|A collection of kind short stories|
The Wise Woman's Stone
Alex the Alley Cat
The Shipwrecked Man and the Sea
A Shipwrecked Man cast up on the beach fell asleep after his struggle with the waves. When he woke up, he bitterly reproached the Sea for its treachery in enticing men with its smooth and smiling surface, and then, when they were well embarked, turning in fury upon them and sending both ship and sailors to destruction. The Sea arose in the form of a woman, and replied, “Lay not the blame on me, O sailor, but on the Winds. By nature I am as calm and safe as the land itself: but the Winds fall upon me with their gusts and gales, and lash me into a fury that is not natural to me.”
The Crab and his Mother
An Old Crab said to her son, “Why do you walk sideways like that, my son? You ought to walk straight.” The Young Crab replied, “Show me how; dear mother, and I’ll follow your example.” The Old Crab tried, but tried in vain, and then saw how foolish she had been to find fault with her child.
The Travellers and the Plane-Tree
Two Travellers were walking along a bare and dusty road in the heat of a summer’s day. Coming presently to a Plane-tree, they joyfully turned aside to shelter from the burning rays of the sun in the deep shade of its spreading branches. As they rested, looking up into the tree, one of them remarked to his companion, “What a useless tree the Plane is! It bears no fruit and is of no service to man at all.” The Plane-tree interrupted him with indignation. “You ungrateful creature!” it cried: “you come and take shelter under me from the scorching sun, and then, in the very act of enjoying the cool shade of my foliage, you abuse me and call me good for nothing!”
Androcles and the Lion
Androcles, a slave, is mistreated by his master, so attempts to escape by running away into a forest. After a while, he stops to rest, but encounters a fiercely roaring lion. Androcles fears that he will be eaten, but in fact the lion is roaring from the pain of a thorn in its paw. Androcles helps the lion by pulling out the thorn and washing the wound. Soon afterwards, Androcles is recaptured by his master, and imprisoned. His punishment will be to be fed to a lion in the big arena, watched by the Emperor and a large crowd. However, the lion turns out to be the same one that Androcles had helped, and therefore greets the slave in a friendly way. The Emperor, impressed by the power of their friendship, frees both Androcles and the lion.
The Rose and the Amaranth
A Rose and an Amaranth blossomed side by side in a garden, and the Amaranth said to her neighbour, "How I envy you your beauty and your sweet scent! No wonder you are such a universal favourite." But the Rose replied with a shade of sadness in her voice, "Ah, my dear friend, I bloom but for a time: my petals soon wither and fall, and then I die. But your flowers never fade, even if they are cut; for they are everlasting."
The Belly and the Members
One fine day it occurred to the Members of the Body that they were doing all the work and the Belly was having all the food. So they held a meeting, and after a long discussion, decided to strike work till the Belly consented to take its proper share of the work. So for a day or two, the Hands refused to take the food, the Mouth refused to receive it, and the Teeth had no work to do. But after a day or two the Members began to find that they themselves were not in a very active condition: the Hands could hardly move, and the Mouth was all parched and dry, while the Legs were unable to support the rest. So thus they found that even the Belly in its dull quiet way was doing necessary work for the Body, and that all must work together or the Body will go to pieces.
The Fox and the Mosquitoes
A Fox after crossing a river got its tail entangled in a bush, and could not move. A number of Mosquitoes seeing its plight settled upon it and enjoyed a good meal undisturbed by its tail. A hedgehog strolling by took pity upon the Fox and went up to him:
"You are in a bad way, neighbour," said the hedgehog; "shall I relieve you by driving off those Mosquitoes who are sucking your blood?"
"Thank you, Master Hedgehog," said the Fox, "but I would rather not."
"Why, how is that?" asked the hedgehog.
"Well, you see," was the answer, "these Mosquitoes have had their fill; if you drive these away, others will come with fresh appetite and bleed me to death."
The Wolf and the Crane
A Wolf had been gorging on an animal he had killed, when suddenly a small bone in the meat stuck in his throat and he could not swallow it. He soon felt terrible pain in his throat, and ran up and down groaning and groaning and seeking for something to relieve the pain. He tried to induce every one he met to remove the bone. "I would give anything," said he, "if you would take it out." At last the Crane agreed to try, and told the Wolf to lie on his side and open his jaws as wide as he could. Then the Crane put its long neck down the Wolf's throat, and with its beak loosened the bone, till at last it got it out. "Will you kindly give me the reward you promised?" said the Crane. The Wolf grinned and showed his teeth and said: "Be content. You have put your head inside a Wolf's mouth and taken it out again in safety; that ought to be reward enough for you."