The Birds, the Beasts, and the Bat
THE BIRDS waged war with the Beasts, and each were by turns the
conquerors. A Bat, fearing the uncertain issues of the fight,
always fought on the side which he felt was the strongest. When
peace was proclaimed, his deceitful conduct was apparent to both
combatants. Therefore being condemned by each for his treachery,
he was driven forth from the light of day, and henceforth
concealed himself in dark hiding-places, flying always alone and
The Spendthrift and the Swallow
A YOUNG MAN, a great spendthrift, had run through all his
patrimony and had but one good cloak left. One day he happened
to see a Swallow, which had appeared before its season, skimming
along a pool and twittering gaily. He supposed that summer had
come, and went and sold his cloak. Not many days later, winter
set in again with renewed frost and cold. When he found the
unfortunate Swallow lifeless on the ground, he said, "Unhappy
bird! what have you done? By thus appearing before the springtime
you have not only killed yourself, but you have wrought my
The Fox and the Lion
A FOX saw a Lion confined in a cage, and standing near him,
bitterly reviled him. The Lion said to the Fox, "It is not thou
who revilest me; but this mischance which has befallen me."
The Owl and the Birds
AN OWL, in her wisdom, counseled the Birds that when the acorn
first began to sprout, to pull it all up out of the ground and
not allow it to grow. She said acorns would produce mistletoe,
from which an irremediable poison, the bird-
lime, would be extracted and by which they would be captured.
The Owl next advised them to pluck up the seed of the flax, which
men had sown, as it was a plant which boded no good to them.
And, lastly, the Owl, seeing an archer approach, predicted that
this man, being on foot, would contrive darts armed with feathers
which would fly faster than the wings of the Birds themselves.
The Birds gave no credence to these warning words, but considered
the Owl to be beside herself and said that she was mad. But
afterwards, finding her words were true, they wondered at her
knowledge and deemed her to be the wisest of birds. Hence it is
that when she appears they look to her as knowing all things,
while she no longer gives them advice, but in solitude laments
their past folly.
The Trumpeter Taken Prisoner
A TRUMPETER, bravely leading on the soldiers, was captured by the
enemy. He cried out to his captors, "Pray spare me, and do not
take my life without cause or without inquiry. I have not slain
a single man of your troop. I have no arms, and carry nothing
but this one brass trumpet." "That is the very reason for which
you should be put to death," they said; "for, while you do not
fight yourself, your trumpet stirs all the others to battle."