THE HORSE AND THE ASS
A Horse, proud of his fine harness, met an Ass on the high-road. As the Ass with his heavy burden moved slowly out of the way to let him pass, the Horse cried out impatiently that he could hardly resist kicking him to make him move faster. The Ass held his peace, but did not forget the other’s insolence. Not long afterwards the Horse became broken-winded, and was sold by his owner to a farmer. One day, as he was drawing a dung-cart, he met the Ass again, who in turn derided him and said, “Aha! you never thought to come to this, did you, you who were so proud! Where are all your gay trappings now?”
THE DOG CHASING A WOLF
A Dog was chasing a Wolf, and as he ran he thought what a fine fellow he was, and what strong legs he had, and how quickly they covered the ground. “Now, there’s this Wolf,” he said to himself, “what a poor creature he is: he’s no match for me, and he knows it and so he runs away.” But the Wolf looked round just then and said, “Don’t you imagine I’m running away from you, my friend: it’s your master I’m afraid of.”
GRIEF AND HIS DUE
When Jupiter was assigning the various gods their privileges, it so happened that Grief was not present with the rest: but when all had received their share, he too entered and claimed his due. Jupiter was at a loss to know what to do, for there was nothing left for him. However, at last he decided that to him should belong the tears that are shed for the dead. Thus it is the same with Grief as it is with the other gods. The more devoutly men render to him his due, the more lavish is he of that which he has to bestow. It is not well, therefore, to mourn long for the departed; else Grief, whose sole pleasure is in such mourning, will be quick to send fresh cause for tears.
THE HAWK, THE KITE, AND THE PIGEONS
The Pigeons in a certain dovecote were persecuted by a Kite, who every now and then swooped down and carried off one of their number. So they invited a Hawk into the dovecote to defend them against their enemy. But they soon repented of their folly: for the Hawk killed more of them in a day than the Kite had done in a year.
THE WOMAN AND THE FARMER
A Woman, who had lately lost her husband, used to go every day to his grave and lament her loss. A Farmer, who was engaged in ploughing not far from the spot, set eyes upon the Woman and desired to have her for his wife: so he left his plough and came and sat by her side, and began to shed tears himself. She asked him why he wept; and he replied, “I have lately lost my wife, who was very dear to me, and tears ease my grief.” “And I,” said she, “have lost my husband.”