The headmen all came in full; they sent for the players of drum and marimba; they have come. They spread coarse mats and fine mats. Where the lord is going to sit, they laid a coarse mat; they spread on it a fine mat; they set a chair on. They say: “Let the lord sit down.” He sat down. The people begin to divide the victuals.
He, Mr. Dog, on seeing the breast of a fowl, greed grasped him. He stood up in haste; took the breast of the fowl; ran into the bush. The people said: “The lord, whom we are installing, has run away with the breast of the fowl into the bush!” The people separated.
Mr. Dog, who was going to be invested with the kingship, because of his thievery, the kingship he lost it.
I have told my little tale. Finished.
Two men called themselves one name. This one said: “I am Ndala, the builder of ability.” The other one said: “I am Ndala, the builder of haste.”
They say: “We will go to trade.” They start; they arrive in middle of road. A storm comes. They stop, saying: “Let us build grass-huts!” Ndala, the builder of haste, built in haste; he entered into his hut. Ndala, the builder of ability is building carefully. The storm comes; it kills him outside. Ndala, the builder of haste escaped, because his hut was finished; it sheltered him when the storm came on.
“Shall not my fable
Because a Knave is over-nice?
And, lest the guilty hear and dread,
Shall not the decalogue be read?”
FABLES FROM KRILOF
To the Lion, king of the forests, was given a son.
Among us, a child a year old, even if it belong to a royal family, is small and weak. But, by the time it has lived a twelve-month, a lion-cub has long ago left off its baby-clothes.
So, at the end of a year, the Lion began to consider that he must not allow his royal son to remain ignorant, that the dignity of the kingdom be not degraded, and that when the son’s turn should come to govern the kingdom the nation should have no cause to reproach the father on his account.
But whom should he entreat, or compel, or induce by rewards, to instruct the czarevitch to become a czar?
The Fox is clever, but it is terribly addicted to lying, and a liar is perpetually getting into trouble. “No,” thought the Lion, “the science of falsehood is not one which princes ought to study.”
Should he trust him to the Mole? All who speak of that animal say that it is an extreme admirer of order and regularity; that it never takes a step till it has examined the ground before it, and that it cleans and shells with its own paws every grain of corn that comes to its table. In fact, the Mole has the reputation of being very great in small affairs; but, unfortunately, it cannot see anything at a distance. The Mole’s love of order is an excellent thing for animals of its own kind, but the Lion’s kingdom is considerably more extensive than a mole-run.