One day they were sitting by the fire, watching some chestnuts roasting in the hearth.
How to get them was the question. “I would gladly get them,” said the cunning Monkey, “but you are much more skilful at such things than I am. Pull them out and I’ll divide them between us.” Pussy stretched out her paw very carefully, pushed aside some of the cinders and drew back her paw very quickly.
Then she tried it again, this time pulling a chestnut half out of the fire. A third time and she drew out the chestnut. This performance she went through several times, each time singeing her paw severely. As fast as she pulled the chestnuts out of the fire, the Monkey ate them up. Now the master came in and away scampered the rascals.
Mistress Cat with a burnt paw and no chestnuts, from that time on, they say, she contented herself with mice and rats and had little to do with Sir Monkey. The flatterer seeks some benefit at your expense.
2. The Heron
A Heron was walking sedately along the bank of a stream, his eyes on the clear water and his long neck and pointed bill ready to snap up a likely morsel for his breakfast. The clear water swarmed with fish; but Master Heron was hard to please that morning.
“No small fry for me,” he said. “Such scanty fare is not fit for a Heron.” Now a fine young Perch swam near. “No indeed,” said the Heron. “I wouldn’t even trouble to open my beak for anything like that!” As the sun rose, the fish left the shallow water near the shore and swam below into the cool depths towards the middle. The Heron saw no more fish, and very glad was he at last to breakfast on a tiny Snail. Do not be too hard to suit or you may have to be content with the worst or with nothing at all.
A Dog asleep in a manger filled with hay was awakened by the Cattle, which came in tired and hungry from working in the field. But the Dog would not let them get near the manger, and snarled and snapped as if it were filled with the best of meat and bones, all for himself. The Cattle looked at the Dog in disgust. “How selfish he is!” said one. “He cannot eat the hay and yet he will not let us eat it that is so hungry for it!” Now the farmer came in. When he saw how the Dog was acting, he seized a stick and drove him out of the stable with many a blow for his selfish behaviour.
Do not grudge others what you cannot enjoy yourself.
4. The Wolf and the Goat
A hungry Wolf spied a Goat browsing at the top a of a step cliff where he could not possibly get “That is a very dangerous place for you,” he called out, pretending to be very anxious about the Goat’s safety.
“What if you should fall? Please listen to me and come down! Here you can get all you want of the finest, tenders grass in the country.” The Goat looked over the edge of the cliff. “How very, very anxious you are about me,” she said, “and how generous you are with your grass! But I know you! It’s your own appetite you are thinking of, not mine!” An invitation prompted by selfishness is not to be accepted.
5. The Fox and the Goat
A Fox fell into a well and though it was not very deep, he found that he could not get out again.
After he had been in the well for a long time, a thirsty Goat came by. The Goat thought the Fox had gone down to drink and so he asked if the water was good. “The finest in the whole country,” said the crafty Fox, “jump in and try it. There is more than enough for both of us.” The thirsty Goat immediately jumped in and began to drink.
The Fox just as quickly jumped on the Goat’s back and leaped from the tip of the Goat’s horns out of the well. The foolish Goat now saw what a plight he had got into and begged the Fox to help him out. But the Fox was already on his way to the woods. “If you had as much sense as you have beard, old fellow,” he said as he ran, “you would have been more cautious about finding a way to get out before you jumped in.” Look before you leap