Page:An argosy of fables.djvu/119

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77
ÆSOP

MERCURY AND THE SCULPTOR

MERCURY having a mind to know in what estimation he was held among men, disguised himself as a traveller, and going into a Sculptor's workshop, began asking the price of the different statues he saw there. Pointing to an image of Jupiter, he asked how much he wanted for that. "A drachma," said the image-maker. Mercury laughed in his sleeve, and asked, "How much for this of Juno?" The man wanted a higher price for that. Mercury's eye now caught his own image. "Now, will this fellow," thought he, "ask me ten times as much for this, for I am the messenger of heaven, and the source of all his gain." So he put the question to him, what he valued that Mercury at. "Well," says the Sculptor, "if you will give me my price for the other two, I will throw you that into the bargain."

They who are over anxious to know how the world values them, will seldom be set down at their own price.

(Fable 137 Halm; Thomas James' translation.)


THE ASTRONOMER

AN Astronomer used to walk out every night to gaze upon the stars. It happened one night, that, as he was wandering in the outskirts of the city, with his whole thoughts rapt up in the skies, he fell into a well. On his holloaing and calling out, one who heard his cries ran up to him, and when he had listened to his story, said, "My good man, while you are trying to pry into the mysteries of heaven, you overlook the common objects that are under your feet."

(Fable 72 Halm; Thomas James' translation.)