great wrong


One day a selfish Boy saw a jar of nuts. He put his hand into the jar
and grasped as many as his hand could hold. As the mouth of the jar was
small he could not pull his hand out, so he became frightened and began
to cry. “I can’t get my hand out!” he whined. A boy standing near said,
“Take only half as many, and you can easily get your hand out!”


Once there was a man who had a wonderful Goose that laid for him every
day a fine golden egg. But the man wanted to get all the golden eggs at
once. So he killed the Goose and cut her open, but found she was like
all other geese. So he lost the Goose he had because he was so greedy
and impatient.


Once a hungry Cow came to a manger full of hay. But a Dog was lying
there, snarling and barking, and would not let the Cow come near the
hay. “Mr. Dog,” mooed the Cow, “How selfish you are; you cannot eat
the hay yourself, and you will let no one else have any of it.”


In a forest a Toadstool once sprang up in a night. Early the next
morning, as soon as the first passer-by touched it with his foot, the
Toadstool fell to the earth and its life was ended. A little Acorn grew
and grew and grew during more than one hundred years, and it is still
standing strong and tall in the forest.


One day some boys at play were throwing stones into a pond at some
frogs. At last one old Frog peeped up out of the water and said, “Boys,
why are you so cruel?” “We are only playing!” shouted the boys. The old
Frog croaked back: “It may be fun for you, but remember it is death to
us. Do to us as you would like us to do to you.”


Once a little Ant went down to the river to drink. He fell into the
water and began to drown. Just then a Dove, perched on a tree, saw
him and quickly dropped down a leaf, which served as a little boat on
which the Ant sailed safely to the shore. “Thank you,” said the Ant as
he shook his wet feet, “I shall not forget this.” Next day a Hunter
was aiming his bow and arrow straight at the Dove when the Ant bit his
foot, making the man jump, and the Dove flew away.


A Fox who was hungry saw some large, juicy grapes on a vine high up in
a tree. “How good they will taste,” said he; “I am going to have some
of them.” Then he gave a run and leaped as high as he could, but the
grapes were still far above his head. He could not reach them no matter
how high he jumped. At last he trotted off in a rage, muttering, “I
know those are sour grapes and not worth eating.”


Once a Crow who was very thirsty found a pitcher with a little water
at the bottom which he was unable to reach. He tried to overturn the
pitcher but it was too heavy. “Ah! Ah! I know what I’ll do,” he said.
So he gathered up pebbles from the ground, and one after another
dropped them into the pitcher until the water gradually reached the
top. Then the wise Crow was able to drink all the water he wanted.


One morning the Wind said to the Sun, “I am stronger than you are.” The
Sun said, “I know I am stronger than you are.” As they were quarreling
over the question a traveler came in sight. So they agreed to decide
the matter by seeing which first could make him take off his coat. Then
the Wind began blowing, blowing as fiercely as he could. He nearly tore
off the traveler’s coat, but the man buttoned his coat up more closely
about him, and the Wind had to give up, beaten. Then the Sun, clearing
away the clouds, shot his hottest beams down on the traveler’s back,
and the man soon threw off his coat. Then the Sun said, “Wind, you make
more noise, but, you see, I am stronger.”


Once there was a boy who took care of a flock of sheep near a town.
One day, when some men were working in the town, they heard the boy
call, “Wolf! Wolf! The wolves are among the lambs!” The men ran up to
him in great haste, but found no wolf among the lambs at all. The boy
had a good laugh, and said, “I only called you for a joke!” He did the
same thing two or three times. At last the wolves really came and began
carrying off the lambs. The boy cried, “Wolf! Wolf! The wolves are
carrying away the lambs!” But the men said, “He can’t fool us again!”
So they would not come, and the wolves carried off many of the lambs.
The foolish boy lost his place and found out, when too late, that a
boy who tells lies, even in fun, may not be believed when he tells the


Once an old Lion was sitting at the door of his den when a Rabbit came
near. “Good morning, Bunny,” said the Lion, “come in and see my nice
den.” “Thank you,” said Bun, and went in, but he did not come out
again. Soon a Dog came by. “Come in, friend Doggie,” said the Lion.
“Thank you,” said the Dog, and he went in, but he did not come out
again. By and by a Fox came along. “Good morning, Mr. Fox,” said the
Lion, “come in and see me.” “No, thank you, sir,” said the Fox, “I see
the footprints of a Rabbit and a Dog going in, but I see no footprints
pointing out.”


One day a Hare stood laughing at the slow pace of the Tortoise,
and boasting how swiftly he could run. The Tortoise laughed back
cheerfully, “Let us race five miles, and let Mr. Fox be the judge, and
decide who beats.” So they got ready, and when the Fox said “One, two,
three, go!” off they started. The slow-going Tortoise, jogging along,
was soon left far behind by the swift-speeding Hare, who laughed at
the fun and said, “I might as well take a nap!” When the Hare awoke he
looked up and saw the Tortoise almost at the goal. Running like the
wind he reached the goal a few minutes too late. “Oh, oh, my friend,”
laughed Judge Fox, “slow and steady wins the race.”


Once a Cat and a Fox met in the wood. The Fox said: “I know a hundred
different tricks for getting away from hunters’ dogs. How many do you
know, Puss?” “I know only one,” said Puss, “and if that fails me I am
a dead cat!” “Poor, poor Pussy,” sighed the Fox, “I am sorry for you!”
Just then the cries of hunters and barking of dogs were heard. The
Fox ran off as fast as he could, trying this trick and that, but the
hunters’ dogs soon caught him. The Cat simply sprang up to the top of a
tree. That was her one trick, and she was safe. “I see,” said Puss, as
she saw the Fox carried off, “one good trick is better than a thousand
poor ones.”


One day a very young Grasshopper and an old Rooster met out in a
field. “I can jump higher than anybody,” chirped the Grasshopper.
“All right; let me see you do it,” said the Rooster, at the same time
opening his mouth wide as if he meant to yawn. “Here I go, then,”
cried the Grasshopper. He jumped so high he landed right in the mouth
of the Rooster, who gulped him down. That was the end of the boasting


Six blind beggars sitting by a roadside as an Elephant passed were told
that they might touch it so that they would know what an Elephant
was like. The first one touched only the Elephant’s side and said, “He
is like a wall!” The second one felt only his tusk and said, “No, no,
he is like a spear.” The third took hold of his trunk and said, “He is
surely like a snake.” “No such thing,” cried the fourth, grasping one
of his legs, “he is like a tree.” The fifth was a tall man and took
hold of his ear, and said, “All of you are wrong, he is like a big
fan.” The sixth man happened to catch hold of his tail, and cried, “O
foolish fellows, he is not like a wall, nor a spear, nor a snake, nor a
tree, nor a fan; he is exactly like a rope.” So the Elephant passed on
while the six blind men stood there quarreling, each being sure he knew
exactly how the Elephant looked, and each calling the others hard names
because the rest did not agree with him.



One warm summer day an Ant was busy gathering food and laying it up
for winter. A foolish little Grasshopper who saw him said: “Oh, you
poor slave, why do you work so hard? See how I play and enjoy myself!
Play and sing with me.” “No, no,” replied the Ant; “if I play now,
what shall I have ready for winter?” “Oh, it isn’t winter yet,” said
the idle long-legs, as he hopped off again to play. At last the cold,
bitter winter came. Then the Grasshopper went to the Ant to beg for
some food to keep from starving, but the Ant said, “Those who play and
dance all summer must expect to dance hungry to bed in winter.”


Once a Fox went trot, trot, trot, toward a hen-roost to catch a hen.
But the farmer had set a trap in which Mr. Fox caught his long, bushy
tail, and it came right off. As he trotted back home, ashamed to be
seen without his tail, he said: “I know what I will do; I will tell
the foxes tails are ugly and useless. Let us cut them off.” So he
called all the foxes in council, but he took good care to hold his back
against a tree, so they could not see that he did not have a tail.
While he was making his speech, urging them to cut off their tails, one
little fox peeped behind the tree and cried, “Oh! Oh! he has lost his
tail!” Then another fox gave him a push, and as he ran off in shame,
all the foxes laughed, “That is why he wanted us to cut off our tails.”


“Hurrah! Hurrah!” shouted a boy in the woods one day. “Hurrah! Hurrah!”
some one shouted back. He thought it must be another boy in the woods,
and started off to find him, but no other boy was to be seen anywhere.
“Where are you?” he called out. “Where are you?” came back at once.
“You are mocking me!” he cried. “You are mocking me,” came again the
voice. “You are a goose,” the boy cried, becoming angry. “You are a
goose,” came back the same voice. The boy began to cry, and ran home
to tell his mother that a bad boy hiding in the woods called him bad
names. “Did he speak first or you?” his mother asked. When he explained
it all, his mother said: “There was only one boy there, and you were
that boy, and what you heard was your echo. If you had spoken kind
words, only kind words would have come back to you.”


One cold night an Arab sat in his tent, and his Camel asked if he
might put his nose inside the tent to keep it warm. “Yes,” said the
kind-hearted man. Soon the Camel said, “Please let me put my neck
inside,” which his master permitted. “It will take no more room if I
put my two front feet inside too, will it?” pleaded the Camel. The
man moved a little to allow that. “May I please put my hump in too?”
begged the Camel. Then, as soon as his hump was in, the Camel walked in
altogether. The Arab began to complain, but the Camel said, “If you do
not like this small space, you can go outside yourself.” Then he gave
the Arab a push that landed him right out of his tent and stayed inside
all by himself. That was the Arab’s reward for allowing the Camel to
put his nose inside the tent.


Two Cats who had stolen a large piece of cheese were quarreling over
dividing it. At last they decided to refer the matter to a Monkey, who
took a pair of scales and, breaking the cheese into two pieces, placed
a piece in each scale. “Let me see,” he said, taking out the heavier
piece, “this piece weighs more than the other.” Then he bit off quite a
piece and put it back on the scale, and, of course, it was lighter than
the other piece. So he took a mouthful from that side, and continued
taking from first one side and then the other, until the Cats cried,
“Hold! Hold! Give us the two pieces and we will be satisfied.” “Not so
fast,” replied the Monkey, “justice must be given,” and he continued
to nibble one piece after another. The Cats saw their cheese was
almost gone and begged for what was left. “No, no, my friends,” said
the Monkey, “what remains belongs to me for my pay!” So he crammed the
rest into his mouth and munched it in hearty enjoyment as he solemnly
dismissed the court.


One day a Lion was lying fast asleep in a thick wood, when a little
Mouse, playing “hide-and-seek,” ran over the Lion’s nose and awakened
him. As quick as a flash the Lion caught the Mouse under his paw. “O
Lion, do not eat me, please,” begged the Mouse, “I am such a little
thing. I could not make you a mouthful. Let me go and some day I will
do something to help you.” This made the Lion laugh, but he let the
Mouse scamper off. Later on this good Lion was caught in a net and
roared in distress. The Mouse heard him and ran up and said, “Now, Mr.
Lion, I will do something to help you.” “How can you?” roared the Lion.
Quickly the Mouse began to gnaw the net with his sharp little teeth. It
took a long time, but at last the Lion was free. The Mouse laughed as
he scampered away again, saying, “Little friends may help as much as
great friends. I did help you after all, you see!”


Once a Lark and her little ones lived together in a nest in a field of
ripened wheat. The mother bird was afraid the reapers might come before
the young larks could fly. So every morning when she went for food she
told them to listen carefully to all they heard and tell her when she
returned. On the first evening they said, “We heard the farmer tell his
son to ask the neighbors to help reap the wheat.” “Oh, no danger yet,”
said Mother Lark. The next evening they said, “We heard the farmer tell
his son to ask his uncle and cousins to help reap the wheat.” “Oh, no
danger yet!” said the mother. On the third evening they said, “To-day
we heard the farmer say to his son, ‘To-morrow we will reap the wheat
ourselves!’” “Then,” cried the mother, “we must fly away at once, for
the wheat is sure to be cut now. When a man makes up his mind to do a
thing himself, it is more likely to be done.” She took her young ones
away at once, and the next day the wheat was reaped by the farmer and
his son.


Once an old Miller and his son were walking along a country road behind
their Donkey, which they were driving to town to sell. On the way they
met some girls who said, “Look! What stupid people to walk instead
of riding.” Wishing to please them the old Miller put his son on the
Donkey and walked along by their side. Soon they came to some men who
shouted: “Look; what a lazy lout! Are you not ashamed to ride, while
your poor old father walks?” Wishing to please them the Miller told his
son to get down while he mounted and rode. Not long after they met some
women who cried, “Look, what a shame for that selfish old father to
ride while his son walks!” So the father, wishing again to please, took
up his son behind him. They had not gone far when they met a man who
said, “Look at that shameful sight! Why, those two strong fellows are
better able to carry that poor beast than he is to carry them.” Wishing
to please him the Miller and his son got down, tied the Donkey’s legs
together between a long pole, shouldered the load, and began carrying
the Donkey in this way along the road. When they came to the town
bridge they met a crowd of people who shouted with such laughter and
jeers at this funny sight of seeing them carrying a Donkey, that the
frightened animal kicked himself loose, and fell over the bridge into
the river and was drowned. The Miller said to his son, “By trying to
please everybody we have pleased nobody and lost our Donkey.”


Once there was a Persian Ruler, who lived in a great palace with his
three sons. The father had a beautiful pearl which he decided to give
to the son which showed himself the noblest. He called the three boys
before him and asked each to tell the noblest deed he had performed
in the last month. The eldest said: “Father, as I was traveling in a
foreign land, a merchant trusted me with many valuable jewels, and he
did not count them. I might easily have kept one or two and they would
not have been missed, but I carried those jewels and delivered them all
as safely as though they had been my own.” “My son,” said the father,
“you were honest, and did a noble deed!”

“Father,” said the second son, “as I was walking in the country the
other day, I saw a child playing by a lake, and while I watched, the
child fell in and I saved the child.” “You have done your duty,” said
the father, “and you too have done a noble deed.”

“Father,” said the third boy, “as I crossed over the mountain the other
day, I saw a man who had done me a great wrong, sleeping near the edge
of a dangerous precipice. I would have walked by without a word, only
something within me called me to go back and awake him lest he fall
over the precipice and be killed. I did this, knowing all the time that
the man would not understand, and that he would be angry with me, as,
indeed, he was.”

“My son,” cried the father, “your deed was the noblest. To do good to
an enemy without hope of reward is indeed the noblest of all. The pearl
is yours!”