Some time after, the Stork, bearing his treatment in mind, invited the Fox to take dinner with him. He, in his turn, put some minced meat in a long and narrow-necked vessel, into which he could easily put his bill, while Master Fox was forced to be content with licking what ran down the sides of the vessel.
The Fox then remembered his old trick, and could not but admit that the Stork had well paid him off. “I will not apologize for the dinner,” said the Stork, “nor for the manner of serving it, for one ill turn deserves another.”
A sturdy Bull was once driven by the heat of the weather to wade up to his knees in a cool and swift-running stream. He had not been there long when a Gnat that had been disporting itself in the air pitched upon one of his horns.
“My dear fellow,” said the Gnat, with as great a buzz as he could manage, “pray excuse the liberty I take. If I am too heavy only say so and I will go at once and rest upon the poplar which grows hard by the edge of the stream.
“Stay or go, it makes no matter to me,” replied the Bull. “Had it not been for your buzz I should not even have known you were there.”
One warm day a Deer went down to a brook to get a drink. The stream was smooth and clear, and he could see himself in the water. He looked at his horns and was very proud of them, for they were large and long and had many branches, but when he saw his feet he was ashamed to own them, they were so slim and small.
While he stood knee-deep in the water, and was thinking only of his fine horns, a Lion saw him and came leaping out from the tall grass to get him. The Deer would have been caught at once if he had not jumped quickly out of the brook. He ran as fast as he could, and his feet were so light and swift that he soon left the Lion far behind. But by and by he had to pass through some woods, and, as he was running, his horns were caught in some vines that grew among the trees. Before he could get loose the Lion was upon him.
“Ah me!” cried the Deer, “the things which pleased me most will now cause my death; while the things which I thought so mean and poor would have carried me safe out of danger.”
There was a time when a Fox would have ventured as far for a Bunch of Grapes as for a shoulder of mutton, and it was a Fox of those days and that palate that stood gaping under a vine and licking his lips at a most delicious Cluster of Grapes that he had spied out there.
He fetched a hundred and a hundred leaps at it, till, at last, when he was as weary as a dog, and found that there was no good to be done:
“Hang ’em,” says he, “they are as sour as crabs”; and so away he went, turning off the disappointment with a jest.