Having thus trod around the circle of the year, in a course of restless labour, uneasiness and disappointment, and found no season, nor station of life without its business and its trouble, he was forced at last to acquiesce in the comfortless season of winter, where his complaint began, convinced that in this world every situation has its inconvenience.
A Man was one day entertaining a lot of fellows in an ale-house with an account of the wonders he had done when abroad on his travels. “I was once at Rhodes,” said he, “and the people of Rhodes, you know, are famous for jumping. Well, I took a jump there that no other man could come within a yard of. That’s a fact, and if we were there I could bring you ten men who would prove it.”
“What need is there to go to Rhodes for witnesses?” asked one of his hearers; “just imagine that you are there now, and show us your leap!”
A Lion, tired with the chase, lay sleeping at full length under a shady tree. Some Mice, scrambling over him while he slept, awoke him. Laying his paw upon one of them, he was about to crush him, but the Mouse implored his mercy in such moving terms that he let him go.
Now it happened that sometime afterward the Lion was caught in a net laid by some hunters, and, unable to free himself, made the forest resound with his roars. The Mouse, recognizing the voice of his preserver, ran to the spot, and with his little sharp teeth gnawed the ropes asunder and set the Lion free.
A Swallow, observing a Husbandman employed in sowing hemp, called the little Birds together and informed them of what the farmer was about. He told them that hemp was the material from which the nets, so fatal to the feathered race, were composed; and advised them to join unanimously in picking it up in order to prevent the consequences.
The Birds, either disbelieving his information or neglecting his advice, gave themselves no trouble about the matter. In a little time the hemp appeared above the ground, when the friendly Swallow again addressed himself to them, and told them it was not yet too late, provided they would immediately set about the work, before the seeds had taken too deep root. But as they still rejected his advice, he forsook their society, repaired for safety to towns and cities, there built his habitation and kept his residence.
One day as he was skimming along the streets he happened to see a large parcel of those very Birds imprisoned in a cage on the shoulders of a bird-catcher.
“Unhappy wretches,” said he. “You now feel punishment for your former neglect; but those who, having no foresight of their own, despise the wholesome admonition of their friends, deserve the mischief which their own obstinacy or negligence brings upon their heads.”