Various.

Favourite Fables in Prose and Verse online

. (page 1 of 7)
Online LibraryVariousFavourite Fables in Prose and Verse → online text (page 1 of 7)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Produced by Marilynda Fraser-Cunliffe, Sankar Viswanathan,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
http://www.pgdp.net (This file was made using scans of
public domain works in the International Children's Digital
Library.)









[Illustration: THE FROG AND THE OX.]


FAVOURITE FABLES,

In Prose and Verse.


WITH TWENTY-FOUR ILLUSTRATIONS

FROM DRAWINGS


BY HARRISON WEIR.


[Illustration: JUSTICE.]



LONDON:

GRIFFITH AND FARRAN,

(SUCCESSORS TO NEWBERY AND HARRIS),

CORNER OF ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD.

MDCCCLXX.

* * * * *




CONTENTS.


FABLE

I. THE FOX AND THE GOAT

II. THE FROG AND THE OX

III. THE MAN AND HIS GOOSE

IV. THE LION AND OTHER BEASTS

V. THE DOVE AND THE ANT

VI. THE FOX WITHOUT A TAIL

VII. THE BUTTERFLY AND THE SNAIL

VIII. THE WOLF AND THE CRANE

IX. THE FROG AND THE RAT

X. THE FIGHTING COCK AND EAGLE

XI. THE DIAMOND AND THE LOADSTONE

XII. THE BEAR AND THE BEES

XIII. THE FROGS DESIRING A KING

XIV. THE FOX AND THE BOAR

XV. THE VINE AND THE GOAT

XVI. THE DISCONTENTED HORSE

XVII. THE MOUNTAIN IN LABOUR

XVIII. THE FOX AND THE STORK

XIX. THE HORSE AND THE STAG

XX. THE LION WOUNDED

XXI. THE ASS IN THE LION'S SKIN

XXII. JUPITER AND THE FARMER

XXIII. THE VAIN JACKDAW

XXIV. THE VIPER AND THE FILE

XXV. THE WOLF AND THE LAMB

XXVI. THE OLD BULLFINCH AND YOUNG BIRDS

XXVII. THE MOUSE AND THE WEASEL

XXVIII. THE OLD HOUND

XXIX. THE CHARGER AND THE ASS

XXX. THE COLT AND THE FARMER

XXXI. THE LARK AND HER YOUNG ONES

XXXII. THE FOX AND THE CROW

XXXIII. THE PEACOCK'S COMPLAINT

XXXIV. THE STAG IN THE OX-STALL

XXXV. THE WIND AND THE SUN

XXXVI. THE TRAVELLERS AND THE BEAR

XXXVII. THE DOG AND THE SHADOW

XXXVIII. THE HERMIT AND THE BEAR

XXXIX. THE SHEPHERD'S BOY AND THE WOLF

XL. THE FAWN AND HER MOTHER

XLI. THE TORTOISE AND THE EAGLE

XLII. THE BROTHER AND SISTER

XLIII. THE SHEPHERD'S DOG AND WOLF

XLIV. THE COVETOUS MAN

XLV. THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE

XLVI. THE HOG AND THE ACORNS

XLVII. THE COUNTRY MOUSE AND THE CITY MOUSE

XLVIII. THE CAT AND THE MICE

XLIX. THE KID AND THE WOLF

L. THE COUNCIL OF HORSES

LI. THE ASS AND THE LITTLE DOG

LII. THE LION AND THE FOUR BULLS

LIII. THE LEOPARD AND THE FOX

LIV. THE WARRIOR WOLF

LV. THE BELLY AND THE MEMBERS

LVI. THE CUR, THE HORSE, AND THE SHEPHERD'S DOG

LVII. THE JACKDAW AND THE EAGLE

LVIII. THE ASS AND THE LION HUNTING

LIX. THE WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING

LX. THE TWO BEES

LXI. THE TURKEY AND THE ANT

LXII. THE DOG AND THE WOLF

LXIII. THE SATYR AND THE TRAVELLER

LXIV. THE BARLEY-MOW AND THE DUNGHILL

LXV. THE SHEEP-BITER AND SHEPHERD

LXVI. THE STAG AT THE POOL

LXVII. THE OLD SWALLOWS AND THE YOUNG BIRDS

LXVIII. THE WAGGONER AND THE BUTTERFLY

LXIX. THE LION, THE BEAR AND THE FOX

LXX. THE FOX AND THE GRAPES

LXXI. THE HARE AND MANY FRIENDS

LXXII. THE COCK AND THE FOX

LXXIII. THE LION AND THE MOUSE

LXXIV. THE TRUMPETER TAKEN PRISONER

LXXV. THE MOUSE AND THE ELEPHANT

LXXVI. THE HUSBANDMAN AND HIS SONS

LXXVII. THE BALD KNIGHT

LXXVIII. THE DOG IN THE MANGER

LXXIX. THE OLD MAN AND DEATH

LXXX. THE OLD HEN AND YOUNG COCK

LXXXI. MERCURY AND THE WOODMAN

LXXXII. THE WOLF AND THE KID

LXXXIII. THE OLD MAN AND HIS SONS

LXXXIV. THE BROOK AND THE FOUNTAIN

LXXXV. THE MICE IN COUNCIL

LXXXVI. THE FOX IN THE WELL

LXXXVII. THE HORSE AND THE WOLF

LXXXVIII. THE TWO SPRINGS

LXXXIX. THE COUNTRYMAN AND THE RAVEN

XC. THE FOX AND THE BRAMBLE

XCI. HERCULES AND THE CARTER

XCII. THE BOYS AND THE FROGS

XCIII. THE COCK AND THE JEWEL

XCIV. THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE GLOW-WORM

XCV. THE FOX AND THE SICK LION

XCVI. THE LION, THE FOX, AND THE GEESE

XCVII. THE ONE-EYED DOE

XCVIII. THE FOX, THE RAVEN, AND THE DOVE

XCIX. THE TWO POTS

C. THE TWO FROGS

CI. THE FOX AND THE MASK

CII. THE CAT, THE COCK, AND THE YOUNG MOUSE

CIII. THE MICE AND THE TRAP

CIV. THE CHAMELEON

CV. THE WOLF, THE FOX, AND THE ASS

CVI. THE BOY AND THE BUTTERFLY

CVII. THE CROW AND THE PITCHER

* * * * *




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


1. THE FROG AND THE OX (_Frontispiece_)

2. THE FOX WITHOUT A TAIL

3. THE FIGHTING COCK AND EAGLE

4. THE VINE AND THE GOAT

5. THE LION WOUNDED

6. THE WOLF AND THE LAMB

7. THE CHARGER AND THE ASS

8. THE FOX AND THE CROW

9. THE DOG AND THE SHADOW

10. THE FAWN AND HER MOTHER

11. THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE

12. THE KID AND THE WOLF

13. THE LEOPARD AND THE FOX

14. THE JACKDAW AND THE EAGLE

15. THE DOG AND THE WOLF

16. THE STAG AT THE POOL

17. THE FOX AND THE GRAPES

18. THE LION AND THE MOUSE

19. THE DOG IN THE MANGER

20. THE WOLF AND THE GOAT

21. THE HORSE AND THE WOLF

22. THE COCK AND THE JEWEL

23. THE ONE-EYED DOE

24. THE FOX AND THE MASK

* * * * *




FAVOURITE FABLES.

FABLE I.

THE FOX AND THE GOAT.


[Illustration]

In the extreme end of a village a Fox one day went to have a peep
at a hen-roost. He had the bad luck to fall into a well, where he
swam first to this side, and then to that side, but could not get
out with all his pains. At last, as chance would have it, a poor
Goat came to the same place to seek for some drink. "So ho!
friend Fox," said he, "you quaff it off there at a great rate: I
hope by this time you have quenched your thirst." "Thirst!" said
the sly rogue; "what I have found here to drink is so clear, and
so sweet, that I cannot take my fill of it; do, pray, come down,
my dear, and have a taste of it." With that, in plumped the Goat
as he bade him; but as soon as he was down, the Fox jumped on his
horns, and leaped out of the well in a trice; and as he went off,
"Good bye, my wise friend," said he; "if you had as much brains
as you have beard, I should have been in the well still, and you
might have stood on the brink of it to laugh at me, as I now do
at you."


MORAL.

A rogue will give up the best friend he has to get out of a
scrape; so that we ought to know what a man is, that we may judge
how far we may trust to what he says.




FABLE II.

THE FROG AND THE OX.


An old Frog, being wonderfully struck with the size and majesty
of an Ox that was grazing in the marshes, was seized with the
desire to expand herself to the same portly magnitude. After
puffing and swelling for some time, "What think you," said she,
to her young ones, "will this do?" "Far from it," said they.
"Will this?" "By no means." "But this surely will?" "Nothing
like it," they replied. After many fruitless and ridiculous
efforts to the same purpose, the foolish Frog burst her skin, and
miserably expired upon the spot.


MORAL.

To attempt what is out of our power, and to rival those greater
than ourselves, is sure to expose us to contempt and ruin.




FABLE III.

THE MAN AND HIS GOOSE.


A CERTAIN Man had a Goose, which laid him a golden egg every day.
But, not contented with this, which rather increased than abated
his avarice, he was resolved to kill the Goose, and cut up her
belly, so that he might come to the inexhaustible treasure which
he fancied she had within her, without being obliged to wait for
the slow production of a single egg daily. He did so, and, to his
great sorrow and disappointment, found nothing within.


MORAL.

The man that hastes to become rich often finds that he has only
brought on ruin.




FABLE IV.

THE LION AND OTHER BEASTS.


The Bull, and several other beasts, were ambitious of the honour
of hunting with the Lion. His savage Majesty graciously
condescended to their desire; and it was agreed that they should
have an equal share in whatever might be taken. They scour the
forest, are unanimous in the pursuit, and, after a long chase,
pull down a noble stag. It was divided with great dexterity by
the Bull into four equal parts; but just as he was going to
secure his share - "Hold!" says the Lion, "let no one presume to
help himself till he hath heard our just and reasonable claims. I
seize upon the first quarter by virtue of my prerogative; the
second I claim as due to my superior conduct and courage; I
cannot forego the third, on account of the necessities of my den;
and if anyone is inclined to dispute my right to the fourth, let
him speak." Awed by the majesty of his frown, and the terror of
his paws, they silently withdrew, resolving never to hunt again
but with their equals.


MORAL.

Be certain that those who have great power are honest before you
place yourselves in their hands, or you will be deprived of your
just rights.




FABLE V.

THE DOVE AND THE ANT.


The Ant, compelled by thirst, went to drink in a clear, purling
rivulet; but the current, with its circling eddy, snatched her
away, and carried her down the stream. A Dove, pitying her
distressed condition, cropped a branch from a neighbouring tree
and let it fall into the water, by means of which the Ant saved
herself and got ashore. Not long after, a Fowler, having a design
against the Dove, planted his nets in due order, without the
bird's observing what he was about; which the Ant perceiving,
just as he was going to put his design into execution, she bit
his heel, and made him give so sudden a start, that the Dove took
the alarm, and flew away.


MORAL.

Kindness to others seldom fails of its reward; and none is so
weak that he may not be able in some fashion to repay it. Let us
show kindness without looking for a return, but a blessing will
surely follow.




FABLE VI.

THE FOX WITHOUT A TAIL.


A FOX being caught in a steel trap by his tail, was glad to compound
for his escape with the loss of it; but on coming abroad into the
world, began to be so sensible of the disgrace such a defect would
bring upon him, that he almost wished he had died rather than left
it behind him. However, to make the best of a bad matter, he formed
a project in his head to call an assembly of the rest of the Foxes,
and propose it for their imitation as a fashion which would be very
agreeable and becoming. He did so, and made a long harangue upon the
unprofitableness of tails in general, and endeavoured chiefly to
show the awkwardness and inconvenience of a Fox's tail in
particular; adding that it would be both more graceful and more
expeditious to be altogether without them, and that, for his part,
what he had only imagined and conjectured before, he now found by
experience; for that he never enjoyed himself so well, nor found
himself so easy as he had done since he cut off his tail. He said no
more, but looked about with a brisk air to see what proselytes he
had gained; when a sly old Fox in the company, who understood trap,
answered him, with a leer, "I believe you may have found a
conveniency in parting with your tail; and when we are in the same
circumstances, perhaps we may do so too."

[Illustration: THE FOX WITHOUT A TAIL.]


MORAL.

It is common for men to wish others reduced to their own level,
and we ought to guard against such advice as may proceed from
this principle.




FABLE VII.

THE BUTTERFLY AND THE SNAIL.


As in the sunshine of the morn,
A Butterfly, but newly born,
Sat proudly perking on a rose,
With pert conceit his bosom glows;
His wings, all glorious to behold,
Bedropt with azure, jet and gold,
Wide he displays; the spangled dew
Reflects his eyes, and various hue.

His now forgotten friend, a Snail,
Beneath his house, with slimy trail,
Crawls o'er the grass; whom, when he spies,
In wrath he to the gardener cries:

"What means yon peasant's daily toil,
From choaking weeds to rid the soil?
Why wake you to the morning's care?
Why with new arts correct the year?
Why glows the peach with crimson hue?
And why the plum's inviting blue?
Were they to feast his taste designed,
That vermin, of voracious kind?
Crush, then, the slow, the pilf'ring race;
So purge thy garden from disgrace."

"What arrogance!" the Snail replied;
"How insolent is upstart pride!
Hadst thou not thus, with insult vain,
Provoked my patience to complain,
I had concealed thy meaner birth,
Nor traced thee to the scum of earth:
For, scarce nine suns have wak'd the hours,
To swell the fruit, and paint the flowers,
Since I thy humbler life surveyed,
In base, in sordid guise arrayed;
A hideous insect, vile, unclean,
You dragg'd a slow and noisome train;
And from your spider-bowels drew
Foul film, and spun the dirty clue.
I own my humble life, good friend;
Snail was I born, and Snail shall end.
And what's a Butterfly? At best,
He's but a Caterpillar, dress'd;
And all thy race (a numerous seed)
Shall prove of Caterpillar breed."


MORAL.

All upstarts, insolent in place,
Remind us of their vulgar race.




FABLE VIII.

THE WOLF AND THE CRANE.


A WOLF, after too greedily devouring his prey, happened to have a
bone stick in his throat, which gave him so much pain that he
went howling up and down, and importuning every creature he met
to lend him a kind hand in order to his relief; nay, he even
promised a reward to anyone who should undertake the operation
with success. At last the Crane, tempted with the lucre of the
reward, and having first made the Wolf confirm his promise with
an oath, undertook the business, and ventured his long neck into
the rapacious felon's throat.

In short, he plucked out the bone, and expected the promised
gratuity; when the Wolf, turning his eyes disdainfully towards
him, said, "I did not think you had been so unreasonable! Have I
not suffered you safely to draw your neck out of my jaws? And
have you the conscience to demand a further reward?"


MORAL.

When we do good to bad men, we must not expect good from them.




FABLE IX.

THE FROG AND THE RAT.


Once on a time, a foolish Frog,
Vain, proud, and stupid as a log,
Tired with the marsh, her native home,
Imprudently abroad would roam,
And fix her habitation where
She'd breathe at least a purer air.
She was resolved to change, that's poz;
Could she be worse than where she was?

Away the silly creature leaps.
A Rat, who saw her lab'ring steps,
Cried out, "Where in this hurry, pray?
You certainly will go astray!"

"Ne'er fear; I quit that filthy bog,
Where I so long have croaked incog:
People of talents, sure, should thrive,
And not be buried thus alive.
But, pray (for I'm extremely dry),
Know you of any water nigh?"

"None," said the Rat, "you'll reach to-day,
As you so slowly make your way.
Believe a friend, and take my word,
This jaunt of yours is quite absurd.
Go to your froggery again;
In your own element remain."
No: on the journey she was bent,
Her thirst increasing as she went;
For want of drink she scarce can hop,
And yet despairing of a drop:
Too late she moans her folly past;
She faints, she sinks, she breathes her last.


MORAL.

Vulgar minds will pay full dear,
When once they move beyond their sphere.




FABLE X.

THE FIGHTING COCK AND EAGLE.


Two Cocks were fighting for the sovereignty of the dunghill, and
one of them having got the better of the other, he that was
vanquished crept into a hole, and hid himself for some time; but
the victor flew up to an eminent place, clapt his wings, and
crowed out victory. An Eagle, who was watching for his prey near
the place, saw him, and, making a swoop, trussed him up in his
talons, and carried him off. The Cock that had been beaten,
perceiving this, soon quitted his hole, and, shaking off all
remembrance of his late disgrace, gallanted the hens with all the
intrepidity imaginable.


MORAL.

Before honour is humility. We must not be too much elevated by
prosperity lest we meet a grievous fall.

[Illustration: THE FIGHTING COCK AND EAGLE.]




FABLE XI.

THE DIAMOND AND THE LOADSTONE.


A DIAMOND, of great beauty and lustre, observing, not only many
other gems of a lower class ranged together with himself in the
same cabinet, but a Loadstone likewise placed not far from him,
began to question the latter how he came there, and what
pretensions he had to be ranked among the precious stones; he,
who appeared to be no better than a mere flint, a sorry, coarse,
rusty-looking pebble, without any the least shining quality to
advance him to such an honour; and concluded with desiring him to
keep his distance, and pay a proper respect to his superiors.

"I find," said the Loadstone, "you judge by external appearances,
and condemn without due examination; but I will not act so
ungenerously by you. I am willing to allow you your due praise:
you are a pretty bauble; I am mightily delighted to see you
glitter and sparkle; I look upon you with pleasure and surprise;
but I must be convinced you are of some sort of use before I
acknowledge that you have any real merit, or treat you with that
respect which you seem to demand. With regard to myself, I
confess my deficiency in outward beauty; but I may venture to
say, that I make amends by my intrinsic qualities. The great
improvement of navigation is entirely owing to me. By me the
distant parts of the world have been made known and are
accessible to each other; the remotest nations are connected
together, and all, as it were, united into one common society; by
a mutual intercourse they relieve one another's wants, and all
enjoy the several blessings peculiar to each. The world is
indebted to me for its wealth, its splendour, and its power; and
the arts and sciences are, in a great measure, obliged to me for
their improvements, and their continual increase. All these
blessings I am the origin of; for by my aid it is that man is
enable to construct that valuable instrument, the Mariner's
Compass."


MORAL.

Let dazzling stones in splendour glare;
Utility's the gem for wear.




FABLE XII.

THE BEAR AND THE BEES.


A BEAR happened to be stung by a Bee; and the pain was so acute,
that in the madness of revenge he ran into the garden, and
overturned the hive. This outrage provoked their anger to such a
degree that it brought the fury of the whole swarm upon him. They
attacked him with such violence that his life was in danger, and
it was with the utmost difficulty that he made his escape,
wounded from head to tail. In this desperate condition, lamenting
his misfortunes, and licking his sores, he could not forbear
reflecting how much more advisable it had been to have patiently
borne one injury, than by an unprofitable resentment to have
provoked a thousand.


MORAL.

It is more prudent to acquiesce under an injury from a single
person, then by an act of vengeance to bring upon us the
resentment of a whole community.




FABLE XIII.

THE FROGS DESIRING A KING.


The Frogs, living an easy, free life everywhere among the lakes
and ponds, assembled together one day, in a very tumultuous
manner, and petitioned Jupiter to let them have a king, who might
inspect their morals, and make them live a little honester.
Jupiter, being at that time in pretty good humour, was pleased to
laugh heartily at their ridiculous request, and, throwing a
little log down into the pool, cried, "There is a king for you!"
The sudden splash which this made by its fall into the water, at
first terrified them so exceedingly that they were afraid to come
near it. But, in a little time, seeing it lie still without
moving, they ventured, by degrees, to approach it; and at last,
finding there was no danger, they leaped upon it, and, in short,
treated it as familiarly as they pleased. But, not contented with
so insipid a king as this was, they sent their deputies to
petition again for another sort of one; for this they neither did
nor could like. Upon that he sent them a Stork, who, without any
ceremony, fell devouring and eating them up, one after another,
as fast as he could. Then they applied themselves privately to
Mercury, and got him to speak to Jupiter in their behalf, that he
would be so good as to bless them again with another king, or
restore them to their former state. "No," says he; "since it was
their own choice, let the obstinate wretches suffer the
punishment due to their folly."


MORAL.

This fable teaches that it is better to be content with our
present condition, however bad we may think it, than, by
ambitious change, to risk making it worse.




FABLE XIV.

THE FOX AND THE BOAR.


THE BOAR stood whetting his tusks against an old tree. The Fox,
who happened to come by at the same time, asked him why he made
those martial preparations of whetting his teeth, since there was
no enemy near, that he could perceive. "That may be, Master
Reynard," says the Boar, "but we should scour up our arms, while
we have leisure, you know; for, in time of danger, we shall have
something else to do."


MORAL.

It is well to have preparations made for all emergencies, that
when we are placed in any difficult position we may be calm and
self-possessed. These preparations are best made in times of
leisure.




FABLE XV.

THE VINE AND THE GOAT.


A GOAT having taken shelter from the heat of the sun under the
broad leaves of a shady-spreading vine, began to crop and eat
them; by this means, the branches being put into a rustling
motion, he drew the eyes of some hunters who were passing that
way, and, seeing the vine stir, thought some wild beast had taken
covert there; they shot their arrows at a venture, and killed the
Goat, who, before he expired, uttered his dying words to this
purpose: "Ah! I suffer justly for my ingratitude, who could not
forbear doing an injury to the vine that had so kindly afforded
me shelter."


MORAL.

Ingratitude is a great crime, and from which we should seek
earnestly to be preserved. He that is capable of injuring his
benefactor, what would he scruple to do towards another?

[Illustration: THE VINE AND THE GOAT.]




FABLE XVI.

THE DISCONTENTED HORSE.


As JUPITER once was receiving petitions
From birds and from beasts of all ranks and conditions;
With an eye full of fire, and mane quite erect,
Which, I'm sorry to say, shewed but little respect,
The Horse went as near as he dared to the throne,
And thus made his donkey-like sentiments known:

"For beauty of symmetry, fleetness, and force,
It is said that all animals yield to the Horse;
While my spirit I feel, and my figure I view
In the brook, I'm inclined to believe it is true;
But still, mighty Jupiter, still, by your aid,
In my form might some further improvements be made.
To run is my duty, and swifter and stronger
I surely should go, were my legs to be longer:
And as man always places a seat on my back,
I should have been made with a saddle or sack;
It had saved _him_ much trouble, on journies departing,
And _I_ had been constantly ready for starting."

Great Jupiter smiled (for he laughed at the brute,
As he saw more of folly than vice in his suit),
And striking the earth with omnipotent force,
A Camel rose up near the terrified Horse:
He trembled - he started - his mane shook with fright,
And he staggered half round, as preparing for flight.

"Behold!" exclaimed Jove, "there an animal stands
With both your improvements at once to your hands:
His legs are much longer; the hump on his back
Well answers the purpose of saddle or sack:
Of your shapes, tell me, which is more finished and trim?
Speak out, silly Horse, would you wish to be him?"


1 3 4 5 6 7

Online LibraryVariousFavourite Fables in Prose and Verse → online text (page 1 of 7)