The Talking Beasts eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 288 pages of information about The Talking Beasts.

A Countryman, however, in the audience, thought the imitation was not perfect; and he made his way to the stage and said that, if he were permitted, he to-morrow would enter the lists and squeak against the Merry-Andrew for a wager.

The mob, anticipating great fun, shouted their consent, and accordingly, when the next day came, the two rival jokers were in their places.

The hero of the previous day went first, and the hearers, more pleased than ever, fairly roared with delight.

Then came the turn of the Countryman, who having a Pig carefully concealed under his cloak, so that no one would have suspected its existence, vigorously pinched its ear with his thumbnail, and made it squeak with a vengeance.

“Not half as good—­not half as good!” cried the audience, and many among them even began to hiss.

“Fine judges you!” replied the Countryman, rushing to the front of the stage, drawing the Pig from under his cloak, and holding the animal up on high.  “Behold the performer that you condemn!”

The Old Man, His Son, and the Ass

An Old Man and his Little Boy were once driving an Ass before them to the next market-town, where it was to be sold.

“Have you no more wit,” said a passerby, “than for you and your Son to trudge on foot and let your Ass go light?” So the Man put his Boy on the Ass, and they went on again.

“You lazy young rascal!” cried the next person they met; “are you not ashamed to ride and let your poor old Father go on foot?” The Man then lifted off the Boy and got up himself.

Two women passed soon after, and one said to the other, “Look at that selfish old fellow, riding along while his little Son follows after on foot!” The Old Man thereupon took up the Boy behind him.

The next traveller they met asked the Old Man whether or not the Ass was his own.  Being answered that it was:  “No one would think so,” said he, “from the way in which you use it.  Why, you are better able to carry the poor animal than he is to carry both of you.”

So the Old Man tied the Ass’s legs to a long pole, and he and his Son shouldered the pole and staggered along under the weight.  In that fashion they entered the town, and their appearance caused so much laughter that the Old Man, mad with vexation at the result of his endeavours to give satisfaction to everybody, threw the Ass into the river and seizing his Son by the arm went his way home again.

The Lion, the Bear, the Monkey, and the Fox

The Tyrant of the Forest issued a proclamation commanding all his subjects to repair immediately to his royal den.

Among the rest, the Bear made his appearance, but pretending to be offended with the odour which issued from the Monarch’s apartments, be was imprudent enough to hold his nose in his Majesty’s presence.

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The Talking Beasts from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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