ing it from the enemy. A Bricklayer present earnestly 
recommended bricks, as affording the best materials 

SS The Fables of /Esop. 

for an effectual resistance. A Carpenter with equal 
energy proposed timber, as providing a preferable 
method of defence. Upon which a Currier stood up, 
.and said, "Sirs, I differ from you altogether: there is 
no material for resistance equal to a covering of hides ; 
and nothing so good as leather." 
Every man for himself. 

An Ass once carried through the streets of a city a 
famous wooden Image, to be placed in one of its 
Temples. The crowd as he passed along made lowly 
prostration before the Image. The Ass, thinking that 
they bowed their heads in token of respect for himself, 
bristled up with pride and gave himself airs, and re- 
fused to move another step. The driver seeing him 
thus stop, laid his whip lustily about his shoulders, and 
said, " O you perverse dull-head ! it is not yet come 
to this, that men pay worship to an Ass." 

They are not wise who take to themselves the credit 
due to others. 

A certain man, detained by a storm in his country 
house, first of all killed his sheep, and then his goats, 
for the maintenance of his household. The storm still 
continuing, he was obliged to slaughter his yoke oxen 
for food. On seeing this, his Dogs took counsel toge- 
ther, and said, "It is time for us to be off: for if the 
master spare not his oxen, who work for his gain, how 
can we expect him to spare us ?" 

He is not to be trusted as a friend who illtreats his 
own family. 

A Hound, who in the days of his youth and strength 
had never yielded to any beast of the forest, encoun- 
tered in his old age a boar in the chase. He seized 
hin boldly by the ear, but could not retain his hold 
because of the decay of his teeth, so that the boar 
escaped. His master, quickly coming up, was very 
much disappointed, and fiercely abused the dog. The 
Hound looked up, and said, " It was not my fault, 
master; my spirit was as good as ever, but I could 
not help mine infirmities. I rather deserve to be 
praised for what I have been, than to be blamed for 
what I am." 

90 The Fables of ALsop. 

Twq men were journeying together in each others 
company. One of them picked up an axe that lay 
upon the path, and said, " I have found an axe." 
" Nay, my friend," replied the other, " do not say 1 1* 
but c We' have found an axe." They had not gone far 
before they saw the owner of the axe pursuing them, 
when he who had picked up the axe, said, "We are 
undone." " Nay," replied the other, " keep to your 
first mode of speech, my friend; what you thought 
right then, think right now. Say %' not * We' are 

He who shares the danger ought to share the prize. 

A Lion, worn out with years, and powerless from 
disease, lay on the ground at the point of death. A 
Boar rushed upon him, and avenged with a stroke of 
his tusks a long-remembered injury. Shortly afterwards 
the Bull with his horns gored him as if he were an 
enemy. When the Ass saw that the huge beast could 
be assailed with impunity, he let drive at his forehead 
with his heels. The expiring Lion said, " I have re- 
luctantly brooked the insults of the brave, but to be 
compelled to endure contumely from thee, a disgrace 
to Nature, is indeed to die a double death." 

A Wolf passing by, saw some Shepherds in a hut 
eating for their dinner a haunch of mutton. Approach- 
ing them, he said, "What a clamour you would raise if 
I were to do as you are doing !" 

The Fables of ALsop. 91 


Some travellers, journeying along the sea-shore, climbed 
to the summit of a tall cliff, and from thence looking 
over the sea, saw in the distance what they thought 
was a large ship, and waited in the hope of seeing it 
enter the harbour. But as the object on which they 
looked was driven by the wind nearer to the shore, they 
found that it could at the most be a small boat, and not 
a ship. When however it reached the beach, they dis- 
covered that it was only a large fagot of sticks, and one 
of them said to his companions, " We have waited for 
no purpose, for after all there is nothing to see but a 

Our mere anticipations of life outrun its realities. 


A Traveller hired an Ass to convey him to a distant 
place. The day being intensely hot, and the sun 
shining in its strength, the traveller stopped to rest, 
and sought shelter from the heat under the Shadow ot 
the Ass. As this afforded only protection for one, 
and as the traveller and the owner of the Ass both 
claimed it, a violent dispute arose between them as to 
which of them had the right to it. The owner main- 
tained that he had let the Ass only, and not his 
Shadow. The traveller asserted that he had, with the 
hire of the Ass, hired his Shadow also. The quarrel 
proceeded from words to blows, and while the men 
fought the Ass galloped off. 

In quarrelling about the shadow we often lose the 

92 The Fables of &sop. 

An Ass belonging to a herb-seller, who gave him too 
little food and too much work, made a petition to 
Jupiter that he would release him from his present 
service, and provide him with another master. Jupiter, 
after warning him that he would repent his request, 
caused him to be sold to a tile -maker. Shortly after- 
wards, finding that he had heavier loads to carry, and 
harder work in the brick-field, he petitioned for another 
change of master. Jupiter, telling him that it should 
be the last time that he could grant his request, 
ordained that he should be sold to a tanner. The 
Ass finding that he had fallen into worse hands, and 
noting his master's occupation, said, groaning : " It 
would have been better for me to have been either 
starved by the one, or to have been overworked by the 
other of my former masters, than to have been bought 
by my present owner, who will even after I am dead 
tan my hide, and make me useful to him." 

Mercury once determined to learn in what esteem he 
was held among mortals. For this purpose he assumed 
the character of a man, and visited in this disguise a 
Sculptor's studio. Having looked at various statues, 
he demanded the price of two figures of Jupiter and 
of Juno. When the sum at which they were valued 
was named, he pointed to a figure of himself, saying 
to the Sculptor, " You will certainly want much more 
for this, as it is the statue of the Messenger of the 
Gods, and the author of all your gain." The Sculptor 
replied.. " Well, if you will buy these, I'll fling you that 
into the bargain." 

A Fox running before the hounds, came across a Wood- 
cutter felling an oak, and besought him to show him a 
safe hiding-place. The Wood-cutter advised him to 
take shelter in his own hut. The Fox crept in, and 
hid himself in a comer. The huntsman came up, with 
his hounds, in a few minutes, and inquired of the Wood- 
cutter if he had seen the Fox. He declared that he 
had not seen him, and yet pointed, all the time he was 
speaking, to the hut where the Fox lay hid. The 
huntsman took no notice of the signs, but, believing 
his word, hastened forward in the chase. As soon as 
they were well away, the Fox departed without taking 
any notice of the Wood-cutter : whereon he called to 

94 The Fables of ALsop. 

him, and reproached him, saying, "You ungrateful 
fellow, you owe your life to me, and yet you leave 
me without a word of thanks." The Fox replied, 
" Indeed, I should have thanked you fervently, if your 
deeds had been as good as your words, and if your 
hands had not been traitors to your speech." 

A very large Oak was uprooted by the wind, and 
thrown across a stream. It fell among some Reeds, 
which it thus addressed : " I wonder how you, who are 
so light and weak, are not entirely crushed by these 
strong winds." They replied, "You fight and contend 
with the wind, and consequently you are destroyed; 
while we on the contrary bend before the least breath 
of air, and therefore remain unbroken, and escape." 
Stoop to conquer. 

A Lion entered a farm-yard. The farmer, wishing to 
catch him, shut the gate. The Lion, when he found 
that he could not escape, flew upon the sheep, and 
killed them, and then attacked the oxen. The farmer, 
beginning to be alarmed for his own safety, opened 
the gate, when the Lion got off as fast as he could. 
On his departure the farmer grievously lamented the 
destruction of his sheep and oxen ; when his wife, who 
had been a spectator of all that took place, said, " On 
my word, you are rightly served; for how could you 
for a moment think of shutting up a Lion along with 
you in the farm-yard, when you know that you shake 
in your shoes if you only hear his roar at ever so great 
a distance?" 

A Wolf having stolen a lamb from a fold, was carrying 
him off to his lair. A Lion met him in the path, and, 
seizing the lamb, took it from him. The Wolf, standing 
at a safe distance, exclaimed, " You have unrighteously 
taken that which was mine from me." The Lion 
jeeringly replied, "It was righteously yours, eh? the 
gift of a friend?" 


A Birdcatcher was about to sit down to a dinner of 
herbs, when a friend unexpectedly came in. The bird- 
trap was quite empty, as he had caught nothing. He 

96 The Fables of ALsop. 

proceeded to kill a pied Partridge, which he had tamed 
for a decoy. He entreated thus earnestly for nis life : 
" What would you do without me when next you spread 
your nets ? Who would chirp you to sleep, or call for 
you the covey of answering birds?" The Birdcatcher 
spared his life, and determined to pick out a fine young 
Cock just attaining to his cOmb. He thus expostulated 
in piteous tones from his perch : " If you kill me, who 
will announce to you the appearance of the dawn? 
Who will wake you to your daily tasks? or tell you 
when it is time to visit the bi/d-trap in the morning?" 
He replied, ' ' What you say is true. You are a capital 
bird at telling the time of day. But I and the friend 
who has come in must have our dinners." 
Necessity knows no law. 


An Ant went to the bank of a river to quench its 
thirst, and, being carried away by the rush of the 
stream, was on the point of being drowned. A Dove, 
sitting on a tree overhanging the water, plucked a leaf, 
and let it fall into the stream close to her. The Ant, 
climbing on to it, floated In safety to the bank. Shortly 
afterwards a birdcatcher came and stood under the tree, 
and laid his lime-twigs for the Dove, which sat in the 
branches. The Ant, perceiving his design, stung hira 
in the foot. He suddenly threw down the twigs, and 
thereupon made the Dove take wing. 

The grateful heart will always find opportunities to 
show its gratitude. 

The Hares, oppressed with a sense of their own ex- 
ceeding timidity, and weary of the perpetual alarm to 
which they were exposed, with one accord determined 
to put an end to themselves and their troubles, by 
jumping from a lofty precipice into a deep lake below. 
As they scampered off in a very numerous body to 
carry out their resolve, the Frogs lying on the banks 
of the lake heard the noise of their feet, and rushed 
helter-skelter to the deep water for safety. On seeing 
the rapid disappearance of the Frogs, one of the Hares 
cried out to his companions: "Stay, my friends, do 


98 The Fables of JEsop. 

not do as you intended; for you now see that other 
creatures who yet live are more timorous than our- 

A Monkey perched upon a lofty tree saw some Fisher- 
men casting their nets into a river, and narrowly 
watched their proceedings. The Fishermen after a 
while gave over fishing, and, on going home to dinner, 
left their nets upon the bank. The Monkey, who is 
the most imitative of animals, descended from the 
tree-top, and endeavoured to do as they had done. 
Having handled the net, he threw it into the river, but 
became entangled in the meshes. When drowning, he 
said to himself, "lam rightly served ; for what business 
had I who had never handled a net to try and catch 

A certain rich man bought in the market a Goose and 
a Swan. He fed the one for his table, and kept the 
other for the sake of its song. When the time came for 
killing the Goose, the cook went to take him at night, 
when it was dark, and he was not able to distinguish 
one bird from the other, and he caught the Swan instead 
of the Goose. The Swan, threatened with death, burst 
forth into song, and thus made himself known by his 
voice, and preserved his life by his melody. 
A word in season is most precious. 

A Doe hard pressed by hunters entered a cave for 
shelter which belonged to a Lion. The Lion concealed 

The Fables of jEsop. 99 

himself on seeing her approach; but, when she was 
safe within the cave, sprang upon her, and tore her 
to pieces. "Woe is me," exclaimed the Doe, "who 
have escaped from man, only to throw myself into the 
mouth of a wild beast !" 

In avoiding one evil care must be taken not to fall 
into another. 


A Fisherman who lived on the produce of his nets, 
one day caught a single small fish as the result of 
his day's labour. The fish, panting convulsively, thus 
entreated for his life : " O Sir, what good can I be to 
you, and how little am I worth ? I am not yet come 
to my full size. Pray spare my life, and put me back 
into the sea. I shall soon become a large fish, fit for 
the tables of the rich; and then you can catch me 
again, and make a handsome profit of me." The 
fisherman replied, " I should indeed be a very simple 
fellow, if, for the chance of a greater uncertain profit, 
I were to forego my present certain gain." 


A Hunter, not very bold, was searching for the tracks 
of a Lion. He asked a man felling oaks in the forest 
if he had seen any marks of his footsteps, or if he 
knew where his lair was. "I will," he said, "at once 
show you the Lion himself." The Hunter, turning very 
pale, and chattering with his teeth from fear, replied, 
" No, thank you. I did not ask that ; it is his track 
only I am in search of, not the Lion himsel£" 
The hero is brave in deeds as well as words. 

100 The Fables of j£sop. 

A Fox, very much famished, seeing some bread and 
meat left by shepherds in the hollow of an oak, crept 
into the hole and made a hearty meal. When he 
finished, he was so full that he was not able to get 
out, and began to groan and lament very sadly. 
Another Fox passing by, heard his cries, and coming 
up, inquired the cause of his complaining. On learning 
what had happened, he said to him, " Ah, you will have 
to remain there, my friend, until you become such as 
you were when you crept in, and then you will easily 
get out" 


Two Frogs dwelt in the same pool. The pool being 
dried up under the summer's heat, they left it, and set 
out together for another home. As they went along 
they chanced to pass a deep well, amply supplied with 
water, on seeing which one of the Frogs said to the 
other, "Let us descend and make our abode in this 
well: it will furnish us with shelter and food." The 
other replied with greater caution, " But suppose the 
water should fail us, how can we get out again from so 
great a depth ? " 

Do nothing without a regard to the consequences. 

A Lamp soaked with too much oil, and flaring very 
much, boasted that it gave more light than the sun. A 
sudden puff of wind arising, it was immediately ex an- 
guished. Its owner lit it again, and said : " Boast no 
more, but henceforth be content to give thy light in 
silence. Know that not even the stars need to be relit" 

An Arab Camel-driver having completed the lading 
of his Camel, asked him which he would like best, to 
go up hill or down hill. The poor beast replied, not 
without a touch of reason : " Why do you ask me ? Is 
it that the level way through the desert is closed ?" 

A Miller and his son were driving their Ass to a 
neighbouring fair to sell him. They had not gone far 
when they met with a troop of women collected round 
a well, talking and laughing. " Look there," cried one 
of them, " did you ever see such fellows, to be trudging 
along the road on foot when they might ride?" The 
old man hearing this quickly made his son mount the 
Ass, and continued to walk along merrily by his side. 
Presently they came up to a group of old men in 
earnest debate. " There," said one of them, " it proves 
what I was a-saying. What respect is shown to old 
age in these days? Do you see that idle lad riding 

103 The Fables of AZsop. 

while his old father has to walk? Get down, you young 
scapegrace, and let the old man rest his weary limbs." 
Upon this the old man made his son dismount, and 
got up himself. In this manner they had not pro- 
ceeded far when they met a company of women and 
children: "Why, you lazy old fellow," cried several 
tongues at once, " how can you ride upon the beast, 
while that poor little lad there can hardly keep pace 
by the side of you ?" The good-natured Miller imme- 
diately took up his son beside him. They had now 
almost reached the town. 

" Pray, honest friend," said a citizen, " is that Ass 
your own?" "Yes," says the old man. " O, one 
would not have thought so," said the other, "by the 
way you load him. Why, you two fellows are better 
able to carry the poor beast than he you." " Anything 
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 endeavoured 
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 that he was 
subject to, broke the cords that bound him, and, 
tumbling off the pole, fell into the river. Upon this, 
the old man, vexed and ashamed, made the best of 
his way home again, convinced that by endeavouring 
to please everybody he had pleased nobody, and lost 
his Ass into the bargain. 

A certain house was overrun with Mice. A Cat 
discovering this, made her way into it, and began to 
catch and eat them one by one. The Mice being con- 
tinually devoured, kept themselves close in their holes. 
The Cat, no longer able to get at them, perceived that 
she must tempt them forth by some device. For this 
purpose she jumped upon a peg, and suspending her- 
self from it, pretended to be dead. One of the Mice, 
peeping stealthily out, saw her, and said, "Ah, my 
good madam, even though you should turn into a 
meal-bag, we will not come near you." 

104 The Fables of Aisop. 

A Bull was bitten by a Mouse, and, pained by the 
wound, tried to capture him. The Mouse first reached 
his hole in safety, and the Bull dug into the walls with 
his horns, until wearied, crouching down, he slept by 
the hole. The Mouse peeping out, crept furtively up 
his flank, and, again biting him, retreated to his hole. 
The Bull rising up, and not knowing what to do, was 
sadly perplexed. The Mouse murmured forth, " The 
great do not always prevail. There are times when the 
small and lowly are the strongest to do mischief/' 

A rich man gave a great feast, to which he invited 
many friends and acquaintances. His dog availed him- 
self of the occasion to invite a stranger dog, a friend 
of his, saying, "My master gives a feast; you will 
have unusually good cheer; come and sup with me 
to-night." The Dog thus invited went at the hour 
appointed, and seeing the preparations for so grand an 
entertainment, said, in the joy of his heart, "How 
glad I am that I came ! I do not often get such a 
chance as this". I will take care and eat enough to 
last me both to-day and to-morrow." While he thus 
congratulated himself, and wagged his tail, as if he 
would convey a sense of his pleasure to his friend, 
the Cook saw him moving about among his dishes, 
and, seizing him by his fore and hind paws, bundled 
him without ceremony out of the window. He fell 
with force upon the ground, and limped away, howling 
dreadfully. His yelling soon attracted other street 
dogs, who came up to him, and inquired how he had 

The Fables of ALsop. 105 

enjoyed his supper. He replied, " Why, to tell you 
the truth, I drank so much wine that I remember 
nothing. I do not know how I got out of the house." 
Uninvited guests seldom meet a welcome. 

Some Thieves broke into a house, and found nothing 
but a Cock, whom they stole, and got off as fast as they 
could. On arriving at home they proceeded to kill 
the Cock, who thus pleaded for his life : " Pray spare 
me; I am very serviceable to men. I wake them up 
in the night to their work." " That is the very reason 
why we must the more kill you," they replied; "for 
when you wake your neighbours, you entirely put an 
end to our business." 

The safeguards of virtue are hateful to the evil 

A Prince had some Monkeys trained to dance. Being 
naturally great mimics of men's actions, they showed 
themselves most apt pupils ; and, when arrayed in their 
rich clothes and masks, they danced as well as any of 
the courtiers. The spectacle was often repeated with 
great applause, till on one occasion a courtier, bent 
on mischief, took from his pocket a handful of nuts, 
and threw them upon the stage. The Monkeys at the 
sight of the nuts forgot their dancing, and became (as 
indeed they were) Monkeys instead of actors, and 
pulling off their masks, and tearing their robes, they 
fought with one another for the nuts. The dancing 
spectacle thus came to an end, amidst the laughter 
and ridicule of the audience. 

io6 The Fables of AZsop. 

A Farmer, having a long spite against a Fox for 
robbing his poultry yard, caught him at last, and, 
being determined to take an ample revenge, tied some 
tow well soaked in oil to his tail, and set it on fire. 
The Fox by a strange fatality rushed to the fields of 
the Farmer who had captured him. It was the time 
of the wheat harvest ; but the Farmer reaped nothing 
that year, and returned home grieving sorely. 

A Traveller, wearied with a long journey, lay down 
overcome with fatigue on the very brink of a deep 
well. Being within an inch of falling into the water, 
Dame Fortune, it is said, appeared to him, and waking 
him from his slumber, thus addressed him : " Good 
Sir, pray wake up; for had you fallen into the well, 
the blame will be thrown on me, and I shall get an 
ill name among mortals; for I find that men are sure 
to impute their calamities to me, however much by 
their own folly they have really brought them on 

Every one is more or less master of his own fate. 

A Sea-gull having bolted down too large a fish, burst 
its deep gullet-bag, and lay down on the shore to die. 
A Kite seeing him, exclaimed : " You richly deserve 
your fate ; for a bird of the air has no business to seek 
its food from the sea." 

Every man should be content to mind his own 

>*> VY^ 

1 •} ^ 


A Lion and a Bear seized upon a kid at the same 
moment, and fought fiercely for its possession. When 
they had fearfully lacerated each other, and were faint 
from the long combat, they lay down exhausted with 
fatigue. A Fox, who had gone round them at a dis- 
tance several times, saw them both stretched on the 
ground, and the Kid lying untouched in the middle, 
ran in between them, and seizing the Kid, scampered 
off as fast as he could. The Lion and the Bear saw 
him, but not being able to get up, said, " Woe betide 
us, that we should have fought and belaboured ourselves 
Dnly to serve the turn of a Fox \" 

It sometimes happens that one man has all the toil, 
and another all the profit 

108 The Fables of &sop. 

A Philosopher witnessed from the shore the ship- 
wreck of a vessel, of which the crew and passengers 
were all drowned. He inveighed against the injustice 
of Providence, which would for the sake of one criminal 
perchance sailing in the ship allow so many innocent 
persons to perish. As he was indulging in these 
reflections, he found himself surrounded by a whole 
army of Ants, near to whose nest he was standing. 
One of them climbed up and stung him, and he imme- 
diately trampled them all to death with his foot. Mer- 
cury presented himself, and striking the Philosopher 
with his wand, said, " And are you indeed to make 
yourself a judge o f the dealings of Providence, who 
hast thyself in a similar manner treated these poor 


A Peasant found an Eagle captured in a trap, and, 
much admiring the bird, set him free. The Eagle did 
not prove ungrateful to his deliverer, for seeing him 
sit under a wall, which was not safe, he flew towards 
him, and snatched off with his talons a bundle resting 
on his head, and on his rising to pursue him he let 
the bundle fall again. The Peasant taking it up, and 
returning to the same place, found the wall under 
which he had been sitting fallen to the ground; and 
he much marvelled at the requital made him by the 
Eagle for the service he had rendered him. 

The Fox and the Leopard disputed which was the 
more beautiful of the two. The Leopard exhibited 
one by one the various spots which decorated his skin. 
The Fox, interrupting him, said, "And how much 
more beautiful than you am I, who am decorated, not 
in body, but in mind." 

A Lion came across a Hare, who was fast asleep on 
her form. He was just in the act of seizing her, when 
a fine young Hart trotted by, and he left the Hare to 
follow him. The Hare, scared by the noise, awoke, 
and scudded away. The Lion was not able after a 
long chase to catch the Hart, and returned to feed 
upon the Hare. On finding that the Hare also had 
run off, he said, "I am rightly served, for having let 
go the food that I had in my hand for the chance of 
obtaining more." 

1 10 The Fables of Aisop. 

A very poor man, a Carpenter by trade, had a wooden 
image of Mercury, before which he made offerings day 
by day, and entreated the idol to make him rich: but 
in spite of his entreaties he became poorer and poorer. 
At last, being very wroth, he took his image down from 
its pedestal, and dashed it against the wall : when its 
head being knocked off, out came a stream of gold, 
which th? Carpenter quickly picked up, and said, 
"Well, I think thou art altogether contradictory and 
unreasonable; for when I paid you honour, I reaped 
no benefits : but now that I maltreat you I am loaded 
with an abundance ot riches." 


The Lion, the Fox, and the Ass entered into an agree- 
ment to assist each other in the chase. Having secured 
a large booty, the Lion, on their return from the torest, 
asked the Ass to allot his due portion to each ot the 
three partners in the treaty. The Ass carefully divided 
the spoil into three equal shares, and modestly requested 
the two others to make the first choice. The Lion, 
bursting out into a great rage, devoured the Ass. Then 
he requested the Fox to do him the favour to make a 
division. The Fox accumulated all that they had killed 
into one large heap, and left to himselt the smallest 
possible morsel. The Lion said, " Who has taught you, 
my very excellent fellow, the art of division ? You are 
perfect to a fraction." He replied, " I learnt it irom the 
Ass, by witnessing his fate." 

Happy is the man who learns from the misfortunes of 

A Bull, escaping from a Lion, entered a cave, which 
some shepherds had lately occupied. A He-goat was 
left in it, who sharply attacked him with his horns. 
The Bull quietly addressed him — " Butt away as much 
as you will. I have no fear of you, but of the Lion. 
Let that monster once go, and I will soon let you 
know what is the respective strength of a Goat and a 

It shows an evil disposition to take advantage of a 
friend in distress. 

U2 The Fables of JEsop. 

A bald Knight, who wore a wig, went out to hunt. 
A sudden puff of wind blew off his hat and wig, at 
which a loud laugh rang forth from his companions. 
He pulled up his horse, and with great glee joined in 
the joke by saying, " What marvel that hairs which are 
not mine should fly from me, when they have forsaken 
even the man that owns them: with whom, too, they 
were born !" 

The Oaks presented a complaint to Jupiter, saying, 
" We bear for no purpose the burden of life, as of all 
the trees that grow we are the most continually in peril 
of the axe." Jupiter made answer, " You have only to 
thank yourselves for the misfortunes to which you are 
exposed : for if you did not make such excellent pillars 
and posts, and prove yourselves so serviceable to the 
carpenters and the farmers, the axe would not so fre- 
quently be laid to your roots." 

The Monkey, it is said, has two young ones at a birth. 
The mother fondles one, and nurtures it with the greatest 
affection and care; but hates and neglects the other. 
It happened once on a time that the young one which 
was caressed and loved was smothered by the too great 
affection of the mother, while the despised one was 
nurtured and reared in spite of the neglect to which it 
was exposed. 

The best intentions will not always ensure success. 

A Hound having started a Hare from his form, after 
a long run, gave up the chase. A Goat-herd seeing 
him stop, mocked him, saying, "The little one is the 
best runner of the two." The Hound replied,, u You 
do not see the difference between us: I was only 
running for a dinner, but he, for his life." 

A Shepherd penning his sheep in the fold for the 
night, was about to shut up a wolf with them, when 
his Dog perceiving the wolf, said, " Master, how can 
you expect the sheep to be safe if you admit a wolf 
into the fold?" 


1 *4 The Fables of Aisop. 


The Wood-cutters cut down a Mountain Oak, split it 
in pieces, making wedges of its own branches for 
dividing the trunk, and for saving their labour. The 
Oak said with a sigh, "I do not care about the blows 
of the axe aimed at my roots, but I do grieve at being 
torn in pieces by these wedges made from my own 

Misfortunes springing from ourselves are the hardest 
to bear. 


A Wasp seated himself upon the head of a Snake, and 
striking him unceasingly with his stings wounded him to 
death. The Snake, being in great torment, and not 
knowing how to rid himself of his enemy, or to scare 
him away, saw a waggon heavily laden with wood, and 
went and purposely placed his head under the wheels, 
and said, " I and my enemy shall thus perish together." 


A Peacock spreading its gorgeous tail mocked a Crane 
that passed by, ridiculing the ashen hue of its plumage, 
and saying, "I am robed, like a king, in gold and 
purple, and all the colours of the rainbow; while you 
have not a bit of colour on your wings." " True," 
replied the Crane ; "but I soar to the heights of heaven, 
and lift up my voice to the stars, while you walk below, 
like a cock, among the birds of the dunghill." 
Fine feathers don't make fine birds. 

The Fables of Aisop. 115 

A Cottager and his wife had a Hen, which laid every 
day a golden egg. They supposed that it must con- 
tain a great lump of gold in its inside, and killed it in 
order that they might get it, when to their surprise they 
found that the Hen differed in no respect from their 
other hens. The foolish pair, thus hoping to become 
rich all at once, deprived themselves of the gain of 
which they were day by day assured. 

An Ass, carrying a load of wood, passed through a 
pond. As he was crossing through the water he lost 
his footing, and stumbled and fell, and not being able 
to rise on account of his load, he groaned heavily. 
Some Frogs frequenting the pool heard his lamentation, 
and said, " What would you do if you had to live here 
always as we do, when you make such a fuss about a 
mere fall into the water?" 

Men often bear little grievances with less courage 
than they do large misfortunes. 

A Crow was very jealous of the Raven, because he 
was considered a bird of good omen, and always 
attracted the attention of men, as indicating by his 
flight the good or evil course of future events. Seeing 
some travellers approaching, she flew up into a tree, 
and perching herself on one of the branches, cawed as 
loudly as she could. The travellers turned towards the 
sound, and wondered what it boded, when one of them 

u6 The Fables of ^Esop. 

said to his companion, " Let us proceed on our journey, 
my friend, for it is only the caw of a crow, and her cry, 
you know, is no omen." 

Those who assume a character which does not belong 
to them, only make themselves ridiculous. 

A Man came into a forest, and made a petition to the 
Trees to provide him a handle for his axe. The Trees 
consented to his request, and gave him a young ash- 
tree. No sooner had the man fitted from it a new 
handle to his axe, than he began to use it, and quickly 
felled with his strokes the noblest giants of the forest. 
An old oak, lamenting when too late the destruction of 
his companions, said to a neighbouring cedar, "The 
first step has lost us all. If we had not given up the 
rights of the ash, we might yet have retained our own 
privileges, and have stood for ages." 

The Wolves thus addressed the Sheep-dogs: "Why 
should you, who are like us in so many things, not be 
entirely of one mind with us, and live with us as 
brothers should? We differ from you in one point 
only. We live in freedom, but you bow down to, and 
slave lor, imn; who, in return for your services, flog 
you with whips, and put collars on your necks. They 
make you also guard their sheep, and while they eat 
the mutton throw only the bones to you. If you will 
be persuaded by us, you will give us the sheep, and 
we will enjoy them in common, till we all are surfeited." 

The Fables of ^sop. \\y 

The Dogs listened favourably to these proposals, and, 
entering the den of the Wolves, they were set upon and 
torn to pieces. 


A Bull finding a lion's cub asleep gored him to deuh 
with his horns. The Lioness came up, and bitterly 
lamented the death of her whelp. A Wild-boar Hunter 
seeing her distress, stood afar off, and said to her, 
" Think how many men there are who have reason to 
lament the loss of their children, whose deaths have 
been caused by you." 


A very sTdlful Bowman went to the mountains in 
search of game. All the beasts of the forest fled at his 
approach. The Lion alone challenged him to combat. 
The Bowman immediately let fly an arrow, and said to 
the Lion: "I send thee my messenger, that from him 
thou mayest learn what I myself shall be when I assail 
thee." The Lion, thus wounded, rushed away in great 
fear, and on a Fox exhorting him to be of good courage, 
and not to run away at the first attack, he replied : 
" You counsel me in vain ; for if he sends so fearful a 
messenger, how shall I abide the attack of the man 

A man who can strike from a distance is no pleasant 

uS The Fables of ^Esop. 

When man first saw the Camel, he was so frightened 
at his vast size that he fled away. After a time, per- 
.ceiving the meekness and gentleness of his temper, he 
summoned courage enough to approach him. Soon 
afterwards, observing that he was an animal altogether 
deficient in spirit, he assumed such boldness as to put a 
bridle in his mouth, and to set a child to drive him. 
Use serves to overcome dread. 


A Crab, forsaking the sea-shore, chose a neighbouring 
green meadow as its feeding ground. A Fox came 
across him, and being very much famished ate him up. 
Just as he was on the point of being eaten he said 
"I well deserve my fate; for what business ( had I on 
the land, when by my nature and habits I am only 
adapted for the sea ?" 

Contentment with our lot is an element of happiness. 

A Shepherd watched his Ass feeding in a meadow. 
Being alarmed on a sudden by the cries of the enemy, 
he appealed to the Ass to fly with him, lest they should 
both be captured. He lazily replied, " Why should I, 
pray ? Do you think it likely the conqueror will place 
on me two sets of panniers ? " " No," rejoined the 
Shepherd. " Then," said the Ass, " as long as I carry 
the panniers, what matters it to me whom I serve?" 

In a change of government the poor change nothing 
beyond the name of their master. 

A Eox swimming across a rapid river was carried by the 
force of the current into a very deep ravine, where he 
lay for a long time very much bruised and sick, and 
unable to move. A swarm of hungry blood-sucking flies 
settled upon him. A Hedgehog passing by com- 
passionated his sufferings, and inquired if he should 
drive away the flies that were tormenting him. " By no 
means," replied the Fox ; " pray do not molest them." 
" How is this ? " said the Hedgehog ; " do you not want 
to be rid of them ? " " No," returned the Fox ; " for 
these flies which you see are full of blood, and sting me 
but little, and if you rid me of these which are already 
satiated, others more hungry will come in their place, 
and will drink up all the blood I have left." 

1 20 The Fables of JEsop. 


A Woman possessed a Hen that gave her an egg every 
day. She often thought with herself how she might 
obtain two eggs daily instead of one, and at last, to gain 
her purpose, determined to give the Hen a double 
allowance of barley. From that day the Hen became 
fat and sleek, and never once laid another egg. 
Covetousness overreacheth itself. 


The Kites of old time had, equally with the Swans, the 
privilege of song. But having heard the neigh of the 
horse, they were so enchanted with the sound, that they 
tried to imitate it ; and, in trying to neigh, they forgot 
how to sing. 

The desire for imaginary benefits often involves the 
loss of present blessings. 


A Hound having started a Hare on the hill-side, pursued 
her for some distance : at one time biting her with his 
teeth as if he would take her life, and at another time 
fawning upon her, as if in play with another dog. The 
Hare said to him, " I wish you would act sincerely by 
me, and show yourself in your true colours. If you are 
a friend, why do you bite me so hard ? if an enemy, why 
do you fawn on me ? " 

They are no friends whom you know not whether to 
trust or to distrust. 

The Fables of ALsop. 12 1 

The Hares waged war with the Eagles, and called upon 
the Foxes to help them. They replied, "We would 
willingly have helped you, if we had not known who ye 
were, and with whom ye were fighting." 

Count the cost before you commit yourselves. 

A Bull was striving with all his might to squeeze him- 
self through a narrow passage which led to his stall. A 
young Calf came up, and offered to go before and show 
him the way by which he could manage to pass. " Save 
yourself the trouble," said the Bull; "I knew that way 
long before you were born." 

A Stag asked a Sheep to lend him a measure of wheat, 
and said that the Wolf would be his surety. The Sheep, 
fearing some fraud was intended, excused herself, saying, 
" The Wolf is accustomed to seize what he wants, and to 
run off; and you, too, can quickly outstrip me in your 
rapid flight. How then shall I be able to find you, 
when the day of payment comes ? " 
Two blacks do not make one white. 


An Eagle had made her nest at the top of a lofty oak. 
A Cat, having found a convenient hole, kittened in the 
middle of the trunk ; and a Wild Sow, with her young, 
had taken shelter in a hollow at its foot. The Cat 
resolved to destroy by her arts this chance-made colony. 

122 The tables of &sop. 

To carry out her design, she climbed to the nest of the 
Eagle, and said, " Destruction is preparing for you, and 
for me too, unfortunately. The Wild Sow, whom you 
•.may see daily digging up the earth, wishes to uproot the 
oak, that she may on its fall seize our families as food 
for her young." Having thus •deprived the Eagle of her 
senses through terror, she crept down to the cave of the 
Sow, and said, " Your children are in great danger ; for 
as soon as you shall go out with your litter to find food, 
the Eagle is prepared to pounce upon one of your little 
pigs." Having instilled these fears into the Sow, she 
went and pretended to hide herself in the hollow of the 
tree. When night came she went forth with silent foot 
and obtained food for herself and her kittens; but, 
feigning to be afraid, she kept a look-out all through 
the day. Meanwhile, the Eagle, full of fear of the 
Sow, sat still on the branches, and the Sow, terrified 
by the Eagle, did not dare to go out from her cave ; 
and thus they each, with their families, perished from 
hunger, and afforded an ample provision to the Cat and 
her kittens. 

A very large and strong Wolf was born among the 
wolves, who exceeded all his fellow-wolves in strength, 
size, and swiftness, so that they gave him, with unani- 
mous consent, the name of "Lion." The Wolf, with 
a want of sense proportioned to his enormous size, 
thought that they gave him this name in earnest, and, 
leaving his own race, consorted exclusively with the 
lions. An old sly Fox, seeing this, said, " May I never 
make myself so ridiculous as you do in your pride and 
self-conceit ; for you really show like a" lion among 
wolves, whereas in a herd of lions you are a wolf." 

A Mule, frolicsome from want of work and from over- 
much corn, galloped about in a very extravagant manner, 
and said to himself: "My father surely was a high- 
mettled racer, and I am his own child in speed and 
spirit." On the next day, being driven a long journey, 
and feeling very wearied, he exclaimed in a disconsolate 
tone : " I must have made a mistake ; my father, after 
all, could have been only an ass." 

A Wizard, sitting in the market-place, told the fortunes 
of the passers-by. A person ran up in great haste, and 
announced to him that the doors of his house had been 

124 The Fables of jEsofi. 

broken open, and that all his goods were . being stolen. 
He sighed heavily, and hastened away as fast as he could 
run. A neighbour saw him running, and said,*" Oh! 
you fellow there ! you say you can foretell the fortunes 
of others; how is it you did not foresee your own?" 

Two Frogs were neighbours. The one inhabited a 
deep pond, far removed from public view ; the other 
lived in a gully containing little water, and traversed 
by a country road. He that lived in the pond warned 
his friend, and entreated him to change his residence, 
and to come and live with him, saying that he would 
enjoy greater safety from danger and more abundant 
food. The other refused, saying that he felt it so 
very hard to remove from a place to which he had 
become accustomed. A few days afterwards a heavy 
wagon passed through the gully, and crushed him to 
death under its wheels. 

A wilful man will have his way to his own hurt. 

A Serpent and an Eagle were struggling with each 
other in the throes of a deadly conflict. The Serpent 
had the advantage, and was about to strangle the bird. 
A countryman saw them, and running up, loosed the 
coil of the Serpent, and let the Eagle go free. The 
Serpent, irritated at the escape of his prey, let fly his 
poison, and injected it into the drinking horn of the 
countryman. The rustic, ignorant of his danger, was 
about to drink, when the Eagle struck his hand with 
his wing, and, seizing the drinking horn in his talons, 
carried it up aloft. 

A Crow perishing with thirst saw a pitcher, and, 
hoping to find water, flew to it with great delight 
When he reached it, he discovered to his grief that it 
contained so little water that he could not possibly 
get at it. He tried everything he could think of to 
reach the water, but all his efforts were in vain. At 
last he collected as many stones as he could carry, 
and dropped them one by one with his beak into the 
pitcher, until he brought the water within his reach, 
*Jid thus saved his life. 

Necessity is the mother of invention. 

126 The Fables of ^Esop. 

A Thief hired a room in a tavern, and stayed some 
days, in the hope of stealing something which should 
enable him to pay his reckoning. When he had waited 
some days in* vain, he saw the Innkeeper dressed in a 
new and handsome coat, and sitting before his door. 
The Thief sat down beside him, and talked with him. 
As the conversation began to flag, the Thief yawned 
terribly, and at the same time howled like a wolf. The 
Innkeeper said, "Why do you howl so fearfully?" 
"I will tell you/' said the Thief: "but first let me ask 
you to hold my clothes, for I wish to leave them in 
your hands. I know not, sir, when I got this habit 
of yawning, nor whether these attacks of howling were 
inflicted on me as a judgment for my crimes, or for any 
other cause ; but this I do know, that when I yawn for 
the third time, I actually turn into a wolf, and attack 
men." With this speech he commenced a second fit of 
yawning, and again howled as a wolf, as he did at first. 
The Innkeeper hearing his tale, and, believing what he 
said, became greatly alarmed, and rising from his seat, 
attempted to run away. The Thief laid hold of his 
coat, and entreated him to stop, saying, " Pray wait, sir, 
and hold my clothes, or I shall tear them to pieces in 
my fury, when I turn into a wolf." At the same moment 
he yawned the third time, and set up a howl like a wolf. 
The Innkeeper, frightened lest he should be attacked, left 
'lis new coat in his hand, and ran as fast as he could 
into the inn for safety. The Thief made off with his new 
coat, and did not return again to the inn. 
Every tale is not to be believed. 

A Hart, hard pressed in the chase, hid himself beneath 
the large leaves of a Vine. The huntsmen, in their 
haste, overshot the place of his concealment ; when the 
Hart, supposing all danger to have passed, began to 
nibble the tendrils of the Vine. One of the huntsmen, 
attracted by the rustling of the leaves, looked back, and, 
seeing the Hart, shot an arrow from his bow, and killed 
it. The Hart, at the point of death, groaned out these 
words, "I am rightly served; for I ought not to have 
maltreated the Vine that saved me." 

A Gnat came and said to a Lion, " I do not the least 
fear you, nor are you stronger than I am. For in what 
does your strength consist ? You can scratch with your 

128 The Fables of ^Esop. 

claws, and bite with your teeth — so can a woman in her 
quarrels. I repeat that I am altogether more powerful 
than you ; and if you doubt it, let us fight and see who 
will conquer." The Gnat, having sounded his horn, 
fastened itself upon the Lion, and stung him on the 
nostrils and the parts of the face devoid of hair. The 
Lion, trying to crush him, tore himself with his claws, 
until he punished himself severely. The Gnat thus 
prevailed over the Lion, and, buzzing about in a song ot 
triumph, flew away. But shortly afterwards he became 
entangled in the meshes of a cobweb, and was eaten by 
a spider. He greatly lamented his fate, saying, " Woe is 
me ! that I, who can wage war successfully with the 
hugest beasts, should perish myself from this spider, the 
most inconsiderable of insects ! " 


A famished Fox saw some clusters of ripe black grapes 
hanging from a trellised vine. She resorted to all her 
tricks to get at them, but wearied herself in vain, for 
she could not reach them. At last she turned away, 
beguiling herself of her disappointment and saying: 
" The Grapes are sour, and not ripe as I thought." 


A Walnut-tree standing by the roadside bore an 
abundant crop of fruit The passers-by broke its 
branches with stones and sticks for the sake of the nuts. 
The Walnut-tree piteously exclaimed, " O wretched me ! 
that those whom I cheer with my fruit should repay me 
with these painful requitals ! " 

A Km, returning without protection from the pasture, 
was pursued by a Wolf. He turned round, and said to 
the Wolf : " I know, friend Wolf, that I must be your 
prey; but before I die, I would ask of you one favour, 
that you will play me a tune, to which I may dance." 
The Wolf complied, and while he was piping, and the 
Kid was dancing, the hounds, hearing the sound, came 
up, and, issuing forth, gave chase to the Wolf. The 
Wolf, turning to the Kid, said, "It is just what I 
deserve ; for T, who am only a butcher, should not have 
turned piper to please you," 

I3C The Fables of ^sop. 

A Sailor, bound on a long voyage, took with him a 
Monkey to amuse him while on shipboard. As he sailed 
off the coast of Greece, a violent tempest arose, in 
which the ship was wrecked, and he, his Monkey, and 
all the crew were obliged to swim for their lives. A 
Dolphin saw the Monkey contending with the waves, 
and supposing him to be a man (whom he is always said 
to befriend), came and placed himself under him, to 
convey him on his back in safety to the shore. When 
the Dolphin arrived with his burden in sight of land not 
far from Athens, he demanded of the Monkey if he were 
an Athenian, who replied that he was, and that he was 
descended from one of the most noble families in that 
city. He then inquired if he knew the Piraeus (the 
famous harbour of Athens). The Monkey, supposing 
that a man was meant, answered, that he knew him very 
well, and that he was an intimate friend. The Dolphin, 
indignant at these falsehoods, dipped the Monkey under 
the water, and drowned him. 

The Horse had the plain entirely to himself. A Stag 
intruded into his domain, and shared his pasture. The 
Horse desiring to revenge himself on the stranger, re- 
quested a man, if he were willing, to help him in punishing 
the Stag. The man replied that, if the Horse would 
receive a bit in his mouth, and agree to carry him, 
he would contrive effectual weapons against the Stag. 
The Horse consented, and allowed the man to mount 
him. From that hour he found that, instead of obtaining 
revenge on the Stag, he had enslaved himself to the 
service of man,. 

The Fables of ^Esop. 13 1 

A Jackdaw, seeing some Doves in a cote abundantly 
provided with food, painting himself white, joined 
himself to them, that he might share their plentiful 
maintenance. The Doves as long as he was silent, 
supposing him to be one of themselves, admitted hirn to 
their cote; but when, one day forgetting himself, he 
began to chatter, they, discovering his true character, 
drove him forth, pecking him with their beaks. Failing 
to obtain food among the Doves, he betook himself 
again to the Jackdaws. They too, not recognizing him 
on account of his colour, expelled him from living with 
them. So desiring two objects, he obtained neither. 

A Fox and a Monkey were travelling together on the 
same road. As they journeyed, they passed through a 
cemetery full of monuments. "All these monuments 
which you see/' said the Monkfey, "are erected in 
honour of my ancestors, who were in their day freed- 
men, and citizens of great renown." The Fox replied, 
"You have chosen a most appropriate subject for your 
falsehoods, as I am sure none of your ancestors will be 
able to contradict you." 

A false tale often betrays itsel£ 


A Man had a Wife who made herself hated by all the 
members of his household. He wished to find out if she 
had the same effect on the persons in her father's house. 
He therefore made some excuse to send her home on a 
visit to. her father; After a short -time she returned, 

132 The Fables of ^Esop. 

when he inquired how she had got on, and how the 
servants had treated her. She replied, " The neatherds 
and shepherds cast on me looks of aversion." He said, 
" O Wife, if you were disliked by those who go out early 
in the morning with their flocks, and return late in the 
evening, what must have been felt towards you by those 
with whom you passed the whole of the day ! " 
Straws show how the wind blows. 

A Horse, Ox, and Dog, driven to great straits by the cold, 
sought shelter and protection from Man. He received 
them kindly, lighted a fire, and warmed them. He made 
the Horse free of his oats, gave the Ox abundance of hay, 
and fed the Dog with meat from his own table. Grateful 
for these favours, they determined to repay him to the 
best of their ability. They divided for this purpose the 
term of his life between them, and each endowed one 
portion of it with the qualities which chiefly characterised 
himself. The Horse chose his earliest years, and endowed 
them with his own attributes : hence every man in his 
youth is impetuous, headstrong, and obstinate in main- 
taining his own opinion. The Ox took under his patron- 
age the next term of life, and therefore man in his middle 
age is fond of work, devoted to labour, and resolute to 
amass wealth, and to husband his resources. The end of 
life was reserved to the Dog, wherefore the old man is 
often snappish, irritable, hard to please, and selfish, tole- 
rant only of his own household, but averse to strangers, 
and to all who do not administer to his comfort or to his 

A Thief came in the night to break into a house. He 
brought with him several slices of meat, that he might 
pacify the House-dog, so that he should not alarm his 
master by barking. As the Thief threw him the pieces of 
meat, the Dog said, "If you think to stop my mouth, you 
will be greatly mistaken. This sudden kindness at your 
hands will only make me more watchful, lest under these 
unexpected favours to myself, you have some private ends 
to accomplish for your own benefit, and for my master's 

134 The Fables of Atsop. 



Two men, one of whom always spoke the truth and the 
other told nothing but lies, were travelling together, and 
by chance came to the land of Apes. One of the Apes 
who had raised himself to be king, commanded them to 
be laid hold of, and brought before him, that he might 
know what was said of him among men. He ordered at 
the same time that all the Apes should be arranged in a 
long row on his right hand and on his left, and that a 
throne should be placed for him, as was the custom 
among men. After these preparations he signified his 
will that the two men should be brought before him, 
and greeted them with this salutation : " What sort of a 
king do I seem to you to be, O strangers ? " The lying 
Traveller replied, "You seem to me a most mighty 
king." " And what is your estimate of those you see 
around me ? " " These," he made answer, " are worthy 
companions of yourself, fit at least to be ambassadors 
and leaders of armies." The Ape and all his court, 
gratified with the lie, commanded a handsome present to 
be given to the flatterer. On this the truthful Traveller 
thought within himself, " If so great a reward be given 
for a lie, with what gift may not I be rewarded, if, accord- 
ing to my custom, I shall tell the truth?" The Ape 
quickly turned to him. " And pray how do I and these 
my friends around me seem to you ? " " Thou art," he 
said, " a most excellent Ape, and all these thy com- 
panions after thy example are excellent Apes too." The 
King of the Apes, enraged at hearing these truths, gave 
•him over to the teeth ancffilaws of his companions. 

A Fox who had never yet seen a Lion, when he fell in 
with him by a certain chance for the first time in the 
forest, was so frightened that he was near dying with fear. 
On his meeting with him for the second time, he was still 
much alarmed, but not to the same extent as at first. On 
seeing him the third time, he so increased in boldness 
that he went up to him, and commenced a familiar con* 
versation with him. 

Acquaintance softens prejudices. 

A Weasel, inactive from age and infirmities, was not able 
to catch mice as he once did. He therefore rolled him- 
self in flour and lay down in a dark corner. A Mouse, 

136 The Fables of ^Esop. 

supposing him to be food, leapt upon him, and, being in- 
stantly caught, was squeezed to death. Another perished 
in a similar manner, and then a third, and still others 
after them. A very old Mouse, who had escaped full 
many a trap and snare, observing from a safe distance the 
trick of his crafty foe, said, " Ah ! you that lie there, may 
you prosper just in the same proportion as you are what 
you pretend to be !" 

A Boy bathing in a river was in danger of being 
drowned. He called out to a traveller, passing by, for 
help. The traveller, instead of holding out a helping 
hand, stood by unconcernedly, and scolded the boy for 
his imprudence. " Oh, sir!" cried the youth, "pray 
help me now, and scold me afterwards." 
Counsel without help, is useless. 

The Peacock made complaint to Juno that, while the 
nightingale pleased every ear with his song, he no sooner 
opened his mouth than he became a laughing-stock to all 
who heard him. The Goddess, to console him, said, 
" But you far excel in beauty and in size. The splendour 
of the emerald shines in your neck, and you unfold a tail 
gorgeous with painted plumage." " But for what purpose 
have I," said the bird, " this dumb beauty so long as I 
am surpassed in song?" " The lot of each," replied Juno, 
" has been assigned by the will of the Fates — to thee, 
beauty ; to the eagle, strength ; to the nightingale, song ; 
to the raven, favourable, and to the crow, unfavourable 
auguries. These are all contented with the endowments 
allotted to them." 

A Wolf followed a flock of sheep for a long time, and 
did not attempt to injure one of them. The Shepherd 
at first stood on his guard against him, as against an 
enemy, and kept a strict watch over his movements. 
But when the Wolf, day after day, kept in the company 
of the sheep, and did not make the slightest effort to 
seize them, the Shepherd began to look upon him as a 
guardian of his flock rather than as a plotter of evil 
against it ; and when occasion called him one day into 
the city, he left the sheep entirely in his charge. The 
Wolf, now that he had the opportunity, fell upon the 
sheep, and destroyed the greater part of the flock. The 
Shepherd on his return, finding his flock destroyed, ex- 
claimed : " I have been rightly served ; why did I trust 
my sheep to a wolf? " 

I3 8 The Fables of Msop. 


The Hares harangued the assembly, and argued that all 
should be on an equality. The Lions made this reply : 
" Your words, O Hares ! are good ; but they lack both 
claws and teeth such as we have." 


A certain man made a wooden image of Mercury, and 
offered it for sale. When no one appeared willing to 
buy it, in order that he might attract purchasers, he cried 
out that he had the statue to sell of a benefactor, who be- 
stowed wealth and helped to heap up riches. One of the 
bystanders said to him, " My good fellow, why do you 
sell him, being such a one as you describe, when you may 
yourself enjoy the good things he has to give?" "Why," 
he replied, " I am in want of immediate help, and he is 
wont to give his good gifts very slowly/' 


A Nightingale sitting aloft upon an oak, and singing 
according to his wont, was seen by a Hawk who, being 
in want of food, made a swoop down, and seized him. 
The Nightingale, about to lose his life, earnestly besought 
the Hawk to let him go, saying that he was not big 
enough to satisfy the hunger of a Hawk, who, if he 
wanted food, ought to pursue the larger birds. The 
Hawk, interrupting him, said : " I should indeed have 
lost my senses if I should let go food ready to my hand, 
for the sake of pursuing birds which are not yet even 
within sight." 

A Lark had made her nest in the early spring on the 
young green wheat. The brood had almost grown to their 
proper strength, and attained the use of their wings and 
the full plumage of their feathers, when the owner of the 
field, overlooking his crop, now quite ripe, said, "The 
time is come when I must send to all my neighbours to 
help me with my harvest." One of the young Larks heard 
his speech, and related it to his mother, inquiring of her 
to what place they should move for safety. " There is 
no occasion to move yet, my son," she replied ; " the man 
who only sends to his friends to help him with his harvest 
is not really in earnest." The owner of the field again came 

140 The Fables of &sop. 

a few days later, and saw the wheat shedding the grain 
from excess of ripeness, and said, " I will come myself 
to-morrow with my labourers, and with as many reapers 
as I can hire, and will get in the harvest." The Lark on 
hearing these words said to her brood, "It is time now to 
be off, my little ones, for the man is in earnest this time; 
he no longer trusts to his friends, but will reap the field 

Self-help is the best help. 

A Dog and a Cock, being great friends, agreed to travel 
together. At nightfall they took shelter in a thick wood. 
The Cock, flying up, perched himself on the branches of 
a tree, while the Dog found a bed beneath in the hollow 
trunk. When the morning dawned, the Cock, as usual, 
crowed very loudly several times. A Fox hearing the 
sound, and wishing to make a breakfast on him, came 
and stood under the branches, saying how earnestly he 
desired to make the acquaintance of the owner of so 
magnificent a voice. The Cock, suspecting his civilities, 
said: "Sir, I wish you would do me the favour to go 
round to the hollow trunk below me, and wake up my 
porter, that he may open the door, and let you in." On 
the Fox approaching the tree, the Dog sprang out and 
caught him, and tore him in pieces. 

The Geese and the Cranes fed in the same meadow. A 
birdcatcher came to ensnare them in his nets. The 
Cranes being light of wing, fled away at his approach ; 
while the Geese, being slower of flight and heavier in 
their bodies,, were captured. 

An Ass, feeding in a meadow, saw a Wolf approaching to 
seize him, and immediately pretended to be lame. The 
Wolf, coming up, inquired the cause of his lameness. The 
Ass said, that passing through a hedge he trod with his 
foot upon a sharp thorn, and requested the Wolf to pull 
it out, lest when he supped on him it should injure his 
throat. The Wolf consenting, and lifting up the foot, 
and giving his whole mind to the discovery of the thorn, 
the Ass with his heels kicked his teeth into his mouth, 
and galloped away. The Wolf, being thus fearfully 
mauled, said, " I am rightly served, for why did I attempt 
the art of healing, when my father only taught me the 
trade of a butcher ? ' 

'42 The Fables of JEsop. 

A Man once kept a Goat and an Ass. The Goat envy- 
ing the Ass on account of his greater abundance of food, 
said, " How shamefully you are treated : at one time 
grinding in the mill, and at another carrying heavy 
burdens ; " and he further advised him that he should 
pretend to be epileptic, and fall into a ditch and so 
obtain rest. The Ass gave credence to his words, and 
falling into a ditch, was very much bruised. His master, 
sending for a leech, asked his advice. He bade him 
pour upon the wounds the lights of a Goat They at 
once killed the Goat, and so healed the Ass. 

A Lion, greatly desirous to capture a Bull, and yet 
afraid to attack him, on account of his great size, resorted 
to a trick to ensure his destruction. He approached 
him and said, " I have slain a fine sheep, my friend ; 
and if you will come home and partake of him with me, 
I shall be delighted to have your company." The Lion 
said this in the hope that, as the Bull was in the act of 
reclining to eat, he might attack him to advantage, and 
make his meal on him. The Bull, however, on his 
approach to his den, saw the huge spits and giant cal- 
drons, and no sign whatever of the sheep, and, without 
saying a word, quietly took his departure. The Lion 
inquired why he went off so abruptly, without a word of 
salutation to his host, who had not given him any cause 
of offence. "I have reasons enough," said the Bull 
" I see no indication whatever of your having slaughtered 
a sheep, while I do see, very plainly, every preparation 
foi your dining on a bull." 


A Fox entered the house of an actor, and, rummaging 
through all his properties, came upon a Mask, an admir* 
able imitation of a human head. He placed his paws on 
it, and said, " What a beautiful head ! yet it is of no 
value, as it entirely wants brains." 


An Owl, accustomed to feed at night and to sleep during 
the day, was greatly disturbed by the noise of a Grass- 
hopper, and earnestly besought her to leave off chirping. 
The Grasshopper refused to desist, and chirped louder 
and louder the more the Owl entreated. The Owl, when 
she saw that she could get no redress, and that her words 
were despised, attacked the chatterer by a stratagem. 
" Since I cannot sleep," she said, " on account of your 

144 The Fables of disop. 

song, which, believe me, is sweet as the lyre of Apollo, I 
shall indulge myself in drinking some nectar which Pallas 
lately gave me. If you do not dislike it, come to me, 
and we will drink it together." The Grasshopper, who 
was at once thirsty and pleased with the praise of her 
voice, eagerly flew up. The Owl, coming forth from her 
hollow, seized her, and put her to death. 

A Fowler, taking his bird-Hme and his twigs, went out 
to catch birds. Seeing a thrush sitting upon a tree, he 
wished to take it, and fitting his twigs to a proper length, 
he watched intently, having his whole thoughts directed 
towards the sky. While thus looking upwards, he 
unawares trod upon a Viper asleep just before his feet. 
The Viper, turning towards him, stung him; and he, 
falling into a swoon,, said to himself, " Woe is me ! 
that while I proposed to hunt another, am myself fallen 
unawares into the snares of death." 


A Horse, proud of his fine trappings, met an Ass on the 
highway. The Ass being heavily laden moved slowly 
out of the way. " Hardly," said the Horse, " can I 
resist kicking you with my heels." The Ass held his 
peace, and made only a silent appeal to the justice of 
the gods. Not long afterwards the Horse, having become 
broken-winded, was sent by his owner to the farm. The 
Ass seeing him drawing a dung-cart, thus derided him : 
" Where, O boaster, are now all thy gay trappings, thou 
who art thyself reduced to the condition you so lately 
treated with contempt?" 

Three Bulls for a long time pastured together. A Lion 
lay in ambush in the hope of making them his prey, but 
was afraid to attack them whilst they kept together. 
Having at last by guileful speeches succeeded in sepa- 
rating them, he attacked them without fear, as they fed 
alone, and feasted on them one by one at his leisure. 
Union is strength. 

A Wolf saw a Goat feeding at the summit of a steep 
precipice, where he had not a chance of reaching her. 
He called to her and earnestly besought her to come 

146 The Fables of ^Esop. 

lower down, lest she should by some mishap get a fall ; 
and he added that the meadows lay where he was 
standing, and that the herbage was most tender. She 
replied, " No, my friend, it is not me that you invite to 
the pasture, but you yourself are in want of food." 


A Fly sat on the axle-tree of a chariot, and addressing 
the Draught-mule said, " How slow you are ! Why do 
you not go faster ? See if I do not prick your neck with 
my sting." The Draught-mule replied, " I do not heed 
your threats ; I only care for him who sits above you, 
and who quickens my pace with his whip, or holds 
me back with the reins. Away, therefore, with your 
insolence, for I know well when to go fast, and when to 
go slow." 


Some Fishermen were out trawling their nets. Perceiving 
them to be very heavy, they danced about for joy, and 
supposed that they had taken a large draught of fish. 
When they had dragged their nets to the shore they 
found but few fish, and that the nets were full of sand 
and stones, and they were beyond measure cast down- 
not so much at the disappointment which had befallen 
them, as because they had formed such very different 
expectations. One of their company, an old man, said, 
" Let us cease lamenting, my mates, for, as it seems to 
me, sorrow is always the twin sister of joy ; and it was 
only to be looked for that we, who just now were 
over-rejoiced, should next have something to make us 


A Country Mouse invited a Town Mouse, an intimate 
friend, to pay him a visit, and partake of his country 
fare. As they were on the bare plough-lands, eating 
their wheat-stalks and roots pulled up from the hedge- 
row, the Town Mouse said to his friend, " You live here 
the life of the ants : while in my house is the horn of 
plenty. I am surrounded with every luxury, and if you 
will come with me, as I much wish you would, you shall 
have an ample share of my dainties." The Country 
Mouse was easily persuaded, and returned to town with 
his friend. On his arrival the Town Mouse placed 
before him bread, barley, beans, dried figs, honey, 
raisins, and, last of all, brought a dainty piece of cheese 
from a basket. The Country Mouse, being much 
delighted at the sight of such good cheer, expressed his 

148 The Fables of ^Esop. 

satisfaction in warm terms, and lamented his own hard 
fate. Just as they were beginning to eat, some one 
opened the door, and they both ran off squeaking as fast 
as they could to a hole so narrow that two could only 
find room in it by squeezing. They had scarcely again 
begun their repast when some one else entered to take 
something out of a cupboard, on which the two Mice, 
more frightened than before, ran away and hid them- 
selves. At last the Country Mouse, almost famished, 
thus addressed his friend : " Although you have prepared 
for me so dainty a feast, I must leave you to enjoy it by 
yourself. It is surrounded by too many dangers to 
please me. I prefer my bare plough-lands and roots 
from the hedge-row, so that I only can live in safety, 
and without fear." 

A Wolf accused a Fox of theft, but he entirely denied 
the charge. An Ape undertook to adjudge the matter 
between them. When each had fully stated his case, the 
Ape pronounced this sentence : " I do not think you, 
Wolf, ever lost what you claim ; and I do believe you, 
Fox, to have stolen what you so stoutly deny." 
The dishonest, if they act honestly, get no credit. 


The Wasps and the Partridges, overcome with thirst 
came to a Farmer and besought him to give them 
some water to drink. They promised amply to repay 
him the favour which they asked. The Partridges 
declared that they would dig around his vines, and make 
them produce finer grapes. The Wasps said that they 

The Fables of ^Esop. 149 

would keep guard and drive off thieves with their stings. 
The Farmer, interrupting them, said : " I have already 
two oxen, who, without making any promises^ do all 
these things. It is surely better for me to give the water 
to them than to you." 


A father had one son and one daughter; the former 
remarkable for his good looks, the latter for her extra- 
ordinary ugliness. While they were playing one day as 
children, they happened by chance to look together 
into a mirror that was placed on their mother's chair. 
The boy congratulated himself on his good looks ; the 
girl grew angry, and could not bear the self-praises of 
her Brother; interpreting all he said (and how could she 
do otherwise?) into reflection on herself. She ran off 
to her father, to be avenged, in her turn, on her Brother, 
and spitefully accused him of having, as a boy, made 
use of that which belonged only to girls. The father 
embraced them both, and bestowing his kisses and 
affection impartially on each, said : " I wish you both 
every day to look into the mirror : you, my son, that 
you may not spoil your beauty by evil conduct; and you„ 
my daughter, that you may make up for your want of 
beauty by your virtues." 

Some Dogs, finding the skin of a lion, began to tear it in 
pieces with their teeth. A Fox, seeing them, said, " If 
this lion were alive, you would soon find out that his claws 
were stronger than your teeth." 
It is easy to kick a man that is down 

150 The Fables of Aisop. 

A Blind Man was accustomed to distinguish different 
animals by touching them with his hands. The whelp of 
a Wolf was brought him, with a request that he would 
feel it, and say what it was. He felt it, and being in 
doubt, said : " I do not quite know whether it is the cub 
of a Fox, or the whelp of a Wolf; but this I know full 
well, that it would not be safe to admit him to the sheep- 

Evil tendencies are shown in early life. 

A Cobbler unable to make a living by his trade, rendered 
desperate by poverty, began to practise medicine in a town 
in which he was not known. He sold a drug, pretending 
that it was an antidote to all poisons, and obtained a great 
name for himself by long-winded puffs and advertise- 
ments. He happened to fall sick himself of a serious 
illness, on which the Governor of the town determined to 
test his skill. For this purpose he called for a cup, and 
while filling it with water, pretended to mix poison with 
the Cobbler's antidote, and commanded him to drink it, 
on the promise of a reward. The Cobbler, under tht 
fear of death, confessed that he had no knowledge of 
medicine, and was only made famous by the stupid 
clamours of the crowd. The Governor called a public 
assembly, and thus addressed the citizens : " Of what 
folly have you been guilty ? You have not hesitated to 
entrust your heads to a man whom no one could employ 
to make even the shoes for their feet." 

A Wolf coming out of a field of oats met with a Horse, 
and thus addressed him : " I would advise you to go into 
that field. It is full of capital oats, which I have left un« 
touched for you, as you are a friend the very sound oi 
whose teeth it will be a pleasure to me to hear." The 
Horse replied, "If oats had been the food of wolves, you 
would never have indulged your ears at the cost of your 

Men of evil reputation, when they perform a good 
deed, fail to get credit for it. 

15^ The Fables of Aisop. 

Two Men, deadly enemies to each other, sailed in the 
same vesseL Determined to keep as far apart as possible, 
the one seated himself in the stern, and the other in the 
prow of the ship. A violent storm having arisen, and the 
vessel being in great danger of sinking, the one in the 
stern inquired of the pilot which of the two ends of the 
ship would go down first. On his replying that he sup- 
posed it would be the prow, then said the Man, " Death 
would not be grievous to me, if I could only see my 
Enemy die before me." 

A Man had two Game-cocks in his poultry-yard. One 
day by chance he fell in with a tame Partridge for sale. 
He purchased it, and brought it home that it might be 
reared with his Game-cocks. On its being put into the 
poultry-yard they struck at it, and followed it about, so 
that the Partridge was grievously troubled in mind, and 
supposed that he was thus evilly treated because he was 
a stranger. Not long afterwards he saw the Cocks fight- 
ing together, and not separating before one had well 
beaten the other. He then said to himself, " I shall no 
longer distress myself at being struck at by these Game- 
cocks, when I see that they cannot even refrain from 
quarrelling with each other." 

A Fox saw a Lion confined in a cage, and, standing 
near him, bitterly reviled him. The Lion said to the 
Fox, "It is not thou who revilest me; but this mis- 
chance which has befallen me." 

A Frog once on a time came forth from his home in 
the marsh, and made proclamation to all the beasts 
that he was a learned physician, skilled in the use of 
drugs, and able to heal all diseases. A Fox asked 
him, "How can you pretend to prescribe for others, 
who are unable to heal your own lame gait and wrinkled 

A Lion, growing old, lay sick in his cave. All the 
beasts came to visit their king, except the Fox. The 
Wolf, therefore, thinking that he had a capital oppor- 

154 The Fables of ^Esop. 

tunity, accused the Fox to the Lion for not paying 
any respect to him who had the rule over them all, 
and for not coming to visit him. At that very moment 
the Fox came in, and heard these last words of the 
Wolf. The Lion roaring out in a rage against him, he 
sought an opportunity to defend himself, and said, 
" And who of all those who have come to you have 
benefited you so much as I, who have travelled from 
place to place in every direction, and have sought and 
learnt from the physicians the means of healing you ?" 
The Lion commanded him immediately to tell him 
the cure, when he replied, " You must flay a wolf alive, 
and wrap his skin yet warm around you. ; ' The Wolf 
was at once taken and flayed ; whereon the Fox, turning 
to him, said, with a smile, "You should have moved 
your master not to ill, but to good, wilL* 

A Dog, in the winter time, rolled together and coiled 
up in as small a space as possible on account of the 
cold, determined to make himself a house. When the 
summer returned again he lay asleep, stretched at his 
full length, and appeared to himself to be of a great 
size, and considered that it would be neither an easy nor 
a necessary work to make himself such a house as 
would accommodate him. 

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

The Fables of ;Esop. 155 

blew with all his might: but the keener became his 
blasts, the closer the Traveller wrapped his cloak 
around him ; till at last, resigning all hope of victory, 
he called upon the Sun to see what he could do. The 
Sun suddenly shone out with all his warmth. The 
Traveller no sooner felt his genial rays than he took 
off one garment after another, and at last, fairly over- 
come with heat, undressed, and bathed in a stream that 
lay in his path. 

Persuasion is better than Force. 

A Crow caught in a snare prayed to Apollo to release 
him, making a vow to offer some frankincense at his 
shrine. Being rescued from his danger, he forgot his 
promise. Shortly afterwards, on being again caught in 
a second snare, passing by Apollo he made the same 
promise to offer frankincense to Mercury, when he 
appeared, and said to him, " O thou most base fellow ! 
how can I believe thee, who hast disowned and 
wronged thy former patron ? " 

A Fox invited a Crane to supper, and provided nothing 
for his entertainment but some soup made of pulse, and 
poured out into a broad flat stone dish. The soup fell 
out of the long bill of the Crane at every mouthful, and 
his vexation at not being able to eat afforded the Fox 
most intense amusement. The Crane, in his turn, 
asked the Fox to sup with him, and set before her a 
flagon, mtb. a long narrow mouth, so that he could 
easily insert his neck, and enjoy its contents at his 

156 The Fables of* ^ sop. 

leisure; while the Fox, unable even to taste it, met 
with a fitting requital, after the fashion of her own 

A Wolf, roaming by the mountain side, saw his own 
shadow, as the sun was setting, become greatly extended 
and magnified, and he said to himself, " Why should I, 
being of such an immense size, and extending nearly 
an acre in length, be afraid of the Lion ? Ov>ght I not 
to be acknowledged as King of all the collected 
beasts?" While he was indulging in these proud 
thoughts, a Lion fell upon him, and killed him. He 
exclaimed with a too late repentance, " Wretched me ! 
this over-estimation of myself is the cause of my 

The Birds waged war with the Beasts, and each party 
were by turns the conquerors. A Bat, fearing the 
uncertain issues of the fight, always betook himself to 
that side which was the strongest. When peace was 
proclaimed, his deceitful conduct was apparent to both 
the combatants. Therefore being condemned by each 
for his treachery, he was driven forth from the light of 
day, and henceforth concealed himself in dark hiding- 
places, flying always alone and at night. 

A young man, a great spendthrift, had run through all 
his patrimony, and had but one good cloak left. He 
happened to see a Swallow, which had appeared before 

The Fables of Alsop. 157 

its season, skimming along a pool and twittering gaily. 
He supposed that sumjaer had come, and went and 
sold his cloak. Not many days after, the winl er having 
set in again with renewed frost and cold, he found the 
unfortunate Swallow lifeless on the ground ; and said, 
" Unhappy bird ! what have you done ? By thus 
appearing before the spring-time you have not only 
killed yourself, but you have wrought my destruction 

A Trumpeter, bravely leading on the soldiers, was 
captured by the enemy. He cried out to his captors, 
" Pray spare me, and do not take my life without cause 
or without inquiry. I have not slain a single man of 
your troop. I have no arms, and carry nothing but 
this one brass trumpet." "That is the very reason for 
which you should be put to death," they said ; " for, 
while you do not fight yourself, your trumpet stirs up all 
the others to battle." 


An Owl, in her wisdom, counselled the Birds, when 
the acorn first began to sprout, to pull it up by all 
means out of the ground, and not to allow it to grow, 
because it would produce the mistletoe, from which an 
irremediable poison, the bird lime, would be extracted, 
by which they would be captured. The Owl next 
advised them to pluck up the seed of the flax, which 
men had sown, as it was a plant which boded no good 
to them. And, lastly, the Owl, seeing an ft archer 
approach, predicted that this man, being on foot, 

158 The Fables of JSsop. 

would contrive darts armed with feathers, which should 
fly faster than the wings of the Birds themselves, 
The Birds gave no credence to these warning words, 
but considered the Owl to be beside herself, and said 
that she was mad. But afterwards, finding her words 
were true, they wondered at her knowledge, and deemed 
her to be the wisest of birds. Hence it is that when sh6 
appears theyTesort to her as knowing all things; while 
she no longer gives them advice, but in solitude laments 
their past folly. 


All the Goods were once driven out by the Ills from 
that common share which they each had in the affairs 
of mankind; for the Ills by reason of their d umbers 
had prevailed to possess the earth. The Goods wafted 
themselves to heaven, and asked for a righteous ven- 
geance on their persecutors. They entreated Jupiter 
that they might no longer be associated with the Ills, 
as they had nothing in common, and could not live 
together, but were engaged in unceasing warfare, and 
that an indissoluble law might be laid down, for their 
future protection. Jupiter granted their request, and 
decreed that henceforth the His should visit the earth 
in company with each other, but that the Goods should 
one by one enter the habitations of men. Hence it 
arises that Ills abound, for they come not one by one, 
but in troops, and by no means singly : while the Goods 
proceed from Jupiter, and are given, not alike to all, 
but singly, and separately; and one by one to those 
who are able to discern them. 

An Ass, having put on the Lion's skin, roamed about 
in the forest, and amused himself by frightening all the 
foolish animals he met with in his wanderings. At 
last meeting a Fox, he tried to frighten him also, but 
the Fox no sooner heard the sound of his voice, than 
he exclaimed, " I might possibly have been frightened 
myself, if I had not heard your bray." 

A Hare pounced upon by an eagle sobbed very much, 
and uttered cries like a child. A Sparrow upbraided 
her, and said, "Where now is thy remarkable swiftness 
of foot? Why were your feet so slow?" While the 
Sparrow was thus speaking, a hawk seized him on a 

160 The Fables of ALsop. 

sudden, and killed him. The Hare was comforted in 
her death, and expiring said, " Ah, you who so lately, 
when you supposed yourself safe, exulted over my 
calamity, have now yourself reason to deplore a similar 

A Flea thus questioned the Ox : " What ails you, that, 
being so huge and strong, you submit to the wrongs 
you receive from men, and thus slave for them day by 
day; while I, being so small a creature, mercilessly 
feed on their flesh, and drink their blood without 
stint?" The Ox replied: "I do not wish to be un- 
grateful ; for I am loved and well cared for by men, 
and they often pat my head and shoulders." " Woe's 
me !" said the Flea ; "this very patting which you like, 
whenever it happens to me, brings with it my inevitable 

A Man wished to purchase an Ass, and agreed with its 
owner that he should try him before he bought him. 
He took the Ass home, and put him in the straw-yard 
with his other Asses, upon which he left all the others, 
and joined himself at once to the most idle and the 
greatest eater of them all. The man put a halter on 
him, and led him back to his owner ; and on his 
inquiring how, in so short a time, he could have made 
a trial of him, " I do not need," he answered, " a trial ; 
I know that he will be just such another as the one 
whom of all the rest he chose for his companion." 
A man is known by the company he keeps. 


A. Dove shut up in a cage was boasting of the large 
number of the young ones which she had hatched. A 
Crow hearing her, said : " My good friend, cease from 
this unseasonable boasting. The larger the number of 
your family, the greater your cause of sorrow, in seeing 
them shut up in this prison-house/' 

A. Man and a Satyr once poured out libations together 
in token of a bond of alliance being formed between 
them. One very cold wintry day, as they talked 

1 62 The Fables of JSsop. 

together, the Man put his fingers to his mouth and 
blew on them. On the Satyr inquiring the reason ot 
• this, he told him that he did it to warm his hands, 
they were so cold. Later on in the day they sat 
down to eat, the food prepared being quite scalding. 
The Man raised one of the dishes a little towards his 
mouth and blew in it. On the Satyr again inquiring 
the reason of this, he said thit he did it to cool the 
meat, it was so hot. " I can no longer consider you 
as a friend," said the Satyr, " a fellow who with the 
same breath blows hot and cold." 

According to an ancient legend, the first man was 
made by Jupiter, the first bull by Neptune, and the 
first house by Minerva. On the completion of their 
labours, a dispute arose as to which had made the most 
perfect work. They agreed to appoint Momus as judge, 
and to abide by his decision. Momus, however, being 
very envious of the handicraft of each, found fault with 
all. He first blamed the work of Neptune, because he 
had not made the horns of the bull below his eyes, that 
he might better see where to strike. He then con- 
demned the work of Jupiter, because he had not placed 
the heart of man on the outside, that everyone might 
read the thoughts of the evil disposed, and take pre- . 
cautions against the intended mischief. And, lastly, he 
inveighed against Minerva, because she had not con- 
trived iron wheels in the foundation of her house, that 
its inhabitants might more easily remove if a neighbour 
should prove unpleasant. Jupiter, indignant at such 
inveterate fault-finding, drove him from his office of 
judge, and expelled him from the mansions of Olympus. 

An Eagle flying down from his eyrie on a lofty rock, 
seized upon a lamb, and carried him aloft in his talons. 
A Jackdaw, who witnessed the capture of the lamb, 
was stirred with envy, and determined to emulate the 
strength and flight of the Eagle. He flew round with 
a great whirr of his wings, and settled upon a large 
ram, with the intention of carrying him off, but his 
claws becoming entangled in his fleece he was not 
able to release himself, although he fluttered with his 
feathers as much as he could. The shepherd, seeing 
what had happened, ran up and caught him. He at 

164 The Fables of AZsop. 

once clipped his wings, and taking him home at night, 
gave him to his children. On their saying, " Father, 
-what kind of bird is it?" he replied, "To my certain 
knowledge he is a Daw ; but he will have it that he is 
an Eagle." 

An Eagle and a Fox formed an intimate friendship, 
and decided to live near each other. The Eagle built 
her nest in the branches of a tall tree, while the Fox 
crept into the underwood and there produced her young. 
Not long after they had agreed upon this plan, when 
the Fox was ranging for food, the Eagle, being in want 
of provision for her young ones, swooped down and 
seized upon one of the little cubs, and feasted herself 
and brood. The Fox on her return, discovering what 
had happened, was less grieved for the death of her 
young than for her inability to avenge them. A just 
retribution, however, quickly fell upon the Eagle. 
While hovering near an altar, on which some villagers 
were sacrificing a goat, she suddenly seized a piece of 
the flesh, and carried with it to her nest a burning 
cinder. A strong breeze soon fanned the spark into a 
flame, and the eaglets, as yet unfledged and helpless, 
were roasted in their nest and dropped down dead at 
the bottom of the tree. The Fox gobbled them up in 
the sight of the Eagle. 

Every man, according to an ancient legend, is born 
into the world with two bags suspended from his 
neck — a small bag in front full of his neighbours' 
faults, and a large bag behind filled with his own 

The Fables of ^Esop. 165 

faults. Hence it is that men are quick to see the 
faults of others, and yet are often blind to their own 

A Bitch ready to whelp, earnestly begged of a 
shepherd a place where she might litter. On her" 
request being granted, she again besought permission 
to rear her puppies in the same spot. The shepherd 
again consented. But at last the Bitch, protected with 
the body-guard of her Whelps, who had now grown 
up, and were able to defend themselves, asserted her 
exclusive right to the place, and would not permit the 
shepherd to approach. 

A Stag overpowered by heat came to a spring to drink. 
Seeing his own shadow reflected in the water, he 
greatly admired the size and variety of his horns, but 
felt angry with himself for having such slender and 
weak feet. While he was thus contemplating himself, 
a Lion appeared at the pool and crouched to spring 
upon him. The Stag immediately betook himself to 
flight : and exerting his utmost speed, as long as the 
plain was smooth and open, kept himself with ease 
at a safe distance from the Lion. But entering a 
wood he became entangled by his horns : and the 
Lion quickly came up with him and caught him. 
When too late he thus reproached himself: "Woe is 
me ! How have I deceived myself! These feet which 
would have saved me I despised, and I gloried in these 
antlers which have proved my destruction." 
What is most truly valuable is often underrated. 

106 The Fables of ^Esop. 

The Lark (according to an ancient legend) was created 
before the earth itself : and when her father died by a 
fell disease, as there was no earth, she could find for 
him no place of burial. She let him lie uninterred for 
five days, and on the sixth day, being in perplexity, she 
buried him in her own head. Hence she obtained her 
crest, which is popularly said to be her father's grave- 

Youth's first duty is reverence to parents. 

A Gnat settled on the horn of a Bull, and sat there a 
long time. Just as he was about to fly 'off, he made a 
buzzing noise, and inquired of the Bull if he would like 
him to go. The Bull replied, " I did not know you 
had come, and I shall not miss you when you go away." 
Some men are of more consequence in their own 
eyes than in the eyes of their neighbours. 

The beasts of the forest gave a splendid entertainment, 
at which the Monkey stood up and danced. Having 
vastly delighted the assembly, he sat down amidst 
universal applause. The Camel, envious of the praises 
bestowed on the Monkey, and desirous to divert to 
himself the favour of the guests, proposed to stand 
up in his turn, and dance for their amusement. He 
moved about in so utterly ridiculous a manner, that 
the Beasts in a fit of indignation set upon him with 
clubs, and drove him out of the assembly. 
It is absurd to ape our betters. 


Some Dogs, famished with hunger, saw some cow- 
hides steeping in a river. Not being able to reach 
them, they agreed to drink up the river: but it fell 
out that they burst themselves with drinking long 
before they reached the hides. 

Attempt not impossibilities. 

A half-famished Jackdaw seated himself on a fig- 
tree, which had produced some fruit entirely out of 
season, and waited in the hope that the figs would 
ripen. A Fox seeing him sitting so long, and learning 
the reason of his doing so, said to him, " You are 
indeed, sir, sadly deceiving yourself; you are indulging 
a hope strong enough to cheat you, but which will 
never reward you with enjoyment" 

168 The Fables of ^sop. 


A Workman, felling wood by the side of a river, let 
his axe drop by accident into a deep pool. Being thus 
deprived of the means of his livelihood, he sat down 
on the bank, and lamented his hard fate. Mercury 
appeared, and demanded the cause of his tears. He 
told him his misfortune, when Mercury plunged into 
the stream, and, bringing up a golden axe, inquired if 
that were the one he had lost. On his saying that it 
was not his, Mercury disappeared beneath the water 
a second time, and returned with a silver axe in his 
hand, and again demanded of the Workman "if it were 
his." On the Workman saying it was not, he dived 
into the pool for the third time, and brought up the 
axe that had been lost. On the Workman claiming it, 
and expressing his joy at its recovery, Mercury, pleased 
with his honesty, gave him the golden and the silver 
axes in addition to his own. 

The Workman, on his return to his house, related to 
his companions all that had happened. One of them at 
once resolved to try whether he could not also secure 
the same good fortune to himself. He ran to the river, 
and threw his axe on purpose into the pool at the same 
place, and sat down on the bank to weep. Mercury 
appeared to him just as he hoped he would; and 
having learned the cause of his grief, plunged into the 
stream, and brought up a golden axe, and inquired it 
he had lost it. The Workman seized it greedily, and 
declared that of a truth it was the very same axe that 
he had lost. Mercury, displeased at his knavery, not 
only took away the golden axe, but refused to recover 
for him the axe he had thrown into the pool. 

The Fables of JEsop. 169 

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

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

170 The Fables of ^Esop. 

A Shepherd driving his Sheep to a wood, saw an oak 
of unusual size, full of acorns, and, spreading his cloak 
under the branches, he climbed up into the tree, and 
shook down the acorns. The Sheep eating the acorns, 
inadvertently frayed and tore the cloak. The Shep- 
herd coming down, and seeing what was done, said, 
" O you most ungrateful creatures ! you provide wool 
to make garments for all other men, but y^u destroy 
the clothes of him who feeds you. 


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

A Flea settled upon the bare foot of a Wrestler, and 
uit him ; on which he called loudly upon Hercules for 
help. The Flea a second time hopped upon his foot, 
when he groaned and said, " O Hercules ! if you will 
not help me against a Flea, how can I hope for youf 
assistance against greater antagonists?" 


A Fox entered into partnership with a Lion, on the 
pretence of becoming his servant. Each undertook 
his proper duty in accordance with his own nature and 
powers. The Fox discovered and pointed out the 
prey, the Lion sprung on it, and seized it. The Fox 
soon became jealous of the Lion carrying off the 
Lion's share, and said that he would no longer find 
out the prey, but would capture it on his own account. 
The next day he attempted to snatch a lamb from 
the fold, but fell himself a prey to the huntsmen and 

i?2 The Fables of ^Esop. 


A wayfaring Man, travelling in the desert, met a 
woman standing alone and terribly dejected. He 
inquired of her, "Who art thou?" "My name is 
Truth," she replied. " And for what cause," he asked, 
"have you left the city, to dwell alone here in the 
wilderness?" She made answer, "Because in former 
times falsehood was with few, but is now with all men, 
whether you would hear or speak." 


A Man committed a murder, and was pursued by the 
relations of the man whom he murdered. On his 
reaching the river Nile he saw a Lion on its bank, and 
being fearfully afraid, climbed up a tree. He found 
a serpent in the upper branches of the tree, and again 
being greatly alarmed, he threw himself into the river, 
when a crocodile caught him and ate him. Thus the 
earth, the air, and the water, alike refused shelter to a 


An Eagle stayed his flight, and entreated a Lion to 
make an alliance with him to their mutual advantage. 
The Lion replied, " I have no objection, but you must 
excuse me for requiring you to find surety for your 
good faith ; for how can I trust any one as a friend, 
who is able to fly away from his bargain whenever he 
Try before you trust. 

The Fables of disop. iy> 

An Ass being driven along the high road, suddenly- 
started off, and bolted to the brink of a deep precipice. 
When he was in the act of throwing himself over, his 
owner, seizing him by the tail, endeavoured to pull 
him back. The Ass, persisting in his effort, the man 
let him go and said, " Conquer : but conquer to your 

A Thrush was feeding on a myrtle-tree, and did not 
move from it, on account of the deliciousness of its 
berries. A Fowler observing her staying so long in 
one spot, having well birdlimed his reeds, caught her. 
The Thrush, being at the point of death, exclaimed, 
" O foolish creature that I am ! For the sake of a little 
pleasant food I have deprived myself of my life." 

A famished Wolf was prowling about in the morning 
in search of food. As he passed the door of a cottage 
built in the forest, he heard a Mother say to her child, 
" Be quiet, or I will throw you out of the window, and 
the Wolf shall eat you." The Wolf sat all day waiting 
at the door. In the evening he heard the same woman, 
fondling her child and saying : " He is quiet now, and 
if the Wolf should come, we will kill him." The Wolf, 
hearing these words, went home, gaping with cold and 
hunger. On his reaching his den, Mistress Wolf in- 
quired of him why he returned wearied and supperless, 
so contrary to his wont. He replied : " Why, forsooth J 
— because I gave credence to the words of a woman !" 

174 The Fables of jEsop. 


A Hen finding the eggs of a viper, and carefully 
keeping them warm, nourished them into life. A 
Swallow observing what she had done, said, "You 
silly creature ! why have you hatched these vipers, 
which, when they shall have grown, will inflict injury 
on all, beginning with yourself?" 

An Amaranth planted in a garden near a Rose-tree 
thus addressed it : " What a lovely flower is the Rose, 
a favourite alike with Gods and with men. I envy 
you your beauty and your perfume." The Rose re- 
plied, " I indeed, dear Amaranth, flourish but for a 
brief season ! If no cruel hand pluck me from my 
stem, yet I must perish by an early doom. But thou 
art immortal, and dost never fade, but bloomest for 
ever in renewed youth/' 

Two Travellers, worn out by the heat of the summer's 
sun, laid themselves down at noon under the wide^ 
spreading branches of a Plane-tree. As they rested 
under its shade, one of the Travellers said to the 
other, " What a singularly useless tree is the Plane ! 
It bears no fruit, and is not of the least service to 
man." The Plane-tree, interrupting him, said, "You 
ungrateful fellows ! Do you, while receiving benefits 
from me, and resting under my shade, dare to describe 
me as useless, and unprofitable?" 
Some men despise their best blessings. 

The Fables of Aisop. 17$ 

An Ass besought a Horse to spare him a small portion 
of his feed. " Yes," said he ; " if any remains out of 
what I am now eating I will give it you, for the sake of 
my own superior dignity ; and if you will come when 
I shall reach my own stall in the evening, I will give 
you a little sack full of barley." The Ass replied: 
" Thank you. I can't think that you, who refuse me a 
little matter now, will by and by confer on me a greater 


A troublesome Crow seated herself on the back of 
a Sheep. The Sheep, much against his will, carried 
her backward and forward for a long time, and at last 
said, " If you had treated a dog in this way, you would 
have had your deserts from his sharp teeth." To this 
the Crow replied, " I despise the weak, and yield to the 
strong. I know whom I may bully, and whom I must 
flatter ; and I thus prolong my life to a good old age." 

A Fox, mounting a hedge, when he was about to fall 
caught hold of a Bramble. Having pricked and 
grievously torn the soles of his feet, he accused the 
Bramble, because, when he had fled to her for assist- 
ance, she had used him worse than the hedge itself; 
The Bramble, interrupting him, said, "But you really 
must have been out of your senses to fasten yourself 
on me, who am myself always accustomed to fasten 
ut>on others." 

An Ass congratulated a Horse on being so ungrudgingly 
and carefully provided for, while he himself had scarcely 
enough to eat, nor even that without hard work. But 
when war broke out, and the heavy armed soldier 
mounted the Horse, and riding him to the charge, 
rushed into the very midst of the enemy, and the 
Horse, being wounded, fell dead on the battle-field ; 
then the Ass, seeing all these things, changed his 
mind, and commiserated the Horse. 

The Lion wearied Jupiter with his frequent complaints. 
" It is true," he said, " O Jupiter ! that I am gigantic 
in strength, handsome in shape, and powerful in attack. 
I have jaws well provided with teeth, and feet furnished 
with claws v and I lord it over all the beasts of the 

The Fables of ALsop. ijy 

forest; and what a disgrace it is, that being such as 
I am, I should be frightened by the crowing of a cock." 
Jupiter replied, "Why do you blame me without a 
cause? I have given you all the attributes which I 
possess myself, and your courage never fails you 
except in this one instance." On this the Lion 
groaned and lamented very much, and reproached 
himself with his cowardice, and wished that he might 
die. As these thoughts passed through his mind, he 
met an Elephant, and came near to hold a conversation 
with him. After a time he observed that the Elephant 
shook his ears very often, and he inquired what was 
the matter, and why his ears moved with such a tremor 
every now and then. Just at that moment a Gnat 
settled on the head of the Elephant, and he replied, 
" Do you see that little buzzing insect ? If it enters 
my ear, my fate is sealed. I jhould die presently." 
The Lion said, "Well, since so huge a beast is afraid 
of a tiny gnat, I will no more complain, nor wish 
myself dead. I find myself, even as I am, better off 
than the Elephant, in that very same degree that a 
Cock is greater than a Gnat." 


A Dog, used to eating eggs, saw an Oyster; and 
opening his mouth to its widest extent, swallowed it 
down with the utmost relish, supposing it to be an 
tgg. Soon afterwards suffering great pain in his 
stomach, he said, " I deserve all this torment, for my 
folly in thinking that everything round must be an egg." 
They who act without sufficient thought will often 
fall into unsuspected danger. 

178 . The Fables of ^Esop. 


Two Mules well laden with packs were trudging along. 
One carried panniers filled with money, the other sacks 
weighted with grain. The Mule carrying the treasure 
walked with head erect, as if conscious of the value of 
his burden, and tossed up and down the clear toned 
bells fastened to his neck. His companion followed 
with quiet and easy step. All on a sudden Robbers 
rushed from their hiding-places upon them, and in the 
scuffle with their owners, wounded with a sword the 
Mule carrying the treasure, which they greedily seized 
upon, while they took no notice of the grain. The 
Mule which had been robbed and wounded, bewailed 
his misfortunes. The other replied, "I am indeed glad 
that I was thought so little of, for I have lost nothing, 
nor am I hurt with any wound." 


A Wolf pursued a Lamb, which fled for refuge to a 
certain Temple. The Wolf called out to him and said, 
"The Priest will slay you in sacrifice, if he should 
catch you," on which the Lamb replied, " It would be 
better for me to be sacrificed in the Temple, than to be 
eaten by you." 


A Fowler caught a Partridge, and was about to kill 
it. The Partridge earnestly besought him to spare his 
life, saying, "Pray, master, permit me to live, and I 
will entice many Partridges to you in recompense for 
your mercy to me." The Fowler replied, " I shall now 

The Fables of sEsop. j 79 

with the less scruple take your life: because you are 
willing to save it at the cost of betraying your friends 
and relations." 

A Man, very much annoyed with a Flea, caught him 
at last, and said, "Who are you who dare to feed on 
my limbs, and to cost me so much trouble in catching 
you?" The Flea replied, "O my dear sir, pray spare 
my life, and destroy me not, for I cannot possibly do 
you much harm." The Man, laughing, replied, " Now 
you shall certainly die by mine own hands, for no evil, 
whether it be small or large, ought to be tolerated." 

A rich man lived near a Tanner, and not being able 
to bear the unpleasant smell of the tan-yard, he 
pressed his neighbour to go away. The Tanner put 
off his departure from time to time, saying that he 
would remove soon. But as he still continued to stay, 
it came to pass, as time went on, the rich man became 
accustomed to the smell, and feeling no manner of 
inconvenience, made no further complaints. 

A Viper entering the workshop of a smith, sought 
from the tools the means of satisfying his hunger. He 
more particularly addressed himself to a File, and asked 
of him the favour of a meal. The File replied, " You 
must indeed be a simple-minded fellow if you expect to 
get anything from me, who am accustomed to take from 
every one, and never to give anything in return." 
The covetous are poor givers. 

180 The Fables of Alsop. 

A Lion, roaming through a forest, trod upon a thorn, 
and soon after came up towards a Shepherd, and 
fawned upon him, wagging his tail, as if he would say, 
" I am a. suppliant, and seek your aid." The Shepherd 
boldly examined, and discovered the thorn, and placing 
his foot upon his lap, pulled it out and relieved the 
Lion of his pain, who returned into the forest. Some 
time after, the Shepherd being imprisoned on a false 
accusation, is condemned "to be cast to the Lions," 
as the punishment of his imputed crime. The Lion, 
on being released from his cage, recognizes the Shep- 
herd as the man who healed him, and, instead of 
attacking him, approaches and places his foot upon his 
lap. The King, as soon as he heard the tale, ordered 
the Lion to be set free again in the forest, and the Shep- 
herd to be pardoned and restored to his friends. 

The Camel, when Ije saw the Bull adorned with horns, 
envied him, and wished that he himself could obtain 
the same honours. He went to Jupiter, and besought 
him to give him horns. Jupiter, vexed at his request, 
because he was not satisfied with his size and strength 
of body, and desired yet more, not only refused to 
give him horns, but even deprived him of a portion of 
his ears. 

A Panther, by some mischance, fell into a pit. The 
Shepherds discovered him, and threw sticks at him, and 
Relted him with stones, while some of them, moved with 

The Fables of JEsop. 


compassion towards one about to die even though no 
one should hurt him, threw in some food to prolong his 
life. At night they returned home, not dreaming of 
any danger, but supposing that on the morrow they 
should find him dead. The Panther, however, when he 
had recruited his feeble strength, freed himself with a 
sudden bound from the pit, and hastened home with 
rapid steps to his den. After a few days he came forth 
and slaughtered the cattle, and, killing the Shepherds 
who had attacked him, raged with angry fury. Then 
they who had spared his life, fearing for their safety 
surrendered to him their flocks, and begged only for 
their lives ; to whom the Panther made this reply : " I 
remember alike those who sought my life with stones, 
and those who gave me food — lay aside, therefore, your 
fears. I return as an enemy only to those who injured 


An Eagle, overwhelmed with sorrow, sat upon the 
branches of a tree, in company with a Kite. " Why," 
said the Kite, " do I see you with such a rueful look ?" 
" I seek," she replied, " for a mate suitable for me, and 
am not able to find one." "Take me," returned the 
Kite ; "lam much stronger than you are." " Why, are 
you able to secure the means of living by your plunder?" 
" Well, I have often caught and carried away an ostrich 
in my talons." The Eagle, persuaded by these words, 
accepted him as her mate. Shortly after the nuptials, • 
the Eagle said, " Fly off, and bring me back the ostrich 
you promised me." The Kite, soaring aloft into the 
air, brought back the shabbiest possible mouse, and 
stinking from the length of time it had lain about the 

1 82 The Fables of ^Esop. 

fields. " Is this/' said the Eagle, " the faithful fulfilment 
of your promise to me ?" The Kite replied, " That I 
might attain to your royal hand, there is nothing that I 
would not have promised, however much I knew that I 
must fail in the performance." 


An Eagle was once captured by a man, who at once 
clipped his wings, and put him into his poultry yard 
with the other birds ; at which treatment the Eagle was 
weighed down with grief. Another neighbour having 
purchased him, suffered his feathers to grow again. 
The Eagle took flight, and pouncing upon a hare 
brought it at once as an offering to his benefactor. A 
Fox, seeing this, exclaimed, " Do not propitiate the 
favour of this man, but of your former owner, lest he 
should again hunt for you, and deprive you a second 
time of your wings/' 

A King who had one only son, fond of martial exer- 
cises, had a dream in which he was warned that 
his son would be killed by a lion. Afraid lest the 
dream should prove true, he built for his son a pleasant 
palace, and adorned its walls for his amusement with 
all kinds of animals of the size of life, among which 
was the picture of a lion. When the young Prince 
saw this, his grief at being thus confined burst out 
afresh, and, standing near the lion, he thus spoke : 
■* O you most detestable of animals ? through a lying 
dream of my father's, which he saw in his sleep, I am 
shut up on your account in this pakce as if I had 

The Fables of ALsop. ' 183 

been a girl*, what shall I now do to you?" With these 
words he stretched out his hands toward a thorn-tree, 
meaning to cut a stick from its branches that he might 
beat the lion, when one of its sharp prickles pierced 
his finger, and caused great pain and inflammation, so 
that the young Prince fell down in a fainting fit. A 
violent fever suddenly set in, from which he died not 
many days after. 

We had better bear our troubles bravely than try to 
escape them. 

A CAr fell in love with a handsome young man, and 
entreated Venus that she would change her into the 
form of a woman. Venus consented to her request, 
and transformed her into a beautiful damsel, so that 
the youth saw her, and loved her, and took her home 
as his bride. While they were reclining in their 
chamber, Venus, wishing to discover if the Cat in 
her change of shape had also altered her habits of 
life, let down a mouse in the middle of the room. She, 
quite forgetting her present condition, started up from 
the couch, and pursued the mouse, wishing to eat it. 
Venus, much disappointed, again caused her to return 
to her former shape. 
Nature exceeds nurture. 

The Eagle and the Beetle were at enmity together, 
and they destroyed one another's nests. The Eagle 
gave the first provocation in seizing upon and in 
eating the young ones of the Beetle. The Beetle 

I H The Fables of ^Esop. 

got by stealth at the Eagle's eggs, and rolled them 
out of the nest, and followed the Eagle even into the 
presence of Jupiter. On the Eagle making his com- 
plaint, Jupiter ordered him to make his nest in his lap; 
and while Jupiter had the eggs in his lap, the Beetle 
came flying about him, and Jupiter rising up unawares, 
to drive him away from his head, threw down the eggs, 
and broke them. 

The weak often revenge themselves on those who use 
them ill, even though they be the more powerful. 


The She-goats having obtained by request from Jupiter 
the favour of a beard, the He-goats, sorely displeased, 
made complaint that the females equalled them in 
dignity. " Suffer them," said Jupiter, " to enjoy an 
empty honour, and to assume the badge of your nobler 
sex, so long as they are not your equals in strength or 

It matters little if those who are inferior to us in 
merit should be like us in outside appearances. 


A Fly bit the bare head of a Bald Man, who, endea- 
vouring to destroy it, gave himself a heavy slap. Then 
said the Fly mockingly, "You who have wished to 
revenge, even with death, the prick of a tiny insect, 
what will you do to yourself, who have added insult 
to injury?" The Bald Man replied, "I can easily 
make peace with myself, because I know there was no 
intention to hurt. But you, an ill-favoured and con- 

The Fables of jEsop. 185 

temptible insect, who delight in sucking human blood, 
I wish that I could have killed you, even if I had 
incurred a heavier penalty." 

A Shipwrecked Man, having been cast upon a certain 
shore, slept after his bufferings with the deep. After 
a while waking up, when he looked upon the sea, he 
loaded it with reproaches that, enticing men with the 
calmness of its looks, when it had induced them to 
plough its waters, it grew rough and destroyed them 
utterly. The Sea, assuming the form of a woman, 
replied to him : " Blame not me, my good sir, but the 
winds, for I am by my own nature as calm and firm 
even as this earth ; but the winds falling on me on a 
sudden, create these waves, and lash me into fury." 

A rich nobleman once opened the theatres without 
charge to the people, and gave a public notice that he 
would handsomely reward any person who should 
invent a new amusement for the occasion. Various 
public performers contended for the prize. Among 
them came a Buffoon well known among the populace 
for his jokes, and said that he had a kind of enter- 
tainment which had never been brought out on any 
stage before. This report being spread about made a 
great stir in the place, and the theatre was crowded 
in every part. The Buffoon appeared alone upon the 
boards, without any apparatus or confederates, and 
the very sense of expectation caused an intense silence. 
The Buffoon suddenly bent his head towards his bosom 

1 86 The Fables of JZsop. 

and imitated the squeaking of a little pig so admirably 
with his voice that the audience declared that he had 
a porker under his cloak, and demanded that it should 
be shaken out. When that was done, and yet nothing 
was found, they cheered the actor, and loaded him with 
the loudest applause. A Countryman in the crowd, 
observing all that had passed, said, "So help me, 
Hercules, he shall not beat me at that trick!" and at 
once proclaimed that he would do the same thing on 
the next day, though in a much more natural way. On 
the morrow a still larger crowd assembled in the 
theatre; but now partiality for their favourite actor 
very generally prevailed, and the audience came rathei 
to ridicule the Countryman than to see the spectacle. 
Both of the performers, however, appeared on the 
stage. The Buffoon grunted and squeaked away first, 
and obtained, as on the preceding day, the applause 
and cheers of the spectators. Next the Countryman 
commenced, and pretending that he concealed a little 
pig beneath his clothes (which in truth he did, but not 
suspected of the audience), contrived to lay hold of and 
to pull his ear, when he began to squeak, and to express 
in his pain the actual cry of the pig. The crowd, how- 
ever, cried out with one consent that the Buffoon had 
given a far more exact imitation, and clamoured for the 
Countryman to be kicked out of the theatre. On this 
the rustic produced the little pig from his cloak, and 
showed by the most positive proof the greatness of 
their mistake. " Look here," he said, " this shows what 
sort of judges you are." 

The Fables of ;Esop. 187 


A Crow, in great want of food, saw a Serpent asleep in 
a sunny nook, and flying down, greedily seized him. 
The Serpent turning about, bit the Crow with a mortal 
wound; the Crow in the agony of death exclaimed: 
" O unhappy me ! who have found in that which 1 
deemed a happy windfall the source of my destruction." 


A certain Hunter having snared a hare, placed it upon 
his shoulders, and set out homewards. He met on his 
way with a man on horseback who begged the hare of 
him, under the pretence of purchasing it. The Horse- 
man having got the hare, rode off as fast as he could. 
The Hunter ran after him, as if he was sure of over- 
taking him. The Horseman, however, increasing more 
and more the distance between them, the Hunter, 
sorely against his will, called out to him, and said, 
" Get along with you ! for I will now make you a 
present of the hare." 


The Olive-tree ridiculed the Fig-tree because, while she 
was green all the year round, the Fig-tree changed its 
leaves with the seasons. A shower of snow fell upon 
them, and, finding the Olive full of foliage, it settled 
upon its branches, and, breaking them down with its 
weight, at once despoiled it of its beauty and killed the 
tree ; but finding the Fig-tree denuded of leaves, it fell 
through to the ground, and did not injure it at all. 

l 88 The Fables of Aisop. 

Once upon a time, when the Sun announced his inten- 
tion to take a wife, the Frogs lifted up their voices in 
clamour to the sky. Jupiter, disturbed by the noise of 
their croaking, inquired the cause of their complaint. 
One of them said, " The Sun, now while he is single, 
parches up the marsh, and compels us to die miserably 
in our arid homes ; what will be our future condition if 
he should beget other guns?" 

A Brazier had a little Dog, which was a great favourite 
with his master, and his constant companion. While he 
hammered away at his metals, the Dog slept ; but when, 
on the other hand, he went to dinner, and began to eat, 
the Dog woke up, and wagged his tail, as if he would 
ask for a share of his meal. His master one day, pre- 
tending to be angry, and shaking his stick at him, said, 
"You wretched little sluggard ! what shall I do to you? 
While I am hammering on the anvil, you sleep ©n the 
mat ; and when I begin to eat after my toil, you wake 
up, and wag your tail for food. Do you not know that 
labour is the source of every blessing, and that none 
but those who work are entitled to eat ?" 



Life of iEsop 



iEthiop 73 

Ant and Dove 9^ 

Ants and Grasshopper 36 

Apes and Two Travellers... 134 

Ass and Chaiger 176 

Ass and Driver 173 

Ass and Frogs 115 

Ass and Grasshopper 32 

Ass and his Masters 70 

Ass and his Purchaser 160 

Ass and his Shadow 91 

Ass and Horse 175 

Ass and Lap-Dog 56 

Ass and Mule 55 

Ass and Old Shepherd 116 

Ass and Wolf 141 

Ass carrying Image 88 

Ass, Cock, and Lion 85 

Ass, Fox, and Lion 41 

Ass in the Lior's Skin 159 

Astronomer 62 

BaM Man and /ly 184 

Bald Knight 112 

Bat and Weasels 34 

Bear and Fox 44 

Bear and Two Travellers... 49 

Bee and Jupiter 86 

Belly and Members 68 

Bird catcher, Partridge, and 

Cock 95 

Birds, Beasts, and Bat 156 

Bitch and her Whelps 166 

Blind Man and WheJp 15c 

Boasting Traveller 51 

Bowman and Lion 117 

Boy and Filberts 52 

Boy and Nettles 61 

Boy Bathing 136 

Boy hunting Locusts 38 

Boys and Frogs 58 

Brazier and his Dog 188 

Brother and Sister 149 

Buffoon and Countryman... 185 

Bull and Calf 121 

Bull and Goat 1 1 1 

Bull, Lioness, and Wild- 
Boar Hunter 117 

Camel 118 

Camel and Arab 101 

Camel and Jupiter 180 

Cat and Birds 62 

Cat and Cock 50 

Cat and Mice 103 

Cat and Venus 183 

Cobbler turned Doctor 1 50 

Cock and Jewel 35 

Charcoal Burner and Fuller 38 

Charger and Miller 67 

Crab and Fox 118 

Crab and its Mother 71 

Crow and Mercury 155 

Crow and Pitcher 125 

Crow and Raven 115 

Crow and Serpent 187 



Crow and Sheep 175 

Dancing Monkeys 105 

Doe and Lion 98 

Dog and Cook 104 

Dog and Hare 120 

Dog and Oyster 177 

Dog and Shadow 39 

Dog, Cock, and Fox 140 

Dog in Manger 47 

Dogs and Fox , 149 

Dogs and Hides 167 

Dog's House 154 

Dol phins, Whales, and Sprat 70 

Dove and Crow 161 

Eagle and Arrow 81 

Eagle and Beetle 183 

Eagle and Captor 180 

Eagle and Fox 164 

Eagle and Jackdaw 163 

Eagle and Kite 181 

Eagle, Cat, and Wild Sow. 121 

Farmer and Cranes 

Farmer and Fox 

Farmer and Snake 

Farmer and his Sons . 

Farmer and Stork 

Father and his Sons 

Father and Two Daughters 

Fawn and his Mother 

Fighting Cocks and Eagle. 

Fir Tree and Bramble 

Fisherman and his Nets . . . 
Fisherman and Little Fish. 

Fisherman Piping 


Flea and Man 

Flea and Ox 

Flea and Wrestler 

Flies and H oney- Pot 

Fly and the Draught-Mule. 

Fowler and Viper 

Fox and Bramble 

Fox and Crane 

Fox and Crow 

Fox and Goat 













Fox and Grapes 128 

Fox and Hedgehog 119 

Fox and Leopard 109 

Fox and Lion 135 

Fox and Lion 152 

Fox and Mask 143 

Fox and Monkey 67 

Fox and Monkey 131 

Fox and Woodcutter 93 

Fox who had lost his Tail. 49 
Frogs asking for a King ... 53 
Frogs' complaint against 
Sun 188 

Game Cocks and Partridge 152 

Geese and Cranes 140 

Gnat and Bull 166 

Gnat and Lion 127 

Goat and Ass 142 

Goat and Goatherd 50 

Goatherd and Wild Goats. 59 

Goods and Ills 158 

Grasshopper and Owl 143 

Hare and Hound 113 

Hare and Tortoise 37 

Hares and Foxes 121 

Hares and Frogs 97 

Hares and Lions 138 

Hart and Vine 127 

Hawk and Nightingale ... 138 

Hawk, Kite, and Pigeons 70 

Heifer and Ox 66 

Hen and Golden Eggs 115 

Hen and Swallow 174 

Hercules and Waggoner ... 39 

Herdsman and lost Bull ... 40 

Horse and Ass I44 

Horse and Groom 55 

Horse and his Rider 67 

Horse and Stag 30 

Hunter and Horseman 187 

Hunter and Woodman 99 

Huntsman and Fisherman 76 

Image of Mercury and Car- 
penter no 

Jackdaw and Doves .-, 131 




Jackdaw and Fox 167 

Jupiter and Monkey 69 

Jupiter, Neptune, Minerva, 

and Momus 162 

Kid and Wolf 64 

Kid and Wolf 129 

Kingdom of the Lion 36 

King's Son and PaintedLion 182 
Kites and Swans 120 

Labourer and Snake 54 

Lamb and Wolf 178 

Lamp 100 

Lark and her Young Ones . 139 

Lark burying its Father ... 166 

Lion and Boar 82 

Lion and Bull 142 

Lion and Dolphin 80 

Lion and Eagle 1 72 

Lion and Fox 171 

Lion and Hare 109 

Lion and Mouse 31 

Lion and Shepherd 180 

Lion and Three Bulls 145 

Lion, Bear, and Fox 107 

Lion, Fox, and Ass no 

Lion in a Farm-yard 94 

Lion in Love 51 

Lion, Jupiter, and Elephant 176 

Lion, Mouse, and Fox 54 

Lion, Wolf, and Fox 153 

Lioness 42 

Man and his Two Sweet- 
hearts 60 

Man and his Wife 131 

Man and Lion 43 

Man and Satyr 161 

Man bitten by a Dog 76 

Man, Horse, Ox, and Dog. 132 

Manslayer 172 

Master and his Dogs 88 

Mercury and Sculptor 92 

Mercury and Workmen ... 168 

Mice and Weasels 83 

Mice in Council 82 

Milk woman and her Pail... 86 

Miller, his Son, and their 

Ass 101 

Mischievous Dog 59 

Miser 51 

Mole and his Mother 40 

Monkey and Camel 166 

Monkey and Dolphin 130 

Monkey and Fishermen ... 98 

Monkeys and their Mother 112 

Mother and Wolf "... 173 

Mountain in Labour 44 

Mouse and Bull 104 

Mouse, Frog, and Hawk .. 74 

Mule 123 

Mules and Robbers 178 

North Wind and Sun 154 

Oak and Reeds 94 

Oak and Woodcutters 114 

Oaks and Jupiter 112 

Old Hound 89 

Old Lion 90 

Old Man and Death 73 

Old Woman and Physician 64 

Old Woman and Wine-jar. 75 

Olive-tree and Fig-tree ... 187 

One-eyed Doe 83 

Owl and Birds 157 

Ox and Frog 65 

Oxen and Axle-trees 47 

Oxen and Butchers 57 

Panther and Shepherds .. 180 

Partridge and Fowler 178 

Peacock and Crane 114 

Peacock and Juno 136 

Peasant and Apple-tree ... 169 

Peasant and Eagle 108 

Philosopher, Ants, and 

Mercury 108 

Playful Ass 77 

Pomegranate, Apple-tree, 

and Bramble 43 

Porker, Sheep, and Goat 52 

Prophet 123 

Quack Frog 153 



Raven and Swan 46 

Rich Man and Tanner 179 

Rivers and Sea . 85 

Rose and Amaranth 174 

Salt Merchant and his Ass 58 

Sea-gull and Kite 106 

Seaside Travellers 91 

Seller of Ijnages 13S 

Serpent and Eagle 124 

She-goats and their Beards 184 

Shepherd and Dog 113 

Shepherd and Sea 84 

Shepherd and Sheep 170 

Shepherd and Wolf 71 

Shepherd's Boy and Wolf... 57 
Shipwrecked Man and Sea 185 

Sick Kite 81 

Sick Lion 48 

Sick Stag 61 

Sparrow and Hare 159 

Spendthrift and Swallow .. 156 

Stag at the Pool 165 

Stag in the Ox-stall 78 

Stag, Wolf, and Sheep 121 

Swallow and Crow 35 

Swallow, Serpent, and 

Court of Justice 70 

Swan and Goose 98 

Swollen Fox 100 

Thief and his Mother 72 

Thief and House-Dog 133 

Thief and Innkeeper 126 

Thieves and Cock 105 

Thirsty Pigeon 46 

Three Tradesmen 87 

Thrush and Fowler 173 

Tortoise and Eagle 45 

Town Mouse and Country 

Mouse 147 

Traveller and Fortune 106 

Traveller and his Dog 36 

Travellers and Plane-tree... 174 

Trees and Axe 116 

Trees under protection of 

Gods 170 

Trumpeter taken Prisoner 157, 

Truth and Traveller 172 

Two Bags 164 

Two Dogs 79 

Two Frogs 100 

Two Frogs 124 

Two Men who were Enemies 152 

Two Pots 71 

Two Soldiers and Robber. i6q 
Two Travellers and Axe.. 90 

Vain Jackdaw 63 

Vine and Goat 69 

Viper and File 179 

Walnut-tree 128 

Wasp and Snake 114 

Wasps, Partridges, and 

Farmer 148 

Weasel and the Mice 135 

Widow and Little Maidens 68 

Widow and Sheep 77 

Wild Ass and Lion 79 

Wild Boar and Fox 85 

Wolf and Crane 33 

Wolf and Fox 122 

Wolf and Goat 145 

Wolf and Horse 151 

Wolf and House-dog 87 

Wolf and Lamb 32 

Wolf and Lion 95 

Wolf and Lion 156 

Wolf and Sheep 75 

Wolf and Shepherd 137 

Wolf and Shepherds 90 

Wolf, Fox, and Ape 148 

W T olf in Sheep's Clothing... 50 

Wolves and Sheep 62 

Wolves and Sheep-dogs ... 116 

Woman and her Hen 120