THE WILY LION
A Lion watched a fat Bull feeding in a meadow, and his mouth watered when he thought of the royal feast he would make, but he did not dare to attack him, for he was afraid of his sharp horns. Hunger, however, presently compelled him to do something: and as the use of force did not promise success, he determined to resort to artifice. Going up to the Bull in friendly fashion, he said to him, “I cannot help saying how much I admire your magnificent figure. What a fine head! What powerful shoulders and thighs! But, my dear friend, what in the world makes you wear those ugly horns? You must find them as awkward as they are unsightly. Believe me, you would do much better without them.” The Bull was foolish enough to be persuaded by this flattery to have his horns cut off; and, having now lost his only means of defence, fell an easy prey to the Lion.
THE PARROT AND THE CAT
A Man once bought a Parrot and gave it the run of his house. It revelled in its liberty, and presently flew up on to the mantelpiece and screamed away to its heart’s content. The noise disturbed the Cat, who was asleep on the hearthrug. Looking up at the intruder, she said, “Who may you be, and where have you come from?” The Parrot replied, “Your master has just bought me and brought me home with him.” “You impudent bird,” said the Cat, “how dare you, a newcomer, make a noise like that? Why, I was born here, and have lived here all my life, and yet, if I venture to mew, they throw things at me and chase me all over the place.” “Look here, mistress,” said the Parrot, “you just hold your tongue. My voice they delight in; but yours—yours is a perfect nuisance.”
THE STAG AND THE LION
A Stag was chased by the hounds, and took refuge in a cave, where he hoped to be safe from his pursuers. Unfortunately the cave contained a Lion, to whom he fell an easy prey. “Unhappy that I am,” he cried, “I am saved from the power of the dogs only to fall into the clutches of a Lion.”
Out of the frying-pan into the fire.
A certain man fell ill, and, being in a very bad way, he made a vow that he would sacrifice a hundred oxen to the gods if they would grant him a return to health. Wishing to see how he would keep his vow, they caused him to recover in a short time. Now, he hadn’t an ox in the world, so he made a hundred little oxen out of tallow and offered them up on an altar, at the same time saying, “Ye gods, I call you to witness that I have discharged my vow.” The gods determined to be even with him, so they sent him a dream, in which he was bidden to go to the sea-shore and fetch a hundred crowns which he was to find there. Hastening in great excitement to the shore, he fell in with a band of robbers, who seized him and carried him off to sell as a slave: and when they sold him a hundred crowns was the sum he fetched.