The Talking Beasts eBook

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

“And are you not afraid of trusting yourself to an element that has proved thus fatal to your family?”

“Afraid?  By no means; why, we must all die; is not your father dead?”

“Yes, but he died in his bed.”

“And why, then, are you not afraid of trusting yourself to your bed?”

“Because I am perfectly secure there.”

“It may be so,” replied the Pilot; “but if the hand of Providence is equally extended over all places, there is no more reason for me to be afraid of going to sea than for you to be afraid of going to bed.”

The Dog and the Crocodile

A Dog, running along the banks of the Nile, grew thirsty, but fearing to be seized by the monsters of that river, he would not stop to satiate his drought, but lapped as he ran.

A Crocodile, raising his head above the surface of the water, asked him why he was in such a hurry.  He had often, he said, wished for his acquaintance, and should be glad to embrace the present opportunity.

“You do me great honour,” said the Dog, “but it is to avoid such companions as you that I am in so much haste!”

A Matter of Arbitration

Two Cats, having stolen some cheese, could not agree about dividing the prize.  In order, therefore, to settle the dispute, they consented to refer the matter to a Monkey.

The proposed Arbitrator very readily accepted the office, and, producing a balance, put a part into each scale.  “Let me see,” said he, “aye—­this lump outweighs the other”; and immediately bit off a considerable piece in order to reduce it, he observed, to an equilibrium.  The opposite scale was now heavier, which afforded our conscientious judge a reason for a second mouthful.

“Hold, hold,” said the two Cats, who began to be alarmed for the event, “give us our shares and we are satisfied.”  “If you are satisfied,” returned the Monkey, “justice is not; a cause of this intricate nature is by no means so soon determined.”  Upon which he continued to nibble first one piece then the other, till the poor Cats, seeing their cheese rapidly diminishing, entreated to give himself no further trouble, but to deliver to them what remained.

“Not so fast, I beseech ye, friends,” replied the Monkey; “we owe justice to ourselves as well as to you.  What remains is due to me in right of my office.”

Thus saying, he crammed the whole into his mouth, and with great gravity dismissed the court.

The Crow and the Mussel

A Crow having found a Mussel on the seashore; took it in his beak and tried for a long time to break the shell by hammering it upon a stone.

Another Crow—­a sly old fellow—­came and watched him for some time in silence.

“Friend,” said he at last, “you’ll never break it in that way.  Listen to me.  This is the way to do it:  Fly up as high as you can, and let the tiresome thing fall upon a rock.  It will be smashed then sure enough, and you can eat it at your leisure.”

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The Talking Beasts from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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