“You remind me,” said the hippopotamus, “of a certain zebra who was not vicious at all; he merely kicked the breath out of everything that passed behind him, but did not induce things to pass behind him.”
“It is quite immaterial what I remind you of,” was the reply.
The lesson conveyed by this fable is a very beautiful one.
A man was plucking a living goose, when his victim addressed him thus:
“Suppose you were a goose; do you think you would relish this sort of thing?”
“Well, suppose I were,” answered the man; “do you think you would like to pluck me?”
“Indeed I would!” was the emphatic, natural, but injudicious reply.
“Just so,” concluded her tormentor; “that’s the way I feel about the matter.”
A traveller perishing of thirst in a desert, debated with his camel whether they should continue their journey, or turn back to an oasis they had passed some days before. The traveller favoured the latter plan.
“I am decidedly opposed to any such waste of time,” said the animal; “I don’t care for oases myself.”
“I should not care for them either,” retorted the man, with some temper, “if, like you, I carried a number of assorted water-tanks inside. But as you will not submit to go back, and I shall not consent to go forward, we can only remain where we are.”
“But,” objected the camel, “that will be certain death to you!”
“Not quite,” was the quiet answer, “it involves only the loss of my camel.”
So saying, he assassinated the beast, and appropriated his liquid store.
A compromise is not always a settlement satisfactory to both parties.
A sheep, making a long journey, found the heat of his fleece very uncomfortable, and seeing a flock of other sheep in a fold, evidently awaiting for some one, leaped over and joined them, in the hope of being shorn. Perceiving the shepherd approaching, and the other sheep huddling into a remote corner of the fold, he shouldered his way forward, and going up to the shepherd, said:
“Did you ever see such a lot of fools? It’s lucky I came along to set them an example of docility. Seeing me operated upon, they ’ll be glad to offer themselves.”
“Perhaps so,” replied the shepherd, laying hold of the animal’s horns; “but I never kill more than one sheep at a time. Mutton won’t keep in hot weather.”
The chops tasted excellently well with tomato sauce.
The moral of this fable isn’t what you think it is. It is this: The chops of another man’s mutton are always nice eating.