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Ah, too true, “ As the fingers fall,
The lot shall fall in many a home That breaks a heart and fills a tomb; “ Shall fall, and fall, and fall again,
Like a law that counts our love but vain;
Like a fate, unheeding our woe and pain. “One by one—and who shall say
Whether the lot may fall this day,
That calleth of these dear babes away? “ True, too true. Yet hold, dear friend; Evermore doth the lot depend
On Him who loved, and loved to the end :
226.-BETTER THAN GOLD.
Better than grandeur, better than gold,
227.FABLES FROM ÆSOP. A dog made his bed in a manger, and lay snarling and growling to keep the horses from their provender. “See,' said one of them, “what a miserable cur! who neither can eat corn himself, nor will allow those to eat it who can."
A bowman took aim at an eagle and hit him in the heart. As the eagle turned his head in the agonies of death, he saw that the arrow was winged with his own feathers. " How much sharper,” said he, "are the wounds made by weapons which we ourselves have supplied !”
A viper entering into a smith's shop looked about for some. thing to eat. At length seeing a file, he began to bite at it; but the file bade him to let it alone, saying, “You are likely to get little from me, whose business is to bite others."
A collier, who had more room in his house than he wanted for himself, proposed to a fuller to come and live with him. “ Thank you,'' said the fuller,“ but I would fear that as fast as I whitened my goods you would blacken them again.”
A fisherman's net had all sorts of fish. The little ones escaped through the meshes of the net, and got back tnto the deep, but the great fish were all caught aud hauled into the ship. Our insignificance is often the cause of our safety.
A certain man had the good fortune to possess a goose that laid him a golden egg every day.
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 herjust what any other goose would be! Much wants more and loses all.
A fox, just at the time of the vintage, stole into a vineyard where the ripe sunny grapes were trellised up on high in most tempting show. He made many a spring and jump after the luscious prize; but, having failed in all his attempts, he muttered as he retreated, “Well! what does it matter? The grapes are sour!”
A fox that had never seen a lion, when by chance he met him for the first time, was so terrified that he almost died of fright. When he met him the second time, he was still afraid, but managed to disguise his fear. When he saw him the third time, he was so much emboldened that he went up to him and asked him how he did. Familiarity breeds contempt.
The lion and other beasts formed an alliance to go out a-hunting. When they had taken a fat stag, the lion proposed himself as commissioner, and dividing it into three parts thus proceeded: “The first," said he, “ I shall take officially, as king; the second I shall take for my own personal share in the chase; and as for the third part—let him take it who dares."
A troop of boys were playing at the edge of a pond, when, perceiving a number of frogs in the water, they began to pelt at them with stones. They had already killed many of the poor creatures, when one, more hardy than the rest, putting his head above the water, cried out to them: “Stop your cruel sport, my lads ; consider, what is play to you is death to us.”
An ass having put on a lion's skin, roamed about, frightening all the silly animals he met with, and, seeing a fox, he tried to alarm him also. But Reynard, having heard his voice, said, “Well, to be sure! and I should have been frightened too, if I had not heard you bray." They who assume a character that does not belong to them, generally betray themselves by over-acting it.
There was a city in expectation of being besieged, and a council was called accordingly to discuss the best means of fortifying it. A bricklayer gave his opinion that no material was so good as brick for the purpose. A carpenter begged leave to suggest that timber would be far preferable. Upon which a currier started up, and said,
said all that can be said, there is nothing in the world like leather."
A wolf seeing a goat feeding on the brow of a high precipice where he could not come at her, besought her to come down lower, for fear she should miss her footing at that dizzy height; "and moreover,” said he, “the grass is far sweeter and more abundant here below. But the goat replied: “Excuse me; it is not for my
dinner that you invite me, but for your own.”
An old man that had traveled a long way with a huge bundle of sticks, found himself so weary that he cast it down, and called upon Death to deliver him from his most miserable existence. Death came straightway at his call, and asked him what he wanted. Pray, good sir,” says he, “do me but the favor to help me up with my burden again.” It is one thing to call for Death, and another to see him coming.
A gnat that had been buzzing about the head of a bull, at length, settling himself down upon his horn, begged his pardon for incommoding him ; “But if," says he, “my weight at all inconveniences you, pray say so, and I will be off in a moment." “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
The smaller the mind the greater the conceit. A trumpeter being taken prisoner in a battle, begged hard for quarter.
“Spare me, good sirs, I beseech you, “and put me not to death without cause, for I have killed no one myself, nor have I any arms but this trumpet only." “For that very reason," said they who had seized him, “shall you the sooner die, for without the spirit to fight yourself, you stir up others to warfare and bloodshed." He who incites to strife is worse than he who takes part in it.
Once upon a time the rivers combined against the sea, and, going in a body, accused her, saying: “Why is it that when we rivers pour our waters into you so fresh and sweet, you straightway render them salt and unpalatable?" The sea, observing the temper in which they came, merely answered : “ If you do not wish to become salt, please to keep away from me altogether.” Those who are most benefited are often the first to complain.
A certain boy put his hand into a pitcher where a great plenty of figs and filberts was deposited; he grasped as many as his fist could possibly hold, but when he endeavored to pull it out, the narrowness of the neck prevented him. Un
" said he, willing to lose any of them, but unable to draw out his hand, he burst into tears and bitterly bemoaned his hard fortune. An honest fellow who stood by gave him this wise and reasonable advice: Grasp only half the quantity, my boy, and you will easily succeed.”
A thrifty old widow kept two servant-maids, whom she used to call up to their work at cock-crow. The maids disliked exceedingly this early rising, and determined between themselves to wring off the bird's neck, as he was the cause of all their trouble by waking their mistress so early. They had no sooner done this, than the old lady, missing her usual alarm, and afraid of oversleeping herself, continually mistook the time of day, and roused them up at midnight. Too much cunning overreaches itself.
A certain knight growing old, his hair fell off, and he became bald ; to hide which imperfection, he wore a periwig. But as he was riding out with some others a-hunting, a sudden gust of wind blew off the periwig, and exposed his bald pate. The company could not forbear laughing at the accident; and he himself laughed as loud as anybody, saying: “How was it to be expected that I should keep strange hair upon my head, when my own would not stay there ?”
A shepherd-boy, who tended. his flock not far from a village, used to amuse himself at times by crying out, “ Wolf! Wolf!" Twice or thrice his trick succeeded. The whole village came running out to his assistance; when all the return they got was to be laughed at for their pains. At last one day the wolf came indeed. The boy cried out in earnest. But his neighbors, supposing him to be at his old sport, paid no heed to his cries, and the wolf devoured the sheep. So the boy learned, when it was too late, that liars are not believed even when they tell the truth.
There was a dog so wild and mischievous, that his master was obliged to fasten a heavy clog about his neck, to prevent his biting and worrying his neighbors. The dog, priding
. himself upon his badge, paraded in the market-place, shaking his clog to attract attention. But a sly friend whispered to him, “The less noise you make, the better; your mark of distinction is no reward of merit, but a badge of disgrace !" Men often mistake notoriety for fame, and would rather be remarked for their vices or follies than not to be noticed at all.
A bull being pursued by a lion, fled into a cave where a wild goat had taken up his abode. The goat upon this began