Heaven helps those who help themselves.
THE POMEGRANATE, THE APPLE-TREE, AND THE BRAMBLE
A Pomegranate and an Apple-tree were disputing about the quality of their fruits, and each claimed that its own was the better of the two. High words passed between them, and a violent quarrel was imminent, when a Bramble impudently poked its head out of a neighbouring hedge and said, “There, that’s enough, my friends; don’t let us quarrel.”
THE LION, THE BEAR, AND THE FOX
A Lion and a Bear were fighting for possession of a kid, which they had both seized at the same moment. The battle was long and fierce, and at length both of them were exhausted, and lay upon the ground severely wounded and gasping for breath. A Fox had all the time been prowling round and watching the fight: and when he saw the combatants lying there too weak to move, he slipped in and seized the kid, and ran off with it. They looked on helplessly, and one said to the other, “Here we’ve been mauling each other all this while, and no one the better for it except the Fox!”
A Man once bought an Ethiopian slave, who had a black skin like all Ethiopians; but his new master thought his colour was due to his late owner’s having neglected him, and that all he wanted was a good scrubbing. So he set to work with plenty of soap and hot water, and rubbed away at him with a will, but all to no purpose: his skin remained as black as ever, while the poor wretch all but died from the cold he caught.
THE TWO SOLDIERS AND THE ROBBER
Two Soldiers travelling together were set upon by a Robber. One of them ran away, but the other stood his ground, and laid about him so lustily with his sword that the Robber was fain to fly and leave him in peace. When the coast was clear the timid one ran back, and, flourishing his weapon, cried in a threatening voice, “Where is he? Let me get at him, and I’ll soon let him know whom he’s got to deal with.” But the other replied, “You are a little late, my friend: I only wish you had backed me up just now, even if you had done no more than speak, for I should have been encouraged, believing your words to be true. As it is, calm yourself, and put up your sword: there is no further use for it. You may delude others into thinking you’re as brave as a lion: but I know that, at the first sign of danger, you run away like a hare.”
THE LION AND THE WILD ASS
A Lion and a Wild Ass went out hunting together: the latter was to run down the prey by his superior speed, and the former would then come up and despatch it. They met with great success; and when it came to sharing the spoil the Lion divided it all into three equal portions. “I will take the first,” said he, “because I am King of the beasts; I will also take the second, because, as your partner, I am entitled to half of what remains; and as for the third—well, unless you give it up to me and take yourself off pretty quick, the third, believe me, will make you feel very sorry for yourself!”