THE LABOURER AND THE SNAKE
A Labourer’s little son was bitten by a Snake and died of the wound. The father was beside himself with grief, and in his anger against the Snake he caught up an axe and went and stood close to the Snake’s hole, and watched for a chance of killing it. Presently the Snake came out, and the man aimed a blow at it, but only succeeded in cutting off the tip of its tail before it wriggled in again. He then tried to get it to come out a second time, pretending that he wished to make up the quarrel. But the Snake said, “I can never be your friend because of my lost tail, nor you mine because of your lost child.”
Injuries are never forgotten
in the presence of those who caused
THE CAGE-BIRD AND THE BAT
A Singing-bird was confined in a cage which hung outside a window, and had a way of singing at night when all other birds were asleep. One night a Bat came and clung to the bars of the cage, and asked the Bird why she was silent by day and sang only at night. “I have a very good reason for doing so,” said the Bird: “it was once when I was singing in the daytime that a fowler was attracted by my voice, and set his nets for me and caught me. Since then I have never sung except by night.” But the Bat replied, “It is no use your doing that now when you are a prisoner: if only you had done so before you were caught, you might still have been free.”
Precautions are useless after the event.
THE ASS AND HIS PURCHASER
A Man who wanted to buy an Ass went to market, and, coming across a likely-looking beast, arranged with the owner that he should be allowed to take him home on trial to see what he was like. When he reached home, he put him into his stable along with the other asses. The newcomer took a look round, and immediately went and chose a place next to the laziest and greediest beast in the stable. When the master saw this he put a halter on him at once, and led him off and handed him over to his owner again. The latter was a good deal surprised to see him back so soon, and said, “Why, do you mean to say you have tested him already?” “I don’t want to put him through any more tests,” replied the other: “I could see what sort of beast he is from the companion he chose for himself.”
A man is known by the company he keeps.
THE KID AND THE WOLF
A Kid strayed from the flock and was chased by a Wolf. When he saw he must be caught he turned round and said to the Wolf, “I know, sir, that I can’t escape being eaten by you: and so, as my life is bound to be short, I pray you let it be as merry as may be. Will you not play me a tune to dance to before I die?” The Wolf saw no objection to having some music before his dinner: so he took