The Talking Beasts eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 288 pages of information about The Talking Beasts.

“Certainly,” said Tall Stripes.  Thereupon Old Guile rose up slowly from his seat, like one devoid of all energy, and embracing him, plunged his deadly teeth into his long neck, and stretching him on the ground made a hearty breakfast on him.

Beware of the crafty professions of the wicked.

The Man of Luck and the Man of Pluck

A King in the East said to his Minister; “Do you believe in luck?”

“I do,” said the Minister.

“Can you prove it?” said the King.

“Yes, I can,” said the Minister.

So one night he tied up to the ceiling of a room a parcel containing peas mixed with diamonds, and let in two men, one of whom believed in luck and the other in human effort alone.  The former quietly laid himself down on the ground; the latter after a series of efforts reached the parcel, and feeling in the dark the peas and the stones, ate the former, one by one, and threw down the latter at his companion, saying, “Here are the stones for your idleness.”  The man below received them in his blanket.

In the morning the king and the minister came to the room and bade each take to himself what he had got.  The Man of Effort found he had nothing beyond the peas he had eaten.  The Man of Luck quietly walked away with the diamonds.

The Minister said to the King:  “Sire, there is such a thing as luck; but it is as rare as peas mixed with diamonds.  So I would say:  ’Let none hope to live by luck.’”

The Fox and the Crabs

One day a Fox seated himself on a stone by a stream and wept aloud.  The Crabs in the holes around came up to him and said:  “Friend, why are you wailing so loud?”

“Alas!” said the Fox, “I have been turned by my kindred out of the wood, and do not know what to do.”

“Why were you turned out?” asked the Crabs in a tone of pity.

“Because,” said the Fox, sobbing, “they said they should go out to-night hunting Crabs by the stream, and I said it would be a pity to lull such pretty little creatures.”

“Where will you go hereafter?” said the Crabs.

“Where I can get work,” said the Fox; “for I would not go to my kindred again, come what would.”

Then the Crabs held a meeting, and came to the conclusion that, as the Fox had been thrown out by his kindred on their account, they could do nothing better than engage his services to defend them.  So they told the Fox of their intention.  He readily consented, and spent the whole day in amusing the Crabs with all kinds of tricks.

Night came.  The moon rose in full splendour.  The Fox said:  “Have you ever been out for a walk in the moonlight?”

“Never, friend,” said the Crabs; “we are such little creatures that we are afraid of going far from our holes.”

“Oh, never mind!” said the Fox; “follow me!  I can defend you against any foe.”

Project Gutenberg
The Talking Beasts from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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