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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 215 pages of information about The Talking Beasts.

The Porcupine and the Snakes

A Porcupine, seeking for shelter, desired some Snakes to give him admittance into their cave.  They accordingly let him in, but were afterward so annoyed by his sharp, prickly quills that they repented of their easy compliance, and entreated him to withdraw and leave them their hole to themselves.

“No, no,” said he, “let them quit the place that don’t like it; for my part, I am very well satisfied as I am.”

The Lark and Her Young Ones

A Lark, who had Young Ones in a field of grain which was almost ripe, was afraid that the reapers would come before her young brood was fledged.  Every day, therefore, when she flew off to look for food, she charged them to take note of what they heard in her absence, and to tell her of it when she came home.

One day, when she was gone, they heard the owner of the field say to his son that the grain seemed ripe enough to be cut, and tell him to go early the next day and ask their friends and neighbours to come and help reap it.

When the old Lark came home, the Little Ones quivered and chirped around her, and told her what had happened, begging her to take them away as fast as she could.  The mother bade them to be easy; “for,” said she, “if he depends on his friends and his neighbours, I am sure the grain will not be reaped tomorrow.”

Next day, she went out again, and left the same orders as before.  The owner came, and waited.  The sun grew hot, but nothing was done, for not a soul came.  “You see,” said the owner to his son, “these friends of ours are not to be depended upon; so run off at once to your uncles and cousins, and say I wish them to come early to-morrow morning and help us reap.”

This the Young Ones, in a great fright, told also to their mother.  “Do not fear, children,” said she; “kindred and relations are not always very forward in helping one another; but keep your ears open, and let me know what you hear to-morrow.”

The owner came the next day, and, finding his relations as backward as his neighbours, said to his son:  “Now listen to me.  Get two good sickles ready for to-morrow morning, for it seems we must reap the grain by ourselves.”  The Young Ones told this to their mother.

“Then, my dears,” said she, “it is time for us to go; for when a man undertakes to do his work himself, it is not so likely that he will be disappointed.”  She took them away at once, and the grain was reaped the next day by the old man and his son.

The Fox and the Stork

A Fox one day invited a Stork to dine with him, and, wishing to be amused at his guest’s expense, put the soup which he had for dinner in a large flat dish, so that, while he himself could lap it up quite well, the Stork could only dip in the tip of his long bill.

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