Fables for the
THE LION AND THE FOX. The Lion and the Fox once traveled in
company. Upon their coming to a public-house, it was agreed that the
former should go in and get a dinner, while Master Reynard kept watch
at the door. In stalked the Lion boldly, and ordered a haunch of
venison and a blood-pudding. The servant-maid, instead of fainting
away, bade him throw his mane over a chair and take his ease. Locking
the door as she withdrew, she sent for a policeman, and before night
King Lion was snugly back in the menagerie whence he and his
companion had that morning escaped.
Master Reynard, scenting what was in the wind, took to the woods
and was seen no more.
Moral: This fable teaches us to beware of that pretended
friendship which is specious and hollow.
THE JUDGEMENT OF PARIS. The Gorilla, the Hippopotamus and
the Snapping-Turtle were once upon a time partaking of a royal dinner
at the table of an opulent old Oyster, when the conversation turned
upon personal beauty. Each one of the guests present claimed for
himself that he alone was the favorite among the ladies for his
handsome form and features. As the wine had gone around freely, the
discussion grew heated, and upon the suggestion of the Gorilla it was
left to their host to decide between them.
In vain did Mr. Saddlerock (for that was the host's name)
insist that the point was too delicate for so humble an individual as
himself to presume to pass upon.
"Nay," said all three in concert, "tell us honestly
what you think."
"But I may offend you," urged the bivalve.
"Oh, that were impossible," smiled the Turtle.
"Quite so," grunted the Hippopotamus.
"My dear friend," added the Gorilla with a leer,
"as for myself, I am so confident of being considered an Apollo
that I wish for nothing so much as your candid opinion."
"Well, gentlemen," replied Mr. Saddlerock, "since
you all urge me to disclose my real sentiments, I will do so. So far
from being good-looking, egad! it's hard telling which of you has
the ugliest countenance! In fact, you'd better draw lots for
No sooner had this remark fallen from his lips than he saw his
mistake. He ran to the window, jumped out and vainly attempted to
climb a tall sycamore in the garden. The Gorilla, seizing him with a
clutch like that of a vice, dragged him ignominiously back to the
dining-hall. Here the unhappy Mr. Saddlerock was opened, and the
wicked Gorilla swallowed his body in a twinkle, flinging thereafter a
shell to each of the other competitors.
Moral: When the powerful quarrel, don't let yourself
become mixed up with them or you may get hurt.
THE SANGUINARY DUEL. Two men fought a duel. Let us
distinguish them by the names of A and B respectively. It was a real,
bona-fide, powder-and-ball affair. A meant business: so did
It was a terrible encounter.
A had all the vocal part of his jaw shot off, and several useful
portions of his epiglottis carried away. Totally unfitted for his
business as auctioneer, he died some years after of dyspepsia of the
B parted company with his left arm, so he was compelled to pass
himself off as a disabled hero of the rebellion and accept a snug
little office in the United States custom-house, where there was
nothing whatever to do.
That is all.
The dispute grew out of something A had said about B. B said A
said that B said something, and B said he hadn't said it.
Moral: Don't duel.
THE DOG AND THE SPARE-RIB. A mastiff crossing a bridge, and
bearing in his mouth a piece of meat, suddenly swallowed the meat. He
immediately observed that the shadow of the aforesaid meat in the
water had disappeared.
Such is optics.
Moral: We learn from this fable that life is but a
THE ASS AND THE LOCOMOTIVE. A donkey one day was quietly
munching thistles when he heard the screaming whistle of a
locomotive. Pricking up his ears, he started into a gallop and raced
across lots with his tail high in the air.
Moral: This fable teaches what an ass he was.
THE MOUSE AND THE CAT. A mouse once peeped from his hole
and saw a cat. The cat was looking the other way, and happened not to
see the mouse.
Moral: This little fable doesn't teach anything.