La Fontaine: More Foolish Animals (Larned)

These stories are part of the La Fontaine unit. Story source: Fables in Rhyme for Little Folks by W. T. Larned and illustrated by John Rae (1918).

The Dog And His Image

A foolish Dog, who carried in his jaw
A juicy bone,
Looked down into a stream, and there he saw
Another one,

     Splash! In he plunged... The image disappeared —

The meat he had was gone.
Indeed, he nearly sank,
And barely reached the bank.

The City Mouse and the Country Mouse

LIBRIVOX AUDIO: The City Mouse And The Country Mouse

A City Mouse, with ways polite,
A Country Mouse invited
To sup with him and spend the night.
Said Country Mouse: "De—lighted!"

In truth it proved a royal treat,
With everything that's good to eat.

Alas! When they had just begun
To gobble their dinner,
A knock was heard that made them run.
The City Mouse seemed thinner.

And as they scampered and turned tail,
He saw the Country Mouse grow pale.

      A knock was heard.

The knocking ceased. A false alarm!
The City Mouse grew braver.
"Come back!" he cried. "No, no! The farm,
Where I'll not quake or quaver,
Suits me," replied the Country Mouse.
"You're welcome to your city house."

The Monkey and the Cat

Jocko the Monkey, Mouser — his chum, the Cat,
Had the same master. Both were sleek and fat,
And mischievous. If anything went wrong,
The neighbors where not blamed. Be sure of that.

Jocko, 'tis said was something of a thief;
Mouser, if truth be told, would just as lief
Much stolen cheese as chase the midnight mouse.
The praise bestowed on either must be brief.

One day these rogues, stretched flat before the fire,
Saw chestnuts roassting. "Ah! Could we conspire
To jerk them out," said Jocko, "from the coals,
We'd smash the shells and have our heart's desire.

"Come, Brother Mouser! This day 'tis your turn
To do some bold and desperate thing to earn
A reputation. You, who are so quick,
Snatch out the nuts before they start to burn.

"Alas! That I, a Monkey, was not made
To play with fire. But you are not afraid."
So Mouser — pleased, like many a cat or man,
With pretty words — sly Jocko's wish obeyed.

Into the fire he put a practiced paw:
Out came a chestnut clinging to his claw —
Another and another. As they dropped
Jocko devoured them, whether roast or raw.

      So Mouser — pleased — sly Joko's wish obeyed.

A servant enters. Off the robbers run.
Jocko, you may be sure, enjoyed the fun.
But Mouser's paw is sadly singed — for what?
Just to get nuts for Jocko. He got none.

(400 words)

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