[Notes by LKG]
These stories are part of the Aesop (Winter) unit. Story source: The Aesop for Children, with illustrations by Milo Winter (1919).
The Dog and His Master's Dinner
A Dog had learned to carry his master's dinner to him every day. He was very faithful to his duty, though the smell of the good things in the basket tempted him.
The Dogs in the neighborhood noticed him carrying the basket and soon discovered what was in it. They made several attempts to steal it from him. But he always guarded it faithfully.
Then one day all the Dogs in the neighborhood got together and met him on his way with the basket. The Dog tried to run away from them. But at last he stopped to argue.
That was his mistake. They soon made him feel so ridiculous that he dropped the basket and seized a large piece of roast meat intended for his master's dinner.
"Very well," he said, "you divide the rest."
Do not stop to argue with temptation.
It happened once upon a time that a certain Greek ship bound for Athens was wrecked off the coast close to Piraeus, the port of Athens. Had it not been for the Dolphins, who at that time were very friendly toward mankind and especially toward Athenians, all would have perished. But the Dolphins took the shipwrecked people on their backs and swam with them to shore.
Now it was the custom among the Greeks to take their pet monkeys and dogs with them whenever they went on a voyage. So when one of the Dolphins saw a Monkey struggling in the water, he thought it was a man and made the Monkey climb up on his back. Then off he swam with him toward the shore.
The Monkey sat up, grave and dignified, on the Dolphin's back.
"You are a citizen of illustrious Athens, are you not?" asked the Dolphin politely.
"Yes," answered the Monkey, proudly. "My family is one of the noblest in the city."
"Indeed," said the Dolphin. "Then of course you often visit Piraeus."
"Yes, yes," replied the Monkey. "Indeed, I do. I am with him constantly. Piraeus is my very best friend."
This answer took the Dolphin by surprise, and, turning his head, he now saw what it was he was carrying. Without more ado, he dived and left the foolish Monkey to take care of himself, while he swam off in search of some human being to save.
One falsehood leads to another.
The Wolf and the Ass
An Ass was feeding in a pasture near a wood when he saw a Wolf lurking in the shadows along the hedge. He easily guessed what the Wolf had in mind, and thought of a plan to save himself. So he pretended he was lame, and began to hobble painfully.
When the Wolf came up, he asked the Ass what had made him lame, and the Ass replied that he had stepped on a sharp thorn.
"Please pull it out," he pleaded, groaning as if in pain. "If you do not, it might stick in your throat when you eat me."
The Wolf saw the wisdom of the advice, for he wanted to enjoy his meal without any danger of choking. So the Ass lifted up his foot and the Wolf began to search very closely and carefully for the thorn.
Just then the Ass kicked out with all his might, tumbling the Wolf a dozen paces away. And while the Wolf was getting very slowly and painfully to his feet, the Ass galloped away in safety.
"Serves me right," growled the Wolf as he crept into the bushes. "I'm a butcher by trade, not a doctor."
Stick to your trade.
Next: Aesop (Winter): Page 10