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

The messenger arose, went, called all the little red Ants and brought them before our Lord.  On seeing the little red Ants, our Lord asked them, “Why did you kill the man?” The little red Ants answered, and said to our Lord, “The reason why we killed this man is this:  When he went to market and his ass had thrown off the sacks, those sacks were too heavy for him to take alone, so he called us, and when we came to him, he said to us, ’Please help me to take my large bag and load it upon mine ass, that I may go to market.  When I have sold my things and come back, I will pay you.’  Accordingly we helped him to load his ass; but when he had gone to market and sold all his things there, we saw him on his return home, and went to him, to ask him for what he owed us; but he refused it, drove his ass, and went homeward.  However, he was only gone a little while, when he got fever, sat down under a tree, tied his ass fast, took off his sacks and laid them down; and on the same spot where he sat down, the fever overpowered him that he lay down.  Then on seeing him lying we went, assembled ourselves and killed him, because he had refused what he owed us.”

Our Lord gave them right.

Our Lord said to the Merchant, “Thou goest to market until thy life stands still.”  Our Lord said to the Cricket, “Do thou give notice whenever it is time!  This is thy work.”

Our Lord said to the little red Ants, “Whenever ye see any Insect unwell and lying down in a place, then go, assemble yourselves and finish it.”

Now the Cricket begins to give notice as soon as it is evening and does not keep silence in his hole until the morning comes; this is its employment.  The Merchant has no farm and does not do any work, but constantly goes to market; this is its employment, given to it by the Lord.  Now the little red Ants, whenever they see an Insect unwell and lying down they go and assemble themselves against that Insect, and, even if that Insect has not yet expired they finish it.  This our Lord gave to the little red Ants for their employment.

I have now told thee the fable of the Insects, which I have heard of Omar Pesami.  This is finished.

Man and Turtle

Let me tell of Turtle of Koka.

Man of Lubi la Suku caught a Turtle in the bush; he came with it to the village.  They said:  “Let us kill it!”

Some people said:  “How shall we kill it?” They said:  “We shall cut it with hatchets.”  Turtle replied, saying: 

  “Turtle of Koka,
  And hatchet of Koka;
  Hatchet not kill me a bit.”

The people said:  “What shall we kill him with?” Some said:  “We shall kill him with stones.”  Turtle, fear grasped him, he said:  “I am going to die.”  He says by mouth: 

  “Turtle of Koka,
  And stone of Koka;
  Stone will not kill me a bit.”

The people said:  “Let us cast him into the fire!” Turtle said: 

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