The Talking Beasts eBook

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

Then the Sheep depones that it was fast asleep all the night in question, and it calls all its neighbours to testify that they had never known it guilty either of theft or any roguery; and besides this, it states that it never touches flesh-meat.

Here is the Fox’s decision, word for word: 

“The explanation of the Sheep cannot, under any circumstances, be accepted, for all rogues are notoriously clever at concealing their real designs; and it appears manifest, on due inquiry, that, on the aforesaid night, the Sheep was not separated from the fowls.  Fowls are exceedingly savoury, and opportunity favoured.  Therefore I decide, according to my conscience, that it is impossible that the Sheep should have forborne to eat the fowls.  The Sheep shall accordingly be put to death.  Its carcass shall be given to the court, and its fleece be taken by the Plaintiff.”

The Elephant in Favour

Once upon a time the Elephant stood high in the good graces of the Lion.  The forest immediately began to talk of the matter, and, as usual, many guesses were made as to the means by which the Elephant had gained such favour.

“It is no beauty,” say the beasts to each other, “and it is not amusing; and what habits it has! what manners!”

Says the Fox, whisking about his brush, “If it had possessed such a bushy tail as mine, I should not have wondered.”

“Or, sister,” says the Bear, “if it had gotten into favour on account of its claws, no one would have found the matter at all extraordinary; but it has no claws at all, as we all know well.”

“Isn’t it its tusks that have gotten it into favour?” thus the Ox broke in upon their conversation.  “Haven’t they, perhaps, been mistaken for horns.”

“Is it possible,” said the Ass, shaking its ears, “that you don’t know how it has succeeded in making itself liked, and in becoming distinguished?  Why, I have guessed the reason!  If it hadn’t been remarkable for its long ears, it would never in the world have gotten into favour.”

The Sword-blade

The keen blade of a Sword, made of Damascus steel, which had been thrown aside on a heap of old iron, was sent to market with the other pieces of metal, and sold for a trifle to a Moujik.  Now, a Moujik’s ideas move in a narrow circle.  He immediately set to work to turn the blade to account.  Our Moujik fitted a handle to the blade, and began to strip lime-trees in the forest with it, of the bark he wanted for shoes, while at home he unceremoniously splintered fir chips with it.  Sometimes, also, he would lop off twigs with it, or small branches for mending his wattled fences, or would shape stakes with it for his garden paling.  And the result was that, before the year was out, our blade was notched and rusted from one end to the other, and the children used to ride astride of it.  So one day a Hedgehog, which was lying under a bench in the cottage, close by the spot where the blade had been flung, said to it: 

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The Talking Beasts from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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