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

This insolence was so highly resented that the Lion in a rage laid him dead at his feet.

The Monkey, observing what had passed, trembled for his skin, and attempted to conciliate favour by the most abject flattery.  He began with protesting that, for his part, he thought the apartments were perfumed with Arabian spices; and, exclaiming against the rudeness of the Bear, admired the beauty of his Majesty’s paws, so happily formed, he said, to correct the insolence of clowns.

This adulation, instead of being received as he expected, proved no less offensive than the rudeness of the Bear, and the courtly Monkey was in like manner extended by the side of Sir Bruin.

And now his Majesty cast his eye upon the Fox.

“Well, Reynard,” Said he, “and what scent do you discover here?”

“Great Prince,” replied the cautious Fox, “my nose was never esteemed my most distinguishing sense; and at present I would by no means venture to give my opinion, as I have unfortunately caught a terrible cold.”

The Wolf and the Lamb

A flock of Sheep was feeding in the meadow while the Dogs were asleep, and the Shepherd at a distance playing on his pipe beneath the shade of a spreading elm.

A young, inexperienced Lamb, observing a half-starved Wolf peering through the pales of the fence, began to talk with him.

“Pray, what are you seeking for here?” said the Lamb.

“I am looking,” replied the Wolf, “for some tender grass; for nothing, you know, is more pleasant than to feed in a fresh pasture, and to slake one’s thirst at a crystal stream, both which I perceive you enjoy within these pales in their utmost perfection.  Happy creature,” continued he, “how much I envy you who have everything which I desire, for philosophy has long taught me to be satisfied with a little!”

“It seems, then,” returned the Lamb, “those who say you feed on flesh accuse you falsely, since a little grass will easily content you.  If this be true, let us for the future live like brethren, and feed together.”  So saying, the simple Lamb crept through the fence, and at once became a prey to the pretended philosopher, and a sacrifice to his own inexperience and credulity.

The Chameleon

Two Travellers happened on their journey to be engaged in a warm dispute about the colour of the Chameleon.  One of them affirmed that it was blue and that he had seen it with his own eyes upon the naked branch of a tree, feeding in the air on a very clear day.

The other strongly asserted it was green, and that he had viewed it very closely and minutely upon the broad leaf of a fig-tree.

Both of them were positive, and the dispute was rising to a quarrel; but a third person luckily coming by, they agreed to refer the question to his decision.

“Gentlemen,” said the Arbitrator, with a smile of great self-satisfaction, “you could not have been more lucky in your reference, as I happen to have caught one of them last night; but, indeed, you are both mistaken, for the creature is totally black.”

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