Last Lines of Aesop
A bystander said to him:
Be satisfied with half the quantity, and you will readily draw out your hand.A Fox hearing these words said with a smile to the Bear:
Oh, that you would eat the dead and not the living!A Fox, seeing them, said:
If this lion were alive, you would soon find out that his claws were stronger than your teeth.A Kite, seeing him, and thinking him a land bird like itself, exclaimed:
You richly deserve your fate; for a bird of the air has no business to seek its food from the sea.A neighbor said to them:
If you go on in this way, you will soon destroy, by frequent use, the pleasure of your exchange, and each will again wish to retain the fruits of his own sport.A neighbor saw him running and said:
Oh! you follow those? you say you can foretell the fortunes of others; how is it you did not foresee your own?A silly Hare, seeing the shadow of his ears, was in great fear lest they should be taken for horns, and scampered away.A violent fever suddenly set in, from which he died not many days after.
Ah!says the Tiger,
I was mistaken in my reckoning: it was that invincible man yonder.
Alas!said the Horse,
if you really wish me to be in good condition, you should groom me less, and feed me more.And thus they each, with their families, perished from hunger.Approaching them, he said:
What a clamor you would raise, if I were to do as you are doing!As he could not run away, he was soon killed.As he sat at the hole groaning over his fate, a Weasel, who was brought to the spot by his cries, thus addressed him:
Stop there, my friend, and fast till you are thin: for you will never come out till you reduce yourself to the same condition as when you entered.As the Wolf could not do this, he had to depart, no better than he came.At last he collected as many stones as he could carry and dropped them one by one with his beak into the pitcher, until he brought the water within his reach, and thus saved his life.At last waking up, and moving as fast as he could, he saw the Tortoise had reached the goal, and was comfortably dozing after her fatigue.At last, having long waited in vain, he laid aside his flute, and casting his net into the sea, made an excellent haul.At last, meeting a Fox, he tried to frighten him also, but the Fox no sooner heard the sound of his voice, than he exclaimed:
I might possibly have been frightened myself, if I had not heard your bray.At this moment she tossed her head in unison with her thoughts, when down fell the milk-pot to the ground, and broke into a hundred pieces, and all her fine schemes perished in a moment.At this moment, the cat spied the rat, and, jumping to the ground, soon convinced him that he was not an elephant.
Because,replied the Fox,
these flies that are upon me now are already full, and draw but little blood, but should you remove them, a swarm of fresh hungry ones will come, who will not leave a drop of blood in my body.Besides, this is not the time that I am usually fed, which makes me all the more suspicious of your intentions.But one of the Dolphins cried out:
We would rather perish in the contest, than be reconciled by you.But alas! as she opened her mouth to speak, she lost her hold of the stick, and, falling to the ground, was dashed into pieces.But as the wily wolf approached him, with a kick, he sent him flying into the air.But cleansing his feathers as often as he would, he could not change their color, while through want of food he perished.But dissatisfied with so slow an income, and thinking to seize the whole treasure at once, he killed the Goose, and cutting her open, found her - just what any other goose would be!But having heard the neigh of the horse, they were so enchanted with the sound, that they tried to imitate it; and, in trying to neigh, they forgot how to sing.But I shall not have to wait long for my just revenge; for if you now crop my leaves, and cut me down to my root, I shall provide the wine to pour over you when you are led as a victim to the sacrifice.But the Fox, interrupting him, said:
And how much more beautiful than you am I, who am decorated, not in body, but in mind.But the struggling and floundering of the Rat made so great a commotion in the water that it attracted the attention of a kite, who, pouncing down and bearing off the Rat, carried away the Frog at the same time in his train.But when he seized the string, it loosened the fixed arrow, which shot him through the heart.But when the Mice further debated who among them should thus
bell the Cat,there was no one found to do it.But when they all came to the granary, they found the cat had already caught the foolish mouse, and a single growl from him sent them all scampering to their holes.But, in his carelessness, he flew directly into a spider's web, and the spider instantly seized and killed him.
Cease, Mother, to puff yourself out,said her son:
and do not be angry; for you would, I assure you, sooner burst than successfully imitate the hugeness of that monster.Do you not know that labor is the source of every blessing, and that none but those who work are entitled to eat?
Do you not see,said the old frog,
that one must defeat the other, and that the defeated Bull, being driven from the field, will be forced to stay in the marshes, and will trample us to death?Do you, while receiving benefits from me, and resting under my shade, dare to describe me as useless, and unprofitable?
has brought destruction upon me while I was contriving the death of another.Filled with fear, the Turkeys watched every one of his movements until they became dizzy, and, one by one fell from their safe perch.From that day the Hen became fat and sleek, and never once laid another egg.From that hour he found that, instead of obtaining revenge on the Stag, he had enslaved himself to the service of man.Have a care, my good fellow, of that smooth surface, it is only looking out for your dates.Having at last by guileful speeches succeeded in separating them, he attacked them without fear, as they fed alone, and feasted on them one by one at his own leisure.Having broken her wings by the blow, she fell to the ground, and was caught by one of the bystanders.He joined in the joke by saying:
What a marvel that hairs which are not mine should fly from me, when they have forsaken even the man with whom they were born.He at once clipped his wings, and, taking him home at night, gave him to his children.He exclaimed with a too-late repentance:
Wretched me! this over-estimation of myself is the cause of my destruction.He felt it, and being in doubt, said:
I do not quite know whether it is the cub of a Fox, or the whelp of a Wolf, but this I know full well, that it would not be safe to admit him to the sheepfold.He greatly lamented his fate, saying:
Woe is me! that I, who can wage war successfully with the hugest beasts, should perish myself from this spider!He had run no long distance when the Lion, turning about, seized him and tore him to pieces.He killed the fly, but alas! he also killed his friend.He moved about in so very ridiculous a manner, that the Beasts, in a fit of indignation, set upon him with clubs, and drove him out of the assembly.He suddenly threw down the twigs, and thereupon made the Dove take wing.He then addressed them in these words:
My sons, if you are of one mind, and unite to assist each other, you will be as this fagot, uninjured by all attempts of your enemies; but if you are divided among yourselves, you will be broken as easily as these sticks.He then said to himself:
I shall no longer distress myself at being struck at by these Game-cocks, when I see that they cannot even refrain from quarreling with each other.He therefore let go his own, and fiercely attacked the other Dog, to get his largest piece from him. He thus lost both - that which he grasped at in the water, because it was a shadow; and his own, because the stream swept it away.His companions came in great numbers to inquire after his health, and each one helped himself to a share of the food which had been placed for his use; so that he died, not from his sickness, but from the failure of the means of living.His friend replied:
He gave me this advice: Never travel with a friend who deserts you at the approach of danger.How can we get out again from so great a depth?How can you pretend to prescribe for others, when you are unable to heal your own lame gait and wrinkled skin?How nice must the Wine itself have been, when it leaves behind in the very vessel which contained it so sweet a perfume!How then shall I be able to find you when the day of payment comes?I am born to be a slave; and my greatest enemy is he who gives me the most to carry.
I can no longer consider you as a friend,said the Satyr;
a fellow who with the same breath blows hot and cold I could never trust.I can remain at home in safety while he is exposed to all the perils of war.I do not care to foul my tusks with the blood of so base a creature.I have deserved my present fate; for what had I to do with wings and clouds, who can with difficulty move about on the earth?I have taken you with these robbers, the Cranes, and you must die in their company."I no sooner hear the voice of a hound but my spirits fail me, and I cannot help making off as fast as my legs can carry me.I rather deserve to be praised for what I have been, than to be blamed for what I am.
I wanted no other lesson,replied the Fox,
than the Asses fate.
I will take the first share,he said,
because I am king: and the second share, as a partner with you in the chase: and the third share (believe me) will be a source of great evil to you, unless you willingly resign it to me, and set off as fast as you can.I would rather have one barleycorn than all the jewels in the world.If an enemy, why do you fawn on me?If we get rid of them, we shall fall into the hands of unskillful operators, and thus suffer a double death: for you may be assured, that, though all the Butchers should perish, yet will men never want beef.If we had not given up the rights of the ash, we might yet have retained our own privileges and have stood for ages.If you did not get it in one way or the other, how then did you come by it?If you had as many brains in your head as you have hairs in your beard, you would never have gone down before you had inspected the way up, nor have exposed yourself to dangers from which you had determined upon no means of escape.If you had been as much grieved when he committed his first theft, you would have corrected him in time, and thus saved youself this sorrowful day.If you want my flesh, Dame, send for the Butcher, who will put me out of my misery at once; but if you want my fleece, send for the Shearer, who will clip my wool without drawing my blood.If you will fight, it is a kindness to crop your ears, that they may not give your enemy the advantage.If your sister wishes for rain, and you for dry weather, with which of the two am I to join my wishes?
In faith,said he, with a sorry smile,
I hardly know, for we drank so deeply, that I can't even tell you which way I got out.Is there one whom you have not outraged by filching from their very altars a part of the sacrifice which had been offered up to them?
It is a double grief to me,he exclaimed,
that I should perish by an arrow feathered from my own wings.
It is better for us to make friends, than to become the food of Crows or Vultures, as will certainly happen if we are disabled.It is clear now who made the comb, and who cannot make it; the Court adjudges the honey to the Bees.It is not yet come to this, that men pay worship to an Ass.It is surrounded by too many dangers to please me.It will serve you just as well, for when the gold was there, you made no use of it.It would be better for me to be sacrificed in the Temple than to be eaten by you.Jupiter, displeased with all their complaints, sent a Heron, who preyed upon the Frogs day by day, till there were none left to complain.Just as they were expiring, they exclaimed:
O foolish creatures that we are! For the sake of a little pleasure we have destroyed ourselves.Let others choose what they may for food, but give me, above everything, a fine juicy thistle like this and I will be content.Let that monster once go and I will soon let you know what is the respective strength of a Goat and a Bull.Long before the approach of winter, your friend will have left you; and while you sit shivering on a leafless bough he will be sporting under a sunny sky hundreds of miles away.No sooner had they done so, than she clapped a paw upon each of them, and killed them both.
let them quit the place that don't like it; for my part, I am well enough satisfied as I am.Not being able to reach them, they agreed to drink up the river; but it fell out that they burst themselves with drinking long before they reached the hides.
Oh, never trouble your head about that,says the Bull,
for 'tis all one to me whether you go or stay; and, to say the truth, I did not know you were there.
Oh, sir!cried the youth,
pray help me now, and scold me afterwards.On Jupiter proposing to make him king, on account of the beauty of his plumage, the birds indignantly protested, and each plucking from him, his own feathers, the Jackdaw was again nothing but a Jackdaw.On seeing him the third time, he so increased in boldness that he went up to him, and commenced a familiar conversation with him.On seeing the rapid disappearance of the Frogs, one of the Hares cried out to his companions:
Stay, my friends, do not do as you intended; for you now see that other creatures who yet live are more timorous than ourselves.On the Eagle making his complaint, Jupiter ordered him to make his nest in his lap; and while Jupiter had the eggs in his lap, the Beetle came flying about him, and Jupiter rising up unawares to drive him away from his head, threw down the eggs and broke them.On the Fox approaching the tree, the Dog sprang out and caught him, and tore him to pieces.On the next day, being driven a long journey, and feeling very weary, he exclaimed in a disconsolate tone:
I must have made a mistake; my father, after all, could have been only an Ass.On this the Rustic produced the pig, and showed by them the greatness of their mistake.On this, he who had fought with the Robber made answer:
I only wish that you had helped me just now, even if it had been only with those words, for I should have been the more encouraged, believing them to be true; but now put up your sword in its sheath and hold your equally useless tongue, till you can deceive others who do not know you. I, indeed, who have experienced with what speed you ran away, know right well that no dependence can be placed on your valor.One of them said:
If you had not yourself lost your tail, my friend, you would not thus counsel us.
Pray keep at a distance, and do not come near me, for if you touch me ever so slightly, I shall be broken in pieces; and besides, I by no means wish to come near you.Reynard laughed heartily, and said, with a sneer:
You a king, and not understand a trap!Reynard was heartily vexed, but owned that he had been used as he deserved.Said she:
O wretched creature that I am, to take such precaution against the land, and, after all, to find this seashore, to which I had come for safety, so much more perilous.
Save yourself the trouble,said the Bull;
I knew that way long before you were born.She replied:
No, my friend, it is not of me you are thinking, but of yourself.She resolutely said:
I know not whether Jupiter will allot the prize to my son; but this I do know, that he is the dearest, handsomest, and most beautiful of all who are here.She smiled, and said:
I know full well, my son, that all you say is true. I have the advantages you mention, but yet when I hear the bark of a single dog I feel ready to faint.Since you have taught me to steal, you must keep a sharp look-out, or you will lose some of your own flock.So the Goatherd returned a laughing stock to his neighbors, having failed to gain the Wild Goats, and having lost his own.So the Madman was really selling Wisdom.So, the young one seized every opportunity of pulling out the good man's gray hairs, the old one was as industrious in plucking out every black hair she could find, till he found that, between one and the other, he had not a hair left.Soon afterwards suffering great pain in his stomach, he said:
I deserve all this torment, for my folly in thinking that everything round must be an egg.Summoning his laborers, he ordered that the Stag should be killed.Suppose this to be Rhodes; and now for your leap.Terrified at the sight, he lifted his eyes and his hands to heaven, and said:
Just now I vowed to offer a lamb to the Guardian Deities of the forest if I could only find out who had robbed me; but now that I have discovered the thief, I would willingly add a full-grown Bull to the Calf I have lost, and give them both to the guardians of the forest, if I may only secure my own escape from this terrible Lion in safety.That bell and clog that you carry are not, believe me, orders of merit, but, on the contrary, marks of disgrace, a public notice to all men to avoid you as an ill-mannered dog.
That is the very reason for which you should be put to death,they said;
for while you do not fight yourself, your loud trumpet stirs up all the other soldiers to battle.The Ass persisting in his effort, the man let him go and said:
Conquer, but conquer to your cost.The Ass resolved that he would live only upon dew, and in a short time died of hunger.The Ass said:
Why, I saw the Monkey do this very thing yesterday, and you all laughed heartily, as if it afforded you very great amusement.The Ass, seeing him drawing a dung-cart, thus derided him:
Where, O boaster, are now all thy gay trappings, thou who are thyself reduced to the condition you so lately treated with contempt?The Bat assured him that he was not a mouse, but a bat, and thus a second time escaped.The Bees settled in swarms about his head, and stung his eyes and nose so much, that, maddened with pain, he tore the skin from his head, with his own claws.The Cat replied:
Although you abound in specious apologies, I shall not remain supperless;and he made a meal of him.The Cat, by the help of her single shift, ran up a tree, and sat securely among the top branches; from whence she beheld Reynard, who had not been able to get out of sight, overtaken with his thousand tricks, and torn in as many pieces by the Dogs which had surrounded him.The Cock, seeing how the case stood, made no reply, but posted away as fast as he could, and told the farmer, who came and killed the fox.The countryman then took the whole burden, and laid it upon the Horse, together with the skin of the dead Ass.The Countryman, hearing an outcry, and perceiving what the matter was, caught up a mattock, and soon dispatched him, upbraiding him at the same time in these words:
Is this, vile wretch, the reward you make to him that saved your life?The Cranes, being light of wing, fled away at his approach; while the Geese, being slower of flight and heavier in their bodies, were captured.The Crow put an end to the dispute by saying:
Your feathers are all very well in the spring, but mine protect me against the winter.The dancing spectacle thus came to an end, amidst the laughter and ridicule of the audience.The Dolphin replied:
Nay, my friend, blame not me, but Nature, which, while giving me the sovereignty of the sea, has quite denied me the power of living upon the land.The Dolphin, indignant at these falsehoods, dipped the Monkey under the water and drowned him.The File replied:
You must indeed be a simple-minded fellow if you expect to get anything from me, who am accustomed to take from everyone, and never to give anything in return.The Fisherman replied:
I should be a very simple fellow, if I were to forego my certain gain for an uncertain profit.The foolish pair, thus hoping to become rich all at once, deprived themselves of the gain of which they were day by day assured.The Fowler replied:
I shall now with less scruple take your life, because you are willing to save it at the cost of betraying your friends and relations;and without much ado he twisted his neck and put him in his bag with his other game.The Fox gobbled them up in the sight of the Eagle.The Fox quickly picked it up, and thus addressed the Crow:
My good Crow, your voice is right enough, but your wit is wanting.The Fox replied:
Indeed, I should have thanked you more fervently, if your deeds had been as good as your words.The Frog, being still fastened to the leg of the Mouse, was also carried off a prisoner, and was eaten by the Hawk.The Fuller replied:
The arrangement is impossible as far as I am concerned, for whatever I should whiten, you would immediately blacken again with your charcoal.The Grapes are sour, and not ripe as I thought.The Hawk said:
I should indeed have lost my senses if I should let go food ready to my hand, for the sake of pursuing birds which are not yet even within sight.The Horse fell down straightway under the weight, no longer equal to the burden, and said to his master:
You must now e'en go to the war on foot, for you have transformed me from a Horse into an Ass.The Horse replied:
If oats had been the food for wolves, you would never have indulged your ears at the cost of your belly.The Hound replied:
You do not see the difference between us: I was only running for a dinner, but he for his life.The Kite replied:
That I might attain your royal hand, there is nothing that I would not have promised, however much I knew that I must fail in the performance.The larger the number of your family, the greater your cause of sorrow, in seeing them shut up in this prison-house.The Lion and the Bear saw him, but not being able to get up, said,
Woe betide us, that we should have fought and belabored ourselves only to serve the turn of a Fox!The Lion consented, but, when he would have given the royal virgin into his possession, she, like a giddy thing as she was, not minding how she walked, by chance set her paw upon her spouse, who was coming to meet her, and crushed him to pieces.The Lion replied:
This statue was made by one of you men. If we Lions knew how to erect statues, you would see the Man placed under the paw of the Lion.The Lion said:
I will make four parts - the first shall be mine as judge; the second because I am strongest; the third, because I am bravest; and the fourth - I will kill anyone who dares touch it.The Lion, seeing that the Ass was secured, immediately clutched the Fox, and then attacked the Ass at his leisure.The Lion, thus wounded, rushed away in great fear, and on a Fox exhorting him to be of good courage and not to run away at the first attack, he replied:
You counsel me in vain, for if he sends so fearful a messenger, how shall I abide the attack of the man himself?The Lioness laughed at them, and said:
Why! I have only one; but that one is altogether a thorough-bred Lion.The Little Fish escaped through the meshes of the net, and got back into the deep, but the Great Fish were all caught and hauled into the ship.The man put a halter on him, and led him back to his owner, saying:
I do not need a trial; I know that he will be just such another as the one whom he chose for his companion.The Man smiled, and said:
If I were to follow your advice, I should be bitten by all the dogs in the city.The Monkey approached carelessly, and was caught in the trap; and on his accusing the Fox of purposely leading him into the snare, she replied:
O Monkey, and are you, with such a mind as yours, going to be King over the Beasts?The Mother tried in vain, and submitted without remonstrance to the reproof of her child.The Mouse, recognizing his roar, came up and gnawed the rope with his teeth, and setting him free, exclaimed:
You ridiculed the idea of my ever being able to help you, not expecting to receive from me any repayment of your favor; but now you know that it is possible for even a Mouse to confer benefits on a Lion.The next day he attempted to snatch a lamb from the fold, but himself fell prey to the huntsman and his hounds.The next time you touch a Nettle, grasp it boldly, and it will be soft as silk to your hand, and not in the least hurt you.The old man replied:
That, lifting up the load, you may place it again upon my shoulders.The old man's words came true; one of the young men went on a voyage at sea and was drowned, another went to war and was shot, and the third fell from a tree and broke his neck.The other replied:
I am glad that I was thought so little of, for I have lost nothing, nor am I hurt with any wound.The Ox saw what was being done, and said to the Heifer:
For this you were allowed to live in idleness, because you were presently to be sacrificed.The poor beast replied, not without a touch of reason:
Why do you ask me? Is it that the level way through the desert is closed?The quarrel proceeded from words to blows, and while the men fought, the Ass galloped off.The Shepherd, on his return, finding his flock destroyed, exclaimed:
I have been rightly served; why did I trust my sheep to a Wolf?The Shepherd-boy, now really alarmed, shouted in an agony of terror:
Pray, do come and help me, the Wolf is killing the sheep,but no one paid any heed to his cries.The silly Grasshopper, came hopping up to the owl, who at once caught and killed him, and finished her nap in comfort.The Snake said:
There can henceforth be no peace between us; for whenever I see you I shall remember the loss of my tail, and whenever you see me you will be thinking of the death of your son.The Swan, threatened with death, burst forth into song and thus made himself known by his voice, and preserved his life by his melody.The vanquished Cock immediately came out of his corner, and ruled henceforth with undisputed mastery.The Wolf said:
I am rightly served, for why did I attempt the art of healing, when my father only taught me the trade of a butcher?The Wolf, hearing these words, went home, gaping with cold and hunger.The Wolf, looking up, replied:
Do not think, vain creature, that you annoy me. I regard this ill language as coming not from you, but from the place on which you stand.The wolf, turning to the kid, said:
It is just what I deserve; for I, who am only a butcher, should not have turned piper to please you.The Wolves destroyed the unguarded flock at their pleasure.The young mice crept dangerously near her, but an old one peeping stealthily out said
Ah, my good madam, even though you should turn into a real flour bag, I will not come too near you.Then said the Wolf:
May no friend of mine ever be in such a plight; for the weight of this chain is enough to spoil the appetite.Then the lark said to her brood:
It is time now to be off - he no longer trusts to his friends, but will reap the field himself.These feet which would have saved me I despised, and I gloried in these antlers which have proved my destruction.They at once forsook his plough-lands, and cried to each other:
It is time for us to be off, for this man is no longer content to scare us, but begins to show us in earnest what he can do.They at once killed the Goat, and so healed the Ass.They found no treasure, but the vines repaid their labor by an extraordinary and superabundant crop.They killed several of them, when one of the Frogs, lifting his head out of the water, cried out:
Pray stop, my boys; what is sport to you, is death to us.They locked horns and fought for the right of way, until they both fell into the torrent below and were drowned.They replied:
We are all very well, and shall continue so, if you will only be good enough to go away, and leave us as we are.They replied:
You fight and contend with the wind, and consequently you are destroyed; while we, on the contrary, bend before the least breath of air, and therefore remain unbroken.They then said:
If you were foolish enough to sing all the summer, you must dance supperless to bed in the winter.This is what the thieves desired, and they soon ridiculed him to the extent that he said:
Very well, I will divide with you,and he seized the best piece of chicken in the basket and left the rest for the others to enjoy.This pithy question opened the eyes of the Birds to the weakness of their choice and they canceled the election.This so flattered the Fox that he came near, and at once fell victim to his vanity, being unable to flee because of the disguise, which fettered his limbs.Thus the Sun was declared the conqueror; and it has ever been deemed the persuasion is better than force; and that the sunshine of a kind and gentle manner will sooner lay open a poor man's heart than all the threatenings and force of blustering authority.
True,replied the Boar;
but when danger does arise, I shall have something else to do than to sharpen my weapons.
True,replied the Crane,
but I soar to the heights of heaven and lift up my voice to the stars, while you walk below, like a cock, among the birds of the dunghill.Upon this the old Man, made the best of his way home with his Son - convinced that, by endeavoring to please everybody, he had succeeded in pleasing nobody, and lost his Ass into the bargain.Upon which a Currier stood up, and said:
Sirs, I differ from you altogether; there is no material for resistance equal to a covering of hides; and nothing so good as leather.Upon which the wolf seized him and ate him up, saying:
Well! I won't remain supper-less, even though you refute every one of my imputations.We bear all the labor, and we, not you, ought to cry out.
What a selfish Dog!said one of them to his companions;
He cannot eat the hay himself, and yet refuses to allow those to eat who can.When however, he next repeated request, the woodman set upon him with his club.When peace was proclaimed, his deceitful conduct was apparent to both combatants; he was driven forth from the light of day, and henceforth concealed himself in dark hiding-places, flying always alone and at night.When she had stolen them all, she found that the monkey had eaten every one.When the Ass saw that the huge beast could be assailed with impunity, he let drive at his forehead with his heels.When the Crane had extracted the bone, and demanded the promised payment, the Wolf, grinning and grinding his teeth, exclaimed:
Why, you have surely already a sufficient recompense, in having been permitted to draw out your head in safety from the mouth and jaws of a wolf.When they arrived at the same stream as before, the Ass was at his old tricks again, and rolled himself into the water; but he found to his cost, as he proceeded homewards, that instead of lightening his burden, he had more than doubled its weight.When they had admitted him into the cote, they found that he made more havoc and slew a larger number of them in a single day, than the Kite could possibly pounce upon in a whole year.When they had done this, they found that they had only prepared for themselves greater troubles, for their mistress, no longer hearing the cock, was unable to tell the time, and so woke them up to their work in the middle of the night.When, however, it reached the beach, they discovered that it was only a large fagot of sticks, and one of them said to his companions:
We have waited for no purpose, for after all there is nothing to see but a fagot.While they hid behind some low shrubs, the animal came nearer, and they discovered that it was only a harmless camel which had excited their fears.While they were assembled in anxious expectation of some terrible calamity, out came a Mouse.While you are trying to pry into the mysteries of heaven, you overlook the common objects under your feet.Why could I not have been contented to labor with my companions, and not try to live by idleness?Why have you hatched these vipers, which, when they shall have grown, will surely inflict injury on all of us, beginning with yourself?
Yes, indeed,said the Lion;
and I assure you, you would have to frighten me too, if I had not known you to be an Ass.
Yes,said the Sheep:
if I should bring you the draught, you would doubtless make me provide the meat also.Yet it is of no value, as it entirely lacks brains.You poor creature, if you would only call to mind the axes and saws which are about to hew you down, you would have reason to wish that you had grown up a Bramble, not a Fir Tree.You provide wool to make garments for all other men, but you destroy the clothes of him who feeds you.