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It too frequently happens, that base men return evil for good, and become the mortal and implacable enemies of those very persons, who had before protected and exalted them.
III. The Camel and Jupiter.
A discontented young Camel complained bitterly to Jupiter, that bulls , lions and other beasts, were adorned and guarded with horns, claws, etc. whilst he had no weapon wherewith to defend himself , and was exposed to the insults of other creatures : he therefore begged after his own manner , that Jupiter would be so kind as to make him a horned beast.
The god laughed at his folly; and not only denied him his request, but ordered his ears to be cropped.
This fable shows us, that we ought not to repine at the dispensations of Providence. Every creature hath its own peculiar gifts and excellency : to dictate therefore to the divine power, and desire to alter the course of wise nature , is an impeachement of the divine perfections , for which the murmurer is often punished by heaven.
IV. The Frog and the Or.
A Frog, envying the bulk of an Ox; strove to swell and distend herself, from a vain conceit: of acquiring a size equal to that of the Ox. As the thing was not possible to be done, the frog's son admonished his mother to desist; but his advice had no effect upon her, for she still continued to distend herself the more : her son therefore earnestly entreated her to give over the foolish attempt, saying, « Dear mother,
though you swell yourself till you burst ; » you can never equal the ox's bulk » She persisted however in her resolution and , deaf to all good counsel, at the third effort burst herself indeed.
Things impossible ought not to be attempted. Envy no man's talent , but improve your own , as nature and reason will permit. Stop there and go no farther, lest ruin and contempt attend you in the fond and obstinate pursuit of what you can never reach.
V. The Wolf and the Sheep.
A Wolf; having lately, had a sharp skir4
mish with some hard-mouthed curs 2 forced to lie quiet at home ; and, being in want of food, grew faint and sick: he therefore entreated a Sheep to fetch him a little water; for, says he, if I had only something to drink, I could make a shift well enough for meat : the innocent sheep however suspected his design and made him this reply ; « When I give you the » water, you will make me the meat to » it ».
We must not trust to the fair words of a deceitful and treacherous
Indeed the duty of charity itself may be dispensed with, when one's safety is thereby endangered; because some men, under that pretence, have sacrificed the very, lives of their friends to their malice and hypocrisy.
VI. The Ape and the Fox.
An Ape of virtue and modesty was mightily concerned and ashamed, that for want of a tail she was forced to expose her hinder parts to all the world. Observing therefore that the Fox was over-stocked with tail, whilst she had none at all, she went to him and represented her hard case entreating him out of his great superfluity to supply her wants : but the fox replied coolly and unconcernedly to her, « That » he had no more tail than was proper
for > him; and indeed that he had rather it » should sweep the ground, than be severed » from him to supply such a creature as the » ape ».
In fortune's unequal distribution some starve, whilst others surfeit : the rich , in general, refusing to bestow any tolerable part of their abundance on thie relief of such as
are sinking under want and dis-, tress ; notwithstanding they are sensible that the Divine Being intended, nay commands, that the superfluities which he has bestowed upon them should be ema ployed in relieving the necessities, and in redressing the grievances of the poor and unfortunate.
VII. The Wolf and the Crane.
As a Wolf was greedily devouring a sheep, a bone stuck in his throat : he therefore went up and down begging for
help, but could find none; every creature telling him, that he might thank himself for his fate, and that he richly deserved it for his insatiable gluttony.
At last , with many fair speeches and fine promises, he prevailed upon the Crane to thrust her long bill and neck into his throat, and pluck out the bone.
This indeed she did very dexterously ; but when she demanded the reward promised for her trouble, the wolf only despised and laughed at her : « Be gone , fool, » said he , you owe even your life to me, » and is not that reward enough ? for had > I thought fit, you saucy bold slut, I » could have bit off your head ».
Thus ungrateful men serve their benefactors : for, instead of rewarding generous friendships and faithful services, they think it ought to pass for a favour, that they do not return injuries and ruin instead of just requitals.
VIII. The Countryman and Jupiter.
As a Countryman was driving his waggon along a deep and bad road, at last it stuck