A Hare was making fun of the Tortoise one day for being so slow.
"Do you ever get anywhere?" he asked with a mocking laugh.
"Yes," replied the Tortoise, "and I get there sooner than you think. I'll run you a race and prove it."
The Hare was much amused at the idea of running a race with the Tortoise, but for the fun of the thing he agreed. So the Fox, who had consented to act as judge, marked the distance and started the runners off.
The Hare was soon far out of sight, and to make the Tortoise feel very deeply how ridiculous it was for him to try a race with a Hare, he lay down beside the course to take a nap until the Tortoise should catch up.
The Tortoise meanwhile kept slowly but steadily, and, after a time, passed the place where the Hare was sleeping. But the Hare slept on very peacefully; and when at last he did wake up, the Tortoise was near the goal. The Hare now ran his swiftest, but he could not overtake the Tortoise in time.
The race is not always to the swift.
THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE
Fables Card #2 The Ants and the Grasshopper ==>>
The Ants and the Grasshopper.
The Ants were employing a fine winter's day in drying grain collected in the summer time. A Grasshopper, perishing with famine, passed by and earnestly begged for a little food. The Ants inquired of him: "Why did you not treasure up food during the summer?" He replied: "I had not leisure; I passed the days in singing." They then said: "If you were foolish enough to sing all the summer, you must dance supperless to bed in the winter."
Idleness brings want.
Fables Card #3 The Shepherd's Boy and Wolf ==>>
The Shepherd's Boy and Wolf.
A Shepherd-boy, who watched a flock of sheep near a village, brought out the villagers three or four times by crying out, "Wolf! Wolf!" and when his neighbors came to help him, laughed at them for their pains. The Wolf, however, did truly come at last. The Shepherd-boy, now really alarmed, shouted in an agony of terror: "Pray, do come and help me; the Wolf is killing the sheep;" but no one paid any heed to his cries.
There is no believing a liar, even when he speaks the truth.
Fables Card #4 The Wolf Turned Shepherd ==>>
The Wolf Turned Shepherd.
A wolf, finding that the sheep were so afraid of him that he could not get near them, disguised himself in the dress of a shepherd, and thus attired approached the flock. As he came near, he found the shepherd fast asleep. As the sheep did not run away, he resolved to imitate the voice of the shepherd. In trying to do so, he only howled, and awoke the shepherd. As he could not run away, he was soon killed.
Those who attempt to act in disguise are apt to overdo it.
Fables Card #5 The Stag at the Pool ==>>
The Stag at the Pool.
A stag saw his shadow reflected in the water, and greatly admired the size of his horns, but felt angry with himself for having such weak feet. While he was thus contemplating himself, a Lion appeared at the pool. The Stag betook himself to flight, and kept himself with ease at a safe distance from the Lion, until he entered a wood and became entangled with his horns. The Lion quickly came up with him and caught him. When too late he thus reproached himself: "Woe is me! How have I deceived myself! These feet which would have saved me I despised, and I gloried in these antlers which have proved my destruction."
What is most truly valuable is often underrated.
Fables Card #6 The Fox and the Mask ==>>
The Fox and the Mask.
A fox entered the house of an actor, and, rummaging through all his properties, came upon a Mask, an admirable imitation of a human head. He placed his paws on it, and said: "What a beautiful head! yet it is of no value, as it entirely wants brains."
A fair face is of little use without sense.
Fables Card #7 The Bear and the Fox ==>>
The Bear and the Fox.
A bear boasted very much of his philanthropy, saying "that of all animals he was the most tender in his regard for man, for he had such respect for him, that he would not even touch his dead body." A Fox hearing these words said with a smile to the Bear: "Oh, that you would eat the dead and not the living!"
We should not wait till a person is dead, to give him our respect.
Fables Card #8 The Wolf and the Lamb ==>>
The Wolf and the Lamb.
A Wolf, meeting with a Lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea, which should justify to the Lamb himself his right to eat him. He then addressed him: "Sirrah, last year you grossly insulted me." "Indeed," bleated the Lamb in a mournful tone of voice, "I was not then born." Then said the Wolf: "You feed in my pasture." "No, good sir," replied the Lamb, "I have not yet tasted grass." Again said the Wolf: "You drink of my well." "No," exclaimed the Lamb, "I never yet drank water, for as yet my mother's milk is both food and drink to me." On which the Wolf seized him, and ate him up, saying: "Well! I won't remain supperless, even though you refute every one of my imputations."
The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny, and it is useless for the innocent to try by reasoning to get justice, when the oppressor intends to be unjust.
Fables Card #9 The One-Eyed Doe ==>>
The One-Eyed Doe.
A Doe, blind of an eye, was accustomed to graze as near to the edge of the sea as she possibly could, to secure greater safety. She turned her eye towards the land, that she might perceive the approach of a hunter or hound, and her injured eye towards the sea, from which she entertained no anticipation of danger. Some boatmen, sailing by, saw her, and, taking a successful aim, mortally wounded her. Said she: "O wretched creature that I am! to take such precaution against the land, and, after all, to find this seashore, to which I had come for safety, so much more perilous."
Danger sometimes comes from a source that is least suspected.
Fables Card #10 The Dog, Cock and Fox ==>>
The Dog, Cock and Fox.
A Dog and a Cock, traveling together, took shelter at night in a thick wood. The Cock perched himself on a high branch, while the Dog found a bed at the foot of the tree. When morning dawned, the Cock, as usual, crowed very loudly. A Fox, hearing the sound, and wishing to make a breakfast on him, came and stood under the branches, saying how earnestly he desired to make the acquaintance of the owner of so sweet a voice.
"If you will admit me," said he, "I should very much like to spend the day with you."
The Cock said: "Sir, do me the favor to go round and wake up my porter, that he may open the door, and let you in." On the Fox approaching the tree, the Dog sprang out and caught him and quickly tore him in pieces.
Those who try to entrap others are often caught by their own schemes.
Fables Card #11 The Mouse, the Frog, and the Hawk ==>>
The Mouse, the Frog, and the Hawk.
A Mouse, by an unlucky chance, formed an intimate acquaintance with a Frog. The Frog one day, intent on mischief, bound the foot of the Mouse tightly to his own. Thus joined together, the Frog led his friend toward the pool in which he lived, until he reached the very brink, when suddenly jumping in, he dragged the Mouse in with him. The Frog enjoyed the water amazingly, and swam croaking about as if he had done a meritorious action. The unhappy Mouse was soon suffocated with the water, and his dead body floated about on the surface, tied to the foot of the Frog. A Hawk observed it, and, pouncing upon it, carried it up aloft. The Frog, being still fastened to the leg of the Mouse, was also carried off a prisoner, and was eaten by the Hawk.
Harm hatch, harm catch.
Fables Card #12 The Dog and the Oyster ==>>
The Dog and the Oyster.
A Dog, used to eating eggs, saw an Oyster, and opening his mouth to its widest extent, swallowed it down with the utmost relish, supposing it to be an egg. Soon afterwards suffering great pain in his stomach, he said: "I deserve all this torment, for my folly in thinking that everything round must be an egg."
Who acts in haste repents at leisure.
Fables Card #13 The Wolf and the Shepherds ==>>
The Wolf and the Shepherds.
A Wolf passing by, saw some shepherds in a hut eating for their dinner a haunch of mutton. Approaching them, he said: "What a clamor you would raise, if I were to do as you are doing!"
Men are too apt to condemn in others the very things they practice themselves.
Fables Card #14 The Hares and the Frogs ==>>
The Hares and the Frogs.
The Hares, oppressed with a sense of their own exceeding timidity, and weary of the perpetual alarm to which they were exposed, with one accord determined to put an end to themselves and their troubles, by jumping from a lofty precipice into a deep lake below. As they scampered off in a very numerous body to carry out their resolve, the Frogs lying on the banks of the lake heard the noise of their feet, and rushed helter-skelter to the deep water for safety. On seeing the rapid disappearance of the Frogs, one of the Hares cried out to his companions: "Stay, my friends, do not do as you intended; for you now see that other creatures who yet live are more timorous than ourselves."
We are encouraged by seeing others that are worse off than ourselves.
Fables Card #15 The Lion and the Boar ==>>
The Lion and the Boar.
On a summer day, when the great heat induced a general thirst, a Lion and a Boar came at the same moment to a small well to drink. They fiercely disputed which of them should drink first, and were soon engaged in the agonies of a mortal combat. On their stopping on a sudden to take breath for the fiercer renewal of the strife, they saw some Vultures waiting in the distance to feast on the one which should fall first. They at once made up their quarrel, saying: "It is better for us to make friends, than to become the food of Crows or Vultures, as will certainly happen if we are disabled."
Those who strive are often watched by others who will take advantage of their defeat to benefit themselves.
Fables Card #16 The Mischievous Dog ==>>
The Mischievous Dog.
A Dog used to run up quietly to the heels of those he met, and to bite them without notice. His master
sometimes suspended a bell about his neck, that he might give notice of his presence wherever he went, and sometimes he fastened a chain about his neck, to which was attached a heavy clog, so that he could not be so quick at biting people's heels.
The Dog grew proud of his bell and clog, and went with them all over the market-place. An old hound said to him: "Why do you make such an exhibition of yourself? That bell and clog that you carry are not, believe me, orders of merit, but, on the contrary, marks of disgrace, a public notice to all men to avoid you as an ill-mannered dog."
Those who achieve notoriety often mistake it for fame.
Fables Card #17 The Quack Frog ==>>
The Quack Frog.
A Frog once made proclamation to all the beasts that he was a learned physician, and able to heal all diseases. A Fox asked him: "How can you pretend to prescribe for others, and you are unable to heal your own lame gait and wrinkled skin?"
Those who pretend that they can mend others should first mend themselves, and then they will be more readily believed.
Fables Card #18 The Ass, the Fox, and the Lion ==>>
The Ass, the Fox, and the Lion.
The Ass and the Fox, having entered into a partnership together, went out into the forest to hunt. They had not proceeded far, when they met a Lion. The Fox approached the Lion and promised to contrive for him the capture of the Ass, if he would pledge his word that his own life should be spared. On his assuring him that he would not injure him, the Fox led the Ass to a deep pit, and contrived that he should fall into it. The Lion, seeing that the Ass was secured, immediately clutched the Fox, and then attacked the Ass at his leisure.
Traitors must expect treachery.
Fables Card #19 The Wolf and the Sheep ==>>
The Wolf and the Sheep.
A Wolf, being sick and maimed, called to a Sheep, who was passing, and asked him to fetch some water from the stream. "For," he said, "if you will bring me drink, I will find means to provide myself with meat." "Yes," said the Sheep, "if I should bring you the draught, you would doubtless make me provide the meat also."
Hypocritical speeches are easily seen through.
Fables Card #20 The Cock and the Jewel ==>>
The Cock and the Jewel.
A Cock, scratching for food for himself and his hens, found a precious stone; on which he said: "If thy owner had found thee, and not I, he would have taken thee up, and have set thee in thy first estate; but I have found thee for no purpose. I would rather have one barleycorn than all the jewels in the world."
Fables Card #21 The Two Pots ==>>
The Two Pots.
A river carried down in its stream two Pots, one made of earthenware, and the other of brass. As they floated along on the surface of the stream, the Earthen Pot said to the Brass Pot: "Pray keep at a distance, and do not come near me, for if you touch me ever so slightly, I shall be broken in pieces; and besides, I by no means wish to come near you."
Equals make the best friends.
Fables Card #22 The Gnat and the Lion ==>>
The Gnat and the Lion.
A Gnat came and said to a Lion: "I do not the least fear you, nor are you stronger than I am. For in what does your strength consist? You can scratch with your claws, and bite with your teeth—so can a woman in her quarrels. I repeat that I am altogether more powerful than you; and if you doubt it, let us fight and see who will conquer." The Gnat, having sounded his horn, fastened itself upon the Lion, and stung him on the nostrils. The Lion, trying to crush him, tore himself with his claws, until he punished himself severely. The Gnat thus prevailed over the Lion, and buzzing about in a song of triumph, flew away. But shortly afterwards he became entangled in the meshes of a cobweb, and was eaten by a spider. He greatly lamented his fate, saying: "Woe is me, that I, who can wage war successfully with the hugest beasts, should perish myself from this spider."
Fables Card #23 The Widow and her Little Maidens ==>>
The Widow and her Little Maidens.
A widow woman, fond of cleaning, had two little maidens to wait on her. She was in the habit of waking them early in the morning, at cockcrow. The maidens, being aggrieved by such excessive labor, resolved to kill the cock who roused their mistress so early. When they had done this, they found that they had only prepared for themselves greater troubles, for their mistress, no longer hearing the cock, was unable to tell the time, and so, woke them up to their work in the middle of the night.
Unlawful acts to escape trials only increase our troubles.
Fables Card #24 The Fox and the Lion ==>>
The Fox and the Lion.
A Fox who had never yet seen a Lion, when he fell in with him by a certain chance for the first time in the forest, was so frightened that he was near dying with fear. On his meeting with him for the second time, he was still much alarmed, but not to the same extent as at first. On seeing him the third time, he so increased in boldness that he went up to him, and commenced a familiar conversation with him.
Acquaintance softens prejudices.
Fables Card #25 The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse ==>>
The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse.
A Country Mouse invited a Town Mouse, an intimate friend, to pay him a visit, and partake of his country fare. As they were on the bare plough-lands, eating their wheat-stalks and roots pulled up from the hedge-row, the Town Mouse said to his friend: "You live here the life of the ants, while in my house is the horn of plenty. I am surrounded with every luxury, and if you will come with me, as I much wish you would, you shall have an ample share of my dainties." The Country Mouse was easily persuaded, and returned to town with his friend. On his arrival, the Town Mouse placed before him bread, barley, beans, dried figs, honey, raisins, and, last of all, brought a dainty piece of cheese from a basket. The Country Mouse, being much delighted at the sight of such good cheer, expressed his satisfaction in warm terms, and lamented his own hard fate. Just as they were beginning to eat, some one opened the door, and they both ran off squeaking, as fast as they could, to a hole so narrow that two could only find room in it by squeezing. They had scarcely again begun their repast when some one else entered to take something out of a cupboard, on which the two Mice, more frightened than before, ran away and hid themselves. At last the Country Mouse, almost famished, thus addressed his friend: "Although you have prepared for me so dainty a feast, I must leave you to enjoy it by yourself. It is surrounded by too many dangers to please me."
Better a little in safety, than an abundance surrounded by danger.
Fables Card #26 The Monkey and the Dolphin ==>>
The Monkey and the Dolphin.
A Sailor, bound on a long voyage, took with him a Monkey to amuse him while on shipboard. As he sailed off the coast of Greece, a violent tempest arose, in which the ship was wrecked, and he, his Monkey and all the crew were obliged to swim for their lives. A Dolphin saw the Monkey contending with the waves, and supposing him to be a man (whom he is always said to befriend), came and placed himself under him, to convey him on his back in safety to the shore. When the Dolphin arrived with his burden in sight of land not far from Athens, he demanded of the Monkey if he were an Athenian, who answered that he was, and that he was descended from one of the noblest families in that city.
The Dolphin then inquired if he knew the Piræus (the famous harbor of Athens). The Monkey, supposing that a man was meant, and being obliged to support his previous lie, answered that he knew him very well, and that he was an intimate friend, who would, no doubt, be very glad to see him. The Dolphin, indignant at these falsehoods, dipped the Monkey under the water, and drowned him.
He who once begins to tell falsehoods is obliged to tell others to make them appear true, and, sooner or later, they will get him into trouble.
Fables Card #27
The Game-cocks and the Partridge.
A Man had two Game-cocks in his poultry yard. One day, by chance, he fell in with a tame Partridge for sale. He purchased it, and brought it home that it might be reared with his Game-cocks. On its being put into the poultry-yard, they struck at it, and followed it about, so that the Partridge was grievously troubled in mind, and supposed that he was thus badly treated because he was a stranger. Not long afterwards he saw the Cocks fighting together, and not separating before one had well beaten the other. He then said to himself: "I shall no longer distress myself at being struck at by these Game-cocks, when I see that they cannot even refrain from quarreling with each other."
Strangers should avoid those who quarrel among themselves.
Fables Card #28 The Boy and the Nettle ==>>
The Boy and the Nettle.
A Boy was stung by a Nettle. He ran home and told his mother, saying: "Although it pains me so much, I did but touch it ever so gently." "That was just it," said his mother, "which caused it to sting you. The next time you touch a Nettle, grasp it boldly, and it will be soft as silk to your hand, and not in the least hurt you."
Whatever you do, do with all your might.
Fables Card #29 The Trumpeter taken Prisoner ==>>
The Trumpeter taken Prisoner.
A Trumpeter, bravely leading on the soldiers, was captured by the enemy. He cried out to his captors: "Pray spare me, and do not take my life without cause or without injury. I have not slain a single man of your troop. I have no arms, and carry nothing but this one brass trumpet." "That is the very reason for which you should be put to death," they said, "for while you do not fight yourself, your loud trumpet stirs up all the other soldiers to battle."
He who incites strife is as guilty as they who strive.
Fables Card #30 The Fatal Marriage ==>>
The Fatal Marriage.
The Lion, touched with gratitude by the noble procedure of a 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 powers of his prince to grant; and so 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 him to pieces.
Beware of unequal matches. Alliances prompted by ambition often prove fatal.
Fables Card #31 The Ass and the Charger ==>>
The Ass and the Charger.
An Ass congratulated a Horse on being so ungrudgingly and carefully provided for, while he himself had scarcely enough to eat, nor even that without hard work. But when war broke out, the heavy armed soldier mounted the Horse, and rushed into the very midst of the enemy, and the Horse, being wounded, fell dead on the battle-field. Then the Ass, seeing all these things, changed his mind, and commiserated the Horse, saying: "How much more fortunate am I than a charger. I can remain at home in safety while he is exposed to all the perils of war."
Be not hasty to envy the condition of others.
Fables Card #32 The Vain Jackdaw ==>>
The Vain Jackdaw.
Jupiter determined, it is said, to create a sovereign over the birds, and made proclamation that, on a certain day, they should all present themselves before him, when he would himself choose the most beautiful among them to be king. The Jackdaw, knowing his own ugliness, searched through the woods and fields, and collected the feathers which had fallen from the wings of his companions, and stuck them in all parts of his body. When the appointed day arrived, and the birds had assembled before Jupiter, the Jackdaw also made his appearance in his many-feathered finery. On Jupiter proposing to make him king, on account of the beauty of his plumage, the birds indignantly protested, and each plucking from him his own feathers, the Jackdaw was again nothing but a Jackdaw.
Hope not to succeed in borrowed plumes.
Fables Card #33 The Milkmaid and her Pot of Milk ==>>
The Milkmaid and her Pot of Milk.
A Maid was carrying her pail of milk to the farm-house, when she fell a-musing. "The money for which this milk will be sold will buy at least three hundred eggs. The eggs, allowing for all mishaps, will produce two hundred and fifty chickens. The chickens will become ready for market when poultry will fetch the highest price; so that by the end of the year I shall have money enough to buy a new gown. In this dress I will go to the Christmas junketings, when all the young fellows will propose to me, but I will toss my head, and refuse them every one." At this moment she tossed her head in unison with her thoughts, when down fell the Milk-pot to the ground, and broke into a hundred pieces, and all her fine schemes perished in a moment.
Count not your chickens before they are hatched.
Fables Card #34 The Playful Ass ==>>
The Playful Ass.
An Ass climbed up to the roof of a building, and, frisking about there, broke in the tiling. The owner went up after him, and quickly drove him down, beating him severely with a thick wooden cudgel. The Ass said: "Why, I saw the Monkey do this very thing yesterday, and you all laughed heartily, as if it afforded you very great amusement."
Those who do not know their right place must be taught it.
Fables Card #35
The Man and the Satyr.
A Man and a Satyr once formed a bond of alliance. One very cold wintry day, as they talked together, the Man put his fingers to his mouth and blew on them. On the Satyr inquiring the reason, he told him that he did it to warm his hands. Later on in the day they sat down to eat, the food prepared being quite scalding. The Man raised one of his dishes towards his mouth and blew in it. On the Satyr again inquiring the reason, he said that he did it to cool the meat. "I can no longer consider you as a friend," said the Satyr; "a fellow who with the same breath blows hot and cold I could never trust."
A man who talks for both sides is not to be trusted by either.
Fables Card #36 The Oak and the Reeds ==>>
The Oak and the Reeds.
A very large Oak was uprooted by the wind, and thrown across a stream. It fell among some Reeds, which it thus addressed: "I wonder how you, who are so light and weak, are not entirely crushed by these strong winds." They replied:
"You fight and contend with the wind, and consequently you are destroyed; while we, on the contrary, bend before the least breath of air, and therefore remain unbroken."
Stoop to conquer.
Fables Card #37
The Huntsman and the Fisherman.
A Huntsman, returning with his dogs from the field, fell in by chance with a Fisherman, bringing home a basket laden with fish. The Huntsman wished to have the fish, and their owner experienced an equal longing for the contents of the game-bag. They quickly agreed to exchange the produce of their day's sport. Each was so well pleased with his bargain, that they made for some time the same exchange day after day. A neighbor said to them: "If you go on in this way, you will soon destroy, by frequent use, the pleasure of your exchange, and each will again wish to retain the fruits of his own sport."
Pleasures are heightened by abstinence.
Fables Card #38
The Mother and the Wolf.
A famished Wolf was prowling about in the morning in search of food. As he passed the door of a cottage built in the forest, he heard a mother say to her child: "Be quiet, or I will throw you out of the window, and the Wolf shall eat you." The Wolf sat all day waiting at the door. In the evening he heard the same woman fondling her child, and saying: "He is quiet now, and if the Wolf should come, we will kill him." The Wolf, hearing these words, went home, gaping with cold and hunger.
Be not in haste to believe what is said in anger or thoughtlessness.
Fables Card #39
The Shepherd and the Wolf.
A Shepherd once found a young Wolf, and brought it up, and after a while taught it to steal lambs from the neighboring flocks. The Wolf, having shown himself an apt pupil, said to the Shepherd: "Since you have taught me to steal, you must keep a sharp look-out, or you will lose some of your own flock."
The vices we teach may be practiced against us.
Fables Card #40
The Dove and the Crow.
A Dove shut up in a cage was boasting of the large number of the young ones which she had hatched. A Crow, hearing her, said: "My good friend, cease from this unreasonable boasting. The larger the number of your family, the greater your cause of sorrow, in seeing them shut up in this prison-house."