“I wish I had such a beautiful form as you have,” said the fox.
Still no answer, but the crow held up her head and turned it first to one side and then to the other, showing that she was pleased.
“What a graceful neck and bright eye!” said the fox. “The other birds may well be jealous of you.”
No answer yet. She only raised her wings a little and gazed down upon the fox.
“If your voice were only as beautiful as your form and your dress, you would be queen of all the birds; but it seems that you can not talk at all. What a pity that you are dumb!”
The crow gave a loud “caw!” As she did so, the meat fell from her mouth. The fox snapped it up quickly.
Poor crow, she saw when too late that the fox was only fooling her.
THE VAIN CROW
“I hate a black dress, no matter how glossy,” said a proud crow. “I have made up my mind to be a peacock.”
As he said this, he flew away to a barnyard where he found some feathers which the peacock had shed. He picked these up with his bill and placed them among his own feathers.
Then he marched back and forth, looking at his fine new coat. He even tried to walk like the peacock.
The peafowls came into the yard. They did not know at first what to make of the sight. Then they saw that the crow was trying to dress and act as they did. They flew at him, calling, “Away with the cheat! Away with the cheat!” They pulled out all the peacock feathers and many of his own glossy black ones.
He was glad to get away alive, and flew back to his own family and old friends. But one of the crows had seen him in the barnyard and told the others how silly he had been acting.
“Where have you been?” they cried. “We know. We know. We will not have you in this flock. Away! away!” And they drove him from them.
Even the owls, whom he had always hated, made eyes at him and screamed, “Ch-ea-t! ch-ea-t!”
He flew into the forest. Here in a tree by a pond he lived a lonely life.
The tree-toads learned their queer song from him. This is his warning to them. “Don’t, don’t-be-cheat! Don’t, don’t-be-cheat!”
THE HOUSE AND THE LOADED DONKEY
A man once owned a beautiful black horse and a very ugly donkey.
The horse always had plenty to eat and was well groomed, but the donkey was very poorly cared for.
One bright morning both animals were made ready for a long journey. A saddle was placed upon the horse, and a heavy pack of goods was loaded upon the donkey.
The donkey was a very patient animal. When well, he never complained of his hard lot, but this morning he staggered under the weight of his load. After going a short distance, he looked up at the proud horse and asked:
“Would you mind helping me to-day? I feel too ill to carry this heavy load. If you will help me, I shall soon be well and able to carry the whole load. If you refuse to help me, I shall surely fall by the way; then you will have to bear the burden alone.”