You may punish a thief, but his bent remains.
THE FROGS AND THE WELL
Two Frogs lived together in a marsh. But one hot summer the marsh dried up, and they left it to look for another place to live in: for frogs like damp places if they can get them. By and by they came to a deep well, and one of them looked down into it, and said to the other, “This looks a nice cool place: let us jump in and settle here.” But the other, who had a wiser head on his shoulders, replied, “Not so fast, my friend: supposing this well dried up like the marsh, how should we get out again?”
Think twice before you act.
THE CRAB AND THE FOX
A Crab once left the sea-shore and went and settled in a meadow some way inland, which looked very nice and green and seemed likely to be a good place to feed in. But a hungry Fox came along and spied the Crab and caught him. Just as he was going to be eaten up, the Crab said, “This is just what I deserve; for I had no business to leave my natural home by the sea and settle here as though I belonged to the land.”
Be content with your lot.
THE FOX AND THE GRASSHOPPER
A Grasshopper sat chirping in the branches of a tree. A Fox heard her, and, thinking what a dainty morsel she would make, he tried to get her down by a trick. Standing below in full view of her, he praised her song in the most flattering terms, and begged her to descend, saying he would like to make the acquaintance of the owner of so beautiful a voice. But she was not to be taken in, and replied, “You are very much mistaken, my dear sir, if you imagine I am going to come down: I keep well out of the way of you and your kind ever since the day when I saw numbers of grasshoppers’ wings strewn about the entrance to a fox’s earth.”
THE FARMER, HIS BOY, AND THE ROOKS
A Farmer had just sown a field of wheat, and was keeping a careful watch over it, for numbers of Rooks and starlings kept continually settling on it and eating up the grain. Along with him went his Boy, carrying a sling: and whenever the Farmer asked for the sling the starlings understood what he said and warned the Rooks and they were off in a moment. So the Farmer hit on a trick. “My lad,” said he, “we must get the better of these birds somehow. After this, when I want the sling, I won’t say ‘sling,’ but just ‘humph!’ and you must then hand me the sling quickly.” Presently back came the whole flock. “Humph!” said the Farmer; but the starlings took no notice, and he had time to sling several stones among them, hitting one on the head, another in the legs, and another in the wing, before they got out of range. As they made all haste away they met some cranes, who asked them what the matter was. “Matter?” said one of the Rooks; “it’s those rascals, men, that are the matter. Don’t you go near them. They have a way of saying one thing and meaning another which has just been the death of several of our poor friends.”