Translated by George Fyler Townsend
The Shepherd and the Wolf
A Shepherd once found the whelp of a Wolf and brought it up, and after
a while taught it to steal lambs from the neighboring flocks. The Wolf,
having shown himself an apt pupil, said to the Shepherd, “Since you have
taught me to steal, you must keep a sharp lookout, or you will lose some
of your own flock.”
The Father and His Two Daughters
A Man had two daughters, the one married to a gardener, and the
other to a tile-maker. After a time he went to the daughter who had married
the gardener, and inquired how she was and how all things went with her.
She said, “All things are prospering with me, and I have only one wish,
that there may be a heavy fall of rain, in order that the plants may be
well watered.” Not long after, he went to the daughter who had married
the tilemaker, and likewise inquired of her how she fared; she replied,
“I want for nothing, and have only one wish, that the dry weather may continue,
and the sun shine hot and bright, so that the bricks might be dried.”
He said to her, “If your sister wishes for rain, and you for dry weather,
with which of the two am I to join my wishes?’
A father, being on the point of death, wished to be sure that his
sons would give the same attention to his farm as he himself had given
it. He called them to his bedside and said, “My sons, there is a great
treasure hid in one of my vineyards.” The sons, after his death, took
their spades and mattocks and carefully dug over every portion of their
land. They found no treasure, but the vines repaid their labor by an extraordinary
and superabundant crop.
A Crab said to her son, “Why do you walk so one-sided, my child?
It is far more becoming to go straight forward.” The young Crab replied:
“Quite true, dear Mother; and if you will show me the straight way, I
will promise to walk in it.” The Mother tried in vain, and submitted without
remonstrance to the reproof of her child.
Example is more powerful than precept.
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.
Shortly afterwards, at the harvest festival, the owner released the Ox
from his yoke, but bound the Heifer with cords and led him away to the
altar to be slain in honor of the occasion. The Ox saw what was being
done, and said with a smile to the Heifer: “For this you were allowed
to live in idleness, because you were presently to be
The Swallow, the Serpent, and the Court of Justice
A Swallow, returning from abroad and especially fond of dwelling
with men, built herself a nest in the wall of a Court of Justice and there
hatched seven young birds. A Serpent gliding past the nest from its hole
in the wall ate up the young unfledged nestlings. The Swallow, finding
her nest empty, lamented greatly and exclaimed: “Woe to me a stranger!
that in this place where all others’ rights are protected, I alone should
A Boy stole a lesson-book from one of his schoolfellows and took
it home to his Mother. She not only abstained from beating him, but encouraged
him. He next time stole a cloak and brought it to her, and she again commended
him. The Youth, advanced to adulthood, proceeded to steal things of still
greater value. At last he was caught in the very act, and having his hands
bound behind him, was led away to the place of public execution. His Mother
followed in the crowd and violently beat her breast in sorrow, whereupon
the young man said, “I wish to say something to my Mother in her ear.”
She came close to him, and he quickly seized her ear with his teeth and
bit it off. The Mother upbraided him as an unnatural child, whereon he
replied, “Ah! if you had beaten me when I first stole and brought to you
that lesson-book, I should not have come to this, nor have been thus led
to a disgraceful death.”
An Old Man was employed in cutting wood in the forest, and, in
carrying the faggots to the city for sale one day, became very wearied
with his long journey. He sat down by the wayside, and throwing down his
load, besought “Death” to come. “Death” immediately appeared in answer
to his summons and asked for what reason he had called him. The Old Man
hurriedly replied, “That, lifting up the load, you may place it again upon
The Fir-Tree and the Bramble
A Fir-Tree said boastingly to the Bramble, “You are useful for
nothing at all; while I am everywhere used for roofs and houses.” The Bramble
answered: ‘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.”
Better poverty without care, than riches with.
The Mouse, the Frog, and the Hawk
A Mouse who always lived on the land, by an unlucky chance formed
an intimate acquaintance with a Frog, who lived for the most part in the
water. The Frog, one day intent on mischief, bound the foot of the Mouse
tightly to his own. Thus joined together, the Frog first of all led his
friend the Mouse to the meadow where they were accustomed to find their
food. After this, he gradually led him towards the pool in which he lived,
until reaching the very brink, he suddenly jumped in, dragging the Mouse
with him. The Frog enjoyed the water amazingly, and swam croaking about,
as if he had done a good deed. The unhappy Mouse was soon suffocated by
the water, and his dead body floated about on the surface, tied to the
foot of the Frog. A Hawk observed it, and, pouncing upon it with his talons,
carried it aloft. The Frog, being still fastened to the leg of the Mouse,
was also carried off a prisoner, and was eaten by the
Harm hatch, harm catch.
A Man who had been bitten by a Dog went about in quest of someone
who might heal him. A friend, meeting him and learning what he wanted,
said, “If you would be cured, take a piece of bread, and dip it in the
blood from your wound, and go and give it to the Dog that bit you.” The
Man who had been bitten laughed at this advice and said, “Why? If I should
do so, it would be as if I should beg every Dog in the town to bite
Benefits bestowed upon the evil-disposed increase their means of
A river carried down in its stream two Pots, one made of earthenware
and the other of brass. The Earthen Pot said to the Brass Pot, “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
Equals make the best friends.
A Wolf, sorely wounded and bitten by dogs, lay sick and maimed
in his lair. Being in want of food, he called to a Sheep who was passing,
and asked him to fetch some water from a stream flowing close beside him.
“For,” he said, “if you will bring me drink, I will find means to provide
myself with meat.” “Yes,” said the Sheep, “if I should bring you the draught,
you would doubtless make me provide the meat also.”
Hypocritical speeches are easily seen through.
The purchaser of a black servant was persuaded that the color of
his skin arose from dirt contracted through the neglect of his former masters.
On bringing him home he resorted to every means of cleaning, and subjected
the man to incessant scrubbings. The servant caught a severe cold, but
he never changed his color or complexion.
What’s bred in the bone will stick to the flesh.
The Fisherman and His Nets
A Fisherman, engaged in his calling, made a very successful cast and captured a great haul of fish. He managed by a skillful handling of his net to retain all the large fish and to draw them to the shore; but he could not prevent the smaller fish from falling back through the meshes of the net into the sea.