Both of the fables about fish are about the power that the fisherman has over the fish that he catches; clearly, it is better not to get caught in the first place because there is little mercy that a fish can expect from a fisherman.
[Notes by LKG]
These fables are part of the Aesop's Fables (Jacobs) unit. Story sources: The prose fables are from The Fables of Aesop by Joseph Jacobs (1894) and the limericks and illustrations are from The Baby's Own Aesop by W. J. Linton and illustrated by Walter Crane (1887).
Frogs and Fish
Jacobs 13. The Frogs Desiring a King (Perry 44)
The Frogs were living as happy as could be in a marshy swamp that just suited them; they went splashing about caring for nobody and nobody troubling with them. But some of them thought that this was not right, that they should have a king and a proper constitution, so they determined to send up a petition to Jove to give them what they wanted.
"Mighty Jove," they cried, "send unto us a king that will rule over us and keep us in order."
Jove laughed at their croaking, and threw down into the swamp a huge Log, which came down - kerplash! - into the swamp. The Frogs were frightened out of their lives by the commotion made in their midst, and all rushed to the bank to look at the horrible monster; but after a time, seeing that it did not move, one or two of the boldest of them ventured out towards the Log, and even dared to touch it; still it did not move.
Then the greatest hero of the Frogs jumped upon the Log and commenced dancing up and down upon it, thereupon all the Frogs came and did the same; and for some time the Frogs went about their business every day without taking the slightest notice of their new King Log lying in their midst.
But this did not suit them, so they sent another petition to Jove, and said to him, "We want a real king; one that will really rule over us."
Now this made Jove angry, so he sent among them a big Stork that soon set to work gobbling them all up. Then the Frogs repented when too late.
Better no rule than cruel rule.
Crane 5. King Log and King's Stork (Perry 44)
The Frogs prayed to Jove for a king:
Not a log, but a livelier thing."
Jove sent them a Stork,
Who did royal work,
For he gobbled them up, did their king.
DON'T HAVE KINGS
~ ~ ~
Jacobs 22. The Frog and the Ox (Perry 376)
"Oh Father," said a little Frog to the big one sitting by the side of a pool, "I have seen such a terrible monster! It was as big as a mountain, with horns on its head, and a long tail, and it had hoofs divided in two."
"Tush, child, tush," said the old Frog, "that was only Farmer White's Ox. It isn't so big either; he may be a little bit taller than I, but I could easily make myself quite as broad; just you see." So he blew himself out, and blew himself out, and blew himself out. "Was he as big as that?" asked he.
"Oh, much bigger than that," said the young Frog.
Again the old one blew himself out, and asked the young one if the Ox was as big as that.
"Bigger, Father, bigger," was the reply.
So the Frog took a deep breath, and blew and blew and blew, and swelled and swelled and swelled. And then he said: "I'm sure the Ox is not as big as..."
But at this moment he burst. Self-conceit may lead to self-destruction.
Crane 14. The Frog and The Bull (Perry 376)
Said the Frog, quite puffed up to the eyes,
Was this Bull about me as to size?"
"Rather bigger, frog-brother."
"Puff, puff," said the other,
"A Frog is a Bull if he tries."
BRAG IS NOT ALWAYS BELIEF
~ ~ ~
Jacobs 42. The Fisher (Perry 11)
A Fisher once took his bagpipes to the bank of a river, and played upon them with the hope of making the fish rise, but never a one put his nose out of the water. So he cast his net into the river and soon drew it forth filled with fish. Then he took his bagpipes again, and, as he played, the fish leapt up in the net. "Ah, you dance now when I play," said he.
"Yes," said an old Fish: "When you are in a man's power you must do as he bids you."
~ ~ ~
Jacobs 53. The Fisher and the Little Fish (Perry 18)
It happened that a Fisher, after fishing all day, caught only a little fish. "Pray, let me go, master," said the Fish. "I am much too small for your eating just now. If you put me back into the river I shall soon grow, then you can make a fine meal off me."
"Nay, nay, my little Fish," said the Fisher, "I have you now. I may not catch you hereafter."
A little thing in hand is worth more than a great thing in prospect.
Crane 63. The Fisherman and The Fish (Perry 18)
Prayed the Fish, as the Fisherman took
Him, a poor little mite, from his hook,
"Let me go! I'm so small."
He replied, "Not at all!
You're the biggest, perhaps, in the brook."
A LITTLE CERTAINTY IS BETTER THAN A GREAT CHANCE
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