The Talking Beasts eBook

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

The Tortoise answered:  “Your sagacity will be able to devise a remedy for this matter, and what plan can develop while my spirit is broken by the thought of parting?”

The Geese replied:  “O friend! during this period of our friendship we have observed in thee somewhat of hastiness and rashness; perhaps thou wilt not act upon what we say, nor keep firm to thy promise after thou hast made it.”

The Tortoise rejoined; “How can it be that ye should speak with a view to my advantage, and I fail to perform a compact which is for my own good?”

Said the Geese:  “The condition is that when we take thee up and fly through the air thou wilt not utter a single syllable, for any one who may happen to see us will be sure to throw in a word, and say something in reference to us directly or indirectly.  Now, how many soever allusions thou mayest hear, or whatever manoeuvres thou mayest observe, thou must close the path of reply, and not loose thy tongue.”

The Tortoise answered:  “I am obedient to your commands, and I will positively place the seal of silence on my lips, so that I shall not be even disposed to answer any creature.”

The Geese then brought a stick, and the Tortoise laid hold of the middle of it firmly with his teeth, and they, lifting the two ends of the stick, bore him up.  When they got to a height in the air, they happened to pass over a village, and the inhabitants thereof having discovered them, were astonished at their proceedings, and came out to look at the sight, and raised a shout from left and right, “Look! how two geese are carrying a tortoise!”

And as in those days the like of it had never been witnessed by that people, their cries and exclamations increased every moment.  The Tortoise was silent for a time, but at length the cauldron of his self-esteem began to boil, and his patience being exhausted, he exclaimed:  “You who are shouting to others to look at what is plain enough to every one, hold your peace!” No sooner had he opened his lips, however, than he fell from on high, and the Geese exclaimed, “It is the part of friends to give advice and of the well-disposed to listen to it.”

And the moral of this story is, that whoever listens not to the admonition of friends, with the hearing of acceptance, will have hastened his own destruction.

The Sagacious Snake

It is related that the infirmities of age had taken effect upon a Snake and through loss of strength he was unable to pursue his prey, and was bewildered in his proceedings how to obtain food.  Life was impossible without food, and to hunt for it, had, through his weakness, become impracticable.  Accordingly he thus reflected: 

“Alas! for the strength of my youth; and now to expect its return and to hope for the recurrence of my animal vigour is a thing of the same complexion as to light a fire from water.”  He felt that what was passed could not be recalled, and he therefore busied himself with taking thought for the future, and said:  “In lieu of the strength of youth I have a little experience which I have acquired, and a trifle of prudence.  I must now base my proceedings on abstaining from injuring others and must begin to consider how I may obtain, for the remainder of my life, what may be the means of support.”

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The Talking Beasts from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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