So saying, he turned himself about to go down, but the heat of his previous exertion, and that of the sun, had by this time matured him into a butterfly.
“Just my luck!” he growled, “I never wish for anything without getting it. I did not expect this when I came out this morning, and have nothing prepared. But I suppose I shall have to stand it.”
So he spread his pinions and made for the first open flower he saw. But a spider happened to be spending the summer in that vegetable, and it was not long before Mr. Butterfly was wishing himself back atop of that pole, a simple caterpillar.
He had at last the pleasure of being denied a desire.
Haec fabula docet that it is not a good plan to call at houses without first ascertaining who is at home there.
It is related of a certain Tartar priest that, being about to sacrifice a pig, he observed tears in the victim’s eyes.
“Now, I’d like to know what is the matter with you?” he asked.
“Sir,” replied the pig, “if your penetration were equal to that of the knife you hold, you would know without inquiring; but I don’t mind telling you. I weep because I know I shall be badly roasted.”
“Ah,” returned the priest, meditatively, having first killed the pig, “we are all pretty much alike: it is the bad roasting that frightens us. Mere death has no terrors.”
From this narrative learn that even priests sometimes get hold of only half a truth.
A dog being very much annoyed by bees, ran, quite accidentally, into an empty barrel lying on the ground, and looking out at the bung-hole, addressed his tormenters thus:
“Had you been temperate, stinging me only one at a time, you might have got a good deal of fun out of me. As it is, you have driven me into a secure retreat; for I can snap you up as fast as you come in through the bung-hole. Learn from this the folly of intemperate zeal.”
When he had concluded, he awaited a reply. There wasn’t any reply; for the bees had never gone near the bung-hole; they went in the same way as he did, and made it very warm for him.
The lesson of this fable is that one cannot stick to his pure reason while quarrelling with bees.
A fox and a duck having quarrelled about the ownership of a frog, agreed to refer the dispute to a lion. After hearing a great deal of argument, the lion opened his mouth to speak.
“I am very well aware,” interrupted the duck, “what your decision is. It is that by our own showing the frog belongs to neither of us, and you will eat him yourself. But please remember that lions do not like frogs.”
“To me,” exclaimed the fox, “it is perfectly clear that you will give the frog to the duck, the duck to me, and take me yourself. Allow me to state certain objections to—”