LOC = Library Of Congress
                                              The Æsop for Children
                                                Fables from 101-125
101. Mercury & the Woodman
A poor Woodman was cutting down a tree near the edge of a deep pool in the forest. It was late in the day and the Woodman was tired. He had been working since sunrise and his strokes were not so sure as they had been early that morning. Thus, it happened that the axe slipped and flew out of his hands into the pool.
The Woodman was miserable. The axe was all he possessed with which to make a living, and he had not money enough to buy a new one. As he stood wringing his hands and weeping, the god Mercury suddenly appeared and asked what the trouble was. The Woodman told what had happened, and straightway the kind Mercury dived into the pool. When he came up again he held a wonderful golden axe.
"Is this your axe?" Mercury asked the Woodman.
"No," answered the honest Woodman, "that is not my axe."
Mercury laid the golden axe on the bank and sprang back into the pool. This time he surfaced with an axe of silver, but the Woodman declared again that his axe was just an ordinary one with a wooden handle.
Mercury dived down for the third time, and when he came up again, he had the very axe that had been lost.
The poor Woodman was extremely glad that Mercury found his axe and could not thank the kind god enough. Mercury was pleased with Woodman’s honesty.
"I admire your honesty," he said, "and as a reward you may have all three axes, the gold and the silver as well as your own."
The happy Woodman returned to his home with his treasures, and soon the story of his good fortune was known to everybody in the village. Now there were quite a few Woodmen in the village who believed that they could easily win the same good fortune. They hurried out into the woods, one here, one there, and hiding their axes in the bushes, pretending they had lost them. Then they wept, wailed, and called on Mercury to help them.
And indeed, Mercury did appear, first to this one, then to that. To each one he showed an axe of gold, and each one eagerly claimed it to be the one he had lost. But Mercury did not give them the golden axe. Oh no! Instead, he gave them each a hard whack over the head with it and sent them home. And when they returned the next day to look for their own axes, they did not find them anywhere.
                                                                                                   Honesty is the best policy..
102. The Fox & the Crab
A Crab one day grew disgusted with the sands in which he lived. He decided to take a stroll to the meadow not far inland. There he would find better fare than briny water and sand mites. So off he crawled to the meadow. But there a hungry Fox saw him, and in a twinkling, ate him up, both shell and claw.
                                                                                                   Be content with your lot.
103. The Serpent & the Eagle
A Serpent had succeeded in surprising an Eagle and had wrapped himself around the Eagle's neck. The Eagle could not reach the Serpent, neither with beak nor claws. Far into the sky he soared trying to shake off his enemy. But the Serpent's hold only tightened, and slowly the Eagle sank back to earth, gasping for breath.
A Countryman chanced to see the unequal combat. In pity for the noble Eagle, he rushed up and soon loosened the coiling Serpent and freed the Eagle.
The Serpent was furious. He had no chance to bite the watchful Countryman. Instead, he struck at the drinking horn, hanging at the Countryman's belt, and into it let fly the poison of his fangs.
The Countryman now went on toward home. Becoming thirsty on the way, he filled his horn at a spring, and was about to drink. There was a sudden rush of great wings. Sweeping down, the Eagle seized the poisoned horn from out his savior's hands and flew away with it to hide it where it could never be found.
                                                                                           An act of kindness is well repaid.
104. The Bull & the Goat
A Bull once escaped from a Lion by entering a cave which the Goatherds used to corral their flocks in stormy weather and at night. It happened that one of the Goats had been left behind, and the Bull had no sooner got inside than this Goat lowered his head and made a rush at him, butting him with his horns. As the Lion was still prowling outside the entrance to the cave, the Bull had to submit to the insult.
"Do not think," the Bull said, "that I submit to your cowardly treatment because I am afraid of you. When that Lion leaves, I'll teach you a lesson you won't forget."
                                                                                It is wicked to take advantage of another's distress.
105. The Bull & the Goat
A Bull once escaped from a Lion by entering a cave which the Goatherds used to corral their flocks in stormy weather and at night. It happened that one of the Goats had been left behind, and the Bull had no sooner got inside than this Goat lowered his head and made a rush at him, butting him with his horns. As the Lion was still prowling outside the entrance to the cave, the Bull had to submit to the insult.
"Do not think," the Bull said, "that I submit to your cowardly treatment because I am afraid of you. When that Lion leaves, I'll teach you a lesson you won't forget."
                                                                            It is wicked to take advantage of one's good intentions.
106. The Man & the Lion
A Lion and a Man chanced to travel in company through the forest. They soon began to quarrel, for each of them boasted that he and his kind were far superior to the other both in strength and mind.
Now they reached a clearing in the forest and there stood a statue. It was a representation of Heracles in the act of tearing the jaws of the Nemean Lion.
"See," said the man, "that's how strong we are! The King of Beasts is like wax in our hands!"
"Ho!" laughed the Lion, "a Man made that statue. It would have been quite a different scene had a Lion made it!"
                                                                                     It all depends on the point of view, and who tells the story.
107. The Ass & the Lap Dog
There was once an Ass whose Master also owned a Lap Dog. This Dog was a favorite and received many pats and kind words from his Master, as well as choice bits from his plate. Every day the Dog would run to meet the Master, frisking playfully about, and leaping up to lick his hands and face.
All this the Ass saw with much discontent. Though he was well fed, he had much work to do; besides, the Master hardly ever took any notice of him.
Now the jealous Ass got it into his silly head that all he had to do to win his Master's favor was to act like the Dog. So, one day he left his stable and clattered eagerly into the house.
Finding his Master seated at the dinner table, he kicked up his heels and, with a loud bray, pranced giddily around the table, upsetting it as he did so. Then he planted his forefeet on his Master's knees and rolled out his tongue to lick the Master's face, as he had seen the Dog do. But his weight upset the chair, and Ass and man rolled over together in the pile of broken dishes from the table.
The Master was much alarmed at the strange behavior of the Ass, and calling for help, soon attracted the attention of the servants. When they saw the danger, the Master was in from the clumsy beast, they set upon the Ass and drove him with kicks and blows back to the stable. There they left him to mourn the foolishness that had brought him nothing but a sound beating.
                                                        Behavior that is regarded as agreeable in one is very rude and impertinent in another.
                                                     Do not try to gain favor by acting in a way that is contrary to your own nature and character.
108. The Milkmaid & Her Pail
A Milkmaid had been out to milk the cows and was returning from the field with the shining milk pail balanced nicely on her head. As she walked along, her pretty head was busy with plans for the days to come.
"This good, rich milk," she mused, "will give me plenty of cream to churn. The butter I make I will take to the market, and with the money I get for it I will buy a lot of eggs for hatching. How nice it will be when they are all hatched, and the yard is full of fine young chicks. Then when May Day comes I will sell them, and with the money I'll buy a lovely new dress to wear to the fair. All the young men will look at me. They will come and try to make love to me, —but I shall very quickly send them about their business!"
As she thought of how she would settle that matter, she tossed her head scornfully, and down fell the pail of milk to the ground. And all the milk flowed out, and with it vanished butter and eggs and chicks and new dress, aspiring and prospective beaus, and all the milkmaid's pride.
                                                                            Do not count your chickens before they are hatched.
109. The Wolf & the Shepherd
A Wolf, lurking near the Shepherd's hut, saw the Shepherd and his family feasting on a roasted lamb.
"Aha!" he muttered. "What a great shouting and running about would there have been, had they caught me at just the very thing they are doing with so much enjoyment!"
                                                         Men often condemn others for what they see no wrong in doing themselves.
110. The Goatherd & the Goat
A Goat strayed away from the flock, tempted by a patch of clover. The Goatherd tried to call it back, but in vain. It would not obey him. Then he picked up a stone and threw it, breaking the Goat's horn.
The Goatherd was frightened.
"Do not tell the master," he begged the Goat.
"No," said the Goat, "that broken horn can speak for itself!"
                                                                                          Wicked deeds will not stay hid.
111. The Miser
A Miser had buried his gold in a secret place in his garden. Every day he went to the spot, dug up the treasure and counted it piece by piece to make sure it was all there. He made so many trips that a Thief, who had been observing him, guessed what it was the Miser had hidden, and one night quietly dug up the treasure and made off with it.
When the Miser discovered his loss, he was overcome with grief and despair. He groaned and cried and tore his hair.
A passerby heard his cries and asked what had happened.
"My gold! O my gold!" cried the Miser, wildly, "someone has robbed me!"
"Your gold! There in that hole? Why did you put it there? Why did you not keep it in the house where you could easily get it when you had to buy things?"
"Buy!" screamed the Miser angrily. "Why, I never touched the gold. I couldn't think of spending any of it."
The stranger picked up a large stone and threw it into the hole.
"If that is the case," he said, "cover up that stone. It is worth just as much to you as the treasure you lost!"
                                                                       A possession is worth no more than the use we make of it.
112. The Wolf & the House Dog
There was once a Wolf who got very little to eat because the Dogs of the village were so wide awake and watchful. He was really nothing but skin and bones, and it made him very downhearted to think of it.
One night this Wolf happened to fall in with a fine fat House Dog who had wandered a little too far from home. The Wolf would gladly have eaten him then and there, but the House Dog looked strong enough to leave his marks should he try it. So, the Wolf spoke very humbly to the Dog, complimenting him on his fine appearance.
"You can be as well-fed as I am if you want to," replied the Dog. "Leave the woods; there you live miserably. Why, you must fight hard for every bite you get. Follow my example and you will get along beautifully."
"What must I do?" asked the Wolf.
"Hardly anything," answered the House Dog. "Chase people who carry canes, bark at beggars, and fawn on the people of the house. In return you will get tidbits of every kind, chicken bones, choice bits of meat, sugar, cake, and much more besides, not to speak of kind words and caresses."
The Wolf had such a beautiful vision of his coming happiness that he almost wept. But just then he noticed that the hair on the Dog's neck was worn, and the skin was chafed.
"What is that on your neck?"
"Nothing at all," replied the Dog.
"What! nothing!"
"Oh, just a trifle!"
"But please tell me."
"Perhaps you see the mark of the collar to which my chain is fastened."
"What! A chain!" cried the Wolf. "Don't you go wherever you please?"
"Not always! But what's the difference?" replied the Dog.
"All the difference in the world! I don't care a rap for your feasts, and I wouldn't take all the tender young lambs in the world at that price." And away ran the Wolf to the woods.
                                                                                       There is nothing worth so much as liberty.
113. The Fox & the Hedgehog
A Fox, swimming across a river, was barely able to reach the bank, where he lay bruised and exhausted from his struggle with the swift current. Soon a swarm of blood-sucking flies settled on him; but he lay quietly, still too weak to run away from them.
A Hedgehog happened by. "Let me drive the flies away," he said kindly.
"No, no!" exclaimed the Fox, "do not disturb them! They have taken all they can hold. If you drive them away, another greedy swarm will come and take the little blood I have left."
                                                                       Better to bear a lesser evil than to risk a greater in removing it.
114. The Bat & the Weasels
A Bat blundered into the nest of a Weasel, who ran up to catch and eat him. The Bat begged for his life, but the Weasel would not listen.
"You are a Mouse," he said, "and I am a sworn enemy of Mice. Every Mouse I catch, I am going to eat!"
"But I am not a Mouse!" cried the Bat. "Look at my wings. Can Mice fly? Why, I am only a Bird! Please let me go!"
The Weasel had to admit that the Bat was not a Mouse, so he let him go. But a few days later, the foolish Bat went blindly into the nest of another Weasel. This Weasel happened to be a bitter enemy of Birds, and he soon had the Bat under his claws, ready to eat him.
"You are a Bird," he said, "and I am going to eat you!"
"What," cried the Bat, "I, a Bird! Why, all Birds have feathers! I am nothing but a Mouse. 'Down with all Cats,' is my motto!"
And so, the Bat escaped with his life a second time.
                                                                                    Set your sails with the wind.
115. The Quack Toad
An old Toad once informed all his neighbors that he was a learned doctor. In fact, he could cure anything. The Fox heard the news and hurried to see the Toad. He looked the Toad over very carefully.
"Mr. Toad," he said, "I've been told that you cure anything! But just take a look at yourself, and then try some of your own medicine. If you can cure yourself of that blotchy skin and that rheumatic gait, someone might believe you. Otherwise, I should advise you to try some other profession."
                                                                Those who would mend others, should first mend themselves.
116. The Fox Without a Tail
A Fox that had been caught in a trap, succeeded at last, after much painful tugging, in getting away. But he had to leave his beautiful bushy tail behind him.
For a long time, he kept away from the other Foxes, for he knew well enough that they would all make fun of him and crack jokes and laugh behind his back. But it was hard for him to live alone, and at last he thought of a plan that would perhaps help him out of his trouble.
He called a meeting of all the Foxes, saying that he had something of great importance to tell the tribe.
When they were all gathered together, the Fox Without a Tail got up and made a long speech about those Foxes who had come to harm because of their tails.
This one had been caught by hounds when his tail had become entangled in the hedge. That one had not been able to run fast enough because of the weight of his brush. Besides, it was well known, he said, that men hunt Foxes simply for their tails, which they cut off as prizes of the hunt. With such proof of the danger and uselessness of having a tail, said Master Fox, he would advise every Fox to cut it off, if he valued life and safety.
When he had finished talking, an old Fox arose, and said, smiling:
"Master Fox, kindly turn around for a moment, and you shall have your answer."
When the poor Fox Without a Tail turned around, there arose such a storm of jeers and hooting, that he saw how useless it was to try any longer to persuade the Foxes to part with their tails.
                                                             Do not listen to the advice of him who seeks to lower you to his own level.
117. The Mischievous Dog
There was once a Dog who was so ill-natured and mischievous that his Master had to fasten a heavy wooden clog about his neck to keep him from annoying visitors and neighbors. But the Dog seemed to be very proud of the clog and dragged it about noisily as if he wished to attract everybody's attention. He was not able to impress anyone.
"You would be wiser," said an old acquaintance, "to keep quietly out of sight with that clog. Do you want everybody to know what a disgraceful and ill-natured Dog you are?"
                                                                                                  Notoriety is not fame.
118. The Rose & the Butterfly
A Butterfly once fell in love with a beautiful Rose. The Rose was not indifferent, for the Butterfly's wings were powdered in a charming pattern of gold and silver. And so, when he fluttered near and told how he loved her, she blushed rosily and said yes. After much pretty love-making and many whispered vows of constancy, the Butterfly took a tender leave of his sweetheart.
But alas! It was a long time before he came back to her.
"Is this your constancy?" she exclaimed tearfully. "It is ages since you went away, and all the time, you have been carrying on with all sorts of flowers. I saw you kiss Miss Geranium, and you fluttered around Miss Mignonette until Honeybee chased you away. I wish he had stung you!"
"Constancy!" laughed the Butterfly. "I had no sooner left you than I saw Zephyr kissing you. You carried on scandalously with Mr. Bumble Bee and you made eyes at every single Bug you could see. You can't expect any constancy from me!"
                                                                        Do not expect constancy in others if you have none yourself.
119. The Cat & the Fox
Once a Cat and a Fox were traveling together. As they went along, picking up provisions on the way—a stray mouse here, a fat chicken there—they began an argument to while away the time between bites. And as usually happens when comrades argue, the talk began to get personal.
"You think you are extremely clever, don't you?" said the Fox. "Do you pretend to know more than I? Why, I know a whole sack of tricks!"
"Well," retorted the Cat, "I admit I know one trick only, but that one, let me tell you, is worth a thousand of yours!"
Just then, close by, they heard a hunter's horn and the yelping of a pack of hounds. In an instant the Cat was up a tree, hiding among the leaves.
"This is my trick," he called to the Fox. "Now let me see what yours are worth."
But the Fox had so many plans for escape he could not decide which one to try first. He dodged here and there with the hounds at his heels. He doubled on his tracks, he ran at top speed, he entered a dozen burrows, —but all in vain. The hounds caught him, and soon put an end to the boaster and all his tricks.
                                                                          Common sense is always worth more than cunning.
120. The Boy & the Nettle
A Boy, stung by a Nettle, ran home crying, to get his mother to blow on the hurt and kiss it.
"Son," said the Boy's mother, when she had comforted him, "the next time you come near a Nettle, grasp it firmly, and it will be as soft as silk."
                                                                                    Whatever you do, do with all your might.
121. The Old Lion
A Lion had grown very old. His teeth were worn away. His limbs could no longer bear him, and the King of Beasts was very pitiful indeed as he lay gasping on the ground, about to die.
Where are now his strength and his former graceful beauty?
Now a Boar spied him, and rushing at him, gored him with his yellow tusk. A Giraff spit on him. A Monkey yanked his ears. A Buffalo tossed him high up in the air with his horns. The wild Dogs snapped at his tail. A Bull trampled him with his heavy hoofs. Even a contemptible Ass let fly his heels and brayed his insults in the face of the Lion.
                                                                              It is cowardly to attack the defenseless, though he be an enemy.
122. The Fox & the Pheasants
One moonlight evening as Master Fox was taking his usual stroll in the woods, he saw several Pheasants perched quite out of his reach on a limb of a tall old tree. The sly Fox soon found a bright patch of moonlight, where the Pheasants could see him clearly; there he raised himself up on his hind legs and began a wild dance. First, he whirled 'round and round' like a top, then he hopped up and down, cutting all sorts of strange capers. The Pheasants stared giddily. They hardly dared blink for fear of losing him out of their sight a single instant.
Now the Fox made as if to climb a tree, now he fell over and lay still, playing dead, and the next instant he was hopping on all fours, his back in the air, and his bushy tail shaking so that it seemed to throw out silver sparks in the moonlight.
By this time the poor birds' heads were in a whirl. And when the Fox began his performance all over again, so dazed did they become, that they lost their hold on the limb, and fell one by one to the Fox.
                                                                       Too much attention to danger may cause us to fall victims to it.
123. Two Travelers & a Bear
Two Men were traveling in company through a forest, when, all at once, a huge Bear crashed out of the brush near them.
One of the Men, thinking of his own safety, climbed a tree.
The other, unable to fight the savage beast alone, threw himself on the ground and lay still, as if he were dead. He had heard that a Bear will not touch a dead body.
It must have been true, for the Bear snuffed at the Man's head awhile, and then, seeming to be satisfied that he was dead, walked away.
The Man in the tree climbed down.
"It looked just as if that Bear whispered in your ear," he said. "What did he tell you?"
"He said," answered the other, "that it was not at all wise to keep company with a fellow who would desert his friend in a moment of danger."
                                                                                 Misfortune is the test of true friendship.
124. The Porcupine & the Snakes
A Porcupine was looking for a good home. At last, he found a little sheltered cave, where lived a family of Snakes. He asked them to let him share the cave with them, and the Snakes kindly consented.
The Snakes soon wished they had not given him permission to stay. His sharp quills pricked them at every turn, and at last they politely asked him to leave.
"I am very well satisfied, thank you," said the Porcupine. "I intend to stay right here." And with that, he politely escorted the Snakes out of doors. And to save their skins, the Snakes had to look for another home.
                                                                                                        Give a finger and lose a hand.
125. The Fox & the Monkey
At a great meeting of the Animals, who had gathered to elect a new ruler, the Monkey was asked to dance. This he did so well, with a thousand funny capers and grimaces, that the Animals were carried entirely off their feet with enthusiasm, and then and there, elected him their king.
The Fox did not vote for the Monkey and was much disgusted with the Animals for electing so unworthy a ruler.
One day he found a trap with a bit of meat in it. Hurrying to King Monkey, he told him he had found a rich treasure, which he had not touched because it belonged by right to his majesty the Monkey.
The greedy Monkey followed the Fox to the trap. As soon as he saw the meat he grasped eagerly for it, only to find himself held fast in the trap. The Fox stood off and laughed.
"You pretend to be our king," he said, "and cannot even take care of yourself!"
Shortly after that, another election among the Animals was held.
                                                                            The true leader proves himself by his qualities.