THE ASS, THE COCK, AND THE LION
An Ass and a Cock were in a cattle-pen together. Presently a Lion, who had been starving for days, came along and was just about to fall upon the Ass and make a meal of him when the Cock, rising to his full height and flapping his wings vigorously, uttered a tremendous crow. Now, if there is one thing that frightens a Lion, it is the crowing of a Cock: and this one had no sooner heard the noise than he fled. The Ass was mightily elated at this, and thought that, if the Lion couldn’t face a Cock, he would be still less likely to stand up to an Ass: so he ran out and pursued him. But when the two had got well out of sight and hearing of the Cock, the Lion suddenly turned upon the Ass and ate him up.
False confidence often leads to disaster.
THE BELLY AND THE MEMBERS
The Members of the Body once rebelled against the Belly. “You,” they said to the Belly, “live in luxury and sloth, and never do a stroke of work; while we not only have to do all the hard work there is to be done, but are actually your slaves and have to minister to all your wants. Now, we will do so no longer, and you can shift for yourself for the future.” They were as good as their word, and left the Belly to starve. The result was just what might have been expected: the whole Body soon began to fail, and the Members and all shared in the general collapse. And then they saw too late how foolish they had been.
THE BALD MAN AND THE FLY
A Fly settled on the head of a Bald Man and bit him. In his eagerness to kill it, he hit himself a smart slap. But the Fly escaped, and said to him in derision, “You tried to kill me for just one little bite; what will you do to yourself now, for the heavy smack you have just given yourself?” “Oh, for that blow I bear no grudge,” he replied, “for I never intended myself any harm; but as for you, you contemptible insect, who live by sucking human blood, I’d have borne a good deal more than that for the satisfaction of dashing the life out of you!”
THE ASS AND THE WOLF
An Ass was feeding in a meadow, and, catching sight of his enemy the Wolf in the distance, pretended to be very lame and hobbled painfully along. When the Wolf came up, he asked the Ass how he came to be so lame, and the Ass replied that in going through a hedge he had trodden on a thorn, and he begged the Wolf to pull it out with his teeth, “In case,” he said, “when you eat me, it should stick in your throat and hurt you very much.” The Wolf said he would, and told the Ass to lift up his foot, and gave his whole mind to getting out the thorn. But the Ass suddenly let out with his heels and fetched the Wolf a fearful kick in the mouth, breaking his teeth; and then he galloped off at full speed. As soon as he could speak the Wolf growled to himself, “It serves me right: my father taught me to kill, and I ought to have stuck to that trade instead of attempting to cure.”