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ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES. Complete. A verbatim
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A NEW EDITION
PROVERBS AND APPLICATIONS
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FABLE I. THE COCK AND THE JEWEL
II. THE WOLF AND TIlE LAMB
III. THE LION AND THE FOUR BULLS
IV. THE FROG AND THE FOX
V. THE ASS EATING THISTLES
VI. THE LARK AND HER YOUNG ONES
VII. THE COCK AND THE FOX
VIII. THE FOX IN THE WELL
IX. THE WOLVES AND THE SHEEP
X. THE EAGLE AND THE FOX
XI. THE WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING
XII. THE FOWLER AND THE RINGDOVE.
XIII. THE SOW AND THE WO.LF
XIV. THE HORSE AND THE ASS
XV. THE WOLF, THE LAMB, AND THE G
XVI. THE KITE AND THE PIGEONS
XVII. THE COUNTRY MOUSE ANI THE Cl
XVIII. THE SWALLOW AND OTHER BIRDS .
XIX. THE HUNTED BEAVER .
XX. THE CAT AND THE FOX .
'XXI. THE CAT AND THE MICE
XXII. THE LION AND OTHER BEASTS
XXIII. THE LION AND THE MOUSE
XXIV. THE FATAL MARRIAGE .. 53
XXV. THE MISCHIEVOUS DOG 55
XXVI. THE Ox AND THE FROG 57
XXVII. THE FOX AND THE LION. 59
XXVIII. THE APE AND THE FOX 61
XXIX. THE DOG IN THE MANGER 63
XXX. THE BIRDS, THE BEASTS, AND THE BAT 65
XXXI. THE FOX AND THE TIGER 68
XXXII. THE LIONESS AND THE FOX 70
XXXIII. THE OAK AND THE REED 73
XXXIV. THE WIND AND THE SUN 78
XXXV. THE KITE, THE FROG, AND THE MOUSE 80
XXXVI. THE FROGS DESIRING A KING 82
XXXVII. THE OLD WOMAN AND HER MAIDS 84
XXXVIII. THE LION, THE BEAR, AND THE FOX 86
XXXIX. THE CROW AND THE PITCHER 88
XL. THE PORCUPINE AND THE SNAKES 90
XLI. THE HARES AND FROGS IN A STORM 92
XLII. THE FOX AND THE WOLF 94
XLIII. THE DOG AND THE SHEEP 96
XLIV. THE PEACOCK AND THE CRANE 98
XLV. THE VIPER AND THE FILE 100
XLVI. THE ASS, THE LION, AND THE COCK 102
XLVII. THE JACKDAW AND PEACOCKS 104
XLVIII. THE ANT AND THE FLY 6
XLIX. THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER 109
L. THE COUNTRYMAN AND THE SNAKE III
LI. THE FOX AND THE SICK LION 113
LII. THE WANTON CALF. 115
LIII. HERCULES AND THE CARTER 117
LIV. THE BELLY AND THE MEMBERS 19
LV. THE HORSE AND THE LION 122
LVI. THE HUSBANDMAN AND THE STORK 124
LVII, THE CAT AND THE COCK 126
LVIII. THE LEOPARD AND THE FOX. 128
LIX. THE SHEPHERD'S OY 130
LX. THE FOX AND THE GOAT 132
LXI. CUPID AND DEATH 34
LXII. THE OLD MAN AND HIS SONS 136
LXIII. THE STAG AND THE FAWN 138
LXIV. THE OLD HOUND 140
LXV. JUPITER AND THE CAME 143
LXVI. THE FOX WITHOUT A TAI 145
LXVII. THE FOX AND THE CRO 148
LXVIII THE HAWK AND THE FARMER .
LXIX. THE NURSE AND THE WOLF .. 152
LXX. THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE 154
LXXI. THE YOUNG MAN AND HIS CAT 56
LXXII. THE ASS IN THE LION'S SKIN 158
LXXIII. THE MOUNTAINS IN LABOUR 16
LXXIV. THE SATYR AND THE TRAVELER 62
LXXV. THE SICK KITE 164
LXXVI. THE HAWK AND THE NIGHTINGALE 66
LXXVII. THE PEACOCK'S COMPLAINT 68
LXXVIII. THE ANGLER AND THE LITTLE FISH 170
LXXIX. THE GEESE AND THE CRANES 172
LXXX. THE DOG AND THE SHADOW 174
LXXXI. THE ASS AND TIlE LITTLE Do 176
LXXXII. THE WOLF AND THE CRANE 178
LXXXIII. THE ENVIOUS MAN AND THE COVETOUS 180
LXXXIV. THE Two POTS 182
LXXXV. THE FOX AND THE STORK 184
LXXXVI. THE BEAR AND THE BEE HIVES 186
LXXXVII. THE TRAVELLERS AND THE BEAR. 88
LXXXVIII. THE TRUMPETER TAKEN PRISONER 190
LXXXIX. THE PARTRIDGE AND THE COCKS 192
XC. THE FALCONER AND THE PARTRIDGE 194
XCI. THE EAGLE AND THE CROW 196
XCII. THE LION, THE ASS, AND THE FOX 198
XCIII. THE FOX AND THE GRAPES 200
XCIV. THE HORSE AND THE STAG 202
XCV. THE YOUNG MAN AND THE SWALLOW 204
XCVI. THE MAN AND HIS GOOSE 206
XCVII. THE DOG AND THE WOLF 208
XCVIII. THE WOOD AND THE CLOWN 211
XCIX. THE OLD LION. 213
C. THE HORSE AND THE LOADED Ass 213
CI. THE OLD MAN AND DEATH 17
CII. THE BOAR AND THE Ass. 219
CIII. THE TUNNV AND THE DOLPHIN 22
CIV. THE PEACOCK AND THE MAGPIE 223
CV. THE FORESTER AND THE LION 22
CVI. THE STAG LOOKING INTO THE WATER 227
CVII. THE STAG IN THE OX-STALL 229
CVIII. THE DOVE AND THE ANT 232
CIX. THE LION IN LOVE 234
CX. THE TORTOISE AND THE EAGLE 236
To give advice and to administer warnings to those who are in
a position to accept or reject the advice, and in either event
to reward the adviser for his presumption with personal casti-
gation, is a thankless task, and it need cause no surprise that
in an age when tales were eagerly listened to, when there was
no literature, and when even courts depended for their amuse-
ment on ballads repeated by wandering bards, that a slave
with a clear wit and sagacious mind should prefer to wrap up
his pill of wisdom in a coating of allegory. Truth in the
form of a story not only then, but now, often penetrates where
the bare statement can find no entry; for, as L'Estrange says,
"Some people are too proud, too. surly, too impudent, too
incorrigible, either to bear or to mend upon the liberty of
plain dealing. Others are too big again, too powerful, too
vindictive and dangerous for either reproof or counsel in direct
terms." What else is the novel with a purpose, of which so
much use has been made by those who have a reform to carry
in our own days, but the fable of JEsop's time adapted to
modern requirements. Those to whom AEsop and the other
fabulists spoke may often have looked suspiciously enough at
the narrators to catch the lurking insult which they must have
felt behind the innocent words; but the advantage of a fable
is that, while the person to whom it is addressed may accept
the advice which it carries without loss of dignity, the adviser
may get clear off under the ambiguity of his words! for
"-He that a fool doth very wisely hit
Doth very foolishly, although he smart,
Not to seem senseless of the bob : if not,
The wise man's folly is anatomised,
Even by the squandering glances of the fool."
Addison, writing in the Spectator, has well summed up the
advantage of fables. "There is nothing," he says, "which we
receive with so much reluctance as advice. We look upon
the man who gives it us as offering an affront to our under-
standing, and treating us like children or idiots. We consider
the instruction as an implicit censure, and the zeal which any-
one shows for our good on such an occasion as a piece of pre-
sumption or impertinence. The truth of it is, the person who
pretends to advise does, in that particular, exercise a superiority
over us, and can have no other reason for it but that, in com-
paring us with himself, he thinks us defective, either in our
conduct or our understanding. For these reasons there is
nothing so difficult as the art of making advice agreeable;
and, indeed, all the writers, both ancient and modern, have
distinguished themselves among one another according to
the perfection at which they have arrived in this art. How
many devices have been made use of to render this bitter
potion palatable? Some convey their instructions to us in
the best chosen words, others in the most harmonious numbers,
some in points of wit, and others in short proverbs.
"But among all the difficult ways of giving counsel, I think
the finest, and that which pleases the most universally, is
Fable, in whatsoever shape it appears. If we consider this
way of instructing or giving advice, it excels all others, be-
cause it is the least shocking, and the least subject to those
exceptions which I have before mentioned.
This will appear to us if we reflect, in the first place, that
upon the reading of a fable we are made to believe we advise
ourselves. We excuse the author for the sake of the story,
and consider the precepts rather as our own conclusions than
his instructions. The moral insinuates itself imperceptibly; we
are taught by surprise, and become wiser and better unawares.
In short, by this method a man is so far overreached as to
think he is directing himself, while he is following the dictates
of another, and consequently is not sensible of that which is
the most unpleasing circumstance in advice.
In the next place, if we look into human nature, we shall
find that the mind is never so much pleased as when she
exerts herself in any action that gives her an idea of her own
perfection and abilities. This natural pride and ambition of
the soul is very much gratified in the reading of a fable; for
in writings of this kind, the reader comes in for half the per-
formance; everything appears to him like a discovery of his
own; he is busied all the while in applying characters and
circumstances, and is in this respect both a reader and a
composer. It is no wonder, therefore, that on such occasions,
when the mind is thus pleased with itself, and amused with
its own discoveries, that it is highly delighted with the writing
which is the occasion of it."
It was not only among the Greeks that the Fable was in
such high repute. The literature of all countries abounds
with instances of its use. Holy-writ itself is not without
examples. When the Israelites, slighting the claim of Jotham,
appointed Abimelech to reign over them, Jotham addressed to
them the following fable:-
The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over
them; and they said unto the olive tree, 'Reign thou over
us.' But the olive tree said unto them,' Should I leave my
fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go
to be promoted over the trees?' And the trees said to the
fig tree, 'Come thou, and reign over us.' But the fig tree said
unto them,' Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit,
and go to be promoted over the trees ?' Then said the trees
unto the vine, 'Come thou, and reign over us.' And the vine
said unto them,' Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God
and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?' Then said
all the trees unto the bramble, 'Come thou, and reign over us.'
And the bramble said unto the trees, 'If in truth ye anoint
me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow:
and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the
cedars of Lebanon.'"
But perhaps the most famous instance of the fable rather
than the direct rebuke being used to convict a man of his
wrong-doing is that recorded in the Book of Samuel, when
Nathan, sent by the Lord to reprove David for his conduct to
Uriah the Hittite, brought him to a sense of his iniquitous
conduct by relating the story of the ewe lamb:-
And the Lord sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto
him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city;
the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceed-
ing many flocks and herds: but the poor man had nothing, save
one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up,
and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it
did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in
his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came
a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own
flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man
that was come unto him; but took the poor man's lamb, and
dressed it for the man that was come to him.
And David's anger was greatly kindled against the man;
and he said to Nathan, as the Lord liveth, the man that hath
done this thing shall surely die: and he shall restore the lamb
fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.
And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man."
Were any apology required for the use of apologue on the
part of the monitor, the testimony of the New Testament to
the constant practice of Our Saviour himself, of adapting his
teaching to the understanding of his audience, by investing
his meaning in a clothing of parable, would be ample justifi-
History affords many instances of the use of fables for
political purposes. When the citizens of Rome, driven to
despair by the burden of the taxation put upon them to sup-
port the army, left the city in a body, and declared their
determination to pay no more taxes, Menenius Agrippa was
sent by the Senate to reason with them. He related to them
the fable of the Belly and the Members, applying it to the
different branches of the body-politic.
Demosthenes was enabled to bring the Athenians to an
understanding of the grave dangers that would ensue from
delivering up their statesmen on the demand of Philip of
Macedon, by relating to them the fable of the Wolves and
The fable of the Horse and the Stag was recited by Stesi-
chorus to the citizens of Himera, as a warning to them against
placing too great power in the hands of their ruler, Phalaris.
AEsop himself, when about to be put to death by the citizens
of Delphi, to warn them that the outrage would not pass un-
avenged, related to them the story of the Beetle and the
A Hare that was hard put to it by an Eagle, took sanctuary
in a ditch with a Beetle. The Beetle interceded for the Hare;
the Eagle slapt off the former, and devoured the latter.
The Beetle took this for an affront to hospitality as well as to
herself, and so meditated a revenge, watched the Eagle up to
her nest, followed .her and took her time when the Eagle was
abroad, and so made shift to roll out the eggs and destroy the
brood. The Eagle, upon this disappointment, built a great
deal higher next bout; the Beetle watched her still, and
shewed her the same trick once again. Whereupon the Eagle
made her appeal to Jupiter, who gave her leave to lay her next
course of eggs in his own lap. But the Beetle found out a way
to make Jupiter rise from his throne; so that, upon the loosen-
ing of his mantle, the eggs fell from him unawares, and the
Eagle was a third time defeated. Jupiter stomached the
indignity, but upon hearing the cause, he found the Eagle to
be aggressor, and so acquitted the Beetle.
The fashion of endowing the animals with human speech
and reason, which forms so prominent a feature in zEsop's
Fables, is one that is common to all primitive races. In the
legends of Australia, Africa, India, and America, the beasts,
birds, and fishes are endowed with all the qualities of human
beings : they are the friends and protectors of men, assist them
when they are in difficulties, and advise them when in doubt.
In the Fables of _Esop little attempt was made to endow
the animals with individual characteristics. As a rule, all
Wolves are overbearing bullies, all Foxes sly schemers, but
occasionally we find differences of disposition among the same
races of animals, as the selfish tyrannical Lion, who claims for
himself the whole of the spoils of the hunt, by virtue of his
strength, and the generous Lion, who made a useful friend for
himself in the Mouse, whose life he spared. Nor is there, of
course, much individuality in the speech of the animals. In
Boswell's Life of Johnson there is a conversation dealing with
this point which we will quote.
"Sir Joshua Reynolds," says Boswell, "was in company with
them one day, when Goldsmith said that he thought he could
write a good fable, mentioned the simplicity which that kind
of composition requires, and observed that in most fables
the animals introduced seldom talk in character. 'For in-
stance,' said he, 'the fable of the little fishes, who saw birds
fly over their heads, and envying them, petitioned Jupiter to
be changed into birds. The skill,' continued he, 'consists in
making them talk like little fishes.' While he indulged him-
self in this fanciful reverie, he observed Johnson shaking his
sides and laughing, upon which he smartly proceeded, 'Why,
Dr Johnson, this is not so easy as you seem to think; for if
you were to make little fishes talk, they would talk like
Whether .Esop was or was not the author of all the Fables
collected under his name is not a question to which we need
apply any very anxious consideration. That he collected or
wrote down the Fables which he invented from time to time,
to serve the requirements of the moment, is certainly not prob-
able. He spoke them by word of mouth on important occa-
sions, when they would be caught up and repeated by the
auditors. Those who had heard them no doubt applied the
Fables to other occasions bearing more or less similarity to
that on which they were uttered. One generation would hand
them on to another, adding in course of time new fables to
the old. Within recent times there has been discovered in a
convent on Mount Athos a manuscript book of Fables in
Greek verse by Babrius, a writer who flourished some seven
hundred years later than AEsop. The discovery of this collec-
tion, which includes many of the Fables attributed to AEsop,
has led some learned writers to maintain that to Babrius is
due the authorship of all the Fables: but the reputation of
AEsop as a fabulist long before the time of Babrius is evidence
in contradiction of this theory, which it would be difficult to
demolish. The fact would seem to be, that to Babrius is due
the credit of collecting the fables current in his time, and
adding to their popularity and ensuring their preservation by
turning them into verse.
The source from which the materials have been drawn which
go to form the popular conception of AEsop's life and appear-
ance is the life of him written by Planudes, a monk of the
fourteenth century, which is, however, a collection of absurd
stories, from various sources, to which no credit can be given.
The facts of his career, as they are now generally accepted,
are briefly as follows:-
Born a slave, Esop lived for many years in the service of
Iadmon of Samos, in the regulation of whose affairs he first
learnt to exercise the natural tact and shrewdness which in after-
life served him in such good stead. In the solution of domes-
tic problems, and afterwards of civic difficulties, for his master,
AEsop no doubt early discovered the advantage to one in his
position of wrapping up an unpalatable truth in a more accept-
able allegory, and of allowing his master to reap the credit for
acts of which he was the instigator. Indeed, the position in
which ladmon stood to rEsop brings to mind the relative
position of two of the characters in Dickens' Bleak Housc-Mr
and Mrs Matthew Bagnet. George," says Mr Bagnet, you
know me. It's my old girl that advises; she has the head.
But I never own to it before her. Discipline must be main-
The sagacity of zEsop, however, was of too exceptional a
character to remain long concealed in the domestic circle; and
so high grew the public reputation of the slave that at length
ladmon was reluctantly compelled to give him his freedom.
As a freeman ,Esop was for a time employed by the Samians
to assist them in their public affairs ; and when Crcesus, the
great King of Lydia, sent ambassadors to treat with them on
a matter of tribute, it was due to AEsop's advice that an at-
tempt to overreach the Samians was defeated. It was no doubt
from these ambassadors that Crcesus heard the fame of
Esop, and their testimony to his extraordinary sagacity and
keen-wittedness, which led the King to invite E-sop to take up
his residence at Sardis. Accordingly, at Sardis, under the
protection of Crcesus, -Esop took up his residence about the
year 570 B.C. Here all the lessons of prudence and discretion
which he had learnt in the service of ladmon and the Samians
were necessary to maintain a position in a court to which
Crcesus welcomed all that was best and wisest in Greece, in a
time when Greece numbered among her sons some of the
wisest philosophers that the world has known. A delicate
perception of the susceptibilities of the human mind led him to
frame his advice to the King in such a flattering form that in
contrast the same advice offered by other sages, without the
courtly gloze of the Phrygian, appeared so rough and unpalat-
able as to cause the King nothing but irritation. ,Esop soon
proved that he was worthy of the reputation that had preceded
him. Crcesus employed him in many offices of State, and
despatched him on various missions to the cities and states of
Greece, and it was in the course of negotiation to which some
of these missions gave rise that many of his more famous
fables were delivered. During the journeys which he under-
took in connection with these various embassies, he was en-
abled to visit the schools of many of the Greek philosophers.
It was on the occasion of a mission to Delphi, on which he
was sent by Crcesus, to distribute certain payments, that Esop
met his death. The citizens, taking in ill-part some strictures
which he had passed on their conduct, and driven to exaspera-
tion by his refusal to distribute the funds of which he was
custodian, proceeded to fabricate evidence to support a charge
of sacrilege against him. Alarmed probably by the danger
to the reputation of their city and its temple from the polished
wit and pointed satire of their visitor should he escape from
their hands, the judges accepted the evidence of his malicious
enemies, and condemned him to death. AEsop appealed in
vain to their sense of the sacred duties of hospitality, and to
their fears of the vengeance that should follow such an outrage
of its laws, in the fable of the Beetle and the Eagle; but this
time his expedient failed of its effect, and, unmoved by his
eloquence, they proceeded to carry out the sentence, and
hurled him from a precipice outside the city walls.
Esop's blood' thereafter, to become a proverbial testi-
mony to the vengeance following murder, did not appeal to
heaven in vain. A visitation of pestilence and other disasters
befalling them soon after ,Esop's death, brought the citizens of
Delphi to a sense of the outrage they had committed. By a
self-imposed fine paid to a descendant of ladmon, AEsop's
old master, they sought to atone for the crime, and stay the
hand of the avenging deities.
Of .Esop's personal appearance, the long-prevalent concep-
tion which depicted him as a hideous dwarf, flat-nosed, hunch-
backed, and bandy-legged, is a false portrait, due to the
imaginings of Planudes and his contemporaries, for which
there is not the slightest warrant in classical literature.
Bentley, who expended considerable research on the point,
has even gone so far as to declare that he was remarkable for
his beauty. A statue of him, chiselled by Lysippus, was
erected in Athens two hundred years after his death.
Since, in the year 1484, was printed The Subtyl Historyes
and Fables of Esope. Translated into Englysshe by William
Caxton," there has been no lack, either in prose or verse, of
English versions of the Fables. In the early part of the
eighteenth century especially they were found a convenient
vehicle for party-writers, to convey their denunciation of their
opponents. The celebrated edition of Sir Roger L'Estrange,
a Jacobite, noted as a political pamphleteer, was first published
in 1692-4, and his Reflections on the Fables reflected also in
dry homely phrase his detestation of the principles of his
opponents. Dr Samuel Croxall, a Whig clergyman, Arch-
deacon of Salop, published in 1722 his version of the Fables,
with applications bearing also the mark of his political and
In the present edition the text of the Fables follows that of
Croxall; but in place of some of the long, dull, and far-fetched
applications, it has been thought well to append short passages
from good writers, bearing some affinity to the moral of the
THE COCK AND THE JEWEL.
A BRISK young Cock, in company with two or three pullets,
his mistresses, raking upon a dunghill for something to enter-
tain them with, happened to scratch up a Jewel. He knew
what it was well enough, for it sparkled with an exceeding
bright lustre ; but, not knowing what to do with it, endeavoured
to cover his ignorance under a gay contempt: so, shrugging
up his wings, shaking his head, and putting on a grimace, he
expressed himself to this purpose:-" Indeed, you are a very
fine thing; but I know not any business you have here. I
make no scruple of declaring that my taste lies quite another
way; and I had rather have one grain of dear delicious barley
than all the jewels under the sun."
Diamond me no diamonds prize me no prizes I
People speak in this working age, when they speak from their
hearts, as if houses and lands, and food and raiment, were alone
useful, and as if Sight, Thought, and Admiration were all profitless,
so that men insolently call themselves Utilitarians, who would turn,
if they had their way, themselves and their race into vegetables;
men who think, as.far as such can be said to think, that the meat
is more than the life, and the raiment than the body; who look to
the earth as a stable, and to its fruit as fodder; vine-dressers and
husbandmen who love the corn they grind, and the grapes they crush,
better than the gardens of the angels upon the slopes of Eden;
hewers of wood and drawers of water, who think that it is to give
them wood to hew and water to draw, that the pine-forests cover the
mountain like the shadow of God, and the great rivers move like
His Eternity."-JoHN RUSKIN : Modern Painters.
THE WOLF AND THE LAMB.
ONE hot, sultry day, a Wolf and a Lamb happened to come,
just at the same time, to quench their thirst in the stream of a
clear silver brook, that ran tumbling down the side of a rocky
mountain. The Wolf stood upon the higher ground, and the
Lamb at some distance from him down the current. How-
ever, the Wolf, having a mind to pick a quarrel with him,
asked him, what he meant by disturbing the water, and
making it so muddy that he could not drink; and, at the, same
time, demanded satisfaction. The Lamb, frightened at this
threatening charge, told him, in a tone as mild as possible,
that, with humble submission, he could not conceive how that
could be; since the water which he drank, ran down from the
Wolf to him, and therefore it could not be disturbed so far up
the stream. "Be that as it will," replies the Wolf, you are a
rascal, and I have been told that you treated me with ill
language behind my back, about half a year ago."-" Upon my
word," says the Lamb, the time you mention was before I was
born." The Wolf, finding it to no purpose to argue any longer
against truth, fell into a great passion, snarling and foaming
at the mouth, as if he had been mad; and drawing nearer to
the Lamb, Sirrah," says he, if it was not you, it was your
father, and that is all one."-So he seized the poor, innocent,
helpless thing, tore it to pieces, and made a meal of it.
Tis an easy matter to find a staffto beat a dog.
"When innocence is to be oppressed by might," says L'Estrange,
"arguments are foolish things; nay, the very merits, virtues, and
good offices of the person accused, are improved to his condemna-
tion." In the notorious "Bloody Assizes" of 1685, when the brutal
Chief-Justice Jeffreys tried the prisoners on the Western Circuit after
the collapse of Monmouth, neither innocence nor pity restrained the
fury of the judge. In Macaulay's vivid account of the assize, Jeffreys'
way of dealing with his victims is thus described. The Chief-
Justice was all himself. His spirits rose higher and higher as the
work went on. He laughed, shouted, joked, and swore in such a
way that many thought him drunk from morning to night. But in
him it was not easy to distinguish the madness produced by evil
passions from the madness produced by brandy. A prisoner affirmed
that the witnesses who appeared against him were not entitled to
credit. One of them, he said, was a Papist, and another a prostitute.
'Thou impudent rebel,' exclaimed the judge, 'to reflect on the
King's evidence! I see thee, villain, I see thee already with the
halter round thy neck.' Another produced testimony that he was a
good Protestant. 'Protestant!' said Jeffreys; 'you mean Presby-
terian, I'll hold you a wager of it. I can smell a Presbyterian
forty miles.' One wretched man moved the pity even of bitter
AESOP'S FABLES. 5
Tories. 'My lord,' they said, 'this poor creature is on the parish.'
'Do not trouble yourselves,' said the judge, I will ease the parish
of the burden.' It was not only against the prisoners that his fury
broke forth. Gentlemen and noblemen of high consideration and
stainless loyalty, who ventured to bring to his notice any extenuating
circumstances, were almost sure to receive what he called, in the
coarse dialect which he had learned in the pothouses of White-
chapel, a lick with the rough side of his tongue. Jeffreys
boasted that he had hanged more traitors than all his predecessors
together since the Conquest. It is certain that the number of persons
whom he put to death in one month, and in one shire, very much
exceeded the number of all the political offenders who have been
put to death in our island since the Revolution."
THE LION AND THE FOUR BULLS.
FOUR Bulls, which had entered into a very strict friendship,
kept always near one another, and fed together. The Lion
often saw them, and as often had a mind to make one of them
his prey; but, though he could easily have subdued any of
them singly, yet he was afraid to attack the whole alliance, as
knowing they would have been too hard for him, and therefore
contented himself, for the present, with keeping at a distance.
At last, perceiving no attempt was to be made upon them as
long as this combination held, he took occasion, by whispers
and hints, to foment jealousies, and raise divisions among
them. This stratagem succeeded so well, that the Bulls grew
cold and reserved towards one another, which soon after
ripened into a downright hatred and aversion; and, at last,
ended in a total separation. The Lion had now obtained his
ends ; and, as impossible as it was for him to hurt them while
they were united, he found no difficulty, now they were parted,
to seize and devour every Bull of them, one after another.
A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.
"Though the quickness of thine ear were able to reach the noise of
the moon, which some think it maketh in its rapid revolution; though
the number of thy ears should equal Argus's eyes; yet stop them all
with the wise man's wax, and be deaf unto the suggestions of tale-
bearers, calumniators, pickthank or malevolent delators, who, while
quiet men sleep, sowing the tares of discord and division, distract
the tranquillity of charity and all friendly society. These are the
tongues that set the world on fire, cankers of reputation, and like
that of Jonas's gourd, wither a good name in a night."-SIR THOMAS
THE FROG AND THE FOX.
A FROG, leaping out of the lake, and taking the advantage of
a rising ground, mad_ proclamation to all the beasts of the
forest, that he was an able physician, and, for curing all manner
of distempers, would turn his back to no person living. This
discourse, uttered in a parcel of hard, cramp words, which no-
body understood, made the beasts admire his learning, and
give credit to every thing he said. At last the Fox, who was
present, with indignation asked him, how he could have the
impudence with those thin lantern-jaws, that meagre pale
phiz, and blotched, spotted body, to set up for one who was
able to cure the infirmities of others.
Physician, heal thyself
"Jaques. . I must have liberty
SWithal, as large a charter as the wind,
To blow on whom I please; for so fools have;
And they that are most galled with my folly,
They most must laugh. And why, sir, must they so?
The why' is plain as way to parish church:
He that a fool doth very wisely hit
Doth very foolishly, although he smart,
Not to seem senseless of the bob: if not,
The wise man's folly is anatomized
Even by the squandering glances of the fool.
Invest me in my motley; give me leave
To speak my mind, and I will through and through
Cleanse the foul body of the infected world,
If they will patiently receive my medicine.
Duke, senior. Fie on thee I can tell what thou would'st do.
Jaques. What, for a counter, would I do but good ?
Duke, senior. Most mischievous foul sin, in chiding sin:
For thou thyself hast been a libertine,
As sensual as the brutish sting itself;
And all the embossed sores and headed evils,
That thou with license of free foot hast caught,
Would'st thou disgorge into the general world."
As You Like It, Act 11. Sc. vii.
THE ASS EATING THISTLES.
AN Ass was loaded with good provisions of several sorts,
which, in time of harvest, he was carrying into the field for his
master and the reapers to dine upon. By the way he met with
a fine large Thistle, and, being very hungry, began to mumble
it; which, while he was doing, he entered into this reflection-
" How many greedy epicures would think themselves happy,
amidst such a variety of delicate viands as I now carry But
to me, this bitter prickly Thistle is more savoury and relishing
than the most exquisite and sumptuous banquet."
One an's food is another man's poison.
"The luxurious emperors of old inconsiderately sated themselves with
the dainties of sea and land, till, wearied through all varieties, their re-
flections became a study unto them, and they were fain to feed by
invention: novices in true epicurism which, by mediocrity, paucity,
quick and healthful appetite, makes delight smartly acceptable;
whereby Epicurus himself found Jupiter's brain in a piece of Cy-
theridian cheese, and the tongues of nightingales in a dish of onions.
Hereby healthful and temperate poverty hath the start of nauseating
luxury; unto whose clear and naked appetite every meal is a feast,
and in one single dish the first course of Metellus; who are cheaply
hungry, and never lose their hunger, or advantage of a craving appetite,
because obvious food contents it; while Nero, half-famished, could
not feed upon a piece of bread, and, lingering after his snowed water,
hardly got down an ordinary cup of Calda. By such circumscriptions
of pleasure the contemned philosophers reserved unto themselves
the secret of delight, which the heluos of those days lost in their
exorbitances. In vain we study delight; it is at the command of
every sober mind, and in every sense born with us; but nature, who
teacheth us the rule of pleasure, instructeth also in the bounds
thereof, and where its line expireth. And, therefore, temperate
minds, not pressing their pleasures until the sting appeareth, enjoy
their contentations contentedly, and without regret, and so escape
the folly of excess, to be pleased unto displacency."-SIR THOMAS
BROWNE: Christian Morals.
THE LARK AND HER YOUNG ONES.
A LARK, who had Young Ones in a field of corn which was
almost ripe, was under some fear lest the reapers should
come to reap it before her young brood were fledged, and
able to remove from the place: wherefore, upon flying
abroad to look for food, she left this charge with them-
that they should take notice what they heard talked of in her
absence, and tell her of it when she came back again. When
she was gone, they heard the owner of the corn call to his son
-" Well," says he, I think this corn is ripe enough; I would
have you go early to-morrow, and desire our friends and
neighbours to come and help us to reap it." When the Old
Lark came home, the Young Ones fell a quivering and chirp-
ing round her, and told her what had happened, begging her
to remove them as fast as she could. The mother bid them
be easy; for," says she, if the owner depends upon friends
and neighbours, I am pretty sure the corn will not be reaped
to-morrow." Next day she went out again, upon the same
occasion, and left the same orders with them as before. The
owner came, and stayed, expecting those he had sent to; but
the sun grew hot, and nothing was done, for not a soul came to
help him. Then," says he to his son, I perceive these friends
of ours are not to be depended upon; so that you must even go
to your uncles and cousins, and tell them, I desire they would
be here betimes to-morrow morning to help us to reap." Well,
this the Young Ones, in a great fright, reported also to their
mother. If that be all," says she, "do not be frightened,
children, for kindred and relations do not use to be so very
forward to serve one another: but take particular notice what
you hear said the next time, and be sure you let me know it."
She went abroad the next day, as usual; and the owner,
finding his relations as slack as the rest of his neighbours,
said to his son, Harkye, George, do you get a couple of good
sickles ready against to-morrow morning, and we will even
reap the corn ourselves." When the Young Ones told their
mother this, "Then," says she, we must be gone indeed; for,
when a man undertakes to do his business himself, it is not so
likely that he will be disappointed." So she removed her
Young Ones immediately, and the corn was reaped the next
day by the good man and his son.
He that would be sure to have his business well done, must do it himself.
Never depend upon the assistance of friends and relations in
any thing which you are able to do yourself; for nothing is more
fickle and uncertain. The man who relies upon another for the
execution of any affair of importance, is not only kept in a wretched
14 AESOP'S FABLES.
and slavish suspense while he expects the issue of the matter, but
generally meets with a disappointment. While he, who lays the
chief stress of his business upon himself, and depends upon his own
industry and attention for the success of his affairs, is in the fairest
way to attain his end: and, if at last he should miscarry, has this to
comfort him-that it was not through his own negligence, and a
vain expectation of the assistance of friends. To stand by ourselves,
as much as possible, to exert our own strength and vigilance in the
prosecution of our affairs, is godlike, being the result of a most
noble and highly exalted reason; but they who procrastinate and
defer the business of life by an idle dependence upon others, in
things which it is in their own power to effect, sink down into a
kind of stupid abject slavery, and shew themselves unworthy of the
talents with which human nature is dignified."-S. CROXALL.
THE COCK AND THE FOX.
THE Fox, passing early one summer's morning near a farm-
yard, was caught in a spring, which the farmer had planted
there for that end. The Cock, at a distance, saw what
happened; and, hardly yet daring to trust himself too near so
dangerous a foe, approached him cautiously, and peeped at
him, not without some horror and dread of mind. Reynard
no sooner perceived it, but he addressed himself to him, with
all the designing artifice imaginable. Dear Cousin," says
he, "you see what an unfortunate accident has befallen me
here, and all upon your account: for, as I was creeping
through yonder hedge, in my way homeward, I heard you
crow, and was resolved to ask you how you did before I went
any further: but, by the way, I met with this disaster; and
therefore now I must become a humble suitor to you for a
knife to cut this plaguy string; or, at least, that you would
conceal my misfortune, till I have gnawed it asunder with my
teeth." The Cock, seeing how the case stood, made no reply,
but posted away as fast as he could, and gave the farmer
an account of the whole matter; who, taking a good weapon
along with him, came and did the Fox's business, before he
could have time to contrive his escape.
There is a great ,ir'irence between a cunning man and a wise one.
This is an old trick of the Fox's that has served many times.
Fortunately the Cock was a shrewd fellow, and did not allow pity to
override reason or flattery to destroy caution. Too often rogues,
with the experience of human nature which is their chief stock-in-
trade, will draw to themselves that compassion which the deserving
are unable to excite, and, like Autolycus in the following scene
from The Winter's Tale, pick our pockets while we are listening
to their tale of distress :-
"Aut. 0 that ever I was born [Grovelling on the ground.
Clown. I' the name of me--
Aut. 0, help me, help me! pluck but off these rags; and then
Clown. Alack, poor soul! thou hast need of more rags to lay on
thee, rather than have these off.
Ait. 0 sir, the loathsomeness of them offends me more than the
stripes I have received, which are mighty ones and millions.
Clown. Alas, poor man! a million of beating may come to a
Aut. I am robbed, sir, and beaten; my money and apparel ta'en
from me, and these detestable things put upon me.
Clown. What, by a horseman, or a footman ?
Aut. A footman, sweet sir, a footman.
Clown. Indeed, he should be a footman by the garments he has
left with thee: if this be a horseman's coat, it hath seen very
hot service. Lend me thy hand. I'll help thee : come, lend
me thy hand.
Aut. O, good sir, tenderly, 0 !
Clown. Alas, poor soul!
Aut. O, good sir, softly, good sir! I fear, sir, my shoulder-blade
Clown. How now canst stand?
Aut. [Picking his pocket.] Softly, dear sir; good sir, softly. You
ha' done me a charitable office."
THE FOX IN THE WELL.
A Fox, having fallen into a well, made a shift, by sticking his
claws into the sides, to keep his head above water. Soon
after, a Wolf came and peeped over the brink; to whom the
Fox applied himself very earnestly for assistance; entreating
that he would help him to a rope, or something of that kind,
which might favour his escape. The Wolf, moved with com-
passion at his misfortune, could not forbear expressing his
concern: Ah! poor Reynard," says he, I am sorry for you
with all my heart; how could you possibly come into this
melancholy condition ? "-" Nay, pr'ythee, friend," replies the
Fox, if you wish me well, do not stand pitying of me, but
lend me some succour as fast as you can : for pity is but cold
comfort when one is up to the chin in water, and within a
hair's breadth of starving or drowning."
An ounce of /elfp is worth a pound ofpity.
Pity, indeed, is of itself but poor comfort at any time; and, un-
less it produces something more substantial, is rather impertinently
troublesome, than any way agreeable. To stand bemoaning the
misfortunes of our friends, without offering some expedient to
alleviate them, is only echoing to their grief, and putting them in
mind that they are miserable. He is truly my friend who, with a
ready presence of mind, supports me; not he who condoles with me
upon my ill success, and says he is sorry for my loss. In short, a
favour or obligation is doubled by being well-timed; and he is the
best benefactor who knows our necessities, and complies with our
wishes even before we ask him.
THE WOLVES AND THE SHEEP.
THE Wolves and the Sheep had been a long time in a state
of war together. At last a cessation of arms was proposed, in
order to a treaty of peace, and hostages were to be delivered
on both sides for security. The Wolves proposed that the
Sheep should give up their dogs, on the one side, and that
they would deliver up their young ones, on the other. This
proposal was agreed to; but no sooner executed, than the
young Wolves began to howl for want of their dams. The
old ones took this opportunity to cry out, the treaty was
broke; and so falling upon the Sheep, who were destitute of
their faithful guardians the dogs, they worried and devoured
them without control.
Good watch prevents harm.
This fable is one of the many that have been used by statesmen
to convey their arguments in a form convincing to the multitude.
After the death of Philip of Macedon, the Thebans and Athenians
thought it a favourable opportunity to shake off the Macedonian
yoke, and, accordingly, they rose against his son Alexander,-
Demosthenes, the great orator of Athens, taking a prominent part
in the insurrection.
Alexander, however, surprised the Thebans by a rapid march, and
utterly defeated them and destroyed their city. The Athenians,
thereupon, took fright, and, with the most arrant meanness, sent
ambassadors to Alexander to congratulate him on his success against
their allies; to which Alexander replied by demanding that ten of
their leading orators, with Demosthenes at their head, should be
delivered up to him. Finding the cowed Athenians disposed to
yield to this demand, Demosthenes related to them as a warning
this fable of the Sheep who delivered up their watch-dogs to the
THE EAGLE AND THE FOX.
AN Eagle that had young ones,
to feed them with, happened to
basking itself abroad in the sun.
looking out for something
spy a Fox's cub, that lay
She made a stoop, and
trussed it immediately; but before she had carried it quite off,
the old Fox coming home, implored her, with tears in her
eyes, to spare her cub, and pity the distress of a poor fond
mother, who should think no affliction so great as that of
losing her child. The Eagle, whose nest was up in a very
high tree, thought herself secure enough from all projects of
revenge, and so bore away the cub to her young ones, without
shewing any regard to the supplications of the Fox. But
that subtle creature, highly incensed at this outrageous bar-
barity, ran to an altar, where some countrypeople had been
sacrificing a kid in the open fields, and catching up a fire-
brand in her mouth, made towards the tree where the Eagle's
nest was, with a resolution of revenge. She had scarce
ascended the first branches when the Eagle, terrified with
the approaching ruin of herself and family, begged of the
Fox to desist, and, with much submission, returned her the
cub again safe and sound.
Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure.
Like doth quit like, and measure stillfor measure.
"Before the world had past her time of youth,
While polity and discipline were weak,
The precept eye for eye, and tooth for tooth,
Came forth-a light, though but as of day-break,
Strong as could then be borne. A Master meek
Proscribed the spirit fostered by that rule,
Patience His law, long-suffering His school,
And love the end, which all through peace must seek.
But lamentably do they err who strain
His mandates, given rash impulse to control
And keep vindictive thirstings from the soul,
So far that, if consistent in their scheme,
They must forbid the state to inflict a pain,
Making of social order a mere dream."
THE WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING.
A WOLF, clothing himself in the skin of a Sheep, and getting
in among the flock, by this means took the opportunity to
devour many of them. At last the shepherd discovered him,
and cunningly fastening a rope about his neck, tied him up to
a tree which stood hard by. Some other shepherds happening
to pass that way, and observing what he was about, drew
near, and expressed their admiration at it. What," says one
of them, brother, do you make hanging of Sheep ? "-" No,"
replies the other, but I make hanging of a Wolf whenever I
ESOP'S FABLES. 25
catch him, though in the habit and garb of a Sheep." Then
he shewed them their mistake, and they applauded the justice
of the execution.
Time tries the troth in everything.
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing,
but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by
their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt
tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil
fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree
that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the
fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."-St Malttew
THE FOWLER AND THE RINGDOVE.
A FOWLER took his gun, and went into the woods a-shooting.
He spied a Ringdove among the branches of an oak, and
intended to kill it. He clapped the piece to his shoulder, and
took his aim accordingly. But, just as he was going to pull
the trigger, an adder, which he had trod upon under the grass,
stung him so painfully in the leg, that he was forced to quit
his design, and threw his gun down in a passion. The poison
immediately infected his blood, and his whole body began to
mortify; which, when he perceived, he could not help owning
JESOP'S FABLES. 27
it to be just. Fate," says he, has brought destruction upon
me while I was contriving the death of another."
Every one is the son of his own works.
"The mischief that we meditate to others, falls commonly upon
our own heads, and ends in a judgment, as well as a disappointment.
Take it another way and it may serve to mind us how happily
people are diverted many times from the execution of a malicious
design by the grace and goodness of a preventing Providence. A
pistol's not taking fire may save the life of a good man; and the
innocent Pigeon had died if the spiteful snake had not broken the
Fowler's aim : that is to say, good may be drawn out of evil, and a
body's life may be saved without having any obligation to his
preserver."-SIR ROGER L'ESTRANGE.
THE SOW AND THE WOLF.
A Sow had just farrowed, and lay in the sty, with her whole
litter of pigs about her. A Wolf, who longed for one of them,
but knew not how to come at it, endeavoured to insinuate
himself into the Sow's good opinion; and, accordingly, coming
up to her-" How does the good woman in the straw do ? "
says he. "Can I be of any service to you, Mrs Sow, in
relation to your little family here ? If you have a mind to go
abroad, and air yourself a little, or so, you may depend upon
it, I will take as much care of your pigs as you could do your-
self."-" Your humble servant," says the Sow; I thoroughly
understand your meaning; and, to let you know I do, I must
be so free as to tell you, I had rather have your room than
your company; and, therefore, if you would act like a Wolf
of honour, and oblige me, I beg I may never see your face
Let me have men about me that are fat;
Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o' nights;
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too muck: such men are dangerous.
Julius Casar, Act I. Sc. ii.
The being officiously good-natured and civil is something so un-
common in the world, that one cannot hear a man make profession
of it without being surprised, or, at least, suspecting the disinterested-
ness of his intentions. Especially, when one who is a stranger to
us, or, though known, is ill-esteemed by us, will be making offers of
services, we have great reason to look to ourselves, and exert a
shyness and coldness towards him. We should resolve not to re-
ceive even favours from bad kind of people; for should it happen
that some immediate mischief was not couched in them, yet it is
dangerous to have obligations to such, or to give them an opportunity
of making a communication with us.
THE HORSE AND THE ASS.
THE Horse, adorned with his great war-saddle, and champing
his foaming bridle, came thundering along the way, and made
the mountains echo with his loud, shrill neighing. He had
not gone far before he overtook an Ass, who was labouring
under a heavy burden, and moving slowly on in the same
track with himself. Immediately he called out to him, in a
haughty, imperious tone, and threatened to trample him in the
dirt if he did not break the way for him. The poor, patient
Ass, not daring to dispute the matter, quietly got out of his
way as fast as he could, and let him go by. Not long after
this, the same Horse, in an engagement with the enemy,
happened to be shot in the eye, which made him unfit for
show, or any military business; so he was stript of his fine
ornaments, and sold to a carrier. The Ass, meeting him in
this forlorn condition, thought that now it was his time to
insult; and so, says he, Hey-day, friend, is it you ? Well, I
always believed that pride of yours would one day have a
Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
"Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart:
but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he stood
not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mor-
decai. Nevertheless Haman refrained himself: and when he came
home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh, his wife.
"And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multi-
tude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had pro-
moted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and
servants of the king. Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the
queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that
she had prepared but myself; and to-morrow am I invited unto her
also with the king. Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I
see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate.
"Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a
gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and to-morrow speak thou unto
the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go thou in
merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased
Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made."-Esther v. 9-14.
"And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king,
Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made
for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the
house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon. So
they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for
Mordecai."--Esther vii. 9, io.
THE WOLF, THE LAMB, AND THE GOAT.
As a Lamb was following a Goat, up comes a Wolf wheedling
to get him aside to make a breakfast of him: "You're
mistaken," says the Wolf, this is none of your mother; she is
yonder," pointing to a flock of sheep at a distance. "Well,"
says the Lamb, but my mother has placed me here for my
security; and you would fain get me into a corner to worry
me. Prithee which of the two am I to trust now."
Train up a child inl the way he should go.
"There is ordinarily such a pride and headiness in youth that they
2ESOP'S FABLES. 33
cannot abide to submit to the counsels and directions of their elders,
and therefore, to shake them off, are willing to have them pass for
the effects of dotage, when they are indeed the fruits of sobriety and
experience. To such the exhortation of Solomon is very necessary,
'Hearken to thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother
when she is old.' A multitude of Texts more there are in that
Book to this purpose, which shews that the wisest men thought it
necessary for children to attend to the counsel of their parents.
But the youth of our age set up for wisdom the quite contrary way,
and think they then become wits, when they are advanced to the
despising the counsel, yea, mocking the persons of their parents.
Let such, if they will not practise the exhortations, yet remember the
threatening of the wise man, 'The eye that mocketh his father
and despiseth to obey his mother, the raven of the valley shall pick
it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.' "-The Whole Duty of Man.
34 ZESOP'S FABLES.
THE KITE AND THE PIGEONS.
A KITE, who had kept sailing in the air for many days near a
dove-house, and made a stoop at several Pigeons, but all to no
purpose (for they were too nimble for him), at last had recourse
-- "I, -'= =- .. ..
to stratagem, and took his opportunity one day to make a
declaration to them, in which he set forth his own just and
good intentions, who had nothing more at heart than the
defence and protection of the Pigeons in their ancient rights
and liberties, and how concerned he was at their fears and
jealousies of a foreign invasion, especially their unjust and
unreasonable suspicions of himself, as if he intended, by force
of arms, to break in upon their constitution, and erect a
tyrannical government over them. To prevent all which, and
thoroughly to quiet their minds, he thought proper to propose
to them such terms of alliance and articles of peace as might
for ever cement a good understanding betwixt them : the
principal of which was, that they should accept of him for
their king, and invest him with all kingly privilege and pre-
rogative over them. The poor simple Pigeons consented:
the Kite took the coronation oath after a very solemn manner,
on his part, and the Doves, the oaths of allegiance and fidelity,
on theirs. But much time had not passed over their heads
before the good Kite pretended that it was part of his pre-
rogative to devour a Pigeon whenever he pleased. And this
he was not contented to do himself only, but instructed the
rest of the royal family in the same kingly arts of government.
The Pigeons, reduced to this miserable condition, said one to
the other, Ah! we deserve no better! Why did we let him
come in ?"
Give a rogue an inch and he'll take an ell.
It was the fear that Caesar, when once the imperial crown was
upon his head, and the sceptre in his hand, would wield his power
over the State in the tyrannical form in which the crafty Kite
governed the poor foolish Pigeons who had placed themselves in his
power, that led Brutus to form the desperate resolution of striking a
blow that was to free Rome from servitude. So strong was his
conviction of the danger to the State of placing unchecked power
in the hands of one ambitious man that he persuades himself that
he is justified in the incurring the stain of assassination which was
to cling to his name for ever after. That it was not without a deep
sense of the evils against which he was contending may be seen in
the soliloquy which Shakespeare has put into his mouth:-
He would be crowned:
How that might change his nature, there's the question.
It is the bright day that brings forth the adder;
And that craves wary walking. Crown him ?-that:-
And then, I grant, we put a sting in him,
That at his will he may do danger with.
The abuse of greatness is, when it disjoins
Remorse from power: and, to speak truth of Caesar,
I have not known when his affections swayed
More than his reason. But 'tis a common proof,
That lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
Whereto the climber upward turns his face;
But when he once attains the upmost round,
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend. So Caesar may.
Then, lest he may, prevent. And, since the quarrel
Will bear no colour for the thing he is,
Fashion it thus; that what he is, augmented,
Would run to these and these extremities:
And therefore think him as a serpent's egg
Which, hatched, would, as his kind, grow mischievous,
And kill him in the shell."
THE COUNTRY MOUSE AND THE CITY MOUSE.
AN honest, plain, sensible Country Mouse is said to have
entertained at his hole one day a fine Mouse of the Town.
Having formerly been playfellows together, they were old
acquaintance, which served as an apology for the visit. How-
ever, as master of the house, he thought himself obliged to do
the honours of it, in all respects, and to make as great a
stranger of his guest as he possibly could. In order to this,
he set before him a reserve of delicate grey peas and bacon, a
dish of fine oatmeal, some parings of new cheese, and, to
crown all with a dessert, a remnant of a charming mellow
apple. In good manners, he forbore to eat any himself, lest
the stranger should not have enough ; but, that he might seem
to bear the other company, sat and nibbled a piece of a
wheaten straw very busily. At last says the spark of the
town, Old crony, give me leave to be a little free with you;
how can you bear to live in this nasty, dirty, melancholy hole
here, with nothing but woods, and meadows, and mountains,
and rivulets about you ? Do not you prefer the conversation
of the world to the chirping of birds, and the splendour of a
court to the rude aspect of an uncultivated desert? Come,
take my word for it, you will find it a change for the better.
Never stand considering, but away this moment. Remember,
we are not immortal, and therefore have no time to lose.
Make sure of to-day, and spend it as agreeably as you can;
you know not what may happen to-morrow." In short, these
and such-like arguments prevailed, and his Country Acquaint-
ance was resolved to go to town that night. So they both
set out upon their journey together, proposing to sneak in
after the close of the evening. They did so; and, about
midnight, made their entry into a certain great house, where
there had been an extraordinary entertainment the day before,
and several tit-bits, which some of the servants had purloined,
were hid under the seat of a window. The Country Guest
was immediately placed in the midst of a rich Persian carpet:
and now it was the Courtier's turn to entertain ; who, indeed,
acquitted himself in that capacity with the utmost readiness
and address, changing the courses as elegantly, and tasting
everything first as judiciously, as any clerk of a kitchen. The
other sat and enjoyed himself like a delighted epicure, tickled
to the last degree with this new turn of his affairs; when, on
a sudden, a noise of somebody opening the door made them
start from their seats, and scuttle in confusion about the
dining-room. Our Country Friend, in particular, was ready
to die with fear at the barking of a huge mastiff or two, which
opened their throats just about the same time, and made the
whole house echo. At last, recovering himself,-" Well," says
he, if this be your town life, much good may you do with it:
give me my poor quiet hole again, with my homely, but
comfortable, grey peas."
Enough is as good as a feast.
"Yes let the rich deride, the proud disdain,
These simple blessings of the lowly train;
To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
One native charm, than all the gloss of art;
Spontaneous joys, where nature has its play,
The soul adopts, and owns their first-born sway;
Lightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind,
Unenvied, unmolested, unconfined.
But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade,
With all the freaks of wanton wealth arrayed,-
In these, ere triflers half their wish obtain,
The toiling pleasure sickens into pain;
And, e'en while fashion's brightest arts decoy,
The heart distrusting asks if this be joy.
If to the city sped-what waits him there?
To see profusion that he must not share;
To see ten thousand baneful arts combined
To pamper luxury, and thin mankind;
To see those joys the sons of pleasure know,
Extorted from his fellow-creature's woe.
Here while the courtier glitters in brocade,
There the pale artist plies the sickly trade;
Here while the proud their long-drawn pomps display,
There the black gibbet glooms beside the way.
The dome where pleasure holds her midnight reign,
Here richly deck'd admits the gorgeous train:
Tumultuous grandeur crowds the blazing square,
The rattling chariots clash, the torches glare.
Sure scenes like these no troubles e'er annoy!
Sure these denote one universal joy !
40 AESOP'S FABLES.
Are these thy serious thoughts ?-Ah, turn thine eyes,
Where the poor houseless shivering female lies.
She once, perhaps, in village plenty blest
Has wept at tales of innocence distrest;
Her modest looks the cottage might adorn,
Sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the thorn;
Now lost to all; her friends, her virtue fled,
Near her betrayer's door she lays her head,
And, pinch'd with cold, and shrinking from the shower,
With heavy heart deplores that luckless hour,
When idly first, ambitious of the town,
She left her wheel and robes of country brown."
OLIVER GOLDSMITH : The Deserted Village.
THE SWALLOW AND OTHER BIRDS.
A FARMER was sowing his field with flax. The Swallow
observed it, and desired the other Birds to assist her in picking
the seed up, and destroying it; telling them, that flax was that
pernicious material of which the thread was composed which
made the fowler's nets, and by that means contributed to the
ruin of so many innocent Birds. But the poor Swallow not
having the good fortune to be regarded, the flax sprung up,
and appeared above the ground. She then put them in mind
once more of their impending danger, and wished them to
pluck it up in the bud, before it went any farther. They still
neglected her warnings; and the flax grew up into the high
stalk. She yet again desired them to attack it, for that it was
not yet too late. But all that she could get was to be ridiculed
and despised for a silly pretending prophet. The Swallow,
finding all her remonstrances availed nothing, was resolved to
leave the society of such unthinking, careless creatures, before
it was too late. So quitting the woods, she repaired to the
houses, and forsaking the conversation of the Birds, has ever
since made her abode among the dwellings of men.
A pr-denl man foreseeth the evil and hidekt himself: but the simple pass on
and are punished.
"Perhaps few narratives in History or Mythology are more signifi-
cant than that Moslem one, of Moses and the dwellers by the Dead
Sea. A tribe of men dwelt on the shores of that same Asphaltic
Lake; and having forgotten, as we are all too prone to do, the inner
facts of Nature, and taken up with the falsities and outer semblances of
it, were fallen into sad conditions,-verging indeed towards a certain
far deeper lake. Whereupon it pleased kind Heaven to send them
the Prophet Moses, with an instructive word of warning, out of
which might have sprung 'remedial measures' not a few. But no;
the men of the Dead Sea discovered, as the Valet species always
does in heroes or prophets, no comeliness in Moses; listened with
real tedium to Moses, with light grinning, or with splenetic sniffs
and sneers, affecting even to yawn; and signified, in short, that they
found him a humbug, and even a bore. Such was the candid theory
these men of the Asphalt Lake formed to themselves of Moses, That
probably he was a humbug, that certainly he was a bore.
"Moses withdrew; but Nature and his vigorous veracities did not
withdraw. The men of the Dead Sea, when we next went to visit
them, were all 'changed into apes'; sitting on the trees there
grinning now in the most unaffected manner; gibbering and chatter-
ing very genuine nonsense; finding the whole universe now a most
indisputable humbug The universe has become a humbug to these
apes who thought it one."-THOMTAS CARLYLE: Past and Present.
,ESOP'S FABLES. 43
THE HUNTED BEAVER.
IT is said that a Beaver (a creature which lives chiefly in the
water) has a certain part about him which is good in physic,
and that, upon this account, he is often hunted down and
L I. .Mr : .
killed. Once upon a time, as one of these creatures was hard
pursued by the dogs, and knew not how to escape, recollecting
with himself the reason of his being thus persecuted, with a
great resolution and presence of mind he bit off the part which
his hunters wanted, and throwing it towards them, by these
means escaped with his life.
Skin for skin, yea, all ltha a man hath will /e give for his life.
"We find the doctrine and practice of this fable to be verified in
State chases as well as in those of the woods," says L'Estrange,
and we may take the following instance from the history of James
the Second's reign to exemplify the fact.
"In spite of mortifications and humiliations, both Rochester and
Sunderland clung to office with the gripe of drowning men. Both
attempted to propitiate the King by affecting a willingness to be
reconciled to his Church. But there was a point at which Rochester
was determined to stop. He went to the verge of apostasy: but
there he recoiled: and the world, in consideration of the firmness
with which he refused to take the final step, granted him a liberal
amnesty for all former compliances. Sunderland, less scrupulous and
less sensible of shame, resolved to atone for his late moderation, and
to recover the royal confidence, by an act which, to a mind im-
pressed with the importance of religious truth, must have appeared
to be one of the most flagitious of crimes, and which even men of
the world regard as the last excess of baseness. About a week
before the day fixed for the great trial, it was publicly announced
that he was a Papist. The King talked with delight of this triumph
of divine grace. Courtiers and envoys kept their countenances as
well as they could, while the renegade protested that he had long
been convinced of the impossibility of finding salvation out of the
communion of Rome, and that his conscience would not let him
rest till he had renounced the heresies in which he had been
TIIE CAT AND THE FOX.
As the Cat and the Fox were talking politics together, on a
time, in the middle of a forest, Reynard said, Let things turn
out ever so bad, he did not care, for he had a thousand tricks
for them yet, before they should hurt him."-" But pray," says
he, "Mrs Puss, suppose there should be an invasion, what
course do you design to take ? "-" Nay," says the Cat, I have
but one shift for it, and if that won't do, I am undone."-" I am
sorry for you," replies Reynard, "with all my heart, and would
gladly furnish you with one or two of mine, but indeed,
neighbour, as times go, it is not good to trust; we must even
be every one for himself, as the saying is, and so your humble
servant." These words were scarce out of his mouth, when
they were alarmed with a pack of hounds, that came upon
them full cry. The Cat, by the help of her single shift, ran
up a tree, and sat securely among the top branches; from
whence she beheld Reynard, who had not been able to get
out of sight, overtaken, with his thousand tricks, and torn in
as many pieces by the dogs which had surrounded him.
Whoso boasleth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.
'I suppose,' cried my son, that the narrative of such a life as
yours must be extremely instructive and amusing.'
"'Not much of either,' returned Mr Jenkinson. 'Those relations
which describe the tricks and vices of mankind, by increasing our
suspicion in life, retard our success. The traveller that distrusts
every person he meets, and turns back upon the appearance of every
man that looks like a robber, seldom arrives in time at his journey's
'Indeed, I think, from my own experience, that the knowing one
is the silliest fellow under the sun. I was thought cunning from my
very childhood: when but seven years old, the ladies would say that
I was a perfect little man; at fourteen I knew the world, cocked my
hat, and loved the ladies; at twenty, though I was perfectly honest,
yet every one thought me so cunning, that not one would trust me.
Thus I was at last obliged to turn sharper in my own defence, and
have lived ever since, my head throbbing with schemes to deceive,
and my heart palpitating with fears of detection. I used often to
laugh at your honest, simple neighbour, Flamborough, and, one way
or another, generally cheated him once a year. Yet still the honest
man went forward without suspicion and grew rich; while I still
continued tricksy and cunning, and was poor without the consolation
of being honest.' "-OLIVER GOLDSMITH: The Vicar of Wakefield.
THE CAT AND THE MICE.
A CERTAIN house was much infested with Mice; but at last
they got a Cat, who catched and eat every day some of them.
The Mice, finding their numbers grow thin, consulted what
was best to be done for the preservation of the public from
the jaws of the devouring Cat. They debated and came to
this resolution, That no one should go down below the upper
shelf. The Cat, observing the Mice no longer came down as
usual, hungry and disappointed of her prey, had recourse to
this stratagem: she hung by her hinder legs on a peg which
48 AESOP'S FABLES.
stuck in the wall, and made as if she had been dead, hoping
by this lure to entice the Mice to come down. She had not
been in this posture long, before a cunning old Mouse peeped
over the edge of the shelf, and spoke thus :-" Aha, my good
friend, are you there! there may you be! I would not trust
myself with you, though your skin were stuffed with straw."
The burnt child dreads the fire.
Prudent folks never trust those a second time who have deceived
them once. And, indeed, we cannot well be too cautious in follow-
ing this rule; for, upon examination, we shall find, that most of
the misfortunes which befall us proceed from our too great credulity.
They that know how to suspect, without exposing or hurting them-
selves, till honesty comes to be more in fashion, can never suspect
THE LION AND OTHER BEASTS.
THE Lion and several other Beasts entered into an alliance
offensive and defensive, and were to live very sociably together
in the forest. One day, having made a sort of an excursion
by way of hunting, they took a very fine, large, fat deer, which
was divided into four parts; there happening to be then
present his majesty the Lion, and only three others. After
the division was made, and the parts were set out, his majesty
advancing forward some steps, and pointing to one of the
shares, was pleased to declare himself after the following
manner: This I seize and take possession of as my right,
which devolves to me, as I am descended by a true, lineal,
hereditary succession from the royal family of Lion : that
(pointing to the second) I claim by, I think, no unreasonable
demand; considering that all the engagements you have with
the enemy turn chiefly upon my courage and conduct; and
you very well know, that wars are too expensive to be carried
on without proper supplies. Then (nodding his head towards
the third) that I shall take by virtue of my prerogative; to
which, I make no question, but so dutiful and loyal a people
will pay all the deference and regard that I can desire. Now,
as for the remaining part, the necessity of our present affairs
is so very urgent, our stock so low, and our credit so impaired
and weakened, that I must insist upon your granting that,
without any hesitation or demur; and hereof fail not at your
Might overcomes Right.
"By oppression, I mean that open and barefaced robbery of
seizing upon the possessions of others, and owning and avowing the
doing so. For the doing of this there are several instruments; as
first, That of power, by which many nations and princes have been
turned out of their rights, and many private men out of their estates;
sometimes again, Law is made the instrument of it; he that covets
his neighbour's lands or goods, pretends a claim to them, and then
by corrupting of Justice, by bribes and gifts, or else overruling it by
greatness and authority, gets judgment on his side; this is a high
oppression, and of the worst sort, thus to make the law, which was
intended for the protection and defence of men's rights, to be the
means of overthrowing them; and it is a very heavy guilt, that lies
both on him that procures and on him that pronounces such a
sentence; yea, and on the lawyer too that pleads such a cause, for
by so doing he assists in the oppression."-The Whole Duty of
THE LION AND THE MOUSE.
A LION, faint with heat, and weary with hunting, was laid
down to take his repose under the spreading boughs of a
thick, shady oak. It happened that, while he slept, a company
of scrambling mice ran over his back, and waked him; upon
which, starting up, he clapped his paw upon one of them, and
was just going to put it to death, when the little suppliant
implored his mercy in a very moving manner, begging him
not to stain his noble character with the blood of so despicable
and small a beast. The Lion, considering the matter, thought
proper to do as he was desired, and immediately released his
little trembling prisoner. Not long after, traversing the forest
in pursuit of his prey, he chanced to run into the toils of the
hunters; from whence, not able to disengage himself, he set
up a most hideous and loud roar. The Mouse, hearing the
voice, and knowing it to be the Lion's, immediately repaired
to the place, and bid him fear nothing, for that he was his
friend. Then straight he fell to work, and, with his little sharp
teeth, gnawing asunder the knots and fastenings of the toils,
set the royal brute at liberty.
Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after many aays.
This fable gives us to understand, that there is no person in the
world so little, but even the greatest may, at some time or other,
stand in need of his assistance; and consequently that it is good to
use clemency, where there is any room for it, towards those who fall
.within our power. A generosity of this kind is a handsome virtue,
and looks very graceful whenever it is exerted, if there were nothing
else in it: but as the lowest people in life may, upon occasion, have
it in their power either to serve or hurt us, that makes it our duty, in
point of common interest, to behave ourselves with good nature and
lenity towards all with whom we have to do. Then the gratitude of
the Mouse, and his readiness, not only to repay, but even to exceed,
the obligation due to his benefactor, notwithstanding his little body,
gives us the specimen of a great soul, which is never so much
delighted as with an opportunity of shewing how sensible it is or
,ESOP S FABLES.
THE FATAL MARRIAGE.
THE Lion aforesaid, touched with the grateful procedure of
the Mouse, and resolving not to be outdone in generosity by
any wild beast whatsoever, desired his little deliverer to name
his own terms, for that he might depend upon his complying
with any proposal he should make. The Mouse, fired with
ambition at this gracious offer, did not so much consider what
was proper for him to ask, as what was in the power of his
prince to grant; and so presumptuously demanded his
princely daughter, the young Lioness, in marriage. The Lion
consented; but when he would have given the royal virgin
into his possession, she, like a giddy thing as she was, not
minding how she walked, by chance set her paw upon her
spouse, who was coming to meet her, and crushed her little
dear to pieces.
The hind that would be mailed by the lion must die for love.
"Ere with cold beads of midnight dew
Had mingled tears of thine
I grieved, fond youth that thou should'st sue
To haughty Geraldine.
Immovable by generous sighs,
She glories in a train
Who drag, beneath our native skies,
An oriental chain.
Pine not like them with arms across,
Forgetting in thy care,
How the fast-rooted trees can toss
Their branches in mid air.
"The humblest rivulet will take
Its own wild liberties;
And, every day, the imprisoned lake
Is flowing in the breeze.
Then crouch no more on suppliant knee,
But scorn with scorn outbrave;
A Briton, even in love, should be
A subject, not a slave!"
THE MISCHIEVOUS DOG.
A CERTAIN man had a Dog, which was so curst and mis-
chievous, that he was forced to fasten a heavy clog about his
neck, to keep him from running at and worrying people.
This the vain cur took for a badge of honourable distinction;
and grew so insolent upon it, that he looked down with an air
of scorn upon the neighboring dogs, and refused to keep
them company. But a sly old poacher, who was one of the
gang, assured him, that he had no reason to value himself
upon the favour he wore, since it was fixed upon him rather
as a mark of disgrace than of honour.
Man, know thyself! all wisdom centres there.
"A traveller, in his way to Italy, happening to pass at the foot of
the Alps, found himself at last in a country where the inhabitants
had each a large excrescence depending from the chin, like the
pouch of a monkey. This deformity, as it was endemic, and the
people little used to strangers, it had been the custom, time im-
memorial, to look upon as the greatest ornament of the human
visage. Ladies grew toasts from the size of their chins, and none were
regarded as pretty fellows but such whose faces were broadest at the
bottom. It was Sunday; a country church was at hand, and our
traveller was willing to perform the duties of the day. Upon his first
appearance at the church door the eyes of all were naturally fixed
upon the stranger; but what was their amazement, when they found
that he actually wanted that emblem of beauty, a pursed chin!
This was a defect that not a single creature had sufficient gravity
(though they were noted for being grave) to withstand. Stifled
bursts of laughter, winks, and whispers circulated from visage to
visage, and the prismatic figure of the stranger's face was a fund of
infinite gaiety; even the parson, equally remarkable for his gravity and
chin, could hardly refrain joining in the good humour. Our traveller
could no longer patiently continue an object for deformity to point
at. 'Good folks,' said he, 'I perceive that I am the unfortunate
cause of all this good humour. It is true I may have faults in
abundance; but I shall never be induced to reckon my want of a
swelled face among the number.'"-OLIVER GOLDSMITH.
THE OX AND THE FROG.
AN Ox, grazing in a meadow, chanced to set his foot among
a parcel of young Frogs, and trod one of them to death. The
rest informed their mother, when she came home, what had
happened; telling her, that the beast which did it was the
hugest creature that they ever saw in their lives. What, was
it so big?" says the old Frog, swelling and blowing up her
speckled belly to a great degree. Oh! bigger by a vast
deal," say they. "And so big?" says she, straining herself
yet more. "Indeed, mamma," say they, "if you were to
burst yourself, you would never be so big." She strove yet
again, and burst herself indeed.
Rival not thy bellers.
Whenever a man endeavours to live equal with one of a greater
fortune than himself, he is sure to share a like fate with the Frog in
the fable. How many vain people, of moderate easy circumstances,
burst and come to nothing, by vying with those whose estates are
more ample than their own! Sir Changeling Plumstock was pos-
sessed of a very considerable estate, devolved to him by the death of
an old uncle, who had adopted him his heir. He had a false taste of
happiness; and, without the least economy, trusting to the sufficiency
of his vast revenue, was resolved to be outdone by nobody in showish
grandeur and expensive living. He gave five thousand pounds for
a piece of ground in the country to set a house upon; the building
and furniture of which cost fifty thousand more; and his gardens
were proportionably magnificent. Besides which, he thought himself
under a necessity of buying out two or three tenements which stood
in his neighbourhood, that he might have elbow-room enough. All
this he could very well bear; and still might have been happy, had it'
not been for an unfortunate view which he one day happened to take
of my Lord Castlebuilder's gardens, which consist of twenty acres,
whereas his own were not above twelve. From that time he grew
pensive; and before the ensuing winter gave five-and-thirty years'
purchase for a dozen acres more to enlarge his gardens, built a couple
of exorbitant greenhouses, and a large pavilion at the farther end of
a terrace-walk. The bare repairs and superintendencies of all which
call for the remaining part of his income. He is mortgaged pretty
deep, and pays nobody; but, being a privileged person, resides al-
together at a private cheap lodging in the city of Westminster.
THE FOX AND THE LION.
THE first time the Fox saw the Lion, he fell down at his feet,
and was ready to die with fear. The second time, he took
courage and could even bear to look upon him. The third
time he had the impudence to come up to him, to salute him,
and to enter into familiar conversation with him.
Familiarity breeds contempt.
From this fable we may observe the two extremes in which we
may fail as to a proper behaviour towards our superiors: the one is
a bashfulness, proceeding either from a vicious guilty mind, or a
timorous rusticity; the other, an overbearing impudence, which
assumes more than becomes it, and so renders the person insuffer-
able to the conversation of well-bred, reasonable people. But there
is this difference between the bashfulness that arises from a want
of education, and the shamefacedness that accompanies conscious
guilt : the first, by a continuance of time and a nearer acquaintance,
may be ripened into a proper liberal behaviour; the other no sooner
finds an easy practicable access, but it throws off all manner of
reverence, grows every day more and more familiar, and branches
out into the utmost indecency and irregularity. Indeed, there are
many occasions which may happen to cast an awe, or even a terror,
upon our minds at first view, without any just and reasonable grounds;
but upon a little recollection, or a nearer insight, we recover our-
selves, and can appear indifferent and unconcerned, where, before,
we were ready to sink under a load of diffidence and fear. We
should, upon such occasions, use our endeavours to regain a due
degree of steadiness and resolution; but, at the same time, we must
have a care that our efforts in that respect do not force the balance
too much, and make it rise to an unbecoming freedom and an
THE APE AND THE FOX.
THE Ape meeting the Fox one day, humbly requested him
to give him a piece of his fine long brush tail, for a protection
against the inclemency of the weather; For," says he, Rey-
nard, you have already more than you have occasion for, and
a great part of it even drags .along in the dirt." The Fox
answered, That as to his having too much, that was more
than he knew; but be it as it would, he had rather sweep the
ground with his tail as long as he lived, than deprive himself
of the least bit to make up the Ape's deficiencies."
And whia's impossible can't be,
And never, never comes to pass.
"There are certain rules to be observed, as well in asking as
denying. Things against Nature are unreasonable on both sides.
Things impossible are ridiculous in the very proposal; and things
which the one cannot spare, and the other will be never the better
for, fall naturally within the Compass of Exceptions: That is to say,
those things that we know not what to do withal if we had them;
and those things, again, which another cannot part with, but to his
own loss and shame. These points are the very conditions of this
fable. Here's a general caution against extravagant desires, and
yet let the refusal be never so just, it is possible, however, that a
man may oppose a most unconscionable request for an unjusti-
fiable reason; as in the case for the purpose of an ill-natured
denial, out of a dislike of the man, rather than of the thing itself.
"The application of this fable to avarice, that will part with no-
thing, seems to be wrested; for it strikes more properly upon the
folly of peoples not being satisfied with the appointments of Nature.
An ape with a tail would be as scandalous as a fox without one.
Why should not any one creature envy the whole, as well as any
one part of another? And why should not an ape be as much
troubled that he has no wings, as that he has no tail? This
grumbling humour has envy in it, avarice, and ingratitude, and
sets up itself, in fine, against all the works of the creation."-SIR
THE DOG IN THE MANGER.
A DOG was lying upon a manger full of hay. An Ox, being
hungry, came near, and offered to eat of the hay; but the
en ious, ill-natured cur, getting up and snarling at him, would
.- -; I
not suffer him to touch it. Upon which the Ox, in the bitter-
ness of his heart, said, A curse light on thee, for a malicious
wretch, who wilt neither eat hay thyself, nor suffer others to
WVithout good nature, mtan is but a better kind oq vermin.
"It is not in everybody's power, because he has not a fortune
64 AESOP'S FABLES.
answerable to it, to form a standing habit of charity, by redress-
ing the injured, relieving the distressed, and cherishing men of
merit; but it is in everybody's power to beget in himself this lovely
disposition of mind, by studying to adjust his temper to theirs with
whom he lives, by complying with their humours as far as he inno-
cently can, by soothing their distresses, bearing with their infirmities,
and by incommoding himself in some points to gratify others. On
the contrary, the indulgence of an occasional fit of ill humour paves
the way to an habitually bad-temper. And to those who think it a
small matter, Solon's answer is a very just one: 'Yes, but custom
is a great one.' Did we consider seriously that, as often as we are
exerting a spirit of needless contradiction, or venting an ill-natured
wit to mortify those about us, we are cherishing a principle of ill
will, the very temper of the damned, it would, it is to be hoped, put
some stop to this practice. But here the misfortune lies : men are
more ambitious to display the abilities of the head, than to cultivate
the good qualities of the heart; though the latter are in everybody's
power, the former few have any title to."-JEREMIAH SEED.
THE BIRDS, THE BEASTS, AND THE BAT.
ONCE upon a time there commenced a fierce war between
the Birds and the Beasts; when the Bat, taking advantage of
his ambiguous make, hoped, by that means, to live secure in
a state of neutrality, and save his bacon. It was not long
before the forces on each side met, and gave a battle; and
their animosities running very high, a bloody slaughter
ensued. The Bat, at the beginning of the day, thinking the
Birds most likely to carry it, lifted himself among them; but
kept fluttering at a little distance, that he might the better
observe, and take his measures accordingly. However, after
some time spent in the action, the army of the Beasts seeming
to prevail, he went entirely over to them, and endeavoured to
convince them, by the affinity which he had to a mouse, that
he was by nature a beast, and would always continue firm and
true to their interest. His plea was admitted; but, in the
end, the advantage turning completely on the side of the
Birds, under the admirable conduct and courage of their
general the eagle, the Bat, to save his life, and escape the
disgrace of falling into the hands of his deserted friends,
betcok himself to flight; and ever since, skulking in caves
and hollow trees all day, as if ashamed to shew himself, he
never appears till the dusk of the evening, when all the
feathered inhabitants of the air are gone to roost.
Rioulnd dealing is Ite honour of man's nature.
0 coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me !
The lights burn blue. It is now dead midnight.
Cold fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh.
What! do I fear myself? there's none else by:
Richard loves Richard; that is, I am I.
Is there a murderer here? No. Yes; I am.
Then fly. What! from myself? Great reason why;
Lest I revenge. What! myself upon myself?
Alack I love myself. Wherefore? for any good
That I myself have dcne unto myself?
O, no alas, I rather hate myself
For hateful deed committed by myself!
I am a villain. Yet I lie; I am not.
Fool, of thyself speak well: fool, do not flatter.
My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,
And every tongue brings in a several tale,
And every tale condemns me for a villain.
Perjury, perjury, in the high'st degree;
Murder, stern murder, in the direst degree,
All several sins, all used in each degree,
YESOP'S FABLES. 67
Throng to the bar, crying all, 'Guilty guilty t'
I shall despair. There is no creature loves me;
And if I die, no soul shall pity me;
Nay, wherefore should they, since that I myself
Find in myself no pity to myself? "
King Richard III
THE FOX AND THE TIGER.
A SKILFUL archer coming into the woods, directed his arrows
so successfully, that he slew many wild beasts, and pursued
several others. This put the whole savage kind into a fearful
consternation, and made them fly to the most retired thickets
for refuge. At last, the Tiger resumed a courage, and,
bidding them not to be afraid, said that he alone would
engage the enemy; telling them, they might depend upon his
valour and strength to revenge their wrongs. In the midst
of.these threats, while he was lashing himself with his tail,
and tearing up the ground for anger, an arrow pierced his
ribs, and hung by its barbed point in his side. He set up an
hideous and loud roar, occasioned by the anguish which he
felt, and endeavoured to draw out the painful dart with his
teeth; when the Fox, approaching him, inquired, with an air
of surprise, who it was that could have strength and courage
enough to wound so mighty and valorous a beast !-'" Ah !"
says the Tiger, I was mistaken in my reckoning: it was that
invincible man yonder."
Let not him that girdeth on his harness, boast himselfas he that pttteth it off.
"Boldness without counsel, is no better than an impetus, which
is commonly worsted, by conduct and design. There's no man so
daring but some time or other he meets with his match. The
moral, in short, holds forth this doctrine, that reason is too hard
for force, and that temerity puts a man off his guard. 'Tis a high
point of honour, philosophy, and virtue, for a man to be so present
to himself as to be always provided against all encounters and
accidents whatsoever; but this will not hinder him from inquiring
diligently into the character, strength, motions, and designs of an
enemy. The Tiger lost his life for want of this circumspection."-
SIR ROGER L'ESTRANGE.
THE LIONESS AND THE FOX.
THE Lioness and the Fox meeting together, fell into dis-
course; and the conversation turning upon the breeding and
the fruitfulness of some living creatures above others, the Fox
could not forbear taking the opportunity of observing to the
Lioness, that, for her part, she thought Foxes were as happy
in that respect as almost any other creatures; for that they
bred constantly once a year, if not oftener, and always had a
good litter of cubs at every birth: and yet," says she, there
are those who are never delivered of more than one at a time,
and that perhaps not above once or twice through their whole
life, who hold up their noses, and value themselves so much
upon it, that they think all other creatures beneath them, and
scarce worthy to be spoken to." The Lioness, who all the
while perceived at whom this reflection pointed, was fired
with resentment, and with a good deal of vehemence replied-
" What you have observed may be true, and that not without
reason. You produce a great many at a litter, and often;
but what are they? Foxes. I indeed have but one at a time,
but you should remember that this one is a Lion."
Where yet was ever found a mother,
1Who'd give her booby for another."-GAY.
"There are more fools in the world than wise men, and more
knaves than honest men : so that it is not number, but excellency,
that enhances the value of any thing. The most copious writers are
commonly the arrantest scribblers; and in so much talking, the
tongue is apt to run before the wit In many words there is folly,
but a word in season is like apples of gold in pictures of silver : says
the Oracle of Truth itself. And we have it from the same authority,
that our very prayers, when they are loud and long, are in the sight
of Heaven no better than so much babbling; and that they have
more in them of hypocrisy and ostentation, than of affection and
judgment. The great Creator of the Universe, whose singlefiat was
sufficient to have made ten thousand worlds in the twinkling of an
eye, allowed himself six days yet for the finishing of his purpose:
Paused upon every day's work, considered of it, reviewed it, and
pronounced it good, and so proceeded. Right reason moves, in
some proportion, by the same steps and degrees with this inimitable
example: it deliberates, projects, executes, weighs, and approves.
Nature does nothing in a huddle, and human prudence should govern
itself by the same measures. A plurality of voices, 'tis true, carries
the question in all our debates, but rather as an expedient for peace
than an eviction of the right; for there are millions of errors to one
reason, and truth; and ap5oint is not so easy to be hit. In a word,
72 AESOP'S FABLES.
the old saying is a shrewd one,-that wise men propose, and fools
determine. Take the world to pieces, and there are a thousand
sots to one philosopher; and as many swarms of flies to one
eagle. Lions do not come into the world in liiters."-SIR ROGER
THE OAK AND THE REED.
AN Oak, which hung over the bank of a river, was blown
down by a violent storm of wind; and as it was carried along
by the stream, some of its boughs brushed against a Reed
--- --- -_- ---i-'.- _- -- -:-- -'-.---"'": ." ,-- ---.,
which grew near the shore. This struck the Oak with a
thought of admiration; and he could not forbear asking the
Reed how he came to stand so secure and unhurt in a tempest,
which had been furious enough to tear an Oak up by the
roots? "Why," says the Reed, I secure myself by putting
on a behaviour quite contrary to what you do: instead of
i-:.-.- ;-. ~ Ii "'~;
being stubborn and stiff, and confiding in my strength, I yield
and bend to the blast, and let it go over me; knowing how
vain and fruitless it would be to resist."
Bend or Break.
THE OAK AND THE BROOM:
"His simple truths did Andrew glean
Beside the babbling rills;
A careful student he had been
Among the woods and hills.
One winter's night, when through the trees
The wind was roaring, on his knees
His youngest born did Andrew hold:
And while the rest, a ruddy quire,
Were seated round their blazing fire,
This tale the shepherd told:-
'I saw a crag, a lofty stone
As ever tempest beat!
Out of its head an Oak had grown,
A Broom out of its feet.
The time was March, a cheerful noon-
The thaw-wind, with the breath of June,
Breathed gently from the warm south-west
When, in a voice sedate with age,
This Oak, a giant and a sage,
His neighbour thus addressed:
"'Eight weary weeks, through rock and clay
Along this mountain's edge,
The frost hath wrought both night and day
Wedge driving after wedge.
Look up! and think above your head
What trouble, surely, will be bred;
Last night I heard a crash-'tis true,
The splinters took another road-
I see them yonder-what a load
For such a thing as you !
"'You are preparing, as before,
To deck your slender shape;
And yet, just three years back-no more-
You had a strange escape.
Down from yon cliff a fragment broke;
In thunder down, with fire and smoke,
And hitherward pursued its way:
This ponderous block was caught by me,
And o'er your head, as you may see,
'Tis hanging to this day !
"' The thing had better been asleep,
Whatever thing it were,
Or breeze, or bird, or dog, or sheep,
That first did plant you there.
For you and your green twigs decoy
The little witless shepherd-boy
To come and slumber in your bower;
And, trust me, on some sultry noon,
Both you and he, Heaven knows how soon,
Will perish in one hour.
"'From me this friendly warning take'-
The Broom began to doze,
And thus to keep herself awake
Did gently interpose:
'My thanks for your discourse are due;
That more than what you say is true
I know, and I have known it long;
Frail is the bond by which we hold
Our being, whether young or old,
Wise, foolish, weak, or strong.
"'Disasters, do the best we can,
Will reach both great and small;
And he is oft the wisest man
Who is not wise at all.
For me, why should I wish to roam !
This spot is my paternal home,
It is my pleasant heritage;
My father many a happy year
Here spent his careless blossoms, here
Attained a good old age.
" 'Even such as his may be my lot.
What cause have I to haunt
My heart with terrors? Am I not
In truth a favoured plant !
On me such bounty summer pours,
That I am covered o'er with flowers;
And, when the frost is in the sky,
My branches are so fresh and gay
That you might look at me and say,
This plant can never die.
The butterfly, all green and gold,
To me hath often flown,
Here in my blossoms to behold
Wings lovely as his own.
When grass is chill with rain or dew,
Beneath my shade, the mother ewe
Lies with her infant lamb ; I see
The love they to each other make,
And the sweet joy, which they partake,
It is a joy to me.'
"Her voice was blithe, her heart was light;
The Broom might have pursued
Her speech, until the stars of night
Their-journey had renewed:
But in the branches of the Oak
Two ravens now began to croak
Their nuptial song, a gladsome air;
And to her own green bower the breeze
That instant brought two stripling bees
To rest, or murmur there.
"One night, my children from the north
There came a furious blast;
IESOP'S FABLES. 77
At break of day I ventured forth,
And near the cliff I passed.
The storm had fallen upon the Oak,
And struck him with a mighty stroke,
And whirled, and whirled him far away;
And, in one hospitable cleft,
The little careless Broom was left
To live for many a day."
THE WIND AND THE SUN.
A DISPUTE once arose betwixt the north Wind and the Sun,
about the superiority of their power; and they agreed to try
their strength upon a traveller, which should be able to get
his cloak' off first. The north Wind began, and blew a very
cold blast, accompanied with a sharp, driving shower. But
this, and whatever else he could do, instead of making the
man quit his cloak, obliged him to gird it about his body as
close as possible. Next came the Sun, who, breaking out
from a thick watery cloud, drove away the cold vapours from
the sky, and darted his warm, sultry beams upon the head of
the poor weather-beaten traveller. The man growing faint
with the heat, and unable to endure it any longer, first throws
off his heavy cloak, and then flies for protection to the shade
of a neighboring grove.
A soft answer wurnetl away wrath.
A stern man will often harden his heart to all the arguments and
appeals of those who may address themselves to him on the basis
of reason or force, and yet yield to the softer appeals of affection.
Coriolanus, driven from Rome by the ingratitude of his fellow-citizens,
returned with a powerful and conquering army, determined to reduce
the pride of the city, and revenge himself on those who had expelled
him. The Romans, disorganised and leaderless, agreed to send
ambassadors to treat for peace. Coriolanus answered them with
bitterness and high resentment of the injuries done him, and refused
their offers. Again the Senate sent an embassy to entreat him to
forget his resentment and withdraw his army, but with no better
success. Then, as a last resort, they sent all the priests and diviners
in their robes, with orders to exert their utmost endeavours to per-
suade him to desist from the war; but they, too, met with the same
unwavering refusal. The fate of Rome seemed fixed, when Volumnia,
the mother of Coriolanus, with Virgilia his wife and his children, went
with the other matrons to the Volscian camp. The sight of them
produced, even in the enemy, compassion and a reverential silence.
Coriolanus endeavoured to retain his wonted sternness and inexor-
able temper, though he perceived that his wife was at the head of
them. But, unable to resist the emotions of affection, he descended
from his seat and ran to meet them. First he embraced his mother
for a considerable time, and afterwards his wife and children, neither
refraining from tears nor any other instance of natural tenderness.
Volumnia then addressed him, and, appealing to the gratitude that he
owed to his parents, implored him on her knees to go no further;
upon which Coriolanus, crying out "0 Mother! what is it you have
done ? raised her from the ground, and, tenderly pressing her hand,
continued, "you have gained a victory fortunate for your country,
but ruinous to me. I go, vanquished by you alone."
THE KITE, TIE FROG, AND THE MOUSE.
THERE was once a great emulation between the Frog and
the Mouse, which should be master of the fen, and wars
ensued upon it. But the crafty Mouse, lurking under the
grass in ambuscade, made sudden sallies, and often surprised
the enemy at a disadvantage. The frog, excelling in strength,
and being more able to leap abroad and take the field,
challenged the Mouse to single combat. The Mouse accepts
the challenge; and each of them entered the lists, armed with
a point of a bulrush instead of a spear. A Kite, sailing in the