warning: "O unhappy creature! why should you thus, of your own
accord, incur destruction and trust yourself in the house of your
enemy?' The Stag replied: "Only allow me, friend, to stay where I
am, and I will undertake to find some favorable opportunity of
effecting my escape." At the approach of the evening the herdsman
came to feed his cattle, but did not see the Stag; and even the
farm-bailiff with several laborers passed through the shed and
failed to notice him. The Stag, congratulating himself on his
safety, began to express his sincere thanks to the Oxen who had
kindly helped him in the hour of need. One of them again
answered him: "We indeed wish you well, but the danger is not
over. There is one other yet to pass through the shed, who has
as it were a hundred eyes, and until he has come and gone, your
life is still in peril." At that moment the master himself
entered, and having had to complain that his oxen had not been
properly fed, he went up to their racks and cried out: "Why is
there such a scarcity of fodder? There is not half enough straw
for them to lie on. Those lazy fellows have not even swept the
cobwebs away." While he thus examined everything in turn, he
spied the tips of the antlers of the Stag peeping out of the
straw. Then summoning his laborers, he ordered that the Stag
should be seized and killed.
The Hawk, the Kite, and the Pigeons
THE PIGEONS, terrified by the appearance of a Kite, called upon
the Hawk to defend them. He at once consented. When they had
admitted him into the cote, they found that he made more havoc
and slew a larger number of them in one day than the Kite could
pounce upon in a whole year.
Avoid a remedy that is worse than the disease.
The Widow and the Sheep
A CERTAIN poor widow had one solitary Sheep. At shearing time,
wishing to take his fleece and to avoid expense, she sheared him
herself, but used the shears so unskillfully that with the fleece
she sheared the flesh. The Sheep, writhing with pain, said, "Why
do you hurt me so, Mistress? What weight can my blood add to the
wool? If you want my flesh, there is the butcher, who will kill
me in an instant; but if you want my fleece and wool, there is
the shearer, who will shear and not hurt me."
The least outlay is not always the greatest gain.
The Wild Ass and the Lion
A WILD ASS and a Lion entered into an alliance so that they might
capture the beasts of the forest with greater ease. The Lion
agreed to assist the Wild Ass with his strength, while the Wild
Ass gave the Lion the benefit of his greater speed. When they
had taken as many beasts as their necessities required, the Lion
undertook to distribute the prey, and for this purpose divided it
into three shares. "I will take the first share," he said,
"because I am King: and the second share, as a partner with you
in the chase: and the third share (believe me) will be a source
of great evil to you, unless you willingly resign it to me, and
set off as fast as you can."
Might makes right.