The Hare & the Tortoise
One day a Hare was making fun of a Tortoise for being so slow. "Do you ever get anywhere?" he asked with a mocking laugh. "Yes," replied the Tortoise, "and I get there sooner than you think. I'll run a race with you to prove it."
The Hare was amused at the idea of running a race with the Tortoise, and for fun he agreed. So the Fox, who had consented to act as judge, marked the distance and started the runners. The Hare was soon far out of the Tortoise’s sight, and to make the Tortoise feel ridiculous the Hare lay down beside the course to take a nap until the Tortoise could catch up.
The Tortoise meanwhile kept going slowly but steadily, and, after a time, passed the place where the Hare was sleeping. But the Hare slept on peacefully; and when at last he did awake, the Tortoise was near the goal line. The Hare now ran his swiftest, but he could not overtake the Tortoise in time.
The race is not always to the swift.
Androcles & the Lion
A slave named Androcles once escaped from his master and fled to the forest. As he was wandering about he came upon a Lion lying down moaning and groaning. At first he turned to flee, but finding that the Lion did not pursue him, he turned back and went up to him.
As he came near, the Lion put out his paw, which was swollen and bleeding, and Androcles found that a huge thorn had logged in it and was causing great pain. He pulled out the thorn and bound up the paw of the Lion, who was soon able to rise and lick the hand of Androcles like a dog. Then the Lion took Androcles to his cave, and every day he brought Androcles meat for sustenance.
But shortly thereafter both Androcles and the Lion were captured, and the slave was sentenced to be thrown to the Lions in the Coliseum. The Emperor and all his Court came to see the spectacle, and Androcles was led out into the middle of the arena. Soon the Lion was let loose from his den, and rushed bounding and roaring towards his victim.
But as the lion came near to Androcles he recognized his friend, and fawned upon him, and licked his hands like a friendly dog. The Emperor, surprised at this, summoned Androcles to him. Androcles told the Emperor the whole story. Whereupon the slave was pardoned and freed, and the Lion let loose to his native forest.
Gratitude is the sign of a noble soul.
The Crow & the Pitcher
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.
Explore new ways to solve difficult problems.
Belling the Cat
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. Finally, a very young Mouse got up and said, “I have a plan that seems very simple, but I know it will be successful. All we have to do is to hang a bell about the Cat's neck. When we hear the bell ringing we will know immediately that our enemy is coming."
All the Mice were surprised that they had not thought of such a plan before. But in the midst of the rejoicing over their good fortune, an old Mouse arose and said: "I will say that the plan of the young Mouse is very good. 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.
Two Men and a Bear
Two Men were traveling through a forest, when, all at once, a huge Bear crashed out of the brush near them.
One of the Men, thinking of his own safety, climbed a tree. The other, unable to fight the savage beast alone, threw himself on the ground and lay still, as if he were dead. He had heard that a Bear will not touch a dead body. It must have been true, for the Bear snuffed at the Man’s head awhile, and then, seeming to be satisfied, walked away.
The Man in the tree climbed down and said to his friend,“It looked as if that Bear whispered in your ear.”.“What did he tell you?”
“His friend answered, “ The Bear said that it was not wise to keep company with a fellow who would desert his friend in a moment of danger.”
Misfortune is the test of true friendship.
The Grasshopper & the Ants
One bright day in late autumn a family of Ants were bustling about in the warm sunshine, drying out the leaves 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!” cried the Ants in surprise, “haven’t you stored anything away for the winter? What in the world were you doing all last summer?”
“I didn’t have time to store up any food,” whined the Grasshopper; “I was so busy making music that before I knew it the summer was gone.”
The Ants shrugged their shoulders in disgust. “Making music, were you?” they cried. “Very well; now dance!” And they turned their backs on the Grasshopper and went on with their work.
There’s a time for work and a time for play.