“Italy, I think,” said the other, grinning. “I have private reasons for believing her cargo consists mainly of consumptives.”
“Ah!” exclaimed the captive; “Italy, delightful clime of the cerulean orange—the rosy olive! Land of the night-blooming Jesuit, and the fragrant laszarone! It would be heavenly to run down gondolas in the streets of Venice! I must go to Italy.”
“Indeed you must,” said the shark, darting suddenly aft, where he had caught the gleam of shotted canvas through the blue waters.
But it was fated to be otherwise: some days afterwards the ship and fish passed over a sunken rock which almost grazed the keel. Then the two parted company, with mutual expressions of tender regard, and a report which could be traced by those on board to no trustworthy source.
The foregoing fable shows that a man of good behaviour need not care for money, and vice versa.
A facetious old cat seeing her kitten sleeping in a bath tub, went down into the cellar and turned on the hot water. (For the convenience of the bathers the bath was arranged in that way; you had to undress, and then go down to the cellar to let on the wet.) No sooner did the kitten remark the unfamiliar sensation, than he departed thence with a willingness quite creditable in one who was not a professional acrobat, and met his mother on the kitchen stairs.
“Aha! my steaming hearty!” cried the elder grimalkin; “I coveted you when I saw the cook put you in the dinner-pot. If I have a weakness, it is hare—hare nicely dressed, and partially boiled.”
Whereupon she made a banquet of her suffering offspring.[A]
Adversity works a stupendous change in tender youth; many a young man is never recognized by his parents after having been in hot water.
[Footnote A: Here should have followed the appropriate and obvious classical allusion. It is known our fabulist was classically educated. Why, then, this disgraceful omission?—TRANSLATOR.]
“It is a waste of valour for us to do battle,” said a lame ostrich to a negro who had suddenly come upon her in the desert; “let us cast lots to see who shall be considered the victor, and then go about our business.”
To this proposition the negro readily assented. They cast lots: the negro cast lots of stones, and the ostrich cast lots of feathers. Then the former went about his business, which consisted of skinning the bird.
MORAL.—There is nothing like the arbitrament of chance. That form of it known as trile-bi-joorie is perhaps as good as any.
An author who had wrought a book of fables (the merit whereof transcended expression) was peacefully sleeping atop of the modest eminence to which he had attained, when he was rudely awakened by a throng of critics, emitting adverse judgment upon the tales he had builded.