Do not promise more than you can perform.
THE DOGS AND THE HIDES
Once upon a time a number of Dogs, who were famished with hunger, saw some Hides steeping in a river, but couldn’t get at them because the water was too deep. So they put their heads together, and decided to drink away at the river till it was shallow enough for them to reach the Hides. But long before that happened they burst themselves with drinking.
THE LION, THE FOX, AND THE ASS
A Lion, a Fox, and an Ass went out hunting together. They had soon taken a large booty, which the Lion requested the Ass to divide between them. The Ass divided it all into three equal parts, and modestly begged the others to take their choice; at which the Lion, bursting with fury, sprang upon the Ass and tore him to pieces. Then, glaring at the Fox, he bade him make a fresh division. The Fox gathered almost the whole in one great heap for the Lion’s share, leaving only the smallest possible morsel for himself. “My dear friend,” said the Lion, “how did you get the knack of it so well?” The Fox replied, “Me? Oh, I took a lesson from the Ass.”
Happy is he who learns from the misfortunes of others.
THE FOWLER, THE PARTRIDGE, AND THE COCK
One day, as a Fowler was sitting down to a scanty supper of herbs and bread, a friend dropped in unexpectedly. The larder was empty; so he went out and caught a tame Partridge, which he kept as a decoy, and was about to wring her neck when she cried, “Surely you won’t kill me? Why, what will you do without me next time you go fowling? How will you get the birds to come to your nets?” He let her go at this, and went to his hen-house, where he had a plump young Cock. When the Cock saw what he was after, he too pleaded for his life, and said, “If you kill me, how will you know the time of night? and who will wake you up in the morning when it is time to get to work?” The Fowler, however, replied, “You are useful for telling the time, I know; but, for all that, I can’t send my friend supperless to bed.” And therewith he caught him and wrung his neck.
THE GNAT AND THE LION
A Gnat once went up to a Lion and said, “I am not in the least afraid of you: I don’t even allow that you are a match for me in strength. What does your strength amount to after all? That you can scratch with your claws and bite with your teeth—just like a woman in a temper—and nothing more. But I’m stronger than you: if you don’t believe it, let us fight and see.” So saying, the Gnat sounded his horn, and darted in and bit the Lion on the nose. When the Lion felt the sting, in his haste to crush him he scratched his nose badly, and made it bleed, but failed altogether to hurt the Gnat, which buzzed off in triumph, elated by its victory. Presently, however, it got entangled in a spider’s web, and was caught and eaten by the spider, thus falling a prey to an insignificant insect after having triumphed over the King of the Beasts.