The Talking Beasts eBook

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

Now all the wild beasts which God has created hunt for their food in the forest, and eat it; but as soon as they see one black man standing, they do not stop and wait, but run away.  Now the following beasts are dangerous in the forest:  viz., the leopard, the lion, the wild cow, the wild dog and the hyena; but when they see a black man, they do not stop and wait.  As for the dispute which the Lion and the Wild Dog had, the Wild Dog was right, and the Lion gave him his right; then they shook hands again, and each went and ran to his own home.  This fable, which I heard, respecting the Wild Dog and the Lion, is now finished.

[1]This refers to the universal belief that hunters are able to render themselves invisible, in moments of danger, by the operation of charms and witchcraft.

How Sense Was Distributed

In the beginning not one of all the beasts of the forest was endowed with sense:  when they saw a hunter come to them intending to kill them, they stood and looked at the hunter, and so the hunter killed them; day after day he killed them.  Then our Lord sent one who put all the sense into a bag, tied it, carried it, and put it down under a large tree.

The Weasel saw the man put the bag down, and afterward went, called the Hare, and said to him: 

“Brother Hare, I saw a man put something down under a tree, but as I went to take it, I could not; so let us go and if thou wilt take it I will show it to thee that thou mayest do so.”

When the Weasel and the Hare had gone together to where the bag was, the Weasel said to the Hare, “Behold, here is the thing which I could not take and for which I called thee here.”

But as the Hare went and attempted to take it, he could not, so he left it and went away.

When he was gone the Weasel went again to take hold of the bag, but as he attempted to take it, it was too heavy; so the Weasel did not know what to do.  Then came a Pigeon, who sat upon a tree, and said something to the Weasel.  The Weasel heard it say:  “Lean it over and take it.”  And again, “Bend it and take it.”

As soon as he had heard this, he dragged the bag along and thus brought it and leaned it against a tree, and caused it to stand in an inclined position; then having gone to the bottom of it, he bowed down, put his head to the bag, and as he drew the bag toward him it went upon his head; this being done, he pressed himself upon the ground, rose up and stood there.  After this he went his way home, and on putting the bag down upon the ground and untying it, the Weasel saw that there was no other thing in the bag, but pure sense.

So he went and called the Hare again, and when the Hare was come, he said to him: 

“Brother Hare, there was not a single other thing in that bag but pure sense:  God has loved us so that to-day we have obtained sense; but do not tell it to anybody, then I will give thee a little, and what remains I will hide in my hole until some one comes and begs of me, and then I will give him also a little.”

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The Talking Beasts from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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