The Miller, His Son, and Their Ass

A MILLER and his son were driving their Ass to a neighboring fair
to sell him.  They had not gone far when they met with a troop of
women collected round a well, talking and laughing.  "Look
there," cried one of them, "did you ever see such fellows, to be
trudging along the road on foot when they might ride?'  The old
man hearing this, quickly made his son mount the Ass, and
continued to walk along merrily by his side.  Presently they came
up to a group of old men in earnest debate.  "There," said one of
them, "it proves what I was a-saying.  What respect is shown to
old age in these days? Do you see that idle lad riding while his
old father has to walk? Get down, you young scapegrace, and let
the old man rest his weary limbs."  Upon this the old man made his
son dismount, and got up himself.  In this manner they had not
proceeded far when they met a company of women and children:
"Why, you lazy old fellow," cried several tongues at once, "how
can you ride upon the beast, while that poor little lad there can
hardly keep pace by the side of you?'  The good-natured Miller
immediately took up his son behind him.  They had now almost
reached the town.    "Pray, honest friend," said a citizen, "is
that Ass your own?'  "Yes," replied the old man.  "O, one would
not have thought so," said the other, "by the way you load him.
Why, you two fellows are better able to carry the poor beast than
he you."  "Anything to please you," said the old man; "we can but
try."  So, alighting with his son, they tied the legs of the Ass
together and with the help of a pole endeavored to carry him on
their shoulders over a bridge near the entrance to the town.
This entertaining sight brought the people in crowds to laugh at
it, till the Ass, not liking the noise nor the strange handling
that he was subject to, broke the cords that bound him and,
tumbling off the pole, fell into the river.  Upon this, the old
man, vexed and ashamed, made the best of his way home again,
convinced that by endeavoring to please everybody he had pleased
nobody, and lost his Ass in the bargain.

The Crow and the Sheep

A TROUBLESOME CROW seated herself on the back of a Sheep.  The
Sheep, much against his will, carried her backward and forward
for a long time, and at last said, "If you had treated a dog in
this way, you would have had your deserts from his sharp teeth."
To this the Crow replied, "I despise the weak and yield to the
strong.  I know whom I may bully and whom I must flatter; and I
thus prolong my life to a good old age."

The Fox and the Bramble

A FOX was mounting a hedge when he lost his footing and caught
hold of a Bramble to save himself.  Having pricked and grievously
tom the soles of his feet, he accused the Bramble because, when
he had fled to her for assistance, she had used him worse than
the hedge itself.  The Bramble, interrupting him, said, "But you
really must have been out of your senses to fasten yourself on
me, who am myself always accustomed to fasten upon others."

The Wolf and the Lion

A WOLF, having stolen a lamb from a fold, was carrying him off to
his lair.  A Lion met him in the path, and seizing the lamb, took
it from him.  Standing at a safe distance, the Wolf exclaimed,
"You have unrighteously taken that which was mine from me!"  To
which the Lion jeeringly replied, "It was righteously yours, eh?
The gift of a friend?'

The Dog and the Oyster

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.  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."

They who act without sufficient thought, will often fall into
unsuspected danger.

The Ant and the Dove

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
drowning.  A Dove sitting on a tree overhanging the water plucked
a leaf and let it fall into the stream close to her.  The Ant
climbed onto it and floated in safety to the bank.  Shortly
afterwards a birdcatcher came and stood under the tree, and laid
his lime-twigs for the Dove, which sat in the branches.  The Ant,
perceiving his design, stung him in the foot.  In pain the
birdcatcher threw down the twigs, and the noise made the Dove
take wing.

The Partridge and the Fowler

A FOWLER caught a Partridge and was about to kill it.  The
Partridge earnestly begged him to spare his life, saying, "Pray,
master, permit me to live and I will entice many Partridges to
you in recompense for your mercy to me."  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

The Flea and the Man

A MAN, very much annoyed with a Flea, caught him at last, and
said, "Who are you who dare to feed on my limbs, and to cost me
so much trouble in catching you?'  The Flea replied, "O my dear
sir, pray spare my life, and destroy me not, for I cannot
possibly do you much harm."  The Man, laughing, replied, "Now you
shall certainly die by mine own hands, for no evil, whether it be
small or large, ought to be tolerated."

The Thieves and the Cock

SOME THIEVES broke into a house and found nothing but a Cock,
whom they stole, and got off as fast as they could.  Upon
arriving at home they prepared to kill the Cock, who thus pleaded
for his life:  "Pray spare me; I am very serviceable to men.  I
wake them up in the night to their work."  "That is the very
reason why we must the more kill you," they replied; "for when
you wake your neighbors, you entirely put an end to our

The safeguards of virtue are hateful to those with evil

The Dog and the Cook

A RICH MAN gave a great feast, to which he invited many friends
and acquaintances.  His Dog availed himself of the occasion to
invite a stranger Dog, a friend of his, saying, "My master gives
a feast, and there is always much food remaining; come and sup
with me tonight."  The Dog thus invited went at the hour
appointed, and seeing the preparations for so grand an
entertainment, said in the joy of his heart, "How glad I am that
I came! I do not often get such a chance as this.  I will take
care and eat enough to last me both today and tomorrow."  While he
was congratulating himself and wagging his tail to convey his
pleasure to his friend, the Cook saw him moving about among his
dishes and, seizing him by his fore and hind paws, bundled him
without ceremony out of the window.  He fell with force upon the
ground and limped away, howling dreadfully.  His yelling soon
attracted other street dogs, who came up to him and inquired how
he had enjoyed his supper.  He replied, "Why, to tell you the
truth, I drank so much wine that I remember nothing.  I do not
know how I got out of the house."

The Travelers and the Plane-Tree

TWO TRAVELERS, worn out by the heat of the summer's sun, laid
themselves down at noon under the widespreading branches of a
Plane-Tree.  As they rested under its shade, one of the Travelers
said to the other, "What a singularly useless tree is the Plane!
It bears no fruit, and is not of the least service to man."  The
Plane-Tree, interrupting him, said, "You ungrateful fellows! Do
you, while receiving benefits from me and resting under my shade,
dare to describe me as useless, and unprofitable?'

Some men underrate their best blessings.