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

A piece of Tinsel on a rock once said to a Pebble:  “You see how bright I am!  I am by birth related to the lightning.”

“Indeed!” said the Pebble; “then accept my humble respects.”

Some time after, a flash of lightning struck the rock, and the Tinsel lost all its brilliancy by the scorching effects of the flash.

“Where is your brilliancy now?” said the Pebble.

“Oh, it is gone to the skies,” said the Tinsel, “for I have lent it to the lightning that came down a moment ago to borrow it of me.”

“Dear me!” said the Pebble; “how many fibs doth good bragging need!

The Glow-worm and the Daw

A Jackdaw once ran up to a Glow-worm and was about to seize him.  “Wait a moment, good friend,” said the Worm; “and you shall hear of something to your advantage.”

“Ah! what is it?” said the Daw.

“I am but one of the many Glow-worms that live in this forest.  If you wish to have them all, follow me,” said the Glow-worm.

“Certainly!” said the Daw.

Then the Glow-worm led him to a place in the wood where a fire had been kindled by some woodmen, and pointing to the sparks flying about, said:  “There you find the Glow-worms warming themselves around a fire.  When you have done with them, I will show you some more, at a distance from this place.”

The Daw darted at the sparks, and tried to swallow some of them; but his mouth being burnt by the attempt, he ran away exclaiming, “Ah, the Glow-worm is a dangerous little creature!”

Said the Glow-worm with pride:  “Wickedness yields to wisdom!

The Lion and the Gadfly

Once a Lion was sleeping in his den at the foot of a great mountain when a Gadfly that had been sipping the blood from his mouth bit him severely.  The Lion started up with a roar, and catching the Fly in his huge paws, cried:  “Villain, you are at my mercy!  How shall I punish your impudence?”

“Sire,” said the Fly, “if you would pardon me now, and let me live, I shall be able to show ere long how grateful I am to you.”

“Indeed!” said the Lion; “who ever heard of a Gadfly helping a Lion?  But still I admire your presence of mind and grant your life.”

Some time after, the Lion, having made great havoc on the cattle of a neighbouring village, was snoring away in his den after a heavy meal.  The village hunters approached with the object of surrounding him and putting an end to his depredations.

The Fly saw them, and hurrying into the den, bit the Lion.  He started up with a roar as before, and cried:  “Villain, you will get no pardon this time!”

“Sire,” said the Fly, “the village hunters are on their way to your den; you can’t tarry a moment here without being surrounded and killed.”

“Saviour of my life!” cried the lion as he ran up the mountain. “There is nothing like forgiving, for it enables the humblest to help the highest.”

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