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The Talking Beasts eBook

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

On the banks of the river Navmoda, upon a neighbouring mountain, there was a large Salmalee tree wherein certain Birds were wont to build their nests and reside, even during the season of the rains.  One day the sky being overcast with a troop of thick dark clouds, there fell a shower of rain in very large streams.  The Birds seeing a troop of Monkeys at the foot of the tree, all wet, and shivering with cold, called out to them; “Ho, Monkeys! why don’t you invent something to protect you from the rain?  We build ourselves nests with straws collected with nothing else but our bills.  How is this, that you, who are blessed with hands and feet, yield to such sufferings?”

The Monkeys hearing this, and understanding it as a kind of reproach, were exceedingly irritated and said amongst themselves:  “Those Birds there, sitting comfortably out of the wind within their warm nests, are laughing at us!  So let them, as long as the shower may last.”  In short, as soon as the rain subsided, the whole troop of them mounted into the tree, where tearing all the nests to pieces, the eggs fell upon the ground and were broken.  I say, therefore:  “A wise man is worthy to be advised, but an ignorant one never.”

The Rabbits and the Elephants

Great things may be effected by wise counsel, when a sovereign enemy may be too powerful.  Certain Rabbits were enabled to live in comfort, through the policy of one of their brethren.

Once upon a time, for want of rain in due season, a troop of Elephants being greatly distressed for water, addressed their chief in these words:  “What resource have we, except in that hollow sinking ground inhabited by those little animals! but deprived of that too, whither, sir, shall we go?  What shall we do?”

Upon hearing their complaints, their chief, after travelling with them a great way, discovered a fountain of clear water.  But, as many Rabbits who happened, to be in their burrows were crushed to death under the feet of so many Elephants trampling over their warren, at length, one of them, reflected in this manner:  “This troop of Elephants, oppressed with thirst, will be coming here every day to drink, and, at length, our whole race will be destroyed!” But an old buck said to him, “Brother, don’t be uneasy; for I am going to prevent what thou dreadest.”  Saying which, he set off to try how he could oppose them; but as he went along, he began to consider how he should approach so formidable a troop; “for,” observed he, “they say: 

“’An elephant killeth even by touching, a serpent even by smelling, a king even by ruling, and a wicked man by laughing at one.’

“Wherefore, I will mount the summit of a rock to address the head of the troop.”

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