First Lines of Aesop

A BALD KNIGHT, who wore a wig, went out to hunt.A BAT, falling upon the ground, was caught by a Weasel, of whom he earnestly besought his life.A BEAR boasted very much of his philanthropy, saying that of all animals he was the most tender in his regard for man, for he had such respect for him that he would not even touch his dead body.A BEAR that had found his way into a garden where Bees were kept began to turn over the hives and devour the honey.A BLIND MAN was accustomed to distinguish different animals by touching them with his hands.A BOY bathing in a river was in danger of being drowned.A BOY put his hand into a pitcher full of filberts.A BOY was stung by a Nettle.A BRAZIER had a little Dog, which was a great favorite with his master, and his constant companion.A BULL was striving with all his might to squeeze himself through a narrow passage which led to his stall.A BULL, escaping from a Lion, entered a cave, which some shepherds had lately occupied.A CAT caught a cock, and took counsel with himself how he might find a reasonable excuse for eating him.A CAT, hearing that the Birds in a certain aviary were ailing, dressed himself up as a physician, and, taking with him his cane and the instruments becoming his profession, went to the aviary, knocked at the door, and inquired of the inmates how they all did, saying that if they were ill, he would be happy to prescribe for them and cure them.A CERTAIN HOUSE was overrun with Mice. A Cat, discovering this, made her way into it, and began to catch and eat them one by one.A CERTAIN HUCKSTER who kept an Ass, hearing that the Salt was to be had cheap at the sea-side, drove his Ass thither to buy some.A CERTAIN MAN had the good fortune to possess a Goose that laid him a Golden Egg every day.A CERTAIN RICH MAN bought in the market a Goose and a Swan.A CHARCOAL-BURNER carried on his trade in his own house.A COCK, scratching for food for himself and his hens, found a precious stone;A CONTROVERSY prevailed among the beasts of the field, as to which of the animals deserved the most credit for producing the greatest number of whelps at a birth.A COTTAGER and his wife had a Hen which laid every day a golden egg.A COUNTRY MOUSE invited a Town Mouse, an intimate friend, to pay him a visit, and partake of his country fare.A CRAB said to her son: "Why do you walk so one-sided, my child?A CROW, having stolen a bit of flesh, perched in a tree and held it in her beak.A CROW, perishing with thirst, saw a pitcher, and, hoping to find water, flew to it with great delight.A DISPUTE once arose between the Wind and the Sun, which was the stronger of the two, and they agreed to settle the point upon the issue - that whichever of the two soonest made a traveler take off his cloak, should be accounted the more powerful.A DOE blind of an eye, was accustomed to graze as near to the edge of the sea as she possibly could, to secure greater safety.A DOG and a Cock, traveling together, took shelter at night in a thick wood.A DOG complained of the cruelty of her master in cutting off her ears, and was so ashamed of her appearance that she resolved to stay in her kennel with her family.A DOG had been taught to take his master's dinner to him every day.A DOG lay in a manger, and by his growling and snapping prevented the oxen from eating the hay which had been placed for them.A DOG used to run up quietly to the heels of those he met, and bite them without notice.A DOG, crossing a bridge over a stream with a piece of flesh in his mouth, saw his own shadow in the water, and took it for another Dog, with a piece of meat double his own in size.A DOG, used to eating eggs, saw an Oyster and, opening his mouth to its widest extent, swallowed it down with the utmost relish, supposing it to be an egg.A DOVE shut up in a cage was boasting of the large number of young ones which she had hatched.A FAMISHED FOX saw some clusters of ripe black grapes hanging from a trellised vine.A FAMISHED WOLF was prowling about in the morning in search of food.A FARMER placed his nets on his newly sown plough lands, and caught a quantity of Cranes, which came to pick up his seed.A FATHER being on the point of death, wished to be sure from his sons the same attention to his farm as he had himself given it.A FATHER had a family of sons who were perpetually quarreling among themselves.A FIR TREE said boastingly to the Bramble: You are useful for nothing at all, while I am everywhere used for roofs and houses.A FISHERMAN skilled in music took his flute and his nets to the sea-shore.A FISHERMAN was drawing up a net which he had cast into the sea, full of all sorts of fish.A FISHERMAN who lived on the produce of his nets, one day caught a single small Fish as the result of his day's labor.A FOWLER caught a Partridge, and was about to kill him.A FOWLER took his gun, and went into the woods a shooting.A FOX entered into partnership with a Lion, on the pretense of becoming his servant.A FOX entered the house of an actor and, rummaging through all his properties, came upon a Mask, an admirable imitation of a human head.A FOX spied some turkeys roosting in a tree.A FOX who had never yet seen a Lion, when he fell in with him by a certain chance for the first time in the forest, was so frightened that he was near dying with fear.A FOX, caught in a trap, escaped with the loss of his brush.A FOX, having fallen into a well, could find no means of escape.A FOX, running before the hounds, came across a Woodcutter felling an oak, and begged him to show him a safe hiding-place.A FOX, while crossing a river, was driven by the stream into a narrow gorge, and lay there for a long time unable to get out, covered with myriads of horse-flies that had fastened themselves upon him.A FROG once made proclamation to all the beasts that he was a learned physician, and able to heal all diseases.A GARDENER, who lived alone, became discontented, and set out, one day, to seek a friend who would be a suitable companion.A GENTLEMAN, having prepared a great feast, invited a friend to supper; and the Gentleman's dog, meeting the friends dog, Come, said he, my good fellow, and sup with us tonight.A GNAT came and said to a Lion: "I do not in the least fear you, nor are you stronger than I am.A GNAT that had been buzzing around the head of a Bull, at length settling himself down upon his horn, begged his pardon for incommoding him;A GREAT CITY was besieged, and its inhabitants were called together to consider the best means of protecting it from the enemy.A GREEDY HUNTER one day shot a fine Deer, and ere he could dress it, a pretty Fawn came that way, and an arrow brought it to the ground.A GROOM used to spend whole days in currycombing and rubbing down his Horse, but at the same time stole his oats, and sold them for his own profit.A HARE one day ridiculed the short feet and slow pace of the Tortoise.A HEAVY WAGON was being dragged along a country lane by a team of Oxen.A HEIFER saw an Ox hard at work harnessed to a plow, and tormented him with reflections on his unhappy fate in being compelled to labor.A HEIFER, a Goat, A Sheep, and a Lion formed a partnership, and agreed to divide their earnings.A HEN finding the eggs of a viper, and carefully keeping them warm, nourished them into life.A HERDSMAN tending kine in a forest, lost a Bull-calf from the fold.A HORSE SOLDIER took great pains with his charger.A HORSE, proud of his fine trappings, met an Ass on the highway.A HOUND started a Hare from his form, after a long run, gave up the chase.A HOUND, having started a Hare on the hill-side pursued her for some distance, at one time biting her with his teeth as if he would take her life, and at another time fawning upon her, as if in play with another dog.A HOUND, who in the days of his youth and strength had never yielded to any beast of the forest, encountered in his old age a boar in the chase.A HUNTSMAN, returning with his dogs from the field, fell in by chance with a Fisherman, bringing home a basket laden with fish.A JAR OF HONEY having been upset in a housekeeper's room, a number of flies were attracted by its sweetness, and placing their feet in it, ate it greedily.A KID, mounted on a high rock, bestowed all manner of abuse upon a Wolf on the ground below.A KID, returning without protection from the pasture, was pursued by a Wolf.A KING who had one only son, fond of martial exercises, had a dream in which he was warned that his son would be killed by a lion.A KITE, sick unto death, said to his mother: O Mother! do not mourn, but at once invoke the gods that my life may be prolonged.A LARK had made her nest in the young green wheat.A LEOPARD, being no longer able, by reason of old age, to pursue his prey, feigned illness, and gave out that he would confer great favors upon any animal that would cure him.A LION and a Bear seized a Kid at the same moment, and fought fiercely for its possession.A LION and an Ass made an agreement to go out hunting together.A LION demanded the daughter of a woodcutter in marriage.A LION was awakened from sleep by a Mouse running over his face.A LION, roaming by the seashore, saw a Dolphin lift up its head out of the waves, and asked him to contract an alliance with him; saying that of all the animals, they ought to be the best friends, since the one was the king of beasts on the earth, and the other was the sovereign ruler of all the inhabitants of the ocean.A LION, worn out with years, lay on the ground at the point of death.A LITTLE SCOUNDREL of an ass, happening to meet with a boar, had a mind to be arch upon him, and so, says he: Your humble servant.A LITTLE STARVING MOUSE had made his way with some difficulty into a basket of corn, where, finding the entertainment so good, he stuffed and crammed himself to such an extent, that when he would have got out again he found the hole was too small to allow his puffed up body to pass.A MADMAN once set himself up in the marketplace, and with loud cries announced that he would sell Wisdom.A MAID was carrying her pail of milk to the farm-house, when she fell a-musing.A MAN and a Lion traveled together through the forest.A MAN and a Satyr once formed a bond of alliance.A MAN came into a forest, and made a petition to the Trees to provide him a handle for his axe.A MAN had an Ass, and a Maltese Lap-dog, a very great beauty.A MAN had two daughters, the one married to a gardener, and the other to a tile-maker.A MAN had two Game-cocks in his poultry yard.A MAN once kept a Goat and an Ass.A MAN who had been bitten by a Dog was going about asking who could cure him.A MAN who had traveled in foreign lands boasted very much, on returning to his own country, of the many wonderful and heroic things he had done in the different places he had visited.A MAN wished to purchase an Ass, and agreed with its owner that he should try him before he bought him.A MILLER and his son were driving their Ass to a fair.A MISER had a lump of gold which he buried in the ground, coming to look at the spot everyday.A MONKEY and a cat lived in the same family, and it was hard to tell which was the greater thief.A MONKEY once danced in an assembly of the Beasts, and so pleased them all by his performance that they elected him their King.A MOUNTAIN was once greatly agitated. Loud groans and noises were heard; and crowds of people came from all parts to see what was the matter.A MOUSE lived in a granary which became, after a while, the frequent resort of a cat.A MOUSE, by an unlucky chance, formed an intimate acquaintance with a Frog.A MULE, frolicsome from want of work and from overmuch corn, galloped about in a very extravagant manner, and said to himself: My father surely was a high-mettled racer, and I am his own child in speed and spirit.A NIGHTINGALE, sitting aloft upon an oak, was seen by a Hawk, who made a swoop down and seized him.A PEACOCK, spreading its gorgeous tail, mocked a Crane that passed by, ridiculing the ashen hue of its plumage, and saying: I am robed like a king, in gold and purple, and all the colors of the rainbow; while you have not a bit of color on your wings.A PIGEON, oppressed by excessive thirst, saw a goblet of water painted on a signboard.A porcupine, wanting to shelter himself, desired a nest of Snakes to give him admittance into their cave.A PRINCE had some Monkeys trained to dance.A RAT in an evil day made acquaintance with a Frog, and they set off on their travels together.A RAT, traveling on the highway, met a huge elephant, bearing his royal master and his suite, and also his favorite cat and dog, and parrot and monkey.A RAVEN saw a Swan, and desired to secure for himself a like beauty of plumage.A RICH NOBLEMAN once opened the theater to the public without charge, and gave notice that he would handsomely reward anyone who would produce a new amusement.A RIVER carried down in its stream two Pots, one made of earthenware, and the other of brass.A SAILOR, bound on a long voyage, took with him a Monkey to amuse him while on shipboard.A SCHOOLBOY stole a horn-book from one of his schoolfellows and brought it home to his Mother.A SEAGULL, who was more at home swimming on the sea than walking on the land, was in the habit of catching live fish for its food.A SHEPHERD moved down his flock to feed near the shore, and beholding the sea lying in a smooth calm, he was seized with a strong desire to sail over it.A SHEPHERD once found a young Wolf, and brought it up, and after a while taught it to steal lambs from the neighboring flocks.A SHEPHERD, driving his Sheep to a wood, saw an oak of unusual size, full of acorns, and, spreading his cloak under the branches, he climbed up into the tree, and shook down the acorns.A SHEPHERD-BOY, who watched a flock of sheep near a village, brought out the villagers three or four times by crying out, Wolf! Wolf! and when his neighbors came to help him, laughed at them for their pains.A SICK STAG lay down in a quiet corner of his pasture-ground.A SKILLFUL ARCHER, coming into the woods, directed his arrows so successfully that he slew many wild beasts, and pursued several others.A SNAKE, having made his hole close to the porch of a cottage, inflicted a severe bite on the cottager's infant son, of which he died, to the great grief of his parents.A STAG asked a Sheep to lend him a measure of wheat, and said that the Wolf would be his surety.A STAG saw his shadow reflected in the water, and greatly admired the size of his horns, but felt angry with himself for having such weak feet.A STAG, grown old and mischievous, was, according to custom, stamping with his foot, making offers with his head, and bellowing so terribly that the whole herd quaked with fear of him;A STAG, hardly pressed by the hounds, and blind through fear to the danger he was running into, took shelter in a farmyard, and hid himself in a shed among the oxen.A THIEF came in the night to break into a house.A TORTOISE, becoming tired of her humble home, resolved to visit foreign lands, but she did not know which way to go.A TORTOISE, lazily basking in the sun, complained to the sea-birds of her hard fate, that no one would teach her to fly.A TRAVELER hired an Ass to convey him to a distant place.A TRUMPETER, bravely leading on the soldiers, was captured by the enemy.A VERY LARGE OAK was uprooted by the wind, and thrown across a stream.A VERY SKILLFUL BOWMAN went to the mountains in search of game.A VILLAGER found a Snake under a hedge, almost dead with cold.A VINE was luxuriant in the time of vintage with leaves and grapes.A VIPER, entering the workshop of a smith, sought from the tools the means of satisfying his hunger.A WIDOW woman, fond of cleaning, had two little maidens to wait on her.A WILD ASS and a Lion entered into an alliance that they might capture the beasts of the forest with greater ease.A WILD BOAR was whetting his tusks against a tree, when a Fox coming by, asked him why he did so;A WIZARD, sitting in the marketplace, told the fortunes of the passers-by.A WOLF coming out of a field of oats met a Horse, and thus addressed him: I would advise you to go into that field. It is full of capital oats, which I have left untouched for you, as you are a friend the very sound of whose teeth it will be a pleasure to me to hear.A WOLF followed a flock of sheep for a long time, and did not attempt to injure one of them.A WOLF pursued a Lamb, which fled for refuge to a certain temple.A WOLF saw a Goat feeding at the summit of a steep precipice, where he had not a chance of reaching her.A WOLF saw a Horse grazing in a field.A WOLF, being sick and maimed, called to a Sheep, who was passing, and asked him to fetch some water from the stream.A Wolf, finding that the sheep were so afraid of him that he could not get near them, disguised himself in the dress of a shepherd, and thus attired approached the flock.A WOLF, having a bone stuck in his throat, hired a Crane, for a large sum, to put her head into his throat and draw out the bone.A WOLF, having stolen a lamb from a fold, was carrying him off to his lair.A WOLF, meeting a big, well-fed Mastiff, having a wooden collar about his neck, inquired of him who it was that fed him so well, and yet compelled him to drag that heavy log about wherever he went.A WOLF, meeting with a lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea, which should justify to the lamb himself, his right to eat him.A WOLF, passing by, saw some Shepherds in a hut eating for their dinner a haunch of mutton.A WOLF, roaming by the mountain's side, saw his own shadow, as the sun was setting, become greatly extended and magnified, and he said to himself: "Why should I, being of such an immense size and extending nearly an acre in length, be afraid of the Lion?A WOMAN possessed a Hen that gave her an egg every day.A YOUNG FAWN once said to his Mother: "You are larger than a dog, and swifter, and more used to running;A YOUNG THRUSH who lived in an orchard once became acquainted with a Swallow.AN ANT went to the bank of a river to quench its thirst, and, being carried away by the rush of the stream, was on the point of being drowned.AN ARAB Camel-driver, having completed the lading of his Camel, asked him which he would like best, to go up hill or down.AN ASS and a Cock were together, when a Lion, desperate from hunger, approached.AN ASS climbed up to the roof of a building, and, frisking about there, broke in the tiling.AN ASS congratulated a Horse on being so ungrudgingly and carefully provided for, while he himself had scarcely enough to eat, nor even that without hard work.AN ASS once carried through the streets of the city a famous wooden Image, to be placed in one of its Temples.AN ASS was loaded with good provisions of several sorts, which, in time of harvest, he was carrying into the field for his master and the reapers to dine upon.AN ASS, being driven along a high road, suddenly started off, and bolted to the brink of a deep precipice.AN ASS, feeding in a meadow, saw a Wolf approaching to seize him, and immediately pretended to be lame.AN ASS, having heard some Grasshoppers chirping, was highly enchanted; and desiring to possess the same charms of melody, demanded what sort of food they lived on, to give them such beautiful voices.AN ASS, having put on the Lion's skin, roamed about in the forest and amused himself by frightening all the foolish animals he met in his wanderings.AN ASTRONOMER used to walk out every night to gaze upon the stars.AN EAGLE and a Fox formed an intimate friendship, and decided to live near each other.AN EAGLE had made her nest at the top of a lofty oak.AN EAGLE sat on a lofty rock, watching the movements of a Hare, whom he sought to make his prey.AN EAGLE, flying down from his eyrie on a lofty rock, seized upon a lamb, and carried him aloft in his talons.AN EAGLE, overwhelmed with sorrow, sat upon the branches of a tree, in company with a Kite.AN IDLE HORSE, and an Ass laboring under a heavy burden, were traveling the road together.AN OLD FELLOW, in time of war, was allowing his Ass to feed in a green meadow, when he was alarmed by a sudden advance of the enemy.AN OLD MAN was employed in cutting wood in the forest, and in carrying the fagots into the city for sale.AN OLD WOMAN found an empty jar which had lately been full of prime old wine, and which still retained the fragrant smell of its former contents.AN OWL who was sitting in a hollow tree, dozing away a summer's afternoon, was very much disturbed by a rogue of a Grasshopper singing in the grass beneath.AN OX, drinking at a pool, trod on a brood of young frogs, and crushed one of them to death.AS A GNAT was buzzing around a Lion, the Lion said to him: "How dare you approach so near?AS AN OLD GOAT was going forth to pasture, she carefully latched her door, and bid her kid not to open it to anyone who could not give this password: Beware of the Wolf and all his race.AS AN OLD MAN was planting a tree, three young men came along and began to make sport of him, saying: "It shows your foolishness to be planting a tree at your age.AS THE CAT and The Fox were talking politics together, Reynard said: Let things turn out ever so bad, he did not care, for he had a thousand tricks for them yet, before they should hurt him.IN THE DAYS when a man was allowed more wives than one, a middle-aged bachelor, who could be called neither young nor old, and whose hair was just beginning to turn gray, fell in love with two women at once, and married them both.IT WAS a stormy day, and the snow was falling fast, when a Goatherd drove his Goats, all white with snow, into a desert cave for shelter.JUPITER determined, it is said, to create a sovereign over the birds, and made proclamation that, on a certain day, they should all present themselves before him, when he would himself choose the most beautiful among them to be king.JUPITER ISSUED a proclamation to all the beasts of the forest, and promised a royal reward to the one whose offspring should be deemed the handsomest.ON A SUMMER DAY, when the great heat induced a general thirst, a Lion and a Boar came at the same moment to a small well to drink.SOME BEES had built their comb in the hollow of an old trunk of an oak.SOME BOYS, playing near a pond, saw a number of Frogs in the water, and began to pelt them with stones.SOME CRANES made their feeding grounds on some plough-lands newly sown with wheat.SOME DOGS, famished with hunger, saw some cow-hides steeping in a river.SOME DOGS, finding the skin of a lion, began to tear it in pieces with their teeth.SOME TRAVELERS, journeying along the seashore, climbed to the summit of a tall cliff, and from thence looking over the sea, saw in the distance what they thought was a large ship, and waited in the hope of seeing it enter the harbor.THE ANTS were employing a fine winter's day in drying grain collected in the summer time.THE ASS and the Fox, having entered into partnership together went out into the forest to hunt.THE BEASTS of the forest gave a splendid entertainment, at which the Monkey stood up and danced.THE BIRDS once met together to choose a king; and, among others, the Peacock was a candidate.THE BIRDS waged war with the Beasts, and each party were by turns the conquerors.THE DOLPHINS and the Whales were at war with one another, and the Sprat stepped in and endeavored to separate them.THE EAGLE and the Beetle were at enmity together, and they destroyed one another's nests.THE FOX and the Leopard disputed which was the more beautiful of the two.THE FOX invited the Stork to dinner, and provided nothing but a soup, in a wide shallow dish.THE FOX, passing early one summer's morning near a farm-yard, was caught in a springe, which the farmer had planted there for that end.THE FROGS, grieved at having no established Ruler, sent ambassadors to Jupiter entreating for a King.THE GEESE and the cranes fed in the same meadow.THE HARES, oppressed with a sense of their own exceeding timidity, and weary of the perpetual alarm to which they were exposed, with one accord determined to put an end to themselves and their troubles, by jumping from a lofty precipice into a deep lake below.THE HORSE had the plain entirely to himself.THE KITES of old time had, equally with the swans, the privilege of song.THE LION, being badly hurt by the horns of a goat, swore in great rage that every animal with horns should be banished from his kingdom.THE LION, the Ass, and the Fox formed a party to go out hunting.THE LION, touched with gratitude by the noble procedure of a Mouse, and resolving not to be outdone in generosity by any wild beast whatsoever, desired his little deliverer to name his own terms, for that he might depend upon his complying with any proposal he should make.THE MICE summoned a council to decide how they might best devise means for obtaining notice of the approach of their great enemy the Cat.THE OXEN, once upon a time, sought to destroy the Butchers, who practiced a trade destructive to their race.THE PIGEONS, terrified by the appearance of a Kite, called upon the Hawk to defend them.THE SWALLOW and the Crow had a contention about their plumage.THERE WAS a certain widow who had an only Sheep, and, wishing to make the most of his wool, she sheared him so closely that she cut his skin as well as his fleece.THREE BULLS for a long time pastured together.TWO BULLS lived in the same herd, and each aspiring to be the leader and master, they finally engaged in a fierce battle.TWO FROGS dwelt in the same pool.TWO GAME COCKS were fiercely fighting for the mastery of the farmyard.TWO GOATS started at the same moment, from opposite ends, to cross a rude bridge that was only wide enough for one to cross at a time.TWO MEN were traveling together, when a Bear suddenly met them on their path.TWO MULES laden with packs were trudging along.TWO SOLDIERS, traveling together, were set upon by a Robber.TWO TRAVELERS on a desert saw a Camel in the distance, and were greatly frightened at his huge appearance, thinking it to be some huge monster.TWO TRAVELERS, worn out by the heat of the summer's sun, laid themselves down at noon under the wide-spreading branches of a Plane-tree.UPON the decease of the Lion, the beasts of the forest assembled to choose another king.WHILE A RABBIT was absent from his hole one day, a Weasel took possession of it.WHY SHOULD there always be this implacable warfare between us? said the Wolves to the Sheep.