At this moment a Sparrow, who had overheard their conversation, said to them:
“You may go on praising each other till you are hoarse, my friends; but your music is utterly worthless.”
Why was it, that, not fearing to sin, the Cuckoo praised the Cock? Simply because the Cock praised the Cuckoo.
A Peasant who was beginning to stock his little farm had bought a cow and a milk-pail at the fair, and was going quietly home by a lonely path through the forest, when he suddenly fell into the hands of a Robber. The Robber stripped him as bare as a lime-tree.
“Have mercy!” cried the Peasant. “I am utterly ruined. You have reduced me to beggary. For a whole year I have worked to buy this dear little cow. I could hardly bear to wait for this day to arrive.”
“Very good,” replied the Robber, touched with compassion; “Don’t cry out so against me. After all, I shall not want to milk your cow; so I’ll give you back your milk-pail.”
“Why have some more power than others? Only one knows. Why have some longer life than others? Only one knows. Why do some try and not succeed; while others do not try and yet they do succeed? Only one knows.”
The Animals’ Peace Party
The ancient books say that the pig is a very unclean animal and of no great use to the world or man, and one of them contains this story:
Once upon a time the Horses and Cattle gave a party. Although the Pigs were very greedy, the Horses said: “Let us invite them, and it may be we can settle our quarrels in this way and become better friends. We will call this a Peace Party.
“Generations and generations of pigs have broken through our fences, taken our food, drunk our water, and rooted up our clean green grass; but it is also true that the cattle children have hurt many young pigs.
“All this trouble and fighting is not right, and we know the Master wishes we should live at peace with one another. Do you not think it a good plan to give a Peace Party and settle this trouble?”
The Cattle said: “Who will be the leader of our party and do the inviting? We should have a leader, both gentle and kind, to go to the Pig’s home and invite them.”
The next day a small and very gentle Cow was sent to invite the Pigs. As she went across to the pigs’ yard, all the young ones jumped up and grunted, “What are you coming here for? Do you want to fight?”
“No, I do not want to fight,” said the Cow. “I was sent here to invite you to our party. I should like to know if you will come, so that I may tell our leader.”
The young Pigs and the old ones talked together and the old ones said: “The New Year feast will soon be here. Maybe they will have some good things for us to eat at the party. I think we should go.”