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Aesop's Fables
(Born circa 620 BC)

The Lion and the Hare

A Lion came across a Hare, who was fast asleep.
He was just in the act of seizing her, when a fine young Hart
trotted by, and he left the Hare to follow him.

The Hare, scared by the noise, awoke and scudded away.
The Lion was unable after a long chase to catch the Hart,
and returned to feed upon the Hare.

On finding that the Hare also had run off, he said,
"I am rightly served, for having let go of the food that I had
in my hand for the chance of obtaining more."

The Ant and the Chrysalis

An Ant nimbly running about in the sunshine in search of food
came across a Chrysalis that was very near its time of change.

The Chrysalis moved its tail, and thus attracted the attention
of the Ant, who then saw for the first time that it was alive.

"Poor, pitiable animal!" cried the Ant disdainfully.
"What a sad fate is yours! While I can run hither and thither,
at my pleasure, and, if I wish, ascend the tallest tree,
you lie imprisoned here in your shell, with power only to
move a joint or two of your scaly tail."

The Chrysalis heard all this, but did not try to make any reply.
A few days after, when the Ant passed that way again,
nothing but the shell remained.

Wondering what had become of its contents, he felt himself
shaded and fanned by the gorgeous wings of a beautiful Butterfly.
"Behold in me," said the Butterfly, "your much-pitied friend!
Boast now of your powers to run and climb as long as
you can get me to listen."

So saying, the Butterfly rose in the air, and, borne along
and aloft on the summer breeze,
was soon lost to the sight of the Ant forever.

The Ass and the Grasshopper


An Ass having heard some Grasshoppers chirping,
was highly enchanted; and, desiring to possess the same
charms of melody, demanded what sort of food they lived on
to give them such beautiful voices.

They replied, "The dew."

The Ass resolved that he would live only upon dew,
and in a short time died of hunger.

Translated into English by Rev. George Fyler Townsend (1814-1900)

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