Page:An argosy of fables.djvu/320

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260
ORIENTAL FABLES

his brave soldiers. When the hour for battle came, the soldiers whipped and spurred their horses to drive them forward against the enemy and break his ranks. But when the horses felt the whip and spur they began turning round and round in a circle, and refused to go forward. The enemy's troops quickly saw that this cavalry was good for nothing. So they marched against it and quickly crushed the King's whole army.

(Translated from the Chinese by M. S. Julien. Paris, 1859.)

THE CROW AND THE PEACOCK

ONE day the Peacock said to the Crow :

"This is Lord Tiger's wedding-day. How shall we adorn ourselves for the wedding?"

At that time the Crow was white and the Peacock yellow like a hen.

"I have an idea!" the Crow replied. "The king of Annam is having a house built. It is a wonderful house! The walls are being decorated with all the colours of the rainbow. There are dragons that are green and red, yellow and blue. The workmen have gone to eat their luncheon. We will run and get their pots of paint."

The Crow immediately put his idea into execution.

The Peacock insisted upon being painted first.

The Crow, wishing to show his ability, painted upon the Peacock's feathers moons of yellow and green, arabesques of blue and black.

The Peacock was magnificent. He went to look at himself in the water of the river, spreading out his tail to dry his feathers. But