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

He was no sooner in than the huntsmen came up.  “Have you seen a Fox pass this way?” said they.  The Countryman said “No,” but pointed at the same time toward the place where the Fox lay.  The huntsmen did not take the hint, however, and made off again at full speed.

The Fox, who had seen all that took place through a chink in the wall, thereupon came out and was walking away without a word.

“Why, how now!” said the Countryman, “haven’t you the manners to thank your host before you go?”

“Nay, nay,” said the Fox; “if you had been as honest with your finger as you were with your tongue, I shouldn’t have gone without saying good-bye.”

Belling the Cat

A certain Cat that lived in a large country house was so vigilant and active in the performance of her duties that the Mice, finding their numbers grievously thinned, held a council with closed doors to consider what they had best do.

Many plans had been started and dismissed, when a young Mouse, rising and catching the eye of the President, said that he had a proposal to make that he was sure must meet with the approval of all.  “If,” said he, “the Cat should wear around her neck a little bell, every step she took would make it tinkle; then, ever forewarned of her approach, we should have time to reach our holes.  By this simple means we should live in safety and defy her power.”

The speaker resumed his seat with a complacent air, and a murmur of applause arose from the audience.

An old gray Mouse, with a merry twinkle in his eye, now got up and said that the plan of the last speaker was an admirable one, but he feared it had one drawback.  He had not told them who should put the bell around the Cat’s neck!

The Old Woman and Her Maids

A certain Old Woman had several Maids, whom she used to call to their work every morning at the crowing of the Cock.

The Maids, finding it grievous to have their sweet sleep disturbed so early, killed the Cock, thinking that when he was quiet they might enjoy their warm beds a little longer.

The Old Woman, however, vexed at the loss of the Cock, and suspecting them to be concerned in his death, from that time made them rise soon after midnight!

The Dog in the Manger

There was once a Dog who lay all day long in a manger where there was plenty of hay.  It happened one day that a Horse, a Cow, a Sheep, and a Goat came one by one and wanted to eat the hay.  The Dog growled at them and would not let them have so much as a mouthful.  Then an Ox came and looked in, but the Dog growled at him also.

“You selfish fellow,” said the Ox; “you cannot eat the hay.  Why do you want to keep it all to yourself?”

The Old Man and His Sons

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