“Black, impossible!” cried both the disputants!”
“Nay,” quoth the Umpire, with great assurance, “the matter may be soon decided, for I immediately inclosed my Chameleon in a little paper box, and here it is.” So saying, he drew it out of his pocket, opened his box, and, lo! it was as white as snow.
The Travellers looked equally surprised and equally confounded; while the sagacious reptile, assuming the air of a philosopher, thus admonished them: “Ye children of men, learn diffidence and moderation in your opinions. ’Tis true, you happen in this present instance to be all in the right, and have only considered the subject under different circumstances, but, pray, for the future allow others to have eyesight as well as yourselves; nor wonder if every one prefers to accept the testimony of his own senses.”
The Eagle, the Jackdaw, and the Magpie
The kingly Eagle kept his court with all the formalities of sovereign state, and was duly attended by all his plumed subjects in their highest feathers.
These solemn assemblies, however, were frequently disturbed by the impertinent conduct of two, who assumed the importance of high-fliers; these were no other than the Jackdaw and the Magpie, who were forever contending for precedence which neither of them would give up to the other.
The contest ran so high that at length they mutually agreed to appeal to the sovereign Eagle for his decision in this momentous affair.
The Eagle gravely answered that he did not wish to make an invidious distinction by deciding to the advantage of either party, but would give them a rule by which they might determine between themselves; “for,” added he, “the greater fool of the two shall in future always take precedence, but which of you it may be, yourselves must settle.”
The Boy and the Filberts
A Boy once thrust his hand into a pitcher which was full of figs and filberts.
He grasped as many as his fist could possibly hold, but when he tried to draw it out the narrowness of the neck prevented him.
Not liking to lose any of them, but unwilling to draw out his hand, he burst into tears and bitterly bemoaned his hard fortune.
An honest fellow who stood by gave him this wise and reasonable advice: “Take only half as many, my boy, and you will easily get them.”
The Passenger and the Pilot
In a violent storm at sea, the whole crew of a vessel was in imminent danger of shipwreck.
After the rolling of the waves was somewhat abated, a certain Passenger, who had never been at sea before, observing the Pilot to have appeared wholly unconcerned, even in their greatest danger, had the curiosity to ask him what death his father died.
“What death?” said the Pilot, “Why, he perished at sea, as my grandfather did before him.”