An Eagle was chasing a hare, which was running for dear life and was at her wits’ end to know where to turn for help. Presently she espied a Beetle, and begged it to aid her. So when the Eagle came up the Beetle warned her not to touch the hare, which was under its protection. But the Eagle never noticed the Beetle because it was so small, seized the hare and ate her up. The Beetle never forgot this, and used to keep an eye on the Eagle’s nest, and whenever the Eagle laid an egg it climbed up and rolled it out of the nest and broke it. At last the Eagle got so worried over the loss of her eggs that she went up to Jupiter, who is the special protector of Eagles, and begged him to give her a safe place to nest in: so he let her lay her eggs in his lap. But the Beetle noticed this and made a ball of dirt the size of an Eagle’s egg, and flew up and deposited it in Jupiter’s lap. When Jupiter saw the dirt, he stood up to shake it out of his robe, and, forgetting about the eggs, he shook them out too, and they were broken just as before. Ever since then, they say, Eagles never lay their eggs at the season when Beetles are about.
The weak will sometimes find
ways to avenge an insult, even upon
A Fowler was setting his nets for little birds when a Lark came up to him and asked him what he was doing. “I am engaged in founding a city,” said he, and with that he withdrew to a short distance and concealed himself. The Lark examined the nets with great curiosity, and presently, catching sight of the bait, hopped on to them in order to secure it, and became entangled in the meshes. The Fowler then ran up quickly and captured her. “What a fool I was!” said she: “but at any rate, if that’s the kind of city you are founding, it’ll be a long time before you find fools enough to fill it.”
A Fisherman who could play the flute went down one day to the sea-shore with his nets and his flute; and, taking his stand on a projecting rock, began to play a tune, thinking that the music would bring the fish jumping out of the sea. He went on playing for some time, but not a fish appeared: so at last he threw down his flute and cast his net into the sea, and made a great haul of fish. When they were landed and he saw them leaping about on the shore, he cried, “You rascals! you wouldn’t dance when I piped: but now I’ve stopped, you can do nothing else!”
A Man once caught a Weasel, which was always sneaking about the house, and was just going to drown it in a tub of water, when it begged hard for its life, and said to him, “Surely you haven’t the heart to put me to death? Think how useful I have been in clearing your house of the mice and lizards which used to infest it, and show your gratitude by sparing my life.” “You have not been altogether useless, I grant you,” said the Man: “but who killed the fowls? Who stole the meat? No, no! You do much more harm than good, and die you shall.”