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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 52 pages of information about Fifty Famous Fables.

So he killed the goose and opened it, but what do you think?  There was not one egg to be found.

THE DONKEY AND HIS MASTERS

“How I hate this early rising!” said a donkey, with a great yawn.  “I wish I might sleep till sunrise.  Here I am, harnessed and ready to start to town before the roosters crow.  And why?  To take a little fruit and a few vegetables to market.  Isn’t that a foolish reason for spoiling my dreams!”

The master was tired of his donkey, for he never seemed willing to do his work.  “I do hate a donkey with his ears turned backward,” he said.  “He has no right to complain, for his work is really light, and he gets plenty of food and rest.”

One day a tanner came along.  He saw what a strong donkey the gardener drove, and asked his price.  The gardener was glad to sell him.  “I hope he will enjoy his new work,” said the gardener.  “He never seemed quite happy with me.”

The tanner used the donkey to carry hides.  These were heavy and bad-smelling.  They almost made him sick.

“Oh, dear!” the donkey groaned one day.  “I wish I were back with the gardener.  The vegetables were fresh and I was often given a cabbage leaf or a beet top.  I did have to get out early, to be sure, but I did not work late.  Here I must work early and late, and if I turn out of the road to get a mouthful of grass, I am beaten soundly.  I hate this work and this place.”

The donkey was so ill-natured that the tanner sold him to a coal miner.  He was lowered into a coal mine, where he had to pass his time pulling loads of coal.  The mine was dark, and he was kept very busy.

“This is very bad,” he cried.  “I wish I were with the gardener, or even with the tanner.  Anything would be better than working in this dismal hole in the ground.”  But there he ended his unhappy life.

THE COBBLER AND THE RICH MAN

A cobbler worked in his shop from morning until night, and as he worked he sang.  Tired people who heard him were rested, and sad men and women were cheered as they came near the shop.  Children visited him and watched him at his work and heard him sing.  They called him “Jolly Gregory.”

“How can he sing when he works so hard and makes so little?” many asked; but still his singing went on.

Across the road from the cobbler lived a rich man.  His home was beautiful, his clothes fine, and his fare the best that money could buy; but never in his life had he been known to give to anyone who needed help.  He was really poor, for he lacked one thing which he very much wanted—­sleep.  Sometimes he could not get to sleep until early morning; then his neighbor’s song would waken him.  He wished that sleep could be bought for money.

One day he said to himself, “I believe I will help that cobbler over the way.  He has a hard time to make enough money to buy his food and clothes.”  So he sent for the cobbler.

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