The next morning the man started out alone to hunt the lion. He had, a gun and a sword. He looked so brave as he started off that the people in the village said, “What a blessing it is to have so fearless a man in our village! He will keep us from harm.”
He walked several miles. At last he came near a jungle. He thought that the lion might have his home there. He asked a farmer whom he met if he had seen the tracks of a lion.
“Yes,” said the farmer, “and I will show you where you can find him.”
When the man heard this, he turned pale and trembled with fright.
“I do not care to see the lion,” he cried. “I only wanted to see his tracks.”
The farmer turned away in disgust, saying, “It is easy to be brave when you are out of danger.”
Once upon a time a fox fell into a well. He was not hurt by his fall. As there was little water in the well, he was in no danger of drowning; but he could not get out.
He cried, “Help! help! help! help!” but no one heard him.
By and by a wolf passed by the well. He heard the call. He looked into the well and asked, “Who is down there?”
“It is I,” cried the fox. “I am glad that you have come to help me out.”
“How did you get down there?” asked the wolf. “Have you been there long? Is the water very deep? Poor fellow, I do pity you! That is no place for you. You have a very bad cold, I see. I wish you were out.”
“Please don’t talk to me,” cried the fox. “It is help I need. Do get me out and then I shall know that you are sorry for me.”
What a queer meeting that was down in the cellar! There were big mice, little mice, old mice, young mice, gray mice, and brown mice, all very sober and thoughtful.
At last an old mouse spoke up and said, “Shall we have Mr. Graypate for our chairman? All those who wish Mr. Graypate to be chairman will please hold up their right hands.” Every mouse raised a tiny paw.
Mr. Graypate walked out to the front and took charge of the meeting. It was well that they chose him, for he was the wisest mouse in the whole country. Gazing over the crowd, he said, “Will Mr. Longtail tell us why we have met here? Mr. Longtail, come out in front where we can hear you.”
Mr. Longtail walked slowly to the front. Then he stood upon his hind legs and said:
“My friends, I think you all know why we are here. Last night Mrs. Whitenose, whom we all love, and all her family were killed by the big white cat. The night before, while Mrs. Blackfoot was out hunting, all her cunning little babies were killed by the same cat. Early this week one of my finest boys was killed. You or I may be next.
“Must we bear this and do nothing at all to save our loved ones and ourselves? We have met here to make some plan for our defense.”