All goes well, and now the Eagles have little ones. But what happens? One day, when at early dawn the Eagle is hastening back from the chase, bringing a rich breakfast to his family, as he drops down from the sky he sees—his oak has fallen, and has crushed beneath it his mate and his little ones!
“Wretched creature that I am!” he cries, anguish blotting out from him the light; “for my pride has fate so terribly punished me, and because I gave no heed to wise counsel. But could one expect that wise counsel could possibly come from a miserable Mole?”
Then from its hole the Mole replies: “Had not you despised me, you would have remembered that I burrow within the earth, and that, as I live among the roots, I can tell with certainty whether a tree be sound or not.”
A Merchant brought some linen to a fair. That’s a thing everybody wants to buy, so it would have been a sin in the Merchant if he had complained of his sale. There was no keeping the buyers back: the shop was at times crammed full.
Seeing how rapidly the goods went off, an envious Spider was tempted by the Merchant’s gains. She took it into her head to weave goods for sale herself, and determined to open a little shop for them in a window corner, seeking thereby to undermine the Merchant’s success.
She commenced her web, spun the whole night long, and then set out her wares on view. From her shop she did not stir, but remained sitting there, puffed up with pride, and thinking, “So soon as the day shall dawn will all buyers be enticed to me.”
Well, the day did dawn. But what then? There came a broom, and the ingenious creatures and her little shop were swept clean away.
Our Spider went wild with vexation.
“There!” she cried, “what’s the good of expecting a just reward? And yet I ask the whole world—Whose work is the finer, mine or that Merchant’s?”
“Yours, to be sure,” answered the Bee. “Who would venture to deny the fact? Every one knew that long ago. But what is the good of it if there’s neither warmth nor wear in it?”
“How proudly and sonorously you sing, my dear Cock!”
“But you, dear Cuckoo, my light, how smoothly flows your long drawn-out note! There is no such singer in all the rest of our forest.”
“To you, dear friend, I could listen forever.”
“And as for you, my beauty, I protest that when you are silent I scarcely know how to wait till you begin again. Where do you get such a voice?—so clear, so soft, so high! But no doubt you were always like that: not very large in stature, but in song—a nightingale.”
“Thanks, friend. As for you, I declare on my conscience you sing better than the birds in the Garden of Eden. I appeal to public opinion for a proof of this.”