Meanwhile time passed; and in the autumn the oats were garnered, and the Peasant fed this very Horse upon them all the winter.
There can be no doubt, Reader, that you do not approve of the opinions of the Horse. But from the oldest times to our own days has not man been equally audacious in criticising the designs of a Providence of whose means or ends he sees and knows nothing?
A Wolf ran out of the forest into a village—not to pay a visit, but to save its life; for it trembled for its skin.
The huntsmen and a pack of hounds were after it. It would fain have rushed in through the first gateway; but there was this unfortunate circumstance against the scheme that all the gateways were closed.
The Wolf sees a Cat on a partition fence, and says pleadingly, “Vaska, my friend, tell me quickly, which of the moujiks here is the kindest, so that I may hide myself from my evil foes? Listen to the cry of the dogs and the terrible sound of the horns? All that noise is actually made in chase of me!”
“Go quickly, and ask Stefan,” says Vaska, the Cat; “he is a very kind man.”
“Quite true; only I have torn the skin off one of his sheep.”
“Well, then, you can try Demian.”
“I’m afraid he’s angry with me, too; I carried off one of his kids.”
“Run over there, then; Trofim lives there.”
“Trofim! I should be afraid of even meeting him. Ever since the spring he has been threatening me about a lamb.”
“Dear me, that’s bad! But perhaps Klim will protect you.”
“Oh, Vaska, I have killed one of his calves.”
“What do I hear, friend? You’ve quarrelled with all the village,” cried Vaska to the Wolf. “What sort of protection can you hope for here? No, no; our moujiks are not so destitute of sense as to be willing to save you to their own hurt. And, really, you have only yourself to blame. What you have sown, that you must now reap.”
An Eagle and his mate flew into a deep forest and determined to make it their permanent abode. So they chose an oak, lofty and wide-spreading, and began to build themselves a nest on the top of it, hoping there to rear their young in the summer.
A Mole, who heard about all this, plucked up courage enough to inform the Eagles that the oak was not a proper dwelling-place for them; that it was almost entirely rotten at the root, and was likely soon to fall, and that therefore the Eagles ought not to make their nest upon it.
But is it becoming that an Eagle should accept advice coming from a Mole in a hole? Where then would be the glory of an Eagle having such keen eyes? And how comes it that Moles dare to meddle in the affairs of the king of Birds?
So, saying very little to the Mole, whose counsel he despised, the Eagle set to work quickly—and the King soon got ready the new dwelling for the Queen.