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Aesop's Fables


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THE DOG IN THE MANGER.....................................................................................................................................2


THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER...........................................................................................................................3


One afternoon, a dog found his way into
the shed of some Oxen. “Here’s a manger
full of straw where I can take a cosy nap!”
he declared, and curled up to go to sleep.

Soon an Ox returned to eat of the hay and

woke up the Dog. Annoyed at being
disturbed, the Dog started barking loudly.
As more of the Oxen entered the shed, he
snapped his teeth and growled. He then barked even louder when they
came forward to get at the straw.

The Oxen moved away in disgust. "What a selfish Dog!" said one of
them to his companions. “He cannot eat the hay himself and yet
refuses to allow those who can to eat!”


People often grudge others what they cannot have themselves.

Did you hear of the Grasshopper who sang all summer while the Ant
worked hard collecting food?
Well, one cold winter’s night a hungry,
miserable little Grasshopper hopped by
the window of an Ant, warmly lit up by a
He peeped in, hoping to find some food
on their table to beg. Looking through the
glass, he saw mounds of grain stacked in a
corner and happy chatter among the ants
as they walked around busy with their
work. The grasshopper decided to knock.
“Could you please spare me some food, dear Ant, I am so cold and
hungry,” pleaded the Grasshopper when an ant opened the door.
“Weren’t you the Grasshopper who sang all summer while we worked?
You even laughed at us while we gathered grain under the blazing
sun!” said the Ant.
"Yes, I was," admitted the Grasshopper.
“Well, you sang then," replied the Ant as he closed the door. "You can
dance now!"

Don't play when you have to work.


A man had an Ass. The Ass was left in a stable and had plenty of oats
and hay to eat, just as any other Ass would.
The man also had a very beautiful Maltese
Lapdog. The Lapdog knew many tricks and
was a great favorite with his master, who
often fondled him and seldom went out to
dine without bringing him home some tidbit
to eat.
The Ass, however, had much work to do in
grinding the corn-mill and in carrying wood
from the forest or burdens from the farm.
He felt sorry for himself, especially when he
compared his life to that of the Lapdog.
One day, he broke his cords and galloped into his master's house,
kicking up his heels and frisking and fawning as well as he could. He
next tried to jump about his master as he had seen the Lapdog do,
but he broke the table and smashed all the dishes upon it to atoms.
He then attempted to lick his master, and jumped upon his back.
The servants, hearing the noise came to the room and and drove out
the Ass to his stable with kicks and clubs and cuffs. The Ass, as he
returned to his stall beaten nearly to death, said: "I have brought it
all on myself! Why could I not have been contented to labor with my
companions, and not wish to be idle all the day like that useless little

Don't try to be something you are not.


An Ass was once trudging up the edge of a
steep hill with his Master.
Suddenly the animal left the Master's side and bolted off the road.
He wanted to throw himself over the cliff!
The Master caught him by the tail just has he was about to fall over.
"Let me go!" brayed the Ass, straining forward, "Let me go!"
The owner could not do anything but let the Ass go. He couldn't
figure out why he wanted to jump off the edge either.
So he released the stubborn animal, saying, "Do what you want, but
at your own cost."

Don't be too stubborn in wanting your own foolish way.

An Ass was once calmly feeding in a meadow when from the corner
of his eye he spied a Wolf getting ready
to pounce on him.
With no time to waste, the Ass thought
of tricking the Wolf by pretending to be
“Ow!” yelped the Ass, as though in pain.
“What' s the matter!?” asked the Wolf
walking out of his hiding, quite curious
to see the sudden change.
“It looks like a sharp thorn in my foot!” said the Ass looking with
distress at the sole of his hoof, “Could you please help me remove it
– you see, it would hurt your throat when you swallow me for your
The Wolf agreed with him. So he bent down to remove the thorn
from the Ass’ foot.
Before he knew what was happening, the Ass shot out his foot and
kicked the Wolf’s teeth right in! Then turning on his heels the Ass
sped away from the scene.
“It serves me right,” said the injured animal, bleeding from his
mouth. “I shouldn’t have tried to be a doctor when I was born only
to be a butcher.”

Don't try to be something you are not.

A peddler once bought a large sack of salt from a town far away and
loaded it onto the back of his Ass. On the
way home the Ass suddenly stumbled as he
was crossing a stream and fell into the water.
Along with the animal the sack of salt too fell
into the water, with most of it melting away.
When the Ass got on to his legs again, he
found that the load had become much
The Master, however, drove him back into
town and bought some more salt, adding it
to the rest of what remained, and started
home again. No sooner had they reached the
stream than the Ass lay down in the water,
thinking that his load would get lighter. And it did! But the Ass’s
trick didn’t remain hidden from the Master for too long and he
promptly decided to teach the animal a lesson.
Off to town went the peddler and the Ass for the third time. But not
for more salt, but sponges! The Master loaded half a dozen sponges
onto the animal’s back and once again started off for home. Once
more, they passed the stream and yet again the Ass lay down in the
water to lighten his burden. But instead of getting lighter the
sponges soaked in large amounts of water and got heavier and
The poor beast! He now carried double his burden!

Don't try to shirk your duty; it might cost you heavily.

There were mice all over. Inside buckets,
under beds, in the kitchen and on the roof.
They played and danced freely about the
house. Till the day a cat, prowling around,
found them out!
The lucky cat couldn’t believe the feast that
lay before her! She lost no time and started
to pounce on the mice, one by one. The big
and the little, rats with pink ears and
stringy tails, all becoming her prey.
Surprised and frightened, the mice scurried
to get out of the cat’s way. They rushed about, hurrying to hide
themselves in a hole at the dark end of the kitchen.
The cat was sad, but didn’t give up on them and lay in wait outside
the hideout.
Several hours passed when the cat realized that the mice were not
going to emerge. So pulling up an old trick, she decided to lure them
out by pretending to be dead meat.
Hoisting herself onto a peg, the cat hung down limp from it, hoping
that the rats would now come to feed on her!
But the mice couldn’t be out smarted so easily! One of the mice,
peeping cautiously out of the hole, smelt her alive and said, “Even
though you should be well and truly dead, dear cat, we would not
come near you!

"He who is once fooled is twice careful."

One day a Crab and her son set out for a walk on the sand. A little
distance away, Mother Crab noticed that her
son was walking rather strangely to one side.
“Why do you walk in this one-sided manner,
my son. You must walk straight, moving
yourself forward. Not twisted to one side.”
The little Crab tried to correct his walk but
couldn’t get it at all. He turned to his
mother, “If you show me the straight way
mother, I am sure I could follow in it.”
Mother Crab tried to walk straight as she
wanted her son to, but failed in her
attempts. The Crab and its Mother then
walked on towards the shore in silence.

"Instruct by example."
There was once a thirsty Crow searching high and low for some
water to drink. From far above the trees he
spotted a pitcher of water lying on the
ground. “At last,” he panted, “I see some
water to quench my thirst!”
When he got to the jar, standing tall and
deep, he discovered that the water lay way
down at the bottom. The neck of the pitcher
was too narrow, and his beak, far too short!
“What do I do?” said the crow, trying in
every way to get his face into the jar and
almost knocking it over twice!
He finally got a bright idea. Collecting small pebbles in his beak, the
crow started to drop them one by one into the pitcher.
As the the pitcher filled with stones, the water slowly climbed its
way between the spaces to reach right to the top!
The clever crow then drank of the sweet water to his heart’s content.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Two great friends, a Dog and a Cock, decided to go on a trip together
one day. They walked through thickets and
vine, past meadows and over streams and
finally settled down in a thick wood for the
night to have their rest.
“I think I will sleep in the cozy hollow of this
tree trunk tonight,” said the Dog. The Cock
chose to perch on one of the branches and
before long both friends were asleep.
Soon it was morning, the sun rose and the
Cock started crowing loudly, as he did each
Nearby in the thickets was a hungry Fox
whose ears pricked up when he heard the sound of the Cock
crowing. “Ah breakfast!” thought the Fox as he ran to the tree,
plotting how he could catch the Cock.
Using his sweetest tone, the Fox said to the Cock from below,
“Excuse me sir, I heard a beautiful song from this tree a little while
ago. I would be delighted to meet the owner of so exquisite a voice.”
The Cock, aware of his cunning ways, decided to outsmart him. He
remembered the faithfulness and strength of his friend, the Dog,
and replied, “Could you please first wake up my porter in the hollow
here below? He will open the door and let you in.”
Eagerly the Fox went to the hollow, only to find the Dog there, who
made him run for his life.

Do not be taken in by flattery.

A group of Dogs once spotted some cowhides soaking in the river.
They were hungry and the wet skins were
the only sign of food in a long, long while.
But the hides were far off in the deepest part
of the river, and much beyond their reach.
The starving Dogs were desperate. So when
one of them got the idea to empty out the
river and reach the skins by drinking up the
water, they all jumped at it!
Within the next few minutes the hungry
Dogs were taking in great big gulps of water,
lapping up the river with whatever strength
they had left.
However, before they could get the water level down by even a
fraction of an inch, their stomachs burst!
One by one they fell dead on the banks of the river, done in by the
very task they had taken on, bizarre as it was, to save their own lives.

Don't attempt the impossible!

An Eagle was once chasing a Hare across a meadow. The hare was
terrified and didn’t know what to do to save
herself except run.
Suddenly she saw a little Beetle among the
tall grass flying past and paused: “Please,
dear Beetle, help me get away from the
Eagle,” the Hare pleaded, hoping for some
aid from the tiny insect.
The Beetle readily agreed to help. Taking a
deep breath and puffing out his chest, he got
ready to face the eagle as the bird swooped
down towards his prey.
“Don’t you dare touch the Hare!” shouted the
Beetle to the Eagle.
But the Eagle did not notice the insect, much less hear his tiny
voice . She went right ahead and attacked her prey, gobbling the
Hare up.
The Beetle’s pride was hurt. He never forgot the incident.
He wanted to get back at the Eagle, and in a devious plan decided to
destroy the Eagle’s eggs as soon as they were hatched.
Each time the Eagle laid an egg, the Beetle would make his way to
the nest, roll the egg out and then drop it to the ground.
This carried on for a while, till the distressed Eagle went to Jupiter,
the special protector of eagles, for help. Begging him to give her a
safe place to nest in she said, “Please protect my young ones."
“You can lay your eggs in my lap,” replied Jupiter kindly.
But the Beetle noticed this too. He made a ball the size of an Eagle’s
egg, flew up to Jupiter’s lap and placed it there along with the eggs.
When Jupiter saw the dirt, he was surprised to see it there and stood
up to shake it off his lap.
But along with the dirt, out flew all the Eagle's eggs as well, crashing
to the ground.
It is fabled that from then on, because of this, Eagles never lay their
eggs in the season of the Beetles.

You're never so small that you're insignificant.

A farmer was dying one day. He called his two sons and said to
them, “Will you look after our farm in the
same way that I did all these years?”
“Yes, father,” said the two sons, “We will.”
The father then told them, “There is a great
treasure hidden in one of my vineyards.”
No sooner had their father died, than the
two men took their hoes and spades and
began carefully digging over every portion of
the land.
When they finished the whole lot the men
said, “There is no treasure here!”
disappointed after finding nothing.
But not long after, because of the many hours of hard work, the land
began to give forth a superabundant harvest.
Thier eyes were opened, and they said to each other, “Our treasure
is in our labour and care of the land, to be sure!”
From then on they always cared for the farm, preserving the
memory of their father in the land for many years to come.

There is no substitute for hard work.

There was once a Farmer who was being troubled by cranes.
Each day as he planted seeds in the ground, the
long legged cranes would swoop down on the field
and gobble them up. The Farmer tried to chase
them away. But the cranes would always return.
One morning, the Farmer bought a very large net
and laid it across the field. As the sun blazed down
on the brown earth, the Farmer waited quietly behind a bush.
The calls of the birds were heard from a far and before long the
cranes landed on the field – only this time they could not take off
again! They were trapped in the net.
The peasant walked up to them triumphant. Suddenly he heard one
of the birds pleading, “Please let me go free – I have a broken leg
and am in great pain! I promise to never return to your field again.
Please, master!”
The Farmer turned to see where the voice was coming from. It
belonged to a different sort of bird.
“Besides, you see,” continued the injured bird looking at the Farmer
with drooping eyes, “I am not a crane, but a Stork. I am a bird of
character and breeding, unlike these other birds. Look at my
feathers too, they are different!”
The Farmer laughed out loud and said, “What you say may be true,
but to me you are all robbers. And since you were in the company of
the cranes you too must die with them!”

Birds of a feather flock together.

There was once a vain crow who chanced upon a delicious piece of
meat. Picking it up her beak, she perched
herself high up on a branch of a tree to feast
on it.
But before she could take her first bite, a fox,
hungry for something to eat, spied her
among the branches. The piece of meat
danced before his eyes and he longed to have
it for himself!
Cunning as he was, the fox devised a plan.
He knew that the crow was a vain creature,
and so falsely declared, “How beautiful you
are O crow! How fair and gracious is your
The crow was thrilled to hear these words and turned towards the
crow wide-eyed!
“It’s working!” said the fox to himself and continued with his lies,
“Oh, but if only your voice was equal to your beauty, I would crown
you the Queen of Birds!”
The crow was taken aback. “I am the queen of birds and I will prove
it to him”, she thought. She then opened her mouth to caw her
loudest caw and out popped the piece of meat to the ground below!
The fox, delighted with himself, picked it up and ran away as fast as
he could!

"Beware of flattery."
One day a fox fell into a well and could not get out. The walls were
steep and the top loomed high above him. "How
shall I escape?" cried the fox.
Soon a goat came by for a drink of water. He bent
down to look for the water in the well and saw the
fox inside, "Hello friend, is the water sweet down
The fox suddenly got an idea. He decided to make
use of the goat's strong back to climb out and replied, "Yes, it is cool
and clean, why don't you come down here yourself and take a sip!"
Thirsty for water, the goat jumped in without giving a thought to
how he would climb back out. As the goat started to lap up the cool
water, the fox said, "Have you realized that we are now both stuck
inside the well? If you follow my plan though, we will escape
smoothly and quickly." The goat cheerfully agreed to his idea after
listening to a run of it.
The fox lost no time. He first got the goat to stand on his hind legs,
propping his forelegs against the wall. Then he leaped onto the
goat's back, stepped on his sturdy horns and hoisted himself out of
the well. On the way the fox called," I will help you out once I'm
But help never came. The fox fled into the wilderness, leaving the
goat to watch the sun go down and the moon slowly rise over the
roof of the well. All he could do was sigh and say with regret, "I wish
I had more sense, than to have the fox trick me in this way. If only I
looked carefully before jumping in."

Look before you leap.

One hot summer's day a certain fox saw a juicy bunch of grapes
hanging from a vine. It certainly was very hot,
and the fox was thirsting for something to
drink. “These grapes are just what I need to
quench my thirst!” said the fox.
But the vine on which the grapes hung was too
high for him to reach even with his longest
stretch. So he decided to jump.
Drawing back a few paces, he ran towards the
vine and took a great big leap, but missed the
grapes. Turning around, he jumped again.
This time too, with no success. The fox tried to
jump for the grapes again and again and yet
again, to no avail.
Since he could not reach the delicious looking grapes, the fox finally
concluded, ”These grapes must be sour!” and walked away with his
nose in the air, though hotter and even thirstier than before!

Sometimes when we cannot get what we want, we pretend that it is

not worth having.
The Fox and the Leopard had a contest one day on who was the
more beautiful of the two. The Leopard
pointed out his spots to the Fox one by one.
Slowly following them over his skin, he said,
“Can you show off such spots?”
The Fox was not impressed, but he said, “You
are beautiful. But do you know that my beauty
is not outwards? I am gifted in cleverness and
wiles. And that certainly makes me more
attractive than you.”
The Leopard was speechless, and quietly
walked away.

Beauty is often only skin deep.

There once was a young Fox who chanced
upon a Lion in the jungle for the first time. He
was terribly frightened. “His head looks so
fierce and his jaw so hard!” thought the Fox,
and ran off to hide himself in the woods.
The next time he saw the King of beasts, the
Fox plucked up courage and decided not to
run away. He stood and watched him from a
distance instead. “Hey, he didn’t even look my
way, he is not so ferocious after all!” the little
animal declared scornfully.
A few days later when the Fox saw the Lion
again he went straight up to him said, “How do you do, sir? ” But the
Lion made no reply, and no movement either!
Observing that the Lion did not attempt to attack him even at such
close quarters, the Fox continued, “Well, it was a pleasure meeting
you, sir. I shall see you again around here soon, I’m sure.”
And with a swish of his tail, the little Fox then turned and walked
away from the mighty Lion.

Familiarity breeds contempt.

Two friends, the Fox and the Stork decided to
make friends with each other.
The Fox, who was a bit of a prankster, invited
the Stork first to dinner. That evening he made
nothing but soup. Pouring it into two shallow
bowls he placed them on the table, one before
the stork. “Here is some delicious soup made
specially for you,” he said, “I hope you enjoy
The Fox could now easily lap up the soup but
his poor guest could only wet the end of her
long bill! The Stork finally came away at the end of the visit as
hungry as when she started it.
“I am so sorry. You did not like the soup I
made, did you?” the Fox asked trying hard not
to laugh.
“Please do not be sorry, my friend,” replied the
Stork. “I am grateful for your invitation. I
would now like to invite you to my house.”
So an evening was arranged when the Fox
could visit the Stork for dinner. However on
the appointed day, the Fox found himself at
the Stork’s table with a long-necked jar before
All that the Stork had prepared was in that jar. And all that the Fox
could do was lick the outside of the jar with his short snout!

Do unto other as you would have other do unto you!

Down in a marshy swamp surrounded by tall
grass, a group of Frogs were living together as
happy as could be; they went splashing about
caring for nobody and nobody troubled them.
But some of them thought that this was not
right: "Shouldn't we have a king to rule over
us? And what about laws, shouldn't we have
them too?"
So they set off in search of a king. As they
looked high and low about the swamp, with
not a whit of an idea as to what a king should
look like, they heard a mighty splash behind
them. "What could that be!" they cried. It was a large branch of a
tree that broke off from an ageing tree overhead.
The Frogs were terrified by the sound that the object made but were
much in awe of its size and strength. They all rushed to the bank to
look at the horrible monster and shouted, "This is our king, this is
our king!"
After a time, seeing that it did not move, one or two of the boldest of
them dared to go close to the log. He even touched it. It still did not
move. Then one of them jumped on the log and started to dance up
and down on it, prompting all the Frogs to come and do the same.
This continued for many days till they got tired of it and stopped.
Then they forgot about their King altogether. For some time the
Frogs lived their usual happy lives without taking the slightest
notice of their new King Log.
One day however, they decided, again, that this did not suit them.
So they went about in search of another king: "We want a real king;
one that will actually rule over us."
They soon came across a big Stork that stood tall in the marshy
water and towered over them in a very kingly manner. "Sir, could
you be our king and rule us with a firm hand?" they pleaded.
The stork not only agreed, but soon set to work gobbling them all
up! The Frogs begged for mercy and shouted for help, regretting
that they ever wanted to change they way they lived.
But it was too late.

Better no rule than cruel rule.

A tiny Gnat once said to a mighty Lion, “I do not in the least fear
you, nor are you stronger than I am!”
“Really?” said the Lion with a yawn, “And just
what do you mean by that dear fellow?”
“Well, even though you can scratch with your
claws and bite with your teeth, you see, I am
more powerful than you,” piped the Gnat,
eager to pick a brawl. “Let’s fight and see who
The Lion accepted the challenge with a laugh,
but before he knew it, the Gnat had fixed
himself upon his face and stung him on the nostrils.
The Lion was taken aback. He flew into a rage. He tore at the Gnat
with his claws and tried to crush him.
But he tore his own face. He chased the Gnat all over his body till he
was bleeding from every limb and corner and was badly wounded.
Buzzing around the Lion in a song of victory, the Gnat picked up
speed and buzzed away.
Along the forest path, the little insect, still dizzy from his triumph,
flew right into the web of a hungry spider. Bound and still stunned,
the Gnat suddenly found himself to be the main course of the
resident spider’s meal!
Before disappearing into the spider’s mouth, the Gnat was heard
saying, “Oh poor me, poor me! I could defeat a mighty Lion. Now I
am about to be destroyed by a miserable trifling of an insect like the

Don't boast; you can always be undone.
There was once a countryman who had a pet Goose that laid eggs.
The man would go to the nest every morning,
collect the eggs and sell them at the market
place, thus making his daily living.
One morning, a shiny, yellow egg appeared in
the nest among the white.
“This is a trick!” said the man on finding the
strange egg. He was sure that someone had
tried to cheat him. The egg was heavy as lead
and hard to crack. He was about to throw it
away, but thought again that it might be a very
precious metal. “It is gold – I’m rich!” said the
man delighted now at his discovery.
The magical pet laid a golden egg everyday while the simple
countryman grew rich selling the precious eggs he collected. But in
growing rich he also became very greedy.
He thought, ”If I cut up the Goose I will collect all the eggs at once
and make my fortune in one swoop.”
And that is exactly what he did, only to find that not only were there
no golden eggs in store, but the bird was now dead and unable to lay
a single golden egg for him from then on.

Greed often makes you lose even what you have.

The Hare thought the Tortoise was slow.
“You have such short feet,” said the Hare, “no
wonder you are so slow!”
“You really think so?” replied the Tortoise. “I
bet I can beat you in a race.”
The Hare was taken aback. He never meant to
challenge the Tortoise, just tease him.
But here was a serious competitor all ready for
a race to the finish. He agreed anyway, “Lets
humour this guy,” he thought.
They fixed a goal and set off – Ready, Set, Go
– the Hare, very confident and smirking as he looked back over his
shoulder at the Tortoise inching forward.
However halfway down the path to the finish, the Hare started to
feel very tired and decided that since he had such a headway he
might as well rest for a while. But when he lay down to rest he fell
into a deep sleep.
The Tortoise in the meanwhile went on in his slow but unchanging,
steady pace.
As the Hare slept the Tortoise walked on, past his friend, past the
laughing foxes, past the smiling monkeys and straight on to the
finish line.
Just as the Tortoise was about to reach the end, the Hare awoke. He
couldn’t see the hare anywhere about. All he could see was a little
speck in the distance – quite close to the goal – “It’s the Tortoise!”
he screamed and bolted down the path.
But the Tortoise had already taken his last step over the finish line.
The Hare was too late. And on making it to end what he saw was his
friend, the Tortoise, way past the finish line and fast asleep with a
smile on his face.

Slow but steady wins the race.

A Lion once wanted to attack a Bull for his dinner. But the Bull was
a large animal. The Lion knew that he would
be too big to overpower. So he decided to
capture him by other means.
Ambling up to the Bull, the Lion said, "I have
just caught a fine sheep. Would you like to
come over to my house and share a tasty meal
of it with me?"
His plan was to lure the Bull into his den. He thought, "When I seat
him down to eat I will pounce on him and kill him!"
The Bull agreed.
However, on nearing the den, the Bull saw huge skewers to roast
meat over fire. He saw large caldrons bubbling over with water too.
But no sign of the sheep.
The Bull, sensing danger, turned around and quickly walked away.
"Why are you leaving?" asked the Lion. "What have I done to offend
"It is quite plain to me that you planned to have me for supper,"
replied the Bull, "Not as a guest, but as food! For all I see are means
to cook a bull, and no feast of sheep anywhere about your den!"

Beware of false people who promise you many things.

Once upon a time a Lion was sleeping when he was woken by a
mouse who ran up and down his body. Angry
tha this sleep was disturbed, he placed his
huge paw upon the mouse, and opened his big
jaws to swallow him.
"Pardon, O King," cried the little Mouse.
"Please forgive me and let me go. Who knows,
I may be able to do you a turn some day."
The Lion was so tickled at the idea of the Mouse being able to help
him, that he lifted up his paw and let him go.
Some time later, the Lion was caught in a trap set by some hunters.
Tied up tight, he was unable to free himself and seemed doomed to
death when the hunters came across him.
Just then the little Mouse happened to pass by, and seeing the sad
plight in which the Lion was, went up to him and soon gnawed away
the ropes that bound the King of the Beasts.
"Didn't I tell you that I might be able to help you one day?" said the
little Mouse.

"Little friends may prove great friends."

Once upon a time on a bitter winter's night in a
dark and lonely forest, was a Man, lost and
trying to find his way out.
Suddenly a Satyr (a spirit of the woods with a
man’s chest and goats legs, ears, tail and horns
- it doesn't exist, of course) appeared to him.
“Are you lost, my friend?” asked the Satyr.
“Yes,” replied the Man. “And c-c-c-cold too.
Could you please lead me out of this forest?”
The Satyr instead offered to give him a lodging
for the night, and then guide him out of the
forest safely in the morning. “It is too
dangerous to go any farther tonight," said the Satyr.
As he followed the Satyr to his home, the Man tried to keep himself
warm by cupping both his hands against his mouth and blowing into
"What are you doing that for?" said the Satyr.
"My hands are numb with the cold and my breath warms them up,”
said the Man.
They soon reached the Satyr's home. And before long the Satyr soon
put a smoking dish of porridge before his guest.
This time the Man raised his spoon to his mouth and began blowing
on it. "And what are you doing that for?" said the Satyr.
"The porridge is too hot, and I am using my breath to cool it."
"Out you go," said the Satyr in disgust, sending out his guest to once
again face the cold and dark forest. "I will have nothing to do with a
man like you who can blow hot and cold with the same breath!"

Be wary of people who change natures depending on the situation.
Once a man and his son were walking to the
market with their donkey. A countryman
noticed that the donkey was walking alongside
them and laughed, “You fools, what is a donkey
for but to ride upon?!”
So the man decided to put his son on the
donkey and they went on their way. A little
while later they passed a group of men. One of them said, "See that
lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides."
The man then ordered the boy to get off, and got on himself. But
they hadn't gone far when they passed two women. One of them said
to the other, "Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge
The man didn't know what to do at first. He thought and thought
and finally decided to put his son up in front of him on the donkey.
Soon they reached the town. There too the passers-by began to jeer
and point at them. The man stopped and
asked them what they were scoffing at. The
people said, "Aren't you ashamed of yourself
for overloading that poor donkey?"
The man and the boy got off. They had to
think of what to do all over again. At last they
had an idea. They took a long pole and tied
the donkey's feet to it. Then they raised the
pole to their shoulders and carried the donkey upside down.
They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they
came to the market bridge. The donkey accidentally got one of his
feet loose and kicking out, caused the boy to drop his end of the
In the struggle that followed, the poor donkey, with his forelegs tied
together, fell over the bridge and drowned.

When you try to please everybody, you won't please anybody.

The farmer’s daughter was once walking down
the road to the market with a pail of milk on
her head. She swayed this way and that. The
milk danced about the inside of the pail. But
not a drop dipped over.
“Oh, I must be careful not to drop the milk!”
the maid said to herself, “I can sell it at the
market place for a lot of money!"
Her imagination now started to carry her
away: “And what shall I do with the money? I
shall buy eggs! ”
“And what shall I do with the eggs?
“I shall hatch them into fat chickens. And what shall I do with the
“I will sell them in the market. And then what shall I do with the
money?” she asked herself all over again.
“I will buy a gorgeous gown, of course,” laughing out loud and
thoroughly enjoying her daydream. “I will then go to the ball with
this dress and all the handsome, young men will say, ‘Will you
marry me, pretty maid?’ And I will toss my head and say, ‘No Sir!’ ”
Uttering these words, the farmer’s daughter tossed her head about
in the air. Down went the pail of milk crashing to the ground, and
with it the imaginary eggs, the chickens, her dream gown and
groups of adoring young men.

Do not count your chickens before they are hatched.

There was once a sailor who set off to a far off
land alone. It was a long journey by sea. So he
carried along with him a little Monkey to play
As he sailed away from the coast of Greece, a
violent storm arose. The ship tossed about in
the wind. It was going to sink. The sailor and
his monkey dived into the sea and swam for
their lives.
Soon a Dolphin caught sight of the monkey in
the water. He loved humans. Thinking that
the monkey was a human, he swam up to help
The Dolphin put the monkey on his back and started to swim
towards Athens. As they neared land, the fish asked the Monkey,
"Are you an Athenian?"
"Yes," lied the monkey, "I belong to one of the most noble families of
that city!"
"Do you? I would be honoured to meet your family," said the
Dolphin and then asked the Monkey if he knew the Piraeus.
Now, the Piraeus was a famous harbour of Athens. But the Monkey,
thinking that it was the name of a person, replied, "O yes! I know
him, he is my friend."
The Dolphin realized that the Monkey was lying. He was furious.
The friendly Dolphin, now no longer friendly, threw the Monkey off
his back and drowned him in the water.

Those who lie and boast may end up in trouble.

There was once a little Mouse who made had
fast friends with a Frog.
The two got on famously, though at times,
being mischievous, the frog played a few
harmless pranks on his friend. The Mouse
enjoyed the tricks.
One day, however, the pranks went a bit too
This time the frog decided to tie the Mouse’
foot to his own leg. He dragged his friend
behind him to the meadow where they found their food, and then
led the Mouse to the edge of the pool where he lived. "See the beauty
of the place I live in!" said the Frog. But to the Mouse’s horror the
Frog took a great big leap into the pool.
The frog swam about laughing and croaking pretending that he was
giving the Mouse a good time. "Are you having fun?" he shouted to
the Mouse. Instead all the Mouse could do was cough and splutter in
response and then miserably choke to death.
Now not knowing his friend was dead the Frog kept on swimming
till he found himself being pulled to the surface, as the body of the
Mouse rose up to the top.
A large Hawk was circling overhead. He soon spied the dead Mouse
on the water and swooped down to pick it up..
Along with it the Mouse, the Frog too got pulled up into the air and
before long became the heartiest meal of the day for a very satisfied

Harm hatch, harm catch.

One bright summer morning an Owl was
enjoying her sleep in her den in an old tree.
As luck would have it, a grasshopper hopping
merrily nearby from leaf to leaf seemed to be in
very high spirits. Her chirping was loud and
woke up the old Owl from her sleep.
The Owl called out to the grasshopper, “I really
need to sleep! Can you quit chirping?”
But the more she pleaded with him to halt her
chirping, the louder the grasshopper sang!
The Owl finally decided to put an end to it with
a devious plan.
Fully awake by now, she said, “Your voice, dear
grasshopper, is so melodious to my ears. But since I cannot sleep on
account of your sweet song, I'd rather spend my time now drinking
some of that delicious nectar stored in my larder. Would you care to
join me?”
The grasshopper was pleased with the praise she got. So up she flew
to the Owl’s perch.
But instead of nectar, what the insect encountered was the bitter
grimace on the face of the Owl who, in a wink of an eye, swooped
down and snuffed out her life.

Do not let flattery lower your guard against your enemies.

There was once a bunch of little frogs playing
in a calm pond by the side of a meadow. Many
animals came by to drink water from there.
One day, as a great big ox came to the pond to
drink. Awed, the frogs ran home to their
mother to tell her about the awesome beast.
"Tush, child," said the mother Frog. "I can
also make myself big." So she blew herself out,
and blew herself out, and blew herself out. "Was he as big as this?"
she asked.
“No,” her children replied. “Bigger.”
She blew herself out some more. “Was he as big as this, then?”
“No," her children said. "Bigger!"
The mother kept blowing and blowing, and swelled and swelled. "I
am sure he was not as big as this," she cried. And then she burst!

Do not try to be bigger than you are! Or something you are not!
There was once a vain Peacock who strutted about all day spreading
his beautiful feathers for all to see and admire.
One day he came across a Crane and decided
to poke fun at him and his appearance. "What
a pale grey coat of feathers you have,
colourless and dull to all who chance to see
you. Look at me. I am dressed like a king, in
gold and purple and all the colours of the
"That may be true," replied the Crane, "but I
soar to the heights of heaven and lift my voice
to the stars. You walk on the ground, just like
any other cock, with your feet trampling on bird droppings!"

Fine feathers need not make fine birds.

One day a fat Pig found his way into a pasture where some Sheep
were grazing. The shepherd, who was
watching his flock not far away spotted the Pig
and decided to capture him for a good meal
that evening.
The unwary Pig soon found himself in the
clutches of the shepherd and started to squeal
loudly, struggling to break free. “Let me go!
Let me go!” he yelled. Kicking with all his
strength, the Pig slipped out of the hands of
the shepherd ran away.
At the edge of the pasture however, one of the
Sheep stopped him and said, “The shepherd
catches us everyday and drags us off just like that. We don’t make
any fuss.”
“Yes, I am sure you don’t,” panted the Pig, “but my case and yours
are not the same: he only wants you for wool but he wants to cut me
up for my bacon!”

It is easy to be brave when there is no danger.

A Butterfly once fell in love with a beautiful
Rose. The Rose was aware of the Butterfly’s
beauty too. She had long since been charmed
by the bright patterns of gold and silver on his
And so when he fluttered near and told her of
his love, she blushed rosily and said, “I love
you too.” The Butterfly danced around the
lovely flower for many hours till, sadly, it was
time to take her leave. Pledging to be faithful
forever he said goodbye and promised to
return soon.
But hours passed into days and it was a long time since the Rose saw
the Butterfly again.
“Faithful! Is this your faithfulness?” cried the Rose, and told the
Butterfly of all the times she had seen him with other flowers. “ I
also saw you flying around Miss Mignonette until Honey Bee chased
you away. I wish he had stung you!” she said.
“And what about you, dear Rose?” laughed the Butterfly. “I had no
sooner left than I saw Zephyr and Mr. Bumble Bee charming you. I
saw you making eyes at every single Bug you could see! Ha! You
certainly cannot expect faithfulness from me!”

Be faithful if you expect faithfulness in return.

There was once a Shepherd who found a
little Wolf pup abandoned in the forest.
He wanted to adopt the pup. So he
picked him up and carried him home.
As the pup grew bigger, the Shepherd
started to teach the animal to steal
lambs from the neighbours' flocks.
The Wolf got highly adept at the tricks
his master taught him. However, before
setting out on his first mission, the Wolf
warned his master, "You have taught me
to steal. Do you know I am able to steal
your sheep too? You had better be on your guard at all times, or
some of your own flock will become my prey!"

Beware of false shepherds!

One hot summer’s day, a young stag came
to a spring for a drink of water.
Bending down to quench his thirst, he
noticed his reflection in the clear pool and
started to think, “ My horns are so very
attractive. They are large and well shaped,
unlike my legs that seem so ugly and
He sighed, " I wish I did not have feet like
While he was lost in thought, a Lion crept
up from behind, ready to spring on the
unsuspecting stag.
The slight rustle of the grass behind however alerted him to danger
and before the Lion could pounce, the stag fled from the scene!
As long as the grassy plain spread out before him, the stag could
keep running.
But as soon as he reached the woods, his horns became entangled
with the vines and branches and he found himself stuck!
“Oh, what shall I do now !" he cried, "My feet tried to save me, but
these very antlers that I valued so greatly over my legs will now lead
me to my death! ”
Trapped in the mesh of leaves, the stag became easy prey, and
before long, the hungry Lion's next meal!

The things we don't value are sometimes worth a lot.

A Country Mouse once invited his friend the
Town Mouse to visit him on the farm. He
took him around the countryside to see new
sights, generously sharing his store of wheat-
stocks and roots newly pulled up from the
The Town Mouse, however, was not
impressed. He said, “I wish you would come
and visit me in the city. It is so much better
there, with a fare of food you wouldn’t even
imagine! I am sorry to say this, but your life
here is no better than an ant’s.”
“Oh yes, I’d love to try it out someday,” said
the Country Mouse sportingly and the two set about making plans
for a visit to the city.
When the Country Mouse reached the plush city home of the Town
Mouse, a mouth-watering spread of dried figs, honey, raisins, beans
and bread was put before the mouse from the countryside. And as a
special treat at the end, out came a dainty piece of cheese from a
“This is simply delightful!” said the Country Mouse, “I wish I could
have all this on the farm!”
Just as they began to eat, someone opened the kitchen door! The
two mice jumped up and ran off as fast as they could, squeaking in
fear, into a tiny little dark hole in the wall.
Once they knew that all was clear they then squeezed out of the hole
again and set about eating their feast before them.
Scarcely had they begun, when someone else entered the kitchen to
take something out of a cupboard. The mice scampered off again
more frightened than before!
The Country Mouse was famished by now and said to his friend,
“The feast you have set before me is very tempting, but I really must
leave you to enjoy it by yourself.
“There are too many dangers here. I prefer the bush roots, however
dry, as long as I can eat them without fear. And yes, I prefer my bare
farmlands offering safety and peace of mind, than the dangerous
luxury of this city. Goodbye, my friend.”

There is no place like home.

There were once two pots floating down
the river. One glistened happily in the sun
while the other looked dull and soggy
from being wet in the water.
That is because one pot was made of brass
and the other was made of clay. “Please do
not come near me!” said the earthen pot
to the brass.
“Why not? We could be friends,” said the
brass pot.
“No,” replied the clay pot. “I am too fragile. If you touch me even
once I will shatter into pieces. I must stay far from you and cannot
think of being your friend. Please go way, you will find someone
further downstream just like you to play with!”
The brass pot, disappointed and sad, then floated away as the river
took him across to another corner of the riverbank, while the
earthen pot wet and cold in the wind, seemed to suddenly grow a
shade gloomier.

Equals make the best friends.

One day, the birds of a certain forest got
together to select a king from among
themselves. "Who shall we name King?"
they cried.
Some of the birds suggested that they go to
the Sun for help. "O mighty Sun, all living
creatures in the air and on the ground pass
under your fierce gaze. Surely you will be
able to choose from among all the birds you
see, one that is most beautiful, to be our
King," said one of the birds.
"I can help you, little creatures. Return to
me tomorrow with every single bird of the forest and I will select the
most striking of all to be your king," said the
In the midst of the birds was a young
Jackdaw. He was terribly eager to be chosen
king. But he also knew that he was dull and
unattractive, with nothing but black and
grey feathers all over his body.
The Jackdaw looked around in despair after
the birds had gone, searching for some
means of changing the way he looked.
To his good fortune, he found a number of
feathers strewn all over the place where all the birds had collected.
"I can dress my drab feathers in these pretty colours!" he cawed, and
set about sticking the many-hued plumes in between his own.
The next day all the birds got together once more before the Sun, as
decided. And who should be chosen King, but the Jackdaw!
But that wasn't for long, for the other birds flared up in protest.
They weren't fooled by the Jackdaw's disguise and called loudly to
the Sun to see the hoax before him. They then went about plucking
off all the false feathers of the Jackdaw.
They even picked out many of his real ones! The vain bird was
finally left standing alone, sorry and ashamed, and uglier than he
ever was!

It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds

One day a Wild Ass and a Lion decided
to go hunting together as partners. "I will
use my mighty strength," said the Lion,
while the Wild Ass offered to use his
powerful speed to out run their prey.
Before long the two predators had
caught more animals than they would
need for weeks! However, when it was
time to divide the spoils, the Lion said,
"Let us divide the dead animals into
three shares."
"Into three shares?" asked the Wild Ass.
"Yes," said the Lion, "I will take the first share because I am King.
The second share because I am a partner with you. And the last one,
well, the last one, if you do value your life, you'd better let me have
that too!" roared the Lion.
The Wild Ass, fearing now for his own life, took to his heels and ran
off as fast as he could!

In the world, might is often right.

It was the Wolf's lucky day. He had found
food! A young fawn lay in his path as he
prowled through the bushes in the forest, and
the hungry animal lost no time in tearing it to
Suddenly a bone got stuck in his throat and he
found himself coughing and choking in
distress! "Help!" he squeaked, frightened, and
ran about helter-skelter looking for someone
or something to relieve his pain.
"I would give anything to the creature that
takes the bone out of my throat!" cried the
Wolf to the animals that passed him by.
The Crane, famed for her long neck and beak, finally agreed to try.
She told the Wolf to open his jaws as wide as he could. Then
delicately placing her beak in his throat, she shook the bone loose
with her beak and before long, got it right out of his mouth.
The Wolf gave a great sigh of relief, but when the Crane came
forward for her reward, he bared his teeth in a wide, mean grin and
said, "You put your head into the mouth of a Wolf, dear Crane, and
are still alive; that should be reward enough for you!"

Be careful who you trust.

There was once a Kid (a baby goat) who
climbed high onto the roof of a house. His
mother had warned him not to wander too
far away and told him of the scary Wolf who
could catch and eat him if he wasn't careful.
But the little Kid often disobeyed his mother
and made up his mind one day to try out the
shaky stairs leading to the rooftop.
Before long the Wolf came sauntering along
the road down below. But instead of being
frightened the Kid knew that he was too high
up for the Wolf to do him any harm. He
decided then to taunt him with words. "You
are a robber!" he shouted. "Why have you come here? Don't you
know what a bad name you have in our village? Go away!"
The Wolf growled in anger, "I know, smart alec, that you have the
courage to say what you have just said only because I cannot reach

It is easy to be brave from a distance

One sunny day, a Wolf sat quenching his
thirst at a calm hillside spring. As he
lapped up the cool water, he saw from
the corner of his eye, a Lamb drinking
from the same spring a little lower down
the hill.
“There’s my supper,” he thought. “It
looks like easy prey, but I must think of a
way to open up a quarrel with him.” He then called out to the Lamb,
“how dare you muddy the water from which I am drinking!”
“Oh no!” cried the Lamb, “it cannot be me making your water
muddy. The water runs down from you to me and surely, I cannot
be the cause of it.”
“Well then, exactly a year ago at this very spot you called me bad
names. Why did you do that?“ tried the Wolf once more.
“I could not have called you names,” said the Lamb, “for I am only
six months old.”
“I don’t care,” snarled the Wolf, “if it was not you, then it was your
And with that he rushed upon the poor little Lamb and gobbled him

A bully will do anything to get what he wants.

A kid was once happily skipping home from
the pasture, long after the rest of the flock.
He was all alone and the path did have some
So before long a Wolf appeared from behind
the bushes, crouched and ready to pounce.
The Kid knew that he had no escape except
to run and then be outrun, but instead of
doing that, he decided to stay and talk to the
Wolf: “I know, dear friend, that you are going
to kill me. But before I die I would ask you
one favour. Please play a tune for me to
dance to.”
The Wolf thought it was a strange request but agreed anyway and
started to play a tune. While he was piping and the kid dancing,
some dogs heard the sounds of the pipe. Growling and grinding
their teeth they followed the sounds and before the song ended,
began chasing the Wolf. Running now for his life, the Wolf said to
the Kid, “This is just what I deserve; how could I have tried to be a
piper to please you when I am only a butcher!”

Dont do things that distract you from your original purpose.

Once upon a time, a Wolf decided to
disguise himself as a Sheep in order to
catch his prey more easily. He was hungry
and knew that the shepherds of the area
guarded their sheep well.
Covering himself completely with an old
sheepskin, he wandered into the pasture
nearby. A flock of sheep was grazing
there, blissful under the morning sun.
"When the shepherd turns his back I will
slide in with them," said the Wolf, making
his sly move into the flock eventually.
Soon evening fell and the shepherd led his sheep away, back into the
He locked the gate securely and left. "Aha! Now is my chance!" said
the Wolf, and was about to take off his disguise when the shepherd
He had come back to the fold to choose one of the animals for its
meat, for the next day's meal. To the Wolf's bad luck, it was he, in
sheep's disguise, who was chosen to be cut up!
The Wolf found himself instantly under the sharp knife of the
shepherd, and soon very much dead: the hunter becoming the

Pretending you are someone you are not can be dangerous!

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