THE MONKEY AND THE CAMEL
At a gathering of all the beasts the Monkey gave an exhibition of dancing and entertained the company vastly. There was great applause at the finish, which excited the envy of the Camel and made him desire to win the favour of the assembly by the same means. So he got up from his place and began dancing, but he cut such a ridiculous figure as he plunged about, and made such a grotesque exhibition of his ungainly person, that the beasts all fell upon him with ridicule and drove him away.
THE SICK MAN AND THE DOCTOR
A Sick Man received a visit from his Doctor, who asked him how he was. “Fairly well, Doctor,” said he, “but I find I sweat a great deal.” “Ah,” said the Doctor, “that’s a good sign.” On his next visit he asked the same question, and his patient replied, “I’m much as usual, but I’ve taken to having shivering fits, which leave me cold all over.” “Ah,” said the Doctor, “that’s a good sign too.” When he came the third time and inquired as before about his patient’s health, the Sick Man said that he felt very feverish. “A very good sign,” said the Doctor; “you are doing very nicely indeed.” Afterwards a friend came to see the invalid, and on asking him how he did, received this reply: “My dear friend, I’m dying of good signs.”
THE TRAVELLERS AND THE PLANE-TREE
Two Travellers were walking along a bare and dusty road in the heat of a summer’s day. Coming presently to a Plane-tree, they joyfully turned aside to shelter from the burning rays of the sun in the deep shade of its spreading branches. As they rested, looking up into the tree, one of them remarked to his companion, “What a useless tree the Plane is! It bears no fruit and is of no service to man at all.” The Plane-tree interrupted him with indignation. “You ungrateful creature!” it cried: “you come and take shelter under me from the scorching sun, and then, in the very act of enjoying the cool shade of my foliage, you abuse me and call me good for nothing!”
Many a service is met with ingratitude.
THE FLEA AND THE OX
A Flea once said to an Ox, “How comes it that a big strong fellow like you is content to serve mankind, and do all their hard work for them, while I, who am no bigger than you see, live on their bodies and drink my fill of their blood, and never do a stroke for it all?” To which the Ox replied, “Men are very kind to me, and so I am grateful to them: they feed and house me well, and every now and then they show their fondness for me by patting me on the head and neck.” “They’d pat me, too,” said the Flea, “if I let them: but I take good care they don’t, or there would be nothing left of me.”