“There, my feline friend! I think that will teach you a wholesome lesson; and as punishment is intended to be reformatory, you ought to be grateful to me for deigning to administer it.”
“I don’t think of questioning your right to worry me,” said the cat, getting her breath, “but I should like to know where you got your licence to preach at me. Also, if not inconsistent with the dignity of the court, I should wish to be informed of the nature of my offence; in order that I may the more clearly apprehend the character of the lesson imparted by its punishment.”
“Since you are so curious,” replied the dog, “I worry you because you are too feeble to worry me.”
“In other words,” rejoined the cat, getting herself together as well as she could, “you bite me for that to which you owe your existence.”
The reply of the dog was lost in the illimitable field of ether, whither he was just then projected by the kick of a passing horse. The moral of this fable cannot be given until he shall get down, and close the conversation with the regular apophthegm.
People who wear tight hats will do well to lay this fable well to heart, and ponder upon the deep significance of its moral:
In passing over a river, upon a high bridge, a cow discovered a broad loose plank in the flooring, sustained in place by a beam beneath the centre.
“Now,” said she, “I will stand at this end of the trap, and when yonder sheep steps upon the opposite extreme there will be an upward tendency in wool.”
So when the meditative mutton advanced unwarily upon the treacherous device, the cow sprang bodily upon the other end, and there was a fall in beef.
Two snakes were debating about the proper method of attacking prey.
“The best way,” said one, “is to slide cautiously up, endwise, and seize it thus”—illustrating his method by laying hold of the other’s tail.
“Not at all,” was the reply; “a better plan is to approach by a circular side-sweep, thus”—turning upon his opponent and taking in his tail.
Although there was no disagreement as to the manner of disposing of what was once seized, each began to practise his system upon the other, and continued until both were swallowed.
The work begun by contention is frequently completed by habit.
A man staggering wearily through the streets of Persepolis, under a heavy burden, said to himself:
“I wish I knew what this thing is I have on my back; then I could make some sort of conjecture as to what I design doing with it.”
“Suppose,” said the burden, “I were a man in a sack; what disposition would you make of me?”
“The regular thing,” replied the man, “would be to take you over to Constantinople, and pitch you into the Bosphorus; but I should probably content myself with laying you down and jumping on you, as being more agreeable to my feelings, and quite as efficacious.”