An old Man had many Sons, who were always falling out with one another. He had often exhorted them to live together in harmony, but without result.
One day he called them around him and, producing a bundle of sticks, bade them each in turn to break it across. Each put forth all his strength, but the bundle still resisted their efforts.
Then, cutting the cord which bound the sticks together, he told his Sons to break them separately. This was done with the greatest ease.
“See, my Sons,” exclaimed he, “the power of unity! Bound together by brotherly love, you may defy almost every mortal ill; divided, you will fall a prey to your enemies.”
As a Wagoner was driving his wain through a miry lane, the wheels stuck fast in the clay and the Horses could get on no farther. The Man immediately dropped on his knees and began crying and praying with all his might to Hercules to come and help him.
“Lazy fellow!” cried Hercules, “get up and stir yourself. Whip your Horses stoutly, and put your shoulder to the wheel. If you want my help then, you shall have it.”
One day a poor countryman going to the nest of his Goose found there a golden egg all yellow and glittering. When he took it up it felt as heavy as lead and he was minded to throw it away, because he thought a trick had been played on him.
On second thoughts, he took it home, however, and soon found to his delight that it was an egg of pure gold. Every morning the same thing occurred, and he soon became prosperous by selling his eggs.
As he grew rich he grew greedy; and thinking to get at once all the gold the Goose could give, he killed it and opened it only to find—nothing!
The Frogs, living an easy, free sort of life among the lakes and ponds, once prayed Jupiter to send them a King.
Jove, being at that time in a merry mood, threw them a Log, saying, as he did so, “There, then, is a King for you.”
Awed by the splash, the Frogs watched their King in fear and trembling, till at last, encouraged by his stillness, one more daring than the rest jumped upon the shoulder of the monarch. Soon, many others followed his example, and made merry on the back of their unresisting King. Speedily tiring of such a torpid ruler, they again petitioned Jupiter, and asked him to send them something more like a King.
This time he sent them a Stork, who tossed them about and gobbled them up without mercy. They lost no time, therefore, in beseeching the god to give them again their former state.
“No, no,” replied he, “a King that did you no harm did not please you. Make the best of the one you have, or you may chance to get a worse in his place.”