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. 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. 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. An Ox came down to a reedy pool to drink. As he splashed heavily into the water, he crushed a young Frog into the mud. The old Frog soon missed the little one and asked his brothers and sisters what had become of him. But the little Frogs all declared that the monster was much, much bigger and the old Frog kept puffing herself out more and more until, all at once, she burst. A Dog and a Cock, who were the best of friends, wished very much to see something of the world.
So they decided to leave the farmyard and to set out into the world along the road that led to the woods. The two comrades traveled along in the very best of spirits and without meeting any adventure to speak of. The Dog could creep inside and the Cock would fly up on one of the branches. So said, so done, and both slept very comfortably.
With the first glimmer of dawn the Cock awoke. For the moment he forgot just where he was. He thought he was still in the farmyard where it had been his duty to arouse the household at daybreak. So standing on tip-toes he flapped his wings and crowed lustily. But instead of awakening the farmer, he awakened a Fox not far off in the wood. The Fox immediately had rosy visions of a very delicious breakfast.
Hurrying to the tree where the Cock was roosting, he said very politely:. I cannot tell you how glad I am to see you here. I am quite sure we shall become the closest of friends. The hungry but unsuspecting Fox, went around the tree as he was told, and in a twinkling the Dog had seized him. The Mice once called a meeting to decide on a plan to free themselves of their enemy, the Cat. At least they wished to find some way of knowing when she was coming, so they might have time to run away.
Indeed, something had to be done, for they lived in such constant fear of her claws that they hardly dared stir from their dens by night or day. Many plans were discussed, but none of them was thought good enough. At last a very young Mouse got up and said:. When we hear the bell ringing we will know immediately that our enemy is coming.
All the Mice were much surprised that they had not thought of such a plan before.
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But in the midst of the rejoicing over their good fortune, an old Mouse arose and said:. But let me ask one question: Who will bell the Cat? It is one thing to say that something should be done, but quite a different matter to do it. An Eagle, swooping down on powerful wings, seized a lamb in her talons and made off with it to her nest. A Jackdaw saw the deed, and his silly head was filled with the idea that he was big and strong enough to do as the Eagle had done. So with much rustling of feathers and a fierce air, he came down swiftly on the back of a large Ram.
But when he tried to rise again he found that he could not get away, for his claws were tangled in the wool. And so far was he from carrying away the Ram, that the Ram hardly noticed he was there. The Shepherd saw the fluttering Jackdaw and at once guessed what had happened. Running up, he caught the bird and clipped its wings. That evening he gave the Jackdaw to his children.
But if you should ask him, he would say he is an Eagle. A Boy was given permission to put his hand into a pitcher to get some filberts. But he took such a great fistful that he could not draw his hand out again.
There he stood, unwilling to give up a single filbert and yet unable to get them all out at once. Vexed and disappointed he began to cry. Then perhaps you may have some more filberts some other time. A Farmer was driving his wagon along a miry country road after a heavy rain. The horses could hardly drag the load through the deep mud, and at last came to a standstill when one of the wheels sank to the hub in a rut. The farmer climbed down from his seat and stood beside the wagon looking at it but without making the least effort to get it out of the rut.
All he did was to curse his bad luck and call loudly on Hercules to come to his aid. Then, it is said, Hercules really did appear, saying:. Do you think you can move the wagon by simply looking at it and whining about it? Hercules will not help unless you make some effort to help yourself. And when the farmer put his shoulder to the wheel and urged on the horses, the wagon moved very readily, and soon the Farmer was riding along in great content and with a good lesson learned.
A Town Mouse once visited a relative who lived in the country. For lunch the Country Mouse served wheat stalks, roots, and acorns, with a dash of cold water for drink. The Town Mouse ate very sparingly, nibbling a little of this and a little of that, and by her manner making it very plain that she ate the simple food only to be polite.
After the meal the friends had a long talk, or rather the Town Mouse talked about her life in the city while the Country Mouse listened. They then went to bed in a cozy nest in the hedgerow and slept in quiet and comfort until morning. In her sleep the Country Mouse dreamed she was a Town Mouse with all the luxuries and delights of city life that her friend had described for her. So the next day when the Town Mouse asked the Country Mouse to go home with her to the city, she gladly said yes. When they reached the mansion in which the Town Mouse lived, they found on the table in the dining room the leavings of a very fine banquet.
There were sweetmeats and jellies, pastries, delicious cheeses, indeed, the most tempting foods that a Mouse can imagine. But just as the Country Mouse was about to nibble a dainty bit of pastry, she heard a Cat mew loudly and scratch at the door. In great fear the Mice scurried to a hiding place, where they lay quite still for a long time, hardly daring to breathe.
When at last they ventured back to the feast, the door opened suddenly and in came the servants to clear the table, followed by the House Dog. Poverty with security is better than plenty in the midst of fear and uncertainty. A Fox one day spied a beautiful bunch of ripe grapes hanging from a vine trained along the branches of a tree. The bunch hung from a high branch, and the Fox had to jump for it. The first time he jumped he missed it by a long way.
So he walked off a short distance and took a running leap at it, only to fall short once more. Again and again he tried, but in vain. There are many who pretend to despise and belittle that which is beyond their reach. A certain Father had a family of Sons, who were forever quarreling among themselves. No words he could say did the least good, so he cast about in his mind for some very striking example that should make them see that discord would lead them to misfortune. One day when the quarreling had been much more violent than usual and each of the Sons was moping in a surly manner, he asked one of them to bring him a bundle of sticks.
Then handing the bundle to each of his Sons in turn he told them to try to break it. But although each one tried his best, none was able to do so. The Father then untied the bundle and gave the sticks to his Sons to break one by one. This they did very easily. But if you are divided among yourselves, you will be no stronger than a single stick in that bundle. A Wolf had been feasting too greedily, and a bone had stuck crosswise in his throat. He could get it neither up nor down, and of course he could not eat a thing. Naturally that was an awful state of affairs for a greedy Wolf. So away he hurried to the Crane.
He was sure that she, with her long neck and bill, would easily be able to reach the bone and pull it out. But she was grasping in nature, so she did what the Wolf asked her to do. 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. 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.
A pair of Oxen were drawing a heavily loaded wagon along a miry country road. They had to use all their strength to pull the wagon, but they did not complain. The Wheels of the wagon were of a different sort. Though the task they had to do was very light compared with that of the Oxen, they creaked and groaned at every turn. The poor Oxen, pulling with all their might to draw the wagon through the deep mud, had their ears filled with the loud complaining of the Wheels.
And this, you may well know, made their work so much the harder to endure. We are drawing all the weight, not you, and we are keeping still about it besides. A Lion lay asleep in the forest, his great head resting on his paws.
Short Stories For Kids
Roused from his nap, the Lion laid his huge paw angrily on the tiny creature to kill her. The Lion was much amused to think that a Mouse could ever help him. But he was generous and finally let the Mouse go. Unable to free himself, he filled the forest with his angry roaring. The Mouse knew the voice and quickly found the Lion struggling in the net. Running to one of the great ropes that bound him, she gnawed it until it parted, and soon the Lion was free.
Soon he found life in the pasture very dull. 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.
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. 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.
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. We are often of greater importance in our own eyes than in the eyes of our neighbor. Two Travellers, walking in the noonday sun, sought the shade of a widespreading tree to rest. As they lay looking up among the pleasant leaves, they saw that it was a Plane Tree. Thus ungratefully, O Jupiter, do men receive their blessings! A Stork of a very simple and trusting nature had been asked by a gay party of Cranes to visit a field that had been newly planted.
Besides, I did not know the Cranes were going to steal. One day a shepherd discovered a fat Pig in the meadow where his Sheep were pastured. He very quickly captured the porker, which squealed at the top of its voice the moment the Shepherd laid his hands on it. You would have thought, to hear the loud squealing, that the Pig was being cruelly hurt.
But we should feel very much ashamed to make such a terrible fuss about it like you do. But he wants my bacon! Judging by its weight it must be full of gold. We cannot expect any one to share our misfortunes unless we are willing to share our good fortune also. 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. The Frogs were tired of governing themselves. They had so much freedom that it had spoiled them, and they did nothing but sit around croaking in a bored manner and wishing for a government that could entertain them with the pomp and display of royalty, and rule them in a way to make them know they were being ruled.
No milk and water government for them, they declared. So they sent a petition to Jupiter asking for a king. Jupiter saw what simple and foolish creatures they were, but to keep them quiet and make them think they had a king he threw down a huge log, which fell into the water with a great splash. The Frogs hid themselves among the reeds and grasses, thinking the new king to be some fearful giant.
But they soon discovered how tame and peaceable King Log was. In a short time the younger Frogs were using him for a diving platform, while the older Frogs made him a meeting place, where they complained loudly to Jupiter about the government. To teach the Frogs a lesson the ruler of the gods now sent a Crane to be king of Frogland. The Crane proved to be a very different sort of king from old King Log.
He gobbled up the poor Frogs right and left and they soon saw what fools they had been. In mournful croaks they begged Jupiter to take away the cruel tyrant before they should all be destroyed. You have what you asked for and so you have only yourselves to blame for your misfortunes. The Owl always takes her sleep during the day. Then after sundown, when the rosy light fades from the sky and the shadows rise slowly through the wood, out she comes ruffling and blinking from the old hollow tree. Now there was a certain old Owl who had become very cross and hard to please as she grew older, especially if anything disturbed her daily slumbers.
One warm summer afternoon as she dozed away in her den in the old oak tree, a Grasshopper nearby began a joyous but very raspy song. You should at least respect my age and leave me to sleep in quiet! But the Grasshopper answered saucily that he had as much right to his place in the sun as the Owl had to her place in the old oak. Then he struck up a louder and still more rasping tune. The wise old Owl knew quite well that it would do no good to argue with the Grasshopper, nor with anybody else for that matter. Besides, her eyes were not sharp enough by day to permit her to punish the Grasshopper as he deserved.
So she laid aside all hard words and spoke very kindly to him. Now that I think of it, I have a wonderful wine here, sent me from Olympus, of which I am told Apollo drinks before he sings to the high gods. Please come up and taste this delicious drink with me. I know it will make you sing like Apollo himself. 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.
Fancy me running away from a puny Lion! Just then an immense shadow blotted him out entirely, and the next instant a Lion struck him down with a single blow. A Giant Oak stood near a brook in which grew some slender Reeds. When the wind blew, the great Oak stood proudly upright with its hundred arms uplifted to the sky. But the Reeds bowed low in the wind and sang a sad and mournful song. We bow before them and so we do not break.
You, in all your pride and strength, have so far resisted their blows. But the end is coming. As the Reeds spoke a great hurricane rushed out of the north. The Oak stood proudly and fought against the storm, while the yielding Reeds bowed low. The wind redoubled in fury, and all at once the great tree fell, torn up by the roots, and lay among the pitying Reeds.
Better to yield when it is folly to resist, than to resist stubbornly and be destroyed. He was a very proud Rat, considering his small size and the bad reputation all Rats have. Rat walked along—he kept mostly to the ditch—he noticed a great commotion up the road, and soon a grand procession came in view. It was the King and his retinue. The King rode on a huge Elephant adorned with the most gorgeous trappings.
With the King in his luxurious howdah were the royal Dog and Cat. A great crowd of people followed the procession. They were so taken up with admiration of the Elephant, that the Rat was not noticed. His pride was hurt. Is it his great size that makes your eyes pop out? Or is it his wrinkled hide? Why, I have eyes and ears and as many legs as he! But just then the royal Cat spied him, and the next instant, the Rat knew he was not quite so important as an Elephant.
Some Boys were playing one day at the edge of a pond in which lived a family of Frogs. The Boys amused themselves by throwing stones into the pond so as to make them skip on top of the water. The stones were flying thick and fast and the Boys were enjoying themselves very much; but the poor Frogs in the pond were trembling with fear. Though it may be fun for you, it means death to us! In a spell of dry weather, when the Birds could find very little to drink, a thirsty Crow found a pitcher with a little water in it.
But the pitcher was high and had a narrow neck, and no matter how he tried, the Crow could not reach the water. The poor thing felt as if he must die of thirst. Then an idea came to him. Picking up some small pebbles, he dropped them into the pitcher one by one. With each pebble the water rose a little higher until at last it was near enough so he could drink. One bright day in late autumn a family of Ants were bustling about in the warm sunshine, drying out the grain they had stored up during the summer, when a starving Grasshopper, his fiddle under his arm, came up and humbly begged for a bite to eat.
What in the world were you doing all last summer? A sacred Image was being carried to the temple. It was mounted on an Ass adorned with garlands and gorgeous trappings, and a grand procession of priests and pages followed it through the streets. As the Ass walked along, the people bowed their heads reverently or fell on their knees, and the Ass thought the honor was being paid to himself.
With his head full of this foolish idea, he became so puffed up with pride and vanity that he halted and started to bray loudly. But in the midst of his song, his driver guessed what the Ass had got into his head, and began to beat him unmercifully with a stick. A Raven, which you know is black as coal, was envious of the Swan, because her feathers were as white as the purest snow.
So he left his home in the woods and fields and flew down to live on the lakes and in the marshes. But though he washed and washed all day long, almost drowning himself at it, his feathers remained as black as ever. And as the water weeds he ate did not agree with him, he got thinner and thinner, and at last he died. Two Goats, frisking gayly on the rocky steeps of a mountain valley, chanced to meet, one on each side of a deep chasm through which poured a mighty mountain torrent.
The trunk of a fallen tree formed the only means of crossing the chasm, and on this not even two squirrels could have passed each other in safety. The narrow path would have made the bravest tremble. Not so our Goats. Their pride would not permit either to stand aside for the other. One set her foot on the log. The other did likewise. In the middle they met horn to horn. Neither would give way, and so they both fell, to be swept away by the roaring torrent below.
A Merchant, driving his Ass homeward from the seashore with a heavy load of salt, came to a river crossed by a shallow ford. They had crossed this river many times before without accident, but this time the Ass slipped and fell when halfway over. And when the Merchant at last got him to his feet, much of the salt had melted away. Delighted to find how much lighter his burden had become, the Ass finished the journey very gayly. Next day the Merchant went for another load of salt. On the way home the Ass, remembering what had happened at the ford, purposely let himself fall into the water, and again got rid of most of his burden.
The angry Merchant immediately turned about and drove the Ass back to the seashore, where he loaded him with two great baskets of sponges. At the ford the Ass again tumbled over; but when he had scrambled to his feet, it was a very disconsolate Ass that dragged himself homeward under a load ten times heavier than before. But the Gnat was not in the least disturbed. The next instant he flew at the Lion and stung him sharply on the nose. Mad with rage, the Lion struck fiercely at the Gnat, but only succeeded in tearing himself with his claws.
Again and again the Gnat stung the Lion, who now was roaring terribly. At last, worn out with rage and covered with wounds that his own teeth and claws had made, the Lion gave up the fight. And there, he who had defeated the King of beasts came to a miserable end, the prey of a little spider. A certain man who visited foreign lands could talk of little when he returned to his home except the wonderful adventures he had met with and the great deeds he had done abroad.
One of the feats he told about was a leap he had made in a city Called Rhodes. That leap was so great, he said, that no other man could leap anywhere near the distance. A great many persons in Rhodes had seen him do it and would prove that what he told was true. Now show us how far you can jump. A Cock was busily scratching and scraping about to find something to eat for himself and his family, when he happened to turn up a precious jewel that had been lost by its owner.
But as for me, I would choose a single grain of barleycorn before all the jewels in the world. At a great celebration in honor of King Lion, the Monkey was asked to dance for the company. His dancing was very clever indeed, and the animals were all highly pleased with his grace and lightness. The praise that was showered on the Monkey made the Camel envious. He was very sure that he could dance quite as well as the Monkey, if not better, so he pushed his way into the crowd that was gathered around the Monkey, and rising on his hind legs, began to dance.
But the big hulking Camel made himself very ridiculous as he kicked out his knotty legs and twisted his long clumsy neck. Besides, the animals found it hard to keep their toes from under his heavy hoofs. A Wild Boar was sharpening his tusks busily against the stump of a tree, when a Fox happened by. Now the Fox was always looking for a chance to make fun of his neighbors. So he made a great show of looking anxiously about, as if in fear of some hidden enemy.
But the Boar kept right on with his work. My weapons will have to be ready for use then, or I shall suffer for it. While the Ass cropped a fresh bit of greens, the Fox would devour a chicken from the neighboring farmyard or a bit of cheese filched from the dairy. One day the pair unexpectedly met a Lion. The Ass was very much frightened, but the Fox calmed his fears. So the Fox led the Ass into a deep pit. But when the Lion saw that the Ass was his for the taking, he first of all struck down the traitor Fox.
The Birds and the Beasts declared war against each other. No compromise was possible, and so they went at it tooth and claw. It is said the quarrel grew out of the persecution the race of Geese suffered at the teeth of the Fox family. The Beasts, too, had cause for fight. The Eagle was constantly pouncing on the Hare, and the Owl dined daily on Mice. It was a terrible battle. Many a Hare and many a Mouse died. Chickens and Geese fell by the score—and the victor always stopped for a feast.
Now the Bat family had not openly joined either side. They were a very politic race. So when they saw the Birds getting the better of it, they were Birds for all there was in it. But when the tide of battle turned, they immediately sided with the Beasts. When the battle was over, the conduct of the Bats was discussed at the peace conference. Such deceit was unpardonable, and Birds and Beasts made common cause to drive out the Bats. And since then the Bat family hides in dark towers and deserted ruins, flying out only in the night.
Just as a great Bear rushed to seize a stray kid, a Lion leaped from another direction upon the same prey. The two fought furiously for the prize until they had received so many wounds that both sank down unable to continue the battle. Just then a Fox dashed up, and seizing the kid, made off with it as fast as he could go, while the Lion and the Bear looked on in helpless rage. 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. I cannot possibly muddy the water you are drinking up there.
Remember, you are upstream and I am downstream. But no matter who it was, I do not intend to be talked out of my breakfast. A Wolf had been hurt in a fight with a Bear. He was unable to move and could not satisfy his hunger and thirst. A Sheep passed by near his hiding place, and the Wolf called to him. If I should bring you a drink, it would only serve to wash me down your throat. Hares, as you know, are very timid. The least shadow, sends them scurrying in fright to a hiding place. Once they decided to die rather than live in such misery.
But while they were debating how best to meet death, they thought they heard a noise and in a flash were scampering off to the warren. On the way they passed a pond where a family of Frogs was sitting among the reeds on the bank. In an instant the startled Frogs were seeking safety in the mud. However unfortunate we may think we are there is always someone worse off than ourselves.
The Fox one day thought of a plan to amuse himself at the expense of the Stork, at whose odd appearance he was always laughing. The Stork gladly accepted the invitation and arrived in good time and with a very good appetite. For dinner the Fox served soup. But it was set out in a very shallow dish, and all the Stork could do was to wet the very tip of his bill.
Not a drop of soup could he get. But the Fox lapped it up easily, and, to increase the disappointment of the Stork, made a great show of enjoyment. The hungry Stork was much displeased at the trick, but he was a calm, even-tempered fellow and saw no good in flying into a rage. Instead, not long afterward, he invited the Fox to dine with him in turn.
The Fox arrived promptly at the time that had been set, and the Stork served a fish dinner that had a very appetizing smell. But it was served in a tall jar with a very narrow neck. The Stork could easily get at the food with his long bill, but all the Fox could do was to lick the outside of the jar, and sniff at the delicious odor. And when the Fox lost his temper, the Stork said calmly:. Do not play tricks on your neighbors unless you can stand the same treatment yourself.
Both Travelers rushed to the beach, but there they found nothing but a water-soaked log. A Wolf had stolen a Lamb and was carrying it off to his lair to eat it. But his plans were very much changed when he met a Lion, who, without making any excuses, took the Lamb away from him. The Lion looked back, but as the Wolf was too far away to be taught a lesson without too much inconvenience, he said:. Did you buy it, or did the Shepherd make you a gift of it? Pray tell me, how did you get it? 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 spindling legs. 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. The Peacock, they say, did not at first have the beautiful feathers in which he now takes so much pride.
These, Juno, whose favorite he was, granted to him one day when he begged her for a train of feathers to distinguish him from the other birds. Then, decked in his finery, gleaming with emerald, gold, purple, and azure, he strutted proudly among the birds. All regarded him with envy. Even the most beautiful pheasant could see that his beauty was surpassed. Presently the Peacock saw an Eagle soaring high up in the blue sky and felt a desire to fly, as he had been accustomed to do.
Lifting his wings he tried to rise from the ground. But the weight of his magnificent train held him down. Instead of flying up to greet the first rays of the morning sun or to bathe in the rosy light among the floating clouds at sunset, he would have to walk the ground more encumbered and oppressed than any common barnyard fowl.
The Weasels and the Mice were always up in arms against each other. In every battle the Weasels carried off the victory, as well as a large number of the Mice, which they ate for dinner next day. In despair the Mice called a council, and there it was decided that the Mouse army was always beaten because it had no leaders. So a large number of generals and commanders were appointed from among the most eminent Mice. To distinguish themselves from the soldiers in the ranks, the new leaders proudly bound on their heads lofty crests and ornaments of feathers or straw.
Then after long preparation of the Mouse army in all the arts of war, they sent a challenge to the Weasels. The Weasels accepted the challenge with eagerness, for they were always ready for a fight when a meal was in sight. They immediately attacked the Mouse army in large numbers.
Soon the Mouse line gave way before the attack and the whole army fled for cover. The privates easily slipped into their holes, but the Mouse leaders could not squeeze through the narrow openings because of their head-dresses. Not one escaped the teeth of the hungry Weasels. A Wolf prowling near a village one evening met a Dog. It happened to be a very lean and bony Dog, and Master Wolf would have turned up his nose at such meager fare had he not been more hungry than usual.
So he began to edge toward the Dog, while the Dog backed away. Look at my ribs. I am nothing but skin and bone. But let me tell you something in private. In a few days my master will give a wedding feast for his only daughter. You can guess how fine and fat I will grow on the scraps from the table. Then is the time to eat me. The Wolf could not help thinking how nice it would be to have a fine fat Dog to eat instead of the scrawny object before him.
So he went away pulling in his belt and promising to return. Some days later the Wolf came back for the promised feast. So he decided not to wait and made off as fast as his legs could carry him. Do not depend on the promises of those whose interest it is to deceive you. 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.
A Lion and an Ass agreed to go hunting together. In their search for game the hunters saw a number of Wild Goats run into a cave, and laid plans to catch them. The Ass was to go into the cave and drive the Goats out, while the Lion would stand at the entrance to strike them down. The plan worked beautifully.
The Ass made such a frightful din in the cave, kicking and braying with all his might, that the Goats came running out in a panic of fear, only to fall victim to the Lion. He was very faithful to his duty, though the smell of the good things in the basket tempted him. The Dogs in the neighborhood noticed him carrying the basket and soon discovered what was in it.
They made several attempts to steal it from him. But he always guarded it faithfully. Then one day all the Dogs in the neighborhood got together and met him on his way with the basket. The Dog tried to run away from them. But at last he stopped to argue. That was his mistake. There he saw with much wonder and envy a flock of royal Peacocks in all the glory of their splendid plumage. Now the black Jackdaw was not a very handsome bird, nor very refined in manner.
Yet he imagined that all he needed to make himself fit for the society of the Peacocks was a dress like theirs. So he picked up some castoff feathers of the Peacocks and stuck them among his own black plumes. Dressed in his borrowed finery he strutted loftily among the birds of his own kind. Then he flew down into the garden among the Peacocks.
But they soon saw who he was. Angry at the cheat, they flew at him, plucking away the borrowed feathers and also some of his own. The poor Jackdaw returned sadly to his former companions. There another unpleasant surprise awaited him. They had not forgotten his superior airs toward them, and, to punish him, they drove him away with a rain of pecks and jeers.
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.
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. An Ass was feeding in a pasture near a wood when he saw a Wolf lurking in the shadows along the hedge. He easily guessed what the Wolf had in mind, and thought of a plan to save himself. So he pretended he was lame, and began to hobble painfully. When the Wolf came up, he asked the Ass what had made him lame, and the Ass replied that he had stepped on a sharp thorn.
The Wolf saw the wisdom of the advice, for he wanted to enjoy his meal without any danger of choking. So the Ass lifted up his foot and the Wolf began to search very closely and carefully for the thorn. Just then the Ass kicked out with all his might, tumbling the Wolf a dozen paces away. And while the Wolf was getting very slowly and painfully to his feet, the Ass galloped away in safety.
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. 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. Some Dogs found the skin of a Lion and furiously began to tear it with their teeth. A Fox chanced to see them and laughed scornfully. He would have made you feel how much sharper his claws are than your teeth. Some hungry Dogs saw a number of hides at the bottom of a stream where the Tanner had put them to soak. A fine hide makes an excellent meal for a hungry Dog, but the water was deep and the Dogs could not reach the hides from the bank. So they held a council and decided that the very best thing to do was to drink up the river.
All fell to lapping up the water as fast as they could. But though they drank and drank until, one after another, all of them had burst with drinking, still, for all their effort, the water in the river remained as high as ever. A Rabbit left his home one day for a dinner of clover. But he forgot to latch the door of his house and while he was gone a Weasel walked in and calmly made himself at home. The Rabbit was quite angry—for a Rabbit—, and requested the Weasel to move out. But the Weasel was perfectly content. He was settled down for good. Put your mouths close to my ears while you tell me the facts.
The unsuspecting pair did as they were told and in an instant the Cat had them both under her claws. No one could deny that the dispute had been definitely settled. A Bear roaming the woods in search of berries happened on a fallen tree in which a swarm of Bees had stored their honey. The Bear began to nose around the log very carefully to find out if the Bees were at home. Just then one of the swarm came home from the clover field with a load of sweets. Guessing what the Bear was after, the Bee flew at him, stung him sharply and then disappeared into the hollow log.
The Bear lost his temper in an instant, and sprang upon the log tooth and claw, to destroy the nest. But this only brought out the whole swarm. The poor Bear had to take to his heels, and he was able to save himself only by diving into a pool of water. It is wiser to bear a single injury in silence than to provoke a thousand by flying into a rage. 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.
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. As the sun rose, the fish left the shallow water near the shore and swam below into the cool depths toward 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.
One bright evening as the sun was sinking on a glorious world a wise old Cock flew into a tree to roost. Before he composed himself to rest, he flapped his wings three times and crowed loudly. But just as he was about to put his head under his wing, his beady eyes caught a flash of red and a glimpse of a long pointed nose, and there just below him stood Master Fox. But he had a queer, fluttery feeling inside him, for, you know, he was very much afraid of the Fox.
Just think of it! I simply cannot wait to embrace you! Do come down, dear friend, and let us celebrate the joyful event. The Dogs are friends of yours now! Besides, I have a very important errand that I had almost forgotten about. The Cock smiled as he buried his head in his feathers and went to sleep, for he had succeeded in outwitting a very crafty enemy.
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. 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. A hungry Wolf spied a Goat browsing at the top of a steep cliff where he could not possibly get at her.
Please listen to me and come down! Here you can get all you want of the finest, tenderest grass in the country. But I know you! One day as an Ass was walking in the pasture, he found some Grasshoppers chirping merrily in a grassy corner of the field. He listened with a great deal of admiration to the song of the Grasshoppers. It was such a joyful song that his pleasure-loving heart was filled with a wish to sing as they did.
Is there any special food you eat, or is it some divine nectar that makes you sing so wonderfully? Try some and see. A Mule had had a long rest and much good feeding. He was feeling very vigorous indeed, and pranced around loftily, holding his head high. 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 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. There is more than enough for both of us. The thirsty Goat immediately jumped in and began to drink. 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. A very young Mouse, who had never seen anything of the world, almost came to grief the very first time he ventured out. And this is the story he told his mother about his adventures. One of them had a very kind and gracious look, but the other was the most fearful monster you can imagine.
You should have seen him. He walked about restlessly, tearing up the ground with his toes, and beating his arms savagely against his sides. The moment he caught sight of me he opened his pointed mouth as if to swallow me, and then he let out a piercing roar that frightened me almost to death. Can you guess who it was that our young Mouse was trying to describe to his mother? It was nobody but the Barnyard Cock and the first one the little Mouse had ever seen. He had thick, velvety fur, a meek face, and a look that was very modest, though his eyes were bright and shining. As he looked at me he waved his fine long tail and smiled.
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Under his kindly appearance, he bears a grudge against every one of us. As for the Cat, he eats us. So be thankful, my child, that you escaped with your life, and, as long as you live, never judge people by their looks. A Wolf had been prowling around a flock of Sheep for a long time, and the Shepherd watched very anxiously to prevent him from carrying off a Lamb. But the Wolf did not try to do any harm. Instead he seemed to be helping the Shepherd take care of the Sheep.
At last the Shepherd got so used to seeing the Wolf about that he forgot how wicked he could be. But when he came back and saw how many of the flock had been killed and carried off, he knew how foolish to trust a Wolf. A Peacock, puffed up with vanity, met a Crane one day, and to impress him spread his gorgeous tail in the Sun. I am dressed in all the glory of the rainbow, while your feathers are gray as dust! But the Peacock stood where he was among the birds of the barnyard, while the Crane soared in freedom far up into the blue sky. Some Cranes saw a farmer plowing a large field.
When the work of plowing was done, they patiently watched him sow the seed. It was their feast, they thought. So, as soon as the Farmer had finished planting and had gone home, down they flew to the field, and began to eat as fast as they could. The Farmer, of course, knew the Cranes and their ways. He had had experience with such birds before. Mole wants to meet the respected but elusive Badger, who lives deep in the Wild Wood, but Rat — knowing that Badger does not appreciate visits — tells Mole to be patient and wait for Badger to pay them a visit himself.
Nevertheless, on a snowy winter's day, while the seasonally somnolent Rat dozes, Mole impulsively goes to the Wild Wood to explore, hoping to meet Badger. He gets lost in the woods, sees many "evil faces" among the wood's less-welcoming denizens, succumbs to fright and panic and hides, trying to stay warm, among the sheltering roots of a tree. Rat wakes to find Mole gone. Guessing his mission from the direction of Mole's tracks and equipping himself with two pistols and a stout cudgel, Rat goes in search, finding him as snow begins to fall in earnest.
Attempting to find their way home, Rat and Mole quite literally stumble across Badger's home — Mole barks his shin on the boot scraper on Badger's doorstep. Badger — en route to bed in his dressing-gown and slippers — nonetheless warmly welcomes Rat and Mole to his large and cosy underground home, providing them with hot food, dry clothes, and reassuring conversation: Badger learns from his visitors that Toad has crashed seven cars, has been in hospital three times, and has spent a fortune on fines. Though nothing can be done at the moment it being winter , they resolve that when the time is right they will make a plan to protect Toad from himself; they are, after all, his friends, and are worried about his well-being.
With the arrival of spring, Badger visits Mole and Rat to take action over Toad's self-destructive obsession. The three of them go to Toad Hall, and Badger tries talking Toad out of his behaviour, to no avail. They put Toad under house arrest , with themselves as the guards, until Toad changes his mind. Feigning illness, Toad bamboozles the Water Rat who is on guard duty at the time and escapes. Badger and Mole are cross with Rat for his gullibility, but draw comfort because they need no longer waste their summer guarding Toad.
Taking the car, he drives it recklessly and is caught by the police. In prison, Toad gains the sympathy of the gaoler's daughter, who helps him to escape disguised as a washerwoman. Though free again, Toad is without money or possessions other than the clothes upon his back. He manages to board a railway engine manned by a sympathetic driver, which is then pursued by a special train loaded with policemen, detectives and prison warders. Toad jumps from the train and, still disguised as a washerwoman, comes across a horse-drawn barge.
The barge's female owner offers him a lift in exchange for Toad's services as a washerwoman. After botching the wash, Toad gets into a fight with the barge-woman, who tosses him into the canal. In revenge, Toad makes off with the barge horse, which he then sells to a gypsy. Toad subsequently flags down a passing car, which happens to be the very one he stole earlier. The car owners, not recognising Toad in his disguise, permit him to drive their car. Once behind the wheel, he is repossessed by his former exuberance and drives furiously, declaring his true identity to the passengers who try to seize him.
This leads to the car landing in a horse-pond , after which Toad flees once more. Pursued by police, he runs accidentally into a river, which carries him by sheer chance to the house of Rat. Toad now hears from Rat that Toad Hall has been taken over by weasels and stoats from the Wild Wood, who have driven out Mole and Badger. Although upset at the loss of his house, Toad realizes what good friends he has and how badly he has behaved.
Badger then arrives and announces that he knows of a secret tunnel into Toad Hall through which the enemies may be attacked. Armed to the teeth, Badger, Rat, Mole and Toad enter via the tunnel and pounce upon the unsuspecting Wild-Wooders who are holding a celebratory party. Having driven away the intruders, Toad holds a banquet to mark his return, during which for a change he behaves both quietly and humbly.
He makes up for his earlier excesses by seeking out and compensating those he has wronged, and the four friends live out their lives happily ever after. In addition to the main narrative, the book contains several independent short stories featuring Rat and Mole. These appear for the most part between the chapters chronicling Toad's adventures, and are often omitted from abridgements and dramatisations.
The chapter "Dulce Domum" describes Mole's return to his home with Rat where he rediscovers, with Rat's help, a familiar comfort, despite finding it in a terrible mess after his abortive spring clean. Pan removes their memories of this meeting " lest the awful remembrance should remain and grow, and overshadow mirth and pleasure ".
Finally, in "Wayfarers All", Ratty shows a restless side to his character when he is sorely tempted to join a Sea Rat on his travelling adventures. The original publication of the book was plain text, with a frontispiece illustrated by Graham Robertson, but many illustrated, comic, and annotated versions have been published over the years. A number of publishers rejected the manuscript. It was published in the UK by Methuen and Co. The critics, who were hoping for a third volume in the style of Graham's earlier works; The Golden Age and Dream Days , generally gave negative reviews.
In , then sitting US President Theodore Roosevelt wrote to Grahame to tell him that he had "read it and reread it, and have come to accept the characters as old friends". A book that we all greatly loved and admired and read aloud or alone, over and over and over: The Wind in the Willows. This book is, in a way, two separate books put into one. There are, on the one hand, those chapters concerned with the adventures of Toad; and on the other hand there are those chapters that explore human emotions — the emotions of fear, nostalgia, awe, wanderlust.
My mother was drawn to the second group, of which "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" was her favourite, read to me again and again with always, towards the end, the catch in the voice and the long pause to find her handkerchief and blow her nose. My father, on his side, was so captivated by the first group that he turned these chapters into the children's play, Toad of Toad Hall. In this play one emotion only is allowed to creep in: The village of Lerryn , Cornwall claims to be the setting for the book. Simon Winchester suggested that the character of Ratty was based on Frederick Furnivall , a keen oarsman and acquaintance of Kenneth Grahame.
Grahame wrote this in a signed copy he gave to Quiller-Couch's daughter, Foy Felicia. There is a proposal that the idea for the story arose when its author saw a water vole beside the River Pang in Berkshire, southern England. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see The Wind in the Willows disambiguation. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
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