A number of Foxes assembled on the bank of a river and wanted to drink; but the current was so strong and the water looked so deep and dangerous that they didn’t dare to do so, but stood near the edge encouraging one another not to be afraid. At last one of them, to shame the rest, and show how brave he was, said, “I am not a bit frightened! See, I’ll step right into the water!” He had no sooner done so than the current swept him off his feet. When the others saw him being carried down-stream they cried, “Don’t go and leave us! Come back and show us where we too can drink with safety.” But he replied, “I’m afraid I can’t yet: I want to go to the seaside, and this current will take me there nicely. When I come back I’ll show you with pleasure.”
There was once a Horse who used to graze in a meadow which he had all to himself. But one day a Stag came into the meadow, and said he had as good a right to feed there as the Horse, and moreover chose all the best places for himself. The Horse, wishing to be revenged upon his unwelcome visitor, went to a man and asked if he would help him to turn out the Stag. “Yes,” said the man, “I will by all means; but I can only do so if you let me put a bridle in your mouth and mount on your back.” The Horse agreed to this, and the two together very soon turned the Stag out of the pasture: but when that was done, the Horse found to his dismay that in the man he had got a master for good.
In making his way through a hedge a Fox missed his footing and caught at a Bramble to save himself from falling. Naturally, he got badly scratched, and in disgust he cried to the Bramble, “It was your help I wanted, and see how you have treated me! I’d sooner have fallen outright.” The Bramble, interrupting him, replied, “You must have lost your wits, my friend, to catch at me, who am myself always catching at others.”
A Snake, in crossing a river, was carried away by the current, but managed to wriggle on to a bundle of thorns which was floating by, and was thus carried at a great rate down-stream. A Fox caught sight of it from the bank as it went whirling along, and called out, “Gad! the passenger fits the ship!”
A Lion lay sick in his den, unable to provide himself with food. So he said to his friend the Fox, who came to ask how he did, “My good friend, I wish you would go to yonder wood and beguile the big Stag, who lives there, to come to my den: I have a fancy to make my dinner off a stag’s heart and brains.” The Fox went to the wood and found the Stag and said to him, “My dear