Page:An argosy of fables.djvu/301

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243
PERSIAN FABLES

to take a mouthful, he perceived an enormous serpent, coiled up like a ring and hidden in the depths of the bush. The Camel quickly shrank back and turned away his head, his appetite quite gone. The Shrub impudently asked him if his sudden change of mind was due to his fear of its sharp thorns. The Camel, disgusted by such conceit, replied, "Don't you see that it is the Serpent hidden under your leaves that startled me, and not the conceited plant that shelters the reptile. I am more afraid of one serpent's tooth than of the thorns of all the shrubs that grow. Be grateful to the crawling guest that has taken shelter beneath your leaves. But for him, I would have made but one mouthful of the whole of you."

It is not strange that a brave man fears the wicked. It is not their strength nor their courage, but their treachery that makes them dangerous.

(Jami, The Baharistan.)


THE RED WASP AND THE HONEY-BEE

A RED WASP one day attacked a Honey-bee eager to feast upon her sweetness. The Honey-bee began to weep, and said pitifully:

"Surrounded as we are by all the pure honey and sweet nectar of flowers, what attraction have I that you should leave them and pursue only me?"

The Wasp replied, "If there is pure honey in the world, you are the source thereof; if there is sweet nectar you are its fountainhead."

Happy is the man who knows the true from the false, and refuses to accept less.

(Jami, The Baharistan.)