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The Buffoon and the Countryman

from Aesop's Fables





A RICH NOBLEMAN once opened the theaters without charge to the
people, and gave a public notice that he would handsomely reward
any person who invented a new amusement for the occasion.
Various public performers contended for the prize. Among them
came a Buffoon well known among the populace for his jokes, and
said that he had a kind of entertainment which had never been
brought out on any stage before. This report being spread about
made a great stir, and the theater was crowded in every part.
The Buffoon appeared alone upon the platform, without any
apparatus or confederates, and the very sense of expectation
caused an intense silence. He suddenly bent his head towards his
bosom and imitated the squeaking of a little pig so admirably
with his voice that the audience declared he had a porker under
his cloak, and demanded that it should be shaken out. When that
was done and nothing was found, they cheered the actor, and
loaded him with the loudest applause. A Countryman in the crowd,
observing all that has passed, said, "So help me, Hercules, he
shall not beat me at that trick!" and at once proclaimed that he
would do the same thing on the next day, though in a much more
natural way. On the morrow a still larger crowd assembled in the
theater, but now partiality for their favorite actor very
generally prevailed, and the audience came rather to ridicule the
Countryman than to see the spectacle. Both of the performers
appeared on the stage. The Buffoon grunted and squeaked away
first, and obtained, as on the preceding day, the applause and
cheers of the spectators. Next the Countryman commenced, and
pretending that he concealed a little pig beneath his clothes
(which in truth he did, but not suspected by the audience )
contrived to take hold of and to pull his ear causing the pig to
squeak. The Crowd, however, cried out with one consent that the
Buffoon had given a far more exact imitation, and clamored for
the Countryman to be kicked out of the theater. On this the
rustic produced the little pig from his cloak and showed by the
most positive proof the greatness of their mistake. "Look here,"
he said, "this shows what sort of judges you are."





Next: The Crow and the Serpent

Previous: The Hen and the Swallow



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