Saturday, January 31

The wolf and his shadow


A Wolf left his lair one evening in fine spirits and an excellent appetite. As he ran, the setting sun cast his shadow far out on the ground  and it looked as if the wolf were a hundred times bigger than he really was.

"Why," exclaimed the Wolf proudly, "see how big I am! Fancy me running away from a puny Lion! I'll show him who is fit to be king, he or I."

Just then an immense shadow blotted him out entirely and the next instant a Lion struck him down with a single blow.

Do not let your fancy make you forget realities.





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Friday, January 30

The dog in the manger


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 who are 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 behavior.

Do not grudge others what you cannot enjoy yourself.






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Thursday, January 29

The farmer and the stork


The Stork who is a has a simple and trusting nature had been asked by a group of Cranes to visit a field that had been newly planted. But the party ended dismally with all the birds entangled in the meshes of the Farmer's net.

The Stork begged the Farmer to spare him. "Please let me go," he pleaded. "I belong to the Stork family who you know are honest and birds of good character. Besides, I did not know the Cranes were going to steal."

"You may be a very good bird," answered the Farmer, "but I caught you with the thieving Cranes and you will have to share the same punishment with them."


You are judged by the company you keep.




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Tuesday, January 27

Two travelers and a bear


Two Men were traveling in company through a forest, when, all at once, a huge Bear crashed out of the brush near them. One of the Men, thinking of his own safety, climbed a tree.The other, unable to fight the savage beast alone, threw himself on the ground and lay still, as if he were dead. He had heard that a Bear will not touch a dead body.

It must have been true, for the Bear snuffed at the man's head awhile and then, seeming to be satisfied that he was dead, walked away. The Man in the tree climbed down.

"It looked just as if that Bear whispered in your ear," he said. "What did he tell you?"
"He said," answered the other, "that it was not at all wise to keep company with a fellow who would desert his friend in a moment of danger."

Misfortune is the test of true friendship.





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Monday, January 26

The fox and the leopard

A Fox and a Leopard, resting lazily after a generous dinner  amused themselves by disputing about their good looks. 

The Leopard was very proud of his glossy, spotted coat and made disdainful remarks about the Fox, whose appearance he declared was quite ordinary.

The Fox prided himself on his fine bushy tail with its tip of white, but he was wise enough to see that he could not rival the Leopard in looks. 

Still he kept up a flow of sarcastic talk, just to exercise his wits and to have the fun of disputing. 

The Leopard was about to lose his temper when the Fox got up, yawning lazily.


"You may have a very smart coat," he said, "but you would be a great deal better off if you had a little more smartness inside your head and less on your ribs, the way I am. That's what I call real beauty."


A fine coat is not always an indication of an attractive mind.



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Sunday, January 25

The cat and the old rat

There was once a Cat who was so watchful, that a Mouse hardly dared show the tip of his whiskers for fear of being eaten alive. That Cat seemed to be everywhere at once with his claws all ready for a pounce. 

At last the Mice kept so closely to their dens, that the Cat saw he would have to use his wits well to catch one. So one day he climbed up on a shelf and hung from it, head downward, as if he were dead, holding himself up by clinging to some ropes with one paw.

When the Mice peeped out and saw him in that position, they thought he had been hung up there in punishment for some misdeed. Very timidly at first they stuck out their heads and sniffed about carefully. But as nothing stirred, all trooped joyfully out to celebrate the death of the Cat.




Just then the Cat let go his hold, and before the Mice recovered from their surprise, he had made an end of three or four.

Now the Mice kept more strictly at home than ever. But the Cat, who was still hungry for Mice, knew more tricks than one. Rolling himself in flour until he was covered completely, he lay down in the flour bin, with one eye open for the Mice.

Sure enough, the Mice soon began to come out. To the Cat it was almost as if he already had a plump young Mouse under his claws, when an old Rat, who had had much experience with Cats and traps, and had even lost a part of his tail to pay for it, sat up at a safe distance from a hole in the wall where he lived.

"Take care!" he cried. "That may be a heap of meal, but it looks to me very much like the Cat. Whatever it is, it is wisest to keep at a safe distance."

The wise do not let themselves be tricked a second time.





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Saturday, January 24

The wolf and the lamb


A stray Lamb stood drinking early one morning on the bank of a woodland stream. That very same morning a hungry Wolf came by farther up the stream, hunting for something to eat. He soon got his eyes on the Lamb. As a rule Mr. Wolf snapped up such delicious morsels without making any bones about it, but this Lamb looked so very helpless and innocent that the Wolf felt he ought to have some kind of an excuse for taking its life.

"How dare you paddle around in my stream and stir up all the mud!" he shouted fiercely. "You deserve to be punished severely for your rashness!"

"But, your highness," replied the trembling Lamb, "do not be angry! I cannot possibly muddy the water you are drinking up there. Remember, you are upstream and I am downstream."
"You do muddy it!" retorted the Wolf savagely. "And besides, I have heard that you told lies about me last year!"

"How could I have done so?" pleaded the Lamb. "I wasn't born until this year."
"If it wasn't you, it was your brother!"
"I have no brothers."

"Well, then," snarled the Wolf, "It was someone in your family anyway. But no matter who it was, I do not intend to be talked out of my breakfast."
And without more words the Wolf seized the poor Lamb and carried her off to the forest.

The tyrant can always find an excuse for his tyranny.
The unjust will not listen to the reasoning of the innocent.



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The lion and the ass

One day as the Lion walked proudly down a forest aisle and the animals respectfully made way for him, an Ass brayed a scornful remark as he passed.

The Lion felt a flash of anger. But when he turned his head and saw who had spoken, he walked quietly on. 

He would not honor the fool with even so much as a stroke of his claws.

Do not resent the remarks of a fool. Ignore them.

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Friday, January 23

The young crab and his mother


"Why in the world do you walk sideways like that?" said a Mother Crab to her son. "You should always walk straight forward with your toes turned out."

"Show me how to walk, mother dear," answered the little Crab obediently, "I want to learn."

So the old Crab tried and tried to walk straight forward. But she could walk sideways only, like her son. And when she wanted to turn her toes out she tripped and fell on her nose.


Do not tell others how to act, unless you can set a .

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Thursday, January 22

The monkey and the cat


Once upon a time a Cat and a Monkey lived as pets in the same house. They were great friends and were constantly in all sorts of mischief together. What they seemed to think of more than anything else was to get something to eat, and it did not matter much to them how they got it.

One day they were sitting by the fire, watching some chestnuts roasting on the hearth. How to get them was the question.

"I would gladly get them," said the cunning Monkey, "but you are much more skillful 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.






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Wednesday, January 21

The fox and the hedgehog

A Fox, swimming across a river  was barely able to reach the bank, where he lay bruised and exhausted from his struggle with the swift current. 

Soon a swarm of blood-sucking flies settled on him but he lay quietly  still too weak to run away from them.

A Hedgehog happened to pass by. 

"Let me drive the flies away," he said kindly. 

"No, no!" exclaimed the Fox, "do not disturb them! 

They have taken all they can hold. 

If you drive them away, another greedy swarm will come and take the little blood I have left."

Better to bear a lesser evil than to risk a greater in removing it.





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Tuesday, January 20

The Astrologer



A man who lived a long time ago believed that he could read the future in the stars. He called himself an Astrologer, and spent his time at night gazing at the sky.

One evening he was walking along the open road outside the village. His eyes were fixed on the stars. He thought he saw there that the end of the world was at hand, when all at once, down he went into a hole full of mud and water.

There he stood up to his ears, in the muddy water, and madly clawing at the slippery sides of the hole in his effort to climb out. His cries for help soon brought the villagers running. As they pulled him out of the mud, one of them said:

"You pretend to read the future in the stars and yet you fail to see what is at your feet! This may teach you to pay more attention to what is right in front of you  and let the future take care of itself."

"What use is it," said another, "to read the stars, when you can't see what's right here on the earth?"

Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves





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Monday, January 19

The wolf and the goat




A hungry Wolf spied a Goat browsing at the top of a steep cliff where he could not possibly get at her.

"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, tenderest 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.






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Sunday, January 18

The spendthrift and the shallow

A young fellow, who was very popular among his companions as a good spender, quickly wasted his fortune trying to live up to his reputation. Then one fine day in early spring he found himself with not a penny left and no property save except for the clothes he wore.

He was to meet some jolly young men that morning, and he was at his wits' end how to get enough money to keep up appearances. Just then a Swallow flew by, twittering merrily and the young man, thinking summer had come, hastened off to a clothes dealer, to whom he sold all the clothes he wore down to his very tunic.

A few days later a change in weather brought a severe frost; and the poor swallow and that foolish young man in his light tunic and with his arms and knees bare, could scarcely keep life in their shivering bodies.


One swallow does not make a summer.

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Saturday, January 17

The fisherman and the small fish


A poor Fisherman who lived on the fish he caught, had bad luck one day and caught nothing but a very small fry. 

The Fisherman was about to put it in his basket when the little Fish said: "Please spare me, Mr. Fisherman! I am so small it is not worth while to carry me home. When I am bigger, I shall make you a much better meal."

But the Fisherman quickly put the fish into his basket. "How foolish I should be," he said, "to throw you back. However small you may be, you are better than nothing at all."


A small gain is worth more than a large promise.



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Friday, January 16

The north wind and the sun


The North Wind and the Sun had a quarrel about which of them was the stronger. 

While they were disputing with much heat and bluster, a Traveler passed along the road wrapped in a cloak. "Let us agree," said the Sun, "that he is the stronger who can strip that Traveler of his cloak."

"Very well," growled the North Wind and at once sent a cold, howling blast against the Traveler.
With the first gust of wind the ends of the cloak whipped about the Traveler's body. 

But he immediately wrapped it closely around him, and the harder the Wind blew, the tighter he held it to him. The North Wind tore angrily at the cloak, but all his efforts were in vain.



Then the Sun began to shine. At first his beams were gentle and in the pleasant warmth after the bitter cold of the North Wind, the Traveler unfastened his cloak and let it hang loosely from his shoulders.

The Sun's rays grew warmer and warmer. The man took off his cap and mopped his brow. At last he became so heated that he pulled off his cloak, to escape the blazing sunshine, he threw himself down in the welcome shade of a tree by the roadside.

Moral of the story:

Gentleness and kind persuasion win where force and bluster fail.





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Wednesday, January 14

The mischievous dog

There was once a Dog who was so ill-natured and mischievous that his Master had to fasten a heavy wooden clog about his neck to keep him from annoying visitors and neighbors.

But the Dog seemed to be very proud of the clog and dragged it about noisily as if he wished to attract everybody's attention. He was not able to impress anyone.

"You would be wiser," said an old acquaintance, "to keep quietly out of sight with that clog. Do you want everybody to know what a disgraceful and ill-natured Dog you are?"


Notoriety is not fame.
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The ass and his driver

An Ass was being driven along a road leading down the mountain side, when he suddenly took it into his silly head to choose his own path. 

He could see his stall at the foot of the mountain  and to him the quickest way down seemed to be over the edge of the nearest cliff. 

Just as he was about to leap over, his master caught him by the tail and tried to pull him back, but the stubborn Ass would not yield and pulled with all his might.

"Very well," said his master, "go your way, you willful beast  and see where it leads you."

With that he let go and the foolish Ass tumbled head over heels down the mountain side.

They who will not listen to reason but stubbornly go their own way against the friendly advice of those who are wiser than they, are on the road to misfortune.






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Monday, January 12

The fox and the lion

A very young Fox, who had never before seen a Lion, happened to meet one in the forest. 

A single look was enough to send the Fox off at top speed for the nearest hiding place.

The second time the Fox saw the Lion he stopped behind a tree to look at him a moment before slinking away. 

But the third time, the Fox went boldly up to the Lion and, without turning a hair, said, "Hello, there, old top."

Familiarity breeds contempt.
Acquaintance with evil blinds us to its dangers.

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Sunday, January 11

The tortoise and the ducks


The Tortoise, you know, carries his house on his back. No matter how hard he tries, he cannot leave home. They say that Jupiter punished him so, because he was such a lazy stay-at-home that he would not go to Jupiter's wedding, even when especially invited.

After many years, Tortoise began to wish he had gone to that wedding. When he saw how happy  the birds flew about and how the Hare and the Chipmunk and all the other animals ran nimbly by, always eager to see everything there was to be seen, the Tortoise felt very sad and discontented. He wanted to see the world too and there he was with a house on his back and little short legs that could hardly drag him along.

One day he met a pair of Ducks and told them all his trouble.

"We can help you to see the world," said the Ducks. "Take hold of this stick with your teeth and we will carry you far up in the air where you can see the whole countryside. But keep quiet or you will be sorry."

The Tortoise was very glad indeed. He seized the stick firmly with his teeth, the two Ducks took hold of it one at each end, and away they sailed up toward the clouds.

Just then a Crow flew by. He was very much astonished at the strange sight and cried:
"This must surely be the King of Tortoises!"
"Why certainly" began the Tortoise.

But as he opened his mouth to say these foolish words he lost his hold on the stick and down he fell to the ground, where he was dashed to pieces on a rock.

Foolish curiosity and vanity often lead to misfortune.



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Saturday, January 10

The old lion and the fox


An old Lion, whose teeth and claws were so worn that it was not so easy for him to get food as in his younger days, pretended that he was sick. He took care to let all his neighbors know about it and then lay down in his cave to wait for visitors. And when they came to offer him their sympathy, he ate them up one by one.

The Fox came too, but he was very cautious about it. Standing at a safe distance from the cave, he inquired politely after the Lion's health. The Lion replied that he was very ill indeed and asked the Fox to step in for a moment. But Master Fox very wisely stayed outside, thanking the Lion very kindly for the invitation.

"I should be glad to do as you ask," he added, "but I have noticed that there are many footprints leading into your cave and none coming out. Pray tell me, how do your visitors find their way out again?"

Take warning from the misfortunes of others.


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Friday, January 9

The stag and his reflection


A Stag, drinking from a crystal spring, saw himself mirrored in the clear water. He greatly admired the graceful arch of his antlers, but he was very much ashamed of his long and thin legs.

"How can it be," he sighed, "that I should be cursed with such legs when I have so magnificent a crown."

At that moment he scented a panther and in an instant was bounding away through the forest. But as he ran his wide-spreading antlers caught in the branches of the trees, and soon the Panther overtook him. Then the Stag perceived that the legs of which he was so ashamed would have saved him had it not been for the useless ornaments on his head.

We often make much of the ornamental and despise the useful.



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Thursday, January 8

The ass in the lion's skin


An Ass found a Lion's skin left in the forest by a hunter. He dressed himself in it and amused himself by hiding in a thicket and rushing out suddenly at the animals who passed that way. All took to their heels the moment they saw him.

The Ass was so pleased to see the animals running away from him, just as if he were King Lion himself, that he could not keep from expressing his delight by a loud, harsh bray. A Fox, who ran with the rest, stopped short as soon as he heard the voice. Approaching the Ass, he said with a laugh:

"If you had kept your mouth shut you might have frightened me, too. But you gave yourself away with that silly bray."

A fool may deceive by his dress and appearance, but his words will soon show what he really is.

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Wednesday, January 7

The wolf in sheep's clothing


A certain Wolf could not get enough to eat because of the watchfulness of the Shepherds. But one night he found a sheep skin that had been cast aside and forgotten. The next day, dressed in the skin, the Wolf strolled into the pasture with the Sheep. Soon a little Lamb was following him about and was quickly led away to slaughter.

That evening the Wolf entered the fold with the flock. But it happened that the Shepherd took a fancy for mutton broth that very evening and, picking up a knife, went to the fold. There the first he laid hands on and killed was the Wolf.

The evil doer often comes to harm through his own deceit.





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Tuesday, January 6

The ant and the dove


A Dove saw an Ant fall into a brook. The Ant struggled in vain to reach the bank and in pity, the Dove dropped a blade of straw close beside it. 

Clinging to the straw like a shipwrecked sailor to a broken spar, the Ant floated safely to shore.

Soon after, the Ant saw a man getting ready to kill the Dove with a stone. 

But just as he cast the stone, the Ant stung him in the heel, so that the pain made him miss his aim and the startled Dove flew to safety in a distant wood.

A kindness is never wasted.

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Monday, January 5

The monkey and the dolphin


It happened once upon a time that a certain Greek ship bound for Athens was wrecked off the coast close to Piraeus, the port of Athens. Had it not been for the Dolphins, who at that time were very friendly toward mankind and especially toward Athenians, all would have perished. But the Dolphins took the shipwrecked people on their backs and swam with them to shore.

Now it was the custom among the Greeks to take their pet monkeys and dogs with them whenever they went on a voyage. So when one of the Dolphins saw a Monkey struggling in the water, he thought it was a man, and made the Monkey climb up on his back. Then off he swam with him toward the shore.

The Monkey sat up, grave and dignified, on the Dolphin's back.

"You are a citizen of illustrious Athens, are you not?" asked the Dolphin politely.
"Yes," answered the Monkey, proudly. "My family is one of the noblest in the city."
"Indeed," said the Dolphin. "Then of course you often visit Piraeus."
"Yes, yes," replied the Monkey. "Indeed, I do. I am with him constantly. Piraeus is my very best friend."

This answer took the Dolphin by surprise and, turning his head, he now saw what it was he was carrying. Without more ado, he dived and left the foolish Monkey to take care of himself while he swam off in search of some human being to save.

One falsehood leads to another.


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Sunday, January 4

The gnat and the bull


A Gnat flew over the meadow with much buzzing for so small a creature and settled on the tip of one of the horns of a Bull. After he had rested a short time, he made ready to fly away. But before he left he begged the Bull's pardon for having used his horn for a resting place.

"You must be very glad to have me go now," he said. "It's all the same to me," replied the Bull. "I did not even know you were there."

We are often of greater importance in our own eyes than in the eyes of our neighbor.

The smaller the mind the greater the conceit.

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Saturday, January 3

The fighting bulls and the frogs


Two Bulls were fighting furiously in a field, at one side of which was a marsh. An old Frog living in the marsh, trembled as he watched the fierce battle.

"What are you afraid of?" asked a young Frog. "Do you not see," replied the old Frog, "that the Bull who is beaten, will be driven away from the good forage up there to the reeds of this marsh  and we shall all be trampled into the mud?"

It turned out as the Frog had said. The beaten Bull was driven to the marsh, where his great hoofs crushed the Frogs to death.

When the great fall out, the weak must suffer for it.






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Friday, January 2

The shepherd boy and the wolf

 A Shepherd Boy tended his master's Sheep near a dark forest not far from the village. Soon he found life in the pasture very dull. All he could do to amuse himself was to talk to his dog or play on his shepherd's pipe.

One day as he sat watching the Sheep and the quiet forest, and thinking what he would do should he see a Wolf, he thought of a plan to amuse himself.

His Master had told him to call for help should a Wolf attack the flock, and the Villagers would drive it away. So now, though he had not seen anything that even looked like a Wolf, he ran toward the village shouting at the top of his voice, "Wolf! Wolf!"

As he expected, the Villagers who heard the cry dropped their work and ran in great excitement to the pasture. But when they got there they found the Boy doubled up with laughter at the trick he had played on them.

A few days later the Shepherd Boy again shouted, "Wolf! Wolf!" Again the Villagers ran to help him, only to be laughed at again.

Then one evening as the sun was setting behind the forest and the shadows were creeping out over the pasture, a Wolf really did spring from the underbrush and fall upon the Sheep.
In terror the Boy ran toward the village shouting "Wolf! Wolf!" But though the Villagers heard the cry, they did not run to help him as they had before. 

"He cannot fool us again," they said.
The Wolf killed a great many of the Boy's sheep and then slipped away into the forest.

Liars are not believed even when they speak the truth.


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