Wednesday, 25 February 2015

'The Woman and Her Hen'

'The Woman and Her Hen', an illustration by John Vernon Lord 
in Aesop's Fables; 1989, page 124.

The Text:

The Woman and Her Hen
A WOMAN possessed a Hen that gave her an egg every day.  She often thought with herself how she might obtain two eggs daily instead of one, and at last, to gain her purpose, determined to give the Hen a double allowance of barley.  From that day the Hen became fat and sleek, and never once laid another egg.

Moral: Those who are too greedy often overreach themselves and lose what they already have.

Text: George Fyler Townsend (p125, 1868).
Selected parallels: L’Estrange 1/87. Chambry 90. Perry 58. TMI J1901.1. 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Thirsty Pigeon and the Picture

'The Thirsty Pigeon', an illustration by John Vernon Lord 
in Aesop's Fables; 1989, page 122.

The Text:

The Thirsty Pigeon and the Picture
A PIGEON severely pressed by thirst, seeing a glass of water painted upon a sign, supposed it to be real; so dashing down at it with all her might, she struck against the board, and breaking her wing, fell helpless to the ground, where she was quickly captured by one of the passers-by.

Moral:  Rushing into things without due thought and consideration can lead into disaster.

Text: Thomas James (133, 1848).
Selected parallels: Chambry 301. Perry 201. TMI J1792.1.

Monday, 23 February 2015

'The Mole and Her Mother'

'The Mole and Her Mother', an illustration by John Vernon Lord 
in Aesop's Fables; 1989, page 118.

The Text:

The Mole and Her Mother
The young Mole snuffed up her nose, and told her Dam she smelt an odd kind of smell. Bye and bye, O strange! says she, what a noise there is in my ears as if ten thousand hammers were going. A little after, she was at it again: look, look, what is that I see yonder? it is just like the flame of a fiery furnace. The Dam replied, pray child hold your idle tongue; and if you would have us allow you any sense at all, do not affect to shew more than nature has given you.

Moral: The imperfections of boasters would not be half so much taken notice of if their own vanity did not draw attention to them.

Text: Thomas Bewick (p27, 1818).

Selected Parallels: L’Estrange 1/136. Chambry 326. Perry 214. TMI J958.

A strange telling of the fable.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

'The Mouse, the Frog and the Hawk'

'The Mouse, the Frog and the Hawk', an illustration by John Vernon Lord 
in Aesop's Fables; 1989, page 94.

The Text:

The Mouse, the Frog and the Hawk
A MOUSE who always lived on the land, by an unlucky chance formed an intimate acquaintance with a Frog, who lived for the most part in the water. The Frog, one day intent on mischief, bound the foot of the Mouse tightly to his own. Thus joined together, the Frog first of all led his friend the Mouse to the meadow where they were accustomed to find their food. After this, he gradually led him towards the pool in which he lived until he reached the very brink, when suddenly jumping in he dragged the Mouse in with him. The Frog enjoyed the water amazingly, and swam croaking about, as if he had done a meritorious action. The unhappy Mouse was soon suffocated with the water, and his dead body floated about on the surface, tied to the foot of the Frog. A Hawk observed it, and , pouncing upon it with his talons, carried it up aloft. The Frog being still fastened to the leg of the Mouse, was also carried off as a prisoner, and was eaten by the Hawk.

Moral: The quarrel of others may delight the onlooker, who will take advantage of the situation

Text: George Fyler Townsend (63, 1868).

Selected  parallels: Avianus 14. Referred to in Dante Alighieri’s La Divina Commedia,  Canto 23 (likening the affray between Ciampolo and Heukin, in the previous canto, to this fable). Caxton, Romulus 1/3. La Fontaine 4/11. L’Estrange 1/4. Chambry 244. Perry 384 . Daly Vita Aesopi ch 133). TMI J681.1.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

'The Dog and the Crocodile'

'The Dog and the Crocodile', an illustration by John Vernon Lord 
in Aesop's Fables; 1989, page 92.

The Text:

The Dog and the Crocodile
Who give bad precepts to the wise,
And cautious men with guile advise,
Not only lose their toil and time,
But slip into sarcastic rhyme.

The dogs that are about the Nile,
Through terror of the Crocodile,
Are therefore said to drink and run.
It happen’d on a day, that one,
As scamp’ring by the river side,
Was by the Crocodile espied:
“Sir, at your leisure drink, nor fear
The least design or treach’ry here.”
“That,” says the Dog, “ma’m, would I do
With all my heart, and thank you too,
But as you can on dog’s flesh dine,
You shall not taste a bit of mind.”

Moral: It is a waste of time to give bad advice to the wary.

Text: Christopher Smart (Phaedrus 1/25, 1761).

Selected Parallels: Perry 482. TMI K2061.8.

Friday, 20 February 2015

'The Owl and the Grasshopper'

'The Owl and the Grasshopper', an illustration by John Vernon Lord 
in Aesop's Fables; 1989, page 82.

The Text:

The Owl and the Noisy Grasshopper
AN Owl sat sleeping in an Ivy-bush. But a Grashopper, who was singing beneath, would not let her be quiet, abusing her with very indecent and uncivil Language; telling her she was a scandalous Person, who plied a-nights to get her Living, and shut her self up all day in a hollow Tree. The Owl desir’d her to hold her Tongue and be quiet: Notwithstanding which, she was the more impertinent. She beg’d of her a second time, to leave off; but all to no purpose: She still grew worse and worse. The Owl, vext at the heart to find that all she said went for nothing, cast about to inveigle her in by a stratagem. And so, says she, Well, since one must be kept awake, ’tis a Pleasure, however to be kept awake by so agreeable a Voice: which, I must confess, is in no way inferiour to the finest Harp. And, now I think on’t. I have a Bottle of excellent Nectar, which my Mistress Pallas gave me; if you have a mind, I’ll give you a Dram to wet your Whistle. The Grashopper, ready to die with Thirst, and, at the same time, pleas’d to be so complimented upon account of her Voice, skip’d up to the Place very briskly: when the Owl advancing to meet her, seiz’d, and without much Delay, made her a Sacrifice to her Revenge: Securing to her self, by the Death of her Enemy, a Possession of that Quiet, which, during her Life-time, she could not enjoy.

Moral: Those who show no consideration for their neighbours may pay a serious penalty.

Text: Samuel Croxall (98, 1722).
Selected Parallels: Phaedrus 3/16. Perry 507. TMI K815.5.