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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 215 pages of information about The Talking Beasts.

Then the Mule asked his mother, “Will you allow me to go with Sii to see his friend?”

“Who is his friend?” asked the mother.

“The farmer’s Pig.” said the Mule.

“I think it is no harm if you go only there,” said the mother Mule.  “But you must not go anywhere else with Sii.  The hunter is looking for him, I hear, and you must be careful.  Do not trust him fully, for I fear he will tempt you to go to some other place or into some wrong thing.  If I allow you to go, you must come home before midnight.  The moon will not be gone then and you can see to find your way.”

So the Lion and the Mule went to visit the Pig, who lived in a house in the farmer’s yard.  But as soon as the Pig saw the Lion, he called out in a loud voice to his mother.

The Lion said, “He is afraid of me.  I will hide and you may go in first.”

When the Pig saw that the Mule was alone, he thought the Lion had gone.  He opened his door wide and was very friendly to the Mule, saying, “Come in.”

But the Lion jumped from his hiding place and caught the Pig as he came to the door.  The Pig called to his mother in great fear, and the Mule begged the Lion, saying, “Let the poor little creature go free.”

But the Lion said, “No, indeed; I have many Pigs at my house.  It is better for him to go with me.”

Then the Lion carried the Pig, while the Mule followed.  Soon they came to where a fine looking dog lay on some hay behind a net.  The Lion did not seem to see the net, for he dropped the Pig and tried to catch the Dog, who cried loudly for mercy.

But the Lion said to the foolish Mule, “See how rude the Dog is to us.  We came to visit him and he makes a loud noise and tries to call the hunter so that he will drive us away.  I have never been so insulted.  Come here, Lii-Tsze, at once and help me!”

The Mule went to the Lion and the net fell and caught them both.  At sunrise the Hunter came and found the Mule and the Lion in his net.  The Mule begged earnestly and said, “Hunter, you know me and you know my mother.  We are your friends and we do no wrong.  Set me free, oh, hunter, set me free!”

The Hunter said, “No, I will not set you free.  You may be good, but you are in bad company and must take what it brings.  I will take you and the Lion both to the market place and sell you for silver.  That is my right.  I am a hunter.  If you get in my net, that is your business.  If I catch you, that is my business.”

EE-SZE (Meaning):  Bad company is a dangerous thing for man or beast.

The Lion and the Mosquitoes

One day Ah-Fou’s father said to him, “Come here, my boy, and I will tell you a story.  Do you remember the great lion we saw one day, which Ah-Kay caught?  You know a strong rope held him, and he roared and tried to free himself until he died.  Then when Ah-Kay took him from the net, he looked at the rope and the bamboo carefully, and found five of the great ropes broken.

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