Page:An argosy of fables.djvu/44

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10
CLASSICAL FABLES

THE BEAR AND THE FOX

A BEAR used to boast of his excessive love for Man, saying that he never worried or mauled him when dead. The Fox observed, with a smile, "I shouldn't so much care what you did to Man after he was dead, if you never ate him alive."

(Fable 69 Halm; Thomas James' translation.)


THE COUNTRY MOUSE AND THE TOWN MOUSE

ONCE upon a time a Country Mouse who had a friend in town invited him, for old acquaintance sake, to pay him a visit in the country. The invitation being accepted in due form, the Country Mouse, though plain and rough and somewhat frugal in his nature, opened his heart and store, in honour of hospitality and an old friend. There was not a carefully stored up morsel that he did not bring forth out of his larder, peas and barley, cheese-parings and nuts, hoping by quantity to make up what he feared was wanting in quality, to suit the palate of his dainty guest. The Town Mouse, condescending to pick a bit here and a bit there, while the host sat nibbling a blade of barley-straw, at length exclaimed, "How is it, my good friend, that you can endure the dullness of this unpolished life? You are living like a toad in a hole. You can't really prefer these solitary rocks and woods to streets teeming with carriages and men. On my honour, you are wasting your time miserably here. We must make the most of life while it lasts. A mouse, you know, does not live for ever. So come with me and I'll