“I once laid an egg alongside a water-melon, and compared the two. The vegetable was considerably the larger.”
This fable is intended to show the absurdity of hearing all a man has to say.
Seeing himself getting beyond his depth, a bathing naturalist called lustily for succour.
“Anything I can do for you?” inquired the engaging octopus.
“Happy to serve you, I am sure,” said the accommodating leech.
“Command me,” added the earnest crab.
“Gentlemen of the briny deep,” exclaimed the gasping savant, “I am compelled to decline your friendly offices, but I tender you my scientific gratitude; and, as a return favour, I beg, with this my last breath, that you will accept the freedom of my aquarium, and make it your home.”
This tale proves that scientific gratitude is quite as bad as the natural sort.
Two whales seizing a pike, attempted in turn to swallow him, but without success. They finally determined to try him jointly, each taking hold of an end, and both shutting their eyes for a grand effort, when a shark darted silently between them, biting away the whole body of their prey. Opening their eyes, they gazed upon one another with much satisfaction.
“I had no idea he would go down so easily,” said the one.
“Nor I,” returned the other; “but how very tasteless a pike is.”
The insipidity we observe in most of our acquaintances is largely due to our imperfect knowledge of them.
A wolf went into the cottage of a peasant while the family was absent in the fields, and falling foul of some beef, was quietly enjoying it, when he was observed by a domestic rat, who went directly to her master, informing him of what she had seen.
“I would myself have dispatched the robber,” she added, “but feared you might wish to take him alive.”
So the man secured a powerful club and went to the door of the house, while the rat looked in at the window. After taking a survey of the situation, the man said:
“I don’t think I care to take this fellow alive. Judging from his present performance, I should say his keeping would entail no mean expense. You may go in and slay him if you like; I have quite changed my mind.”
“If you really intended taking him prisoner,” replied the rat, “the object of that bludgeon is to me a matter of mere conjecture. However, it is easy enough to see you have changed your mind; and it may be barely worth mentioning that I have changed mine.”