And the man followed the stones.
The falsehoods of the wicked never amount to much.
Two thieves went into a farmer’s granary and stole a sack of kitchen vegetables; and, one of them slinging it across his shoulders, they began to run away. In a moment all the domestic animals and barn-yard fowls about the place were at their heels, in high clamour, which threatened to bring the farmer down upon them with his dogs.
“You have no idea how the weight of this sack assists me in escaping, by increasing my momentum,” said the one who carried the plunder; “suppose you take it.”
“Ah!” returned the other, who had been zealously pointing out the way to safety, and keeping foremost therein, “it is interesting to find how a common danger makes people confiding. You have a thousand times said I could not be trusted with valuable booty. It is an humiliating confession, but I am myself convinced that if I should assume that sack, and the impetus it confers, you could not depend upon your dividend.”
“A common danger,” was the reply, “seems to stimulate conviction, as well as confidence.”
“Very likely,” assented the other, drily; “I am quite too busy to enter into these subtleties. You will find the subject very ably treated in the Zend-Avesta.”
But the bastinado taught them more in a minute than they would have gleaned from that excellent work in a fortnight.
If they could only have had the privilege of reading this fable, it would have taught them more than either.
While a man was trying with all his might to cross a fence, a bull ran to his assistance, and taking him upon his horns, tossed him over. Seeing the man walking away without making any remark, the bull said:
“You are quite welcome, I am sure. I did no more than my duty.”
“I take a different view of it, very naturally,” replied the man, “and you may keep your polite acknowledgments of my gratitude until you receive it. I did not require your services.”
“You don’t mean to say,” answered the bull, “that you did not wish to cross that fence!”
“I mean to say,” was the rejoinder, “that I wished to cross it by my method, solely to avoid crossing it by yours.”
Fabula docet that while the end is everything, the means is something.
An hippopotamus meeting an open alligator, said to him:
“My forked friend, you may as well collapse. You are not sufficiently comprehensive to embrace me. I am myself no tyro at smiling, when in the humour.”
“I really had no expectation of taking you in,” replied the other. “I have a habit of extending my hospitality impartially to all, and about seven feet wide.”