When dinner-time came, Aesop, who had with some difficulty sustained his load, was told to distribute an equal share all around. He did so, and this lightened his burden one half, and when supper-time arrived he got rid of the rest.
For the remainder of the journey he had nothing but the empty basket to carry, and the other Servants, whose loads seemed to get heavier and heavier at every step, could not but applaud his ingenuity.
A Kite, that had kept sailing around a dovecote for many days to no purpose, was at last forced by hunger to have recourse to stratagem. Approaching the Pigeons in his gentlest manner, he described to them in an eloquent speech how much better their state would be if they had a king with some firmness about him, and how well such a ruler would shield them from the attacks of the Hawk and other enemies.
The Pigeons, deluded by this show of reason, admitted him to the dovecote as their king. They found, however, that he thought it part of his kingly prerogative to eat one of their number every day, and they soon repented of their credulity in having let him in.
An Ant and a Fly one day disputed as to their respective merits. “Vile creeping insect!” said the Fly to the Ant, “can you for a moment compare yourself with me? I soar on the wing like a bird. I enter the palaces of kings, and alight on the heads of princes, nay, of emperors, and only quit them to adorn the yet more attractive brow of beauty. Besides, I visit the altars of the gods. Not a sacrifice is offered but it is first tasted by me. Every feast, too, is open to me. I eat and drink of the best, instead of living for days on two or three grains of corn as you do.”
“All that is very fine,” replied the Ant; “but listen to me. You boast of your feasting, but you know that your diet is not always so choice, and you are sometimes forced to eat what nothing would induce me to touch. As for alighting on the heads of kings and emperors, you know very well that whether you pitch on the head of an emperor or of an ass (and it is as often on the one as the other), you are shaken off from both with impatience. And, then, the ‘altars of the gods,’ indeed! There and everywhere else you are looked upon as nothing but a nuisance. In the winter, too, while I feed at my ease on the fruit of my toil, what more common than to see your friends dying with cold, hunger, and fatigue? I lose my time now in talking to you. Chattering will fill neither my bin nor my cupboard.”
An Ox, grazing in a meadow, chanced to set his foot on a young Frog and crushed him to death. His brothers and sisters, who were playing near, at once ran to tell their mother what had happened.