Aesop's Fables; a new translation eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 119 pages of information about Aesop's Fables; a new translation.
a silver axe, asked if that was his.  “No, that is not mine either,” said the Woodman.  Once more Mercury dived into the river, and brought up the missing axe.  The Woodman was overjoyed at recovering his property, and thanked his benefactor warmly; and the latter was so pleased with his honesty that he made him a present of the other two axes.  When the Woodman told the story to his companions, one of these was filled with envy of his good fortune and determined to try his luck for himself.  So he went and began to fell a tree at the edge of the river, and presently contrived to let his axe drop into the water.  Mercury appeared as before, and, on learning that his axe had fallen in, he dived and brought up a golden axe, as he had done on the previous occasion.  Without waiting to be asked whether it was his or not the fellow cried, “That’s mine, that’s mine,” and stretched out his hand eagerly for the prize:  but Mercury was so disgusted at his dishonesty that he not only declined to give him the golden axe, but also refused to recover for him the one he had let fall into the stream.

    Honesty is the best policy.

THE ASS, THE FOX, AND THE LION

An Ass and a Fox went into partnership and sallied out to forage for food together.  They hadn’t gone far before they saw a Lion coming their way, at which they were both dreadfully frightened.  But the Fox thought he saw a way of saving his own skin, and went boldly up to the Lion and whispered in his ear, “I’ll manage that you shall get hold of the Ass without the trouble of stalking him, if you’ll promise to let me go free.”  The Lion agreed to this, and the Fox then rejoined his companion and contrived before long to lead him by a hidden pit, which some hunter had dug as a trap for wild animals, and into which he fell.  When the Lion saw that the Ass was safely caught and couldn’t get away, it was to the Fox that he first turned his attention, and he soon finished him off, and then at his leisure proceeded to feast upon the Ass.

    Betray a friend, and you’ll often find you have ruined yourself.

THE LION AND THE MOUSE

A Lion asleep in his lair was waked up by a Mouse running over his face.  Losing his temper he seized it with his paw and was about to kill it.  The Mouse, terrified, piteously entreated him to spare its life.  “Please let me go,” it cried, “and one day I will repay you for your kindness.”  The idea of so insignificant a creature ever being able to do anything for him amused the Lion so much that he laughed aloud, and good-humouredly let it go.  But the Mouse’s chance came, after all.  One day the Lion got entangled in a net which had been spread for game by some hunters, and the Mouse heard and recognised his roars of anger and ran to the spot.  Without more ado it set to work to gnaw the ropes with its teeth, and succeeded before long in setting the Lion free.  “There!” said the Mouse, “you laughed at me when I promised I would repay you:  but now you see, even a Mouse can help a Lion.”

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Project Gutenberg
Aesop's Fables; a new translation from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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