One moonlight night a Fox was prowling about a farmer’s hen-coop, and saw a Cock roosting high up beyond his reach. “Good news, good news!” he cried.
“Why, what is that?” said the Rooster.
“King Lion has declared a universal truce. No beast may hurt a bird henceforth, but all shall dwell together in brotherly friendship.”
“Why, that is good news,” said the Rooster; “and there I see some one coming, with whom we can share the good tidings.” And so saying he craned his neck forward and looked afar off.
“What is it you see?” said the Fox.
“It is only my master’s Dog that is coming towards us. What, going so soon?” he continued, as the Fox began to turn away as soon as he had heard the news. “Will you not stop and congratulate the Dog on the reign of universal peace?”
“I would gladly do so,” said the Fox, “but I fear he may not have heard of King Lion’s decree.”
Cunning often outwits itself.
A Kid was perched up on the top of a house, and looking down saw a Wolf passing under him. Immediately he began to revile and attack his enemy. “Murderer and thief,” he cried, “what do you here near honest folks’ houses? How dare you make an appearance where your vile deeds are known?”
“Curse away, my young friend,” said the Wolf.
“It is easy to be brave from a safe distance.”
A peddler drove his Donkey to the seashore to buy salt. His road home lay across a stream into which his Donkey, making a false step, fell by accident and rose up again with his load considerably lighter, as the water melted the sack.
The Peddler retraced his steps and refilled his panniers with a larger quantity of salt than before.
When he came again to the stream, the Donkey fell down on purpose in the same spot, and, regaining his feet with the weight of his load much diminished, brayed triumphantly as if he had obtained what he desired.
The Peddler saw through his trick and drove him for the third time to the coast, where he bought a cargo of sponges instead of salt. The Donkey, again playing the fool, fell down on purpose when he reached the stream, but the sponges became swollen with water, greatly increasing his load.
And thus his trick recoiled on him, for he now carried on his back a double burden.
A Jay venturing into a yard where Peacocks used to walk, found there a number of feathers which had fallen from the Peacocks when they were moulting.
He tied them all to his tail and strutted down towards the Peacocks. When he came near them they soon discovered the cheat, and striding up to him pecked at him and plucked away his borrowed plumes.
So the Jay could do no better than go back to the other Jays, who had watched his behaviour from a distance; but they were equally annoyed with him, and told him:
“It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds.”