Page:An argosy of fables.djvu/106

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66
CLASSICAL FABLES

THE MAN AND HIS TWO WIVES

IN days when a man was allowed more wives than one, a middle-aged bachelor, who could be called neither young nor old, and whose hair was only just beginning to turn grey, must needs fall in love with two women at once, and marry them both. The one was young and blooming, and wished her husband to appear as youthful as herself; the other was somewhat more advanced in age, and was as anxious that her husband should appear a suitable match for her. So, while the young one seized every opportunity of pulling out the good man's grey hairs, the old one was as industrious in plucking out every black hair she could find. For a while the man was highly gratified by their attention and devotion, till he found one morning that, between the one and the other, he had not a hair left.

Those who seek to please everybody end by pleasing nobody.

(Fable 56 Halm; Thomas James' translation.)


THE VINE AND THE GOAT

THERE was a Vine teeming with ripe fruit and tender shoots, when a wanton Goat came up and gnawed the bark, and browsed upon the young leaves. "I will revenge myself on you," said the Vine, "for this insult; for when in a few days you are brought as a victim to the altar, the juice of my grapes shall be the dew of death upon thy forehead."

Retribution though late comes at last.

(Fable 404 Halm; Thomas James' translation.)