The Man kept the one in front for his neighbour’s faults, and the one behind for his own; so that, while the first was always under his nose, it took some pains to see the latter.
This custom, which began thus early, is not quite unknown at the present day.
The Satyr and the Traveller
A Satyr, ranging in the forest in winter, came across a Traveller, half starved with the cold. He took pity on him and invited him to go to his cave. On their way the Man kept blowing upon his fingers.
“Why do you do that?” said the Satyr, who had seen little of the world.
“To warm my hands, they are nearly frozen,” replied the Man.
Arrived at the cave, the Satyr poured out a mess of smoking pottage and laid it before the Traveller, who at once commenced blowing at it with all his might.
“What, blowing again!” cried the Satyr. “Is it not hot enough?”
“Yes, faith,” answered the Man, “it is hot enough in all conscience, and that is just the reason why I blow it.”
“Be off with you!” cried the Satyr, in alarm; “I will have no part with a man who can blow hot and cold from the same mouth.”
The Two Travellers and the Oyster
As two men were walking by the seaside at low water they saw an Oyster, and they both stooped at the same time to pick it up. Immediately, one pushed the other away, and a dispute ensued.
A third Traveller coming along at the time, they determined to refer the matter to him, as to which of the two had the better right to the Oyster.
While they were each telling his story the Arbitrator gravely took out his knife, opened the shell and loosened the Oyster.
When they had finished, and were listening for his decision, he just as gravely swallowed the Oyster, and offered them the two halves of the shell. “The Court,” said he, “awards you each a Shell. The Oyster will cover the costs.”
The Young Mouse, the Cock, and the Cat
A young Mouse, on his return to his hole after leaving it for the first time, thus recounted his adventures to his mother: “Mother,” said he, “quitting this narrow place where you have brought me up, I was rambling about to-day like a Young Mouse of spirit, who wished to see and to be seen, when two such notable creatures came in my way! One was so gracious, so gentle and benign; the other, who was just as noisy and forbidding, had on his head and under his chin pieces of raw meat, which shook at every step he took; and then, all at once, beating his sides with the utmost fury, he uttered such a harsh and piercing cry that I fled in terror; and this, too, just as I was about to introduce myself to the other stranger, who was covered with fur like our own, only richer looking and much more beautiful, and who seemed so modest and benevolent that it did my heart good to look at her.”