Page:An argosy of fables.djvu/199

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PART III. B.

FABLES ATTRIBUTED TO PHÆDRUS

THE TREES AND THE AXE

A

WOODMAN came into a forest to ask the Trees to give him a handle for his Axe. It seemed so modest a request that the principal Trees at once agreed to it, and it was settled among them that the plain homely Ash should furnish what was wanted. No sooner had the Woodman fitted the staff to his purpose, than he began laying about him on all sides, felling the noblest Trees in the wood. The Oak now seeing the whole matter too late, whispered to the Cedar, "The first concession has lost all; if we had not sacrificed our humble neighbour, we might have yet stood for ages ourselves."

When the rich surrender the rights of the poor, they give a handle to be used against their own privileges.

(Phædrus, Fables, Appendix I, No. 5; Thomas James' translation.)


THE SNAIL AND THE MONKEY

A SNAIL, happening to find a mirror, was fascinated by its brightness, and climbing upon its glittering surface began to lick it lovingly, thinking that he could in no better way show his admiration than by thus dimming its splendour with a trail of slime.

A Monkey, seeing the mirror thus disfigured, said:

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