A Lion lay asleep in the forest, his great head resting on his paws. A timid little Mouse came upon him unexpectedly, and in her fright and haste to get away, ran across the Lion's nose. Roused from his nap, the Lion laid his huge paw angrily on the tiny creature to kill her.
“Spare me!” begged the poor Mouse. “Please let me go and some day I will surely repay you.”
The Lion was much amused to think that a Mouse could ever help him. But he was generous and finally let the Mouse go.
Some days later, while stalking his prey in the forest, the Lion was caught in the toils of a hunter's net. Unable to free himself, he filled the forest with his angry roaring. The Mouse knew the voice and quickly found the Lion struggling in the net. Running to one of the great ropes that bound him, she gnawed it until it parted, and soon the Lion was free.
“You laughed when I said I would repay you,” said the Mouse. “Now you see that even a Mouse can help a Lion.”
A kindness is never wasted.
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 Donkey was being driven along a road leading down the mountain side, when he suddenly took it into his silly head to choose his own path. He could see his stall at the foot of the mountain, and to him the quickest way down seemed to be over the edge of the nearest cliff. Just as he was about to leap over, his master caught him by the tail and tried to pull him back, but the stubborn Donkey would not yield and pulled with all his might.
“Very well,” said his master, “go your way, you willful beast, and see where it leads you.”
A that he let go, and the foolish Donkey tumbled head over heels down the mountain side.
They who will not listen to reason but stubbornly go their own way against the friendly advice of those who are wiser than they, are on the road to misfortune.
Two Travellers, walking in the noonday sun, sought the shade of a widespreading tree to rest. As they lay looking up among the pleasant leaves, they saw that it was a Plane Tree.
“How useless is the Plane!” said one of them. “It bears no fruit whatever, and only serves to litter the ground with leaves.”
“Ungrateful creatures!” said a voice from the Plane Tree. “You lie here in my cooling shade, and yet you say I am useless! Thus ungratefully, O Jupiter, do men receive their blessings!”
Our best blessings are often the least appreciated.
A Stork of a very simple and trusting nature had been asked by a gay party of Cranes to visit a field that had been newly planted. But the party ended dismally with all the birds entangled in the meshes of the Farmer's net.
The Stork begged the Farmer to spare him.
“Please let me go,” he pleaded. “I belong to the Stork family who you know are honest and birds of good character. Besides, I did not know the Cranes were going to steal.”
“You may be a very good bird,” answered the Farmer, “but I caught you with the thieving Cranes and you will have to share the same punishment with them.”
You are judged by the company you keep.
Two men were traveling in company along the road when one of them picked up a well-filled purse.
“How lucky I am!” he said. “I have found a purse. Judging by its weight it must be full of gold.”
“Do not say 'I have found a purse,'” said his companion. “Say rather 'we have found a purse' and 'how lucky we are.' Travelers ought to share alike the fortunes or misfortunes of the road.”
“No, no,” replied the other angrily. “I found it and I am going to keep it.”
Just then they heard a shout of “Stop, thief!” and looking around, saw a mob of people armed with clubs coming down the road.
The man who had found the purse fell into a panic.
“We are lost if they find the purse on us,” he cried.
“No, no,” replied the other, “You would not say 'we' before, so now stick to your 'I'. Say 'I am lost.'”
We cannot expect any one to share our misfortunes unless we are willing to share our good fortune also.