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- Fables for the Frivolous - 2/7 -


Such a life the brain befuddles."

This, of course, was banter merely, But it stirred the torpid blood Of the turtle, and severely Forth he issued from the mud. "Done!" he cried. The race began, But the hare resumed his banter, Seeing how his rival ran In a most unlovely canter.

Shouting, "Terrapin, you're bested! You'd be wiser, dear old chap, If you sat you down and rested When you reach the second lap." Quoth the turtle, "I refuse. As for you, with all your talking, Sit on any lap you choose. _I_ shall simply go on walking."

Now this sporting proposition Was, upon its face, absurd; Yet the hare, with expedition, Took the tortoise at his word, Ran until the final lap, Then, supposing he'd outclassed him, Laid him down and took a nap And the patient turtle passed him!

Plodding on, he shortly made the Line that marked the victor's goal; Paused, and found he'd won, and laid the Flattering unction to his soul. Then in fashion grandiose, Like an after-dinner speaker, Touched his flipper to his nose, And remarked, "Ahem! Eureka!"

And THE MORAL (lest you miss one) Is: There's often time to spare, And that races are (like this one) Won not always by a hair.

THE PATRICIAN PEACOCKS

AND

THE OVERWEENING JAY

Once a flock of stately peacocks Promenaded on a green, There were twenty-two or three cocks, Each as proud as seventeen, And a glance, however hasty, Showed their plumage to be tasty; Wheresoever one was placed, he Was a credit to the scene.

Now their owner had a daughter Who, when people came to call, Used to say, "You'd reelly oughter See them peacocks on the mall." Now this wasn't to her credit, And her callers came to dread it, For the way the lady said it Wasn't _recherche_ at all.

But a jay that overheard it From his perch upon a fir Didn't take in how absurd it Was to every one but her; When they answered, "You don't tell us!" And to see the birds seemed zealous He became extremely jealous, Wishing, too, to make a stir.

As the peacocks fed together He would join them at their lunch, Culling here and there a feather Till he'd gathered quite a bunch; Then this bird, of ways perfidious, Stuck them on him most fastidious Till he looked uncommon hideous, Like a Judy or a Punch.

But the peacocks, when they saw him, One and all began to haul, And to harry and to claw him Till the creature couldn't crawl; While their owner's vulgar daughter, When her startled callers sought her, And to see the struggle brought her, Only said, "They're on the maul."

It was really quite revolting When the tumult died away, One would think he had been moulting So dishevelled was the jay; He was more than merely slighted, He was more than disunited, He'd been simply dynamited In the fervor of the fray.

And THE MORAL of the verses Is: That short men can't be tall. Nothing sillier or worse is Than a jay upon a mall. And the jay opiniative Who, because he's imitative, Thinks he's highly decorative Is the biggest jay of all.

THE ARROGANT FROG

AND

THE SUPERIOR BULL

Once, on a time and in a place Conducive to malaria, There lived a member of the race Of _Rana Temporaria_; Or, more concisely still, a frog Inhabited a certain bog.

A bull of Brobdingnagian size, Too proud for condescension, One morning chanced to cast his eyes Upon the frog I mention; And, being to the manner born, Surveyed him with a lofty scorn.

Perceiving this, the bactrian's frame With anger was inflated, Till, growing larger, he became Egregiously elated; For inspiration's sudden spell Had pointed out a way to swell.

"Ha! ha!" he proudly cried, "a fig For this, your mammoth torso! Just watch me while I grow as big As you--or even more so!" To which magniloquential gush His bullship simply answered "Tush!"

Alas! the frog's success was slight, Which really was a wonder, In view of how with main and might He strove to grow rotunder! And, standing patiently the while, The bull displayed a quiet smile.

[Illustration: "HE STROVE TO GROW ROTUNDER"]

But ah, the frog tried once too oft And, doing so, he busted; Whereat the bull discreetly coughed And moved away, disgusted, As well he might, considering The wretched taste that marked the thing.

THE MORAL: Everybody knows How ill a wind it is that blows.

THE DOMINEERING EAGLE

AND

THE INVENTIVE BRATLING

O'er a small suburban borough Once an eagle used to fly, Making observations thorough From his station in the sky, And presenting the appearance Of an animated V, Like the gulls that lend coherence Unto paintings of the sea.

Looking downward at a church in This attractive little shire, He beheld a smallish urchin Shooting arrows at the spire; In a spirit of derision, "Look alive!" the eagle said; And, with infinite precision, Dropped a feather on his head.

Then the boy, annoyed distinctly By the freedom of the bird, Voiced his anger quite succinctly


Fables for the Frivolous - 2/7

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