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THE WOLF, THE FOX, AND THE APE
When he had heard the evidence on both sides, the ape gave judgment as follows: “I do not think,” he
said, “that you, 0 wolf, ever lost what you claim. But all the same I believe that you, fox, are guilty of
the theft, in spite of all your denials.”
The dishonest get no credit, even if they act honestly.
144. THE EAGLE AND THE COCKS
There were two cocks in the same farmyard, and they fought to decide who should be master. When
the fight was over the beaten one went and hid himself in a dark corner, while the victor flew up onto
the roof of the stables and crowed lustily. But an eagle espied him from high up in the sky, and
swooped down and carried him off. Forthwith the other cock came out of his corner and ruled the
roost without a rival.
Pride comes before a fall.
145. THE ESCAPED JACKDAW
A man caught a jackdaw and tied a piece of string to one of its legs, and then gave it to his children
for a pet. But the jackdaw didn’t at all like having to live with people; so, after a while, when he
seemed to have become fairly tame, and they didn’t watch him so closely, he slipped away and flew
back to his old haunts. Unfortunately, the string was still on his leg, and before long it got entangled in
the branches of a tree and the jackdaw couldn’t get free, try as he would. He saw it was all up with
him, and cried in despair, “Alas, in gaining my freedom I have lost my life.”
146. THE FARMER AND THE FOX
A farmer was greatly annoyed by a fox, which came prowling about his yard at night and carried off
his fowls. So he set a trap for him and caught him; and in order to be revenged upon him, he tied a
bunch of tow to his tail and set fire to it and let him go. As ill luck would have it, however, the fox
made straight for the fields where the corn was standing ripe and ready for cutting. It quickly caught
fire and was all burnt up, and the farmer lost all his harvest.
Revenge is a two-edged sword.
147. VENUS AND THE CAT
A cat fell in love with a handsome young man, and begged the goddess Venus to change her into a
woman. Venus was very gracious about it, and changed her at once into a beautiful maiden, whom the
young man fell in love with at first sight and shortly afterwards married. One day Venus thought she
would like to see whether the cat had changed her habits as well as her form, so she let a mouse run
loose in the room where they were. Forgetting everything, the young woman had no sooner seen the
mouse than up she jumped and was after it like a shot, at which the goddess was so disgusted that she
changed her back again into a cat.
VENUS AND THE CAT
148. THE CROW AND THE SWAN
A crow was filled with envy on seeing the beautiful white plumage of a swan, and thought it was due
to the water in which the swan constantly bathed and swam. So he left the neighborhood of the altars,
where he got his living by picking up bits of the meat offered in sacrifice, and went and lived among
the pools and streams. But though he bathed and washed his feathers many times a day, he didn’t make
them any whiter, and at last died of hunger into the bargain.
You may change your habits, but not your nature.
149. THE STAG WITH ONE EYE
A stag, blind of one eye, was grazing close to the seashore and kept his sound eye turned towards the
land, so as to be able to perceive the approach of the hounds, while the blind eye he turned towards
the sea, never suspecting that any danger would threaten him from that quarter. As it fell out, however,
some sailors, coasting along the shore, spied him and shot an arrow at him, by which he was mortally
wounded. As he lay dying, he said to himself, “Wretch that I am! I bethought me of the dangers of the
land, whence none assailed me; but I feared no peril from the sea, yet thence has come my ruin.”
Misfortune often assails us from an unexpected quarter.
150. THE FLY AND THE DRAFT MULE
A fly sat on one of the shafts of a cart and said to the mule who was pulling it, “How slow you are!
Do mend your pace, . or I shall have to use my sting as a goad.” The mule was not in the least
disturbed. “Behind me, in the cart,” said he, “sits my master. He holds the reins, and flicks me with
his whip, and him I obey, but I don’t want any of your impertinence. I know when I may dawdle and
when I may not.”
THE COCK AND THE JEWEL