“The monster that did it, mother, was such a size!” said they.
The mother, who was a vain old thing, thought that she could easily make herself as large.
“Was it as big as this?” she asked, blowing and puffing herself out.
“Oh, much bigger than that,” replied the young Frogs.
“As this, then?” cried she, puffing and blowing again with all her might.
“Nay, mother,” said they; “if you were to try till you burst yourself, you could never be so big.”
The silly old Frog then tried to puff herself out still more, and burst herself indeed.
The Cat and the Mice
A certain house was overrun with mice. A Cat, discovering this, made her way into it and began to catch and eat them one by one.
The Mice being continually devoured, kept themselves close in their holes.
The Cat, no longer able to get at them, perceived that she must tempt them forth by some device. For this purpose she jumped upon a peg, and, suspending herself from it, pretended to be dead.
One of the Mice, peeping stealthily out, saw her, and said, “Ah, my good madam, even though you should turn into a meal-bag, we would not come near you.”
The Cock and the Jewel
A brisk young Cock, scratching for something with which to entertain his favourite Hens, happened to turn up a Jewel. Feeling quite sure that it was something precious, but not knowing well what to do with it, he addressed it with an air of affected wisdom, as follows: “You are a very fine thing, no doubt, but you are not at all to my taste. For my part, I would rather have one grain of dear delicious barley than all the Jewels in the world.”
The Man and the Lion
A Man and a Lion were discussing the relative strength of men and lions in general, the Man contending that he and his fellows were stronger than lions by reason of their greater intelligence.
“Come now with me,” he cried to the beast, “and I will soon prove that I am right.” So he took him into the public gardens and showed him a statue of Hercules overcoming the Lion. and tearing him to pieces.
“That is all very well,” said the Lion, “but it proves nothing, for it was a man who made the statue!”
The Discontented Ass
In the depth of winter a poor Ass once prayed heartily for the spring, that he might exchange a cold lodging and a heartless truss of straw for a little warm weather and a mouthful of fresh grass. In a short time, according to his wish, the warm weather and the fresh grass came on, but brought with them so much toil and business that he was soon as weary of the spring as before of the winter, and he now became impatient for the approach of summer. The summer arrived; but the heat, the harvest work and other drudgeries and inconveniences of the season set him as far from happiness as before, which he now flattered himself would be found in the plenty of autumn. But here, too, he was disappointed; for what with the carrying of apples, roots, fuel for the winter, and other provisions, he was in autumn more fatigued than ever.