Page:An argosy of fables.djvu/319

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

259
CHINESE FABLES

him. And while the Prince's whole attention was fixed upon the Goldfinch, he little knew that close beside him was a deep ditch, nearly full of water. The Prince slipped and fell into the water. The noise of the splash startled the Goldfinch, which swiftly flew away; while the Beetle scurried back into his hole, leaving the Locust to finish his song in peace.

Moral. There is no greater folly than to be so intent upon the advantage before your eyes that you pay no heed to the danger behind your back.

(Translated from the Chinese by C. Arendt. China Review, Vol. 13. p. 23.)

THE KING AND THE HORSES THAT TURNED THE MILLS

ONCE on a time there was a certain King who was so miserly that for a long time his army had no cavalry, because of the high price of horses. But at last he was persuaded to buy five hundred horses as a protection against his enemies. When he had fed these horses for some time, and his kingdom was at peace with all the world, the King said to himself: "It is costing a great deal to feed these five hundred horses. They have to be cared for all the time, and are of no use in protecting my kingdom." So he ordered the master of the royal stables to blind the eyes of the horses, and set them turning the mills, so that they would at least earn their living, and not be an expense to the kingdom.

After the horses had been for a long time used to turning the mills, all of a sudden a neighbouring King raised troops, and invaded the country. The King at once gave orders to equip the horses, and provide them with harness of war in order to provide mounts for