: FABLES FOR CHILDREN
: Fables For Children, Stories For Children, Natural Science Stori
THE ANT AND THE DOVE
An Ant came down to the brook: he wanted to drink. A wave washed him
down and almost drowned him. A Dove was carrying a branch; she saw the
Ant was drowning, so she cast the branch down to him in the brook. The
Ant got up on the branch and was saved. Then a hunter placed a snare for
the Dove, and was on the point of drawing it in. The Ant crawled up to
the hunter and bit him on the le
; the hunter groaned and dropped the
snare. The Dove fluttered upwards and flew away.
THE TURTLE AND THE EAGLE
A Turtle asked an Eagle to teach her how to fly. The Eagle advised her
not to try, as she was not fit for it; but she insisted. The Eagle took
her in his claws, raised her up, and dropped her: she fell on stones and
broke to pieces.
A Polecat entered a smithy and began to lick the filings. Blood began to
flow from the Polecat's mouth, but he was glad and continued to lick; he
thought that the blood was coming from the iron, and lost his whole
THE LION AND THE MOUSE
A Lion was sleeping. A Mouse ran over his body. He awoke and caught her.
The Mouse besought him; she said:
"Let me go, and I will do you a favour!"
The Lion laughed at the Mouse for promising him a favour, and let her
Then the hunters caught the Lion and tied him with a rope to a tree. The
Mouse heard the Lion's roar, ran up, gnawed the rope through, and said:
"Do you remember? You laughed, not thinking that I could repay, but now
you see that a favour may come also from a Mouse."
A Boy was watching the sheep and, pretending that he saw a wolf, he
began to cry:
"Help! A wolf! A wolf!"
The peasants came running up and saw that it was not so. After doing
this for a second and a third time, it happened that a wolf came indeed.
The Boy began to cry:
"Come, come, quickly, a wolf!"
The peasants thought that he was deceiving them as usual, and paid no
attention to him. The wolf saw there was no reason to be afraid: he
leisurely killed the whole flock.
THE ASS AND THE HORSE
A man had an Ass and a Horse. They were walking on the road; the Ass
said to the Horse:
"It is heavy for me.--I shall not be able to carry it all; take at least
a part of my load."
The Horse paid no attention to him. The Ass fell down from overstraining
himself, and died. When the master transferred the Ass's load on the
Horse, and added the Ass's hide, the Horse began to complain:
"Oh, woe to me, poor one, woe to me, unfortunate Horse! I did not want
to help him even a little, and now I have to carry everything, and his
THE JACKDAW AND THE DOVES
A Jackdaw saw that the Doves were well fed,--so she painted herself
white and flew into the dove-cot. The Doves thought at first that she
was a dove like them, and let her in. But the Jackdaw forgot herself and
croaked in jackdaw fashion. Then the Doves began to pick at her and
drove her away. The Jackdaw flew back to her friends, but the jackdaws
were frightened at her, seeing her white, and themselves drove her away.
THE WOMAN AND THE HEN
A Hen laid an egg each day. The Mistress thought that if she gave her
more to eat, she would lay twice as much. So she did. The Hen grew fat
and stopped laying.
THE LION, THE BEAR, AND THE FOX
A Lion and a Bear procured some meat and began to fight for it. The Bear
did not want to give in, nor did the Lion yield. They fought for so long
a time that they both grew feeble and lay down. A Fox saw the meat
between them; she grabbed it and ran away with it.
THE DOG, THE COCK, AND THE FOX
A Dog and a Cock went to travel together. At night the Cock fell asleep
in a tree, and the Dog fixed a place for himself between the roots of
that tree. When the time came, the Cock began to crow. A Fox heard the
Cock, ran up to the tree, and began to beg the Cock to come down, as she
wanted to give him her respects for such a fine voice.
The Cock said:
"You must first wake up the janitor,--he is sleeping between the roots.
Let him open up, and I will come down."
The Fox began to look for the janitor, and started yelping. The Dog
sprang out at once and killed the Fox.
THE HORSE AND THE GROOM
A Groom stole the Horse's oats, and sold them, but he cleaned the Horse
each day. Said the Horse:
"If you really wish me to be in good condition, do not sell my oats."
THE FROG AND THE LION
A Lion heard a Frog croaking, and thought it was a large beast that was
calling so loud. He walked up, and saw a Frog coming out of the swamp.
The Lion crushed her with his paw and said:
"There is nothing to look at, and yet I was frightened."
THE GRASSHOPPER AND THE ANTS
In the fall the wheat of the Ants got wet; they were drying it. A hungry
Grasshopper asked them for something to eat. The Ants said:
"Why did you not gather food during the summer?"
"I had no time: I sang songs."
They laughed, and said:
"If you sang in the summer, dance in the winter!"
THE HEN AND THE GOLDEN EGGS
A master had a Hen which laid golden eggs. He wanted more gold at once,
and so killed the Hen (he thought that inside of her there was a large
lump of gold), but she was just like any other hen.
THE ASS IN THE LION'S SKIN
An Ass put on a lion's skin, and all thought it was a lion. Men and
animals ran away from him. A wind sprang up, and the skin was blown
aside, and the Ass could be seen. People ran up and beat the Ass.
THE HEN AND THE SWALLOW
A Hen found some snake's eggs and began to sit on them. A Swallow saw it
"Stupid one! You will hatch them out, and, when they grow up, you will
be the first one to suffer from them."
THE STAG AND THE FAWN
A Fawn once said to a Stag:
"Father, you are larger and fleeter than the dogs, and, besides, you
have huge antlers for defence; why, then, are you so afraid of the
The Stag laughed, and said:
"You speak the truth, my child. The trouble is,--the moment I hear the
dogs bark, I run before I have time to think."
THE FOX AND THE GRAPES
A Fox saw some ripe bunches of grapes hanging high, and tried to get at
them, in order to eat them.
She tried hard, but could not get them. To drown her annoyance she said:
"They are still sour."
THE MAIDS AND THE COCK
A mistress used to wake the Maids at night and, as soon as the cocks
crowed, put them to work. The Maids found that hard, and decided to kill
the Cock, so that the mistress should not be wakened. They killed him,
but now they suffered more than ever: the mistress was afraid that she
would sleep past the time and so began to wake the Maids earlier.
THE FISHERMAN AND THE FISH
A Fisherman caught a Fish. Said the Fish:
"Fisherman, let me go into the water; you see I am small: you will have
little profit of me. If you let me go, I shall grow up, and then you
will catch me when it will be worth while."
But the Fisherman said:
"A fool would be he who should wait for greater profit, and let the
lesser slip out of his hands."
THE FOX AND THE GOAT
A Goat wanted to drink. He went down the incline to the well, drank his
fill, and gained in weight. He started to get out, but could not do so.
He began to bleat. A Fox saw him and said:
"That's it, stupid one! If you had as much sense in your head as there
are hairs in your beard, you would have thought of how to get out before
you climbed down."
THE DOG AND HER SHADOW
A Dog was crossing the river over a plank, carrying a piece of meat in
her teeth. She saw herself in the water and thought that another dog
was carrying a piece of meat. She dropped her piece and dashed forward
to take away what the other dog had: the other meat was gone, and her
own was carried away by the stream.
And thus the Dog was left without anything.
THE CRANE AND THE STORK
A peasant put out his nets to catch the Cranes for tramping down his
field. In the nets were caught the Cranes, and with them one Stork.
The Stork said to the peasant:
"Let me go! I am not a Crane, but a Stork; we are most honoured birds; I
live on your father's house. You can see by my feathers that I am not a
The peasant said:
"With the Cranes I have caught you, and with them will I kill you."
THE GARDENER AND HIS SONS
A Gardener wanted his Sons to get used to gardening. As he was dying, he
called them up and said to them:
"Children, when I am dead, look for what is hidden in the vineyard."
The Sons thought that it was a treasure, and when their father died,
they began to dig there, and dug up the whole ground. They did not find
the treasure, but they ploughed the vineyard up so well that it brought
forth more fruit than ever.
THE WOLF AND THE CRANE
A Wolf had a bone stuck in his throat, and could not cough it up. He
called the Crane, and said to him:
"Crane, you have a long neck. Thrust your head into my throat and draw
out the bone! I will reward you."
The Crane stuck his head in, pulled out the bone, and said:
"Give me my reward!"
The Wolf gnashed his teeth and said:
"Is it not enough reward for you that I did not bite off your head when
it was between my teeth?"
THE HARES AND THE FROGS
The Hares once got together, and began to complain about their life:
"We perish from men, and from dogs, and from eagles, and from all the
other beasts. It would be better to die at once than to live in fright
and suffer. Come, let us drown ourselves!"
And the Hares raced away to drown themselves in a lake. The Frogs heard
the Hares and plumped into the water. So one of the Hares said:
"Wait, boys! Let us put off the drowning! Evidently the Frogs are having
a harder life than we: they are afraid even of us."
THE FATHER AND HIS SONS
A Father told his Sons to live in peace: they paid no attention to him.
So he told them to bring the bath broom, and said:
No matter how much they tried, they could not break it. Then the Father
unclosed the broom, and told them to break the rods singly. They broke
The Father said:
"So it is with you: if you live in peace, no one will overcome you; but
if you quarrel, and are divided, any one will easily ruin you."
A Fox got caught in a trap. She tore off her tail, and got away. She
began to contrive how to cover up her shame. She called together the
Foxes, and begged them to cut off their tails.
"A tail," she said, "is a useless thing. In vain do we drag along a dead
One of the Foxes said:
"You would not be speaking thus, if you were not tailless!"
The tailless Fox grew silent and went away.
THE WILD ASS AND THE TAME ASS
A Wild Ass saw a Tame Ass. The Wild Ass went up to him and began to
praise his life, saying how smooth his body was, and what sweet feed he
received. Later, when the Tame Ass was loaded down, and a driver began
to goad him with a stick, the Wild Ass said:
"No, brother, I do not envy you: I see that your life is going hard with
A Stag went to the brook to quench his thirst. He saw himself in the
water, and began to admire his horns, seeing how large and branching
they were; and he looked at his feet, and said: "But my feet are
unseemly and thin."
Suddenly a Lion sprang out and made for the Stag. The Stag started to
run over the open plain. He was getting away, but there came a forest,
and his horns caught in the branches, and the lion caught him. As the
Stag was dying, he said:
"How foolish I am! That which I thought to be unseemly and thin was
saving me, and what I gloried in has been my ruin."
THE DOG AND THE WOLF
A Dog fell asleep back of the yard. A Wolf ran up and wanted to eat him.
Said the Dog:
"Wolf, don't eat me yet: now I am lean and bony. Wait a little,--my
master is going to celebrate a wedding; then I shall have plenty to eat;
I shall grow fat. It will be better to eat me then."
The Wolf believed her, and went away. Then he came a second time, and
saw the Dog lying on the roof. The Wolf said to her:
"Well, have they had the wedding?"
The Dog replied:
"Listen, Wolf! If you catch me again asleep in front of the yard, do not
wait for the wedding."
THE GNAT AND THE LION
A Gnat came to a Lion, and said:
"Do you think that you have more strength than I? You are mistaken! What
does your strength consist in? Is it that you scratch with your claws,
and gnaw with your teeth? That is the way the women quarrel with their
husbands. I am stronger than you: if you wish let us fight!"
And the Gnat sounded his horn, and began to bite the Lion on his bare
cheeks and his nose. The Lion struck his face with his paws and
scratched it with his claws. He tore his face until the blood came, and
The Gnat trumpeted for joy, and flew away. Then he became entangled in a
spider's web, and the spider began to suck him up. The Gnat said:
"I have vanquished the strong beast, the Lion, and now I perish from
this nasty spider."
THE HORSE AND HIS MASTERS
A gardener had a Horse. She had much to do, but little to eat; so she
began to pray to God to get another master. And so it happened. The
gardener sold the Horse to a potter. The Horse was glad, but the potter
had even more work for her to do. And again the Horse complained of her
lot, and began to pray that she might get a better master. And this
prayer, too, was fulfilled. The potter sold the Horse to a tanner. When
the Horse saw the skins of horses in the tanner's yard, she began to
"Woe to me, wretched one! It would be better if I could stay with my old
masters. It is evident they have sold me now not for work, but for my
THE OLD MAN AND DEATH
An Old Man cut some wood, which he carried away. He had to carry it far.
He grew tired, so he put down his bundle, and said:
"Oh, if Death would only come!"
Death came, and said:
"Here I am, what do you want?"
The Old Man was frightened, and said:
"Lift up my bundle!"
THE LION AND THE FOX
A Lion, growing old, was unable to catch the animals, and so intended to
live by cunning. He went into a den, lay down there, and pretended that
he was sick. The animals came to see him, and he ate up those that went
into his den. The Fox guessed the trick. She stood at the entrance of
the den, and said:
"Well, Lion, how are you feeling?"
The Lion answered:
"Poorly. Why don't you come in?"
The Fox replied:
"I do not come in because I see by the tracks that many have entered,
but none have come out."
THE STAG AND THE VINEYARD
A Stag hid himself from the hunters in a vineyard. When the hunters
missed him, the Stag began to nibble at the grape-vine leaves.
The hunters noticed that the leaves were moving, and so they thought,
"There must be an animal under those leaves," and fired their guns, and
wounded the Stag.
The Stag said, dying:
"It serves me right for wanting to eat the leaves that saved me."
THE CAT AND THE MICE
A house was overrun with Mice. A Cat found his way into the house, and
began to catch them. The Mice saw that matters were bad, and said:
"Mice, let us not come down from the ceiling! The Cat cannot get up
When the Mice stopped coming down, the Cat decided that he must catch
them by a trick. He grasped the ceiling with one leg, hung down from it,
and made believe that he was dead.
A Mouse looked out at him, but said:
"No, my friend! Even if you should turn into a bag, I would not go up to
THE WOLF AND THE GOAT
A Wolf saw a Goat browsing on a rocky mountain, and he could not get at
her; so he said to her:
"Come down lower! The place is more even, and the grass is much sweeter
to feed on."
But the Goat answered:
"You are not calling me down for that, Wolf: you are troubling yourself
not about my food, but about yours."
THE REEDS AND THE OLIVE-TREE
The Olive-tree and the Reeds quarrelled about who was stronger and
sounder. The Olive-tree laughed at the Reeds because they bent in every
wind. The Reeds kept silence. A storm came: the Reeds swayed, tossed,
bowed to the ground,--and remained unharmed. The Olive-tree strained her
branches against the wind,--and broke.
THE TWO COMPANIONS
Two Companions were walking through the forest when a Bear jumped out on
them. One started to run, climbed a tree, and hid himself, but the other
remained in the road. He had nothing to do, so he fell down on the
ground and pretended that he was dead.
The Bear went up to him, and sniffed at him; but he had stopped
The Bear sniffed at his face; he thought that he was dead, and so went
When the Bear was gone, the Companion climbed down from the tree and
laughing, said: "What did the Bear whisper in your ear?"
"He told me that those who in danger run away from their companions are
THE WOLF AND THE LAMB
A Wolf saw a Lamb drinking at a river. The Wolf wanted to eat the Lamb,
and so he began to annoy him. He said:
"You are muddling my water and do not let me drink."
The Lamb said:
"How can I muddle your water? I am standing downstream from you;
besides, I drink with the tips of my lips."
And the Wolf said:
"Well, why did you call my father names last summer?"
The Lamb said:
"But, Wolf, I was not yet born last summer."
The Wolf got angry, and said:
"It is hard to get the best of you. Besides, my stomach is empty, so I
will devour you."
THE LION, THE WOLF, AND THE FOX
An old, sick Lion was lying in his den. All the animals came to see the
king, but the Fox kept away. So the Wolf was glad of the chance, and
began to slander the Fox before the Lion.
"She does not esteem you in the least," he said, "she has not come once
to see the king."
The Fox happened to run by as he was saying these words. She heard what
the Wolf had said, and thought:
"Wait, Wolf, I will get my revenge on you."
So the Lion began to roar at the Fox, but she said:
"Do not have me killed, but let me say a word! I did not come to see you
because I had no time. And I had no time because I ran over the whole
world to ask the doctors for a remedy for you. I have just got it, and
so I have come to see you."
The Lion said:
"What is the remedy?"
"It is this: if you flay a live Wolf, and put his warm hide on you--"
When the Lion stretched out the Wolf, the Fox laughed, and said:
"That's it, my friend: masters ought to be led to do good, not evil."
THE LION, THE ASS, AND THE FOX
The Lion, the Ass, and the Fox went out to hunt. They caught a large
number of animals, and the Lion told the Ass to divide them up. The Ass
divided them into three equal parts and said: "Now, take them!"
The Lion grew angry, ate up the Ass, and told the Fox to divide them up
anew. The Fox collected them all into one heap, and left a small bit for
herself. The Lion looked at it and said:
"Clever Fox! Who taught you to divide so well?"
"What about that Ass?"
THE PEASANT AND THE WATER-SPRITE
A Peasant lost his axe in the river; he sat down on the bank in grief,
and began to weep.
The Water-sprite heard the Peasant and took pity on him. He brought a
gold axe out of the river, and said: "Is this your axe?"
The Peasant said: "No, it is not mine."
The Water-sprite brought another, a silver axe.
Again the Peasant said: "It is not my axe."
Then the Water-sprite brought out the real axe.
The Peasant said: "Now this is my axe."
The Water-sprite made the Peasant a present of all three axes, for
having told the truth.
At home the Peasant showed his axes to his friends, and told them what
had happened to him.
One of the peasants made up his mind to do the same: he went to the
river, purposely threw his axe into the water, sat down on the bank, and
began to weep.
The Water-sprite brought out a gold axe, and asked: "Is this your axe?"
The Peasant was glad, and called out: "It is mine, mine!"
The Water-sprite did not give him the gold axe, and did not bring him
back his own either, because he had told an untruth.
THE RAVEN AND THE FOX
A Raven got himself a piece of meat, and sat down on a tree. The Fox
wanted to get it from him. She went up to him, and said:
"Oh, Raven, as I look at you,--from your size and beauty,--you ought to
be a king! And you would certainly be a king, if you had a good voice."
The Raven opened his mouth wide, and began to croak with all his might
and main. The meat fell down. The Fox caught it and said:
"Oh, Raven! If you had also sense, you would certainly be a king."