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- Fables for the Frivolous - 6/7 -


Devoured the trout with much eagerness, Avowing no dish could compare with that fish, Notwithstanding his singular meagreness.

And THE MORAL, you'll find, is although it is kind To grant favors that people are wishing for, Still a dinner you'll lack if you chance to throw back In the pool little trout that you're fishing for; If their pleading you spurn you will certainly learn That herbs will deliciously vary 'em: It is needless to state that a trout on a plate Beats several in the aquarium.

THE CONFIDING PEASANT

AND

THE MALADROIT BEAR

A peasant had a docile bear, A bear of manners pleasant, And all the love she had to spare She lavished on the peasant: She proved her deep affection plainly (The method was a bit ungainly).

The peasant had to dig and delve, And, as his class are apt to, When all the whistles blew at twelve He ate his lunch, and napped, too, The bear a careful outlook keeping The while her master lay a-sleeping.

As thus the peasant slept one day, The weather being torrid, A gnat beheld him where he lay And lit upon his forehead, And thence, like all such winged creatures, Proceeded over all his features.

The watchful bear, perceiving that The gnat lit on her master, Resolved to light upon the gnat And plunge him in disaster; She saw no sense in being lenient When stones lay round her, most convenient.

And so a weighty rock she aimed With much enthusiasm: "Oh, lor'!" the startled gnat exclaimed, And promptly had a spasm: A natural proceeding this was, Considering how close the miss was.

[Illustration: AND SO A WEIGHTY ROCK SHE AIMED]

Now by his dumb companion's pluck, Which caused the gnat to squall so, The sleeping man was greatly struck (And by the bowlder, also). In fact, his friends who idolized him Remarked they hardly recognized him.

Of course the bear was greatly grieved, But, being just a dumb thing, She only thought: "I was deceived, But still, I did hit _something!_" Which showed this masculine achievement Had somewhat soothed her deep bereavement.

THE MORAL: If you prize your bones Beware of females throwing stones.

THE PRECIPITATE COCK

AND

THE UNAPPRECIATED PEARL

A rooster once pursued a worm That lingered not to brave him, To see his wretched victim squirm A pleasant thrill it gave him; He summoned all his kith and kin, They hastened up by legions, With quaint, expressive gurgles in Their oesophageal regions.

Just then a kind of glimmering Attracting his attention, The worm became too small a thing For more than passing mention: The throng of hungry hens and rude He skilfully evaded. Said he, "I' faith, if this be food, I saw the prize ere they did."

It was a large and costly pearl, Belonging in a necklace, And dropped by some neglectful girl: Some people are so reckless! The cock assumed an air forlorn, And cried, "It's really cruel. I thought it was a grain of corn: It's nothing but a jewel."

He turned again to where his clan In one astounding tangle With eager haste together ran To slay the helpless angle, And sighed, "He was of massive size. I should have used discretion. Too late! Around the toothsome prize A bargain-sale's in session."

The worm's remarks upon his plight Have never been recorded, But any one may know how slight Diversion it afforded; For worms and human beings are Unanimous that, when pecked, To be the prey of men they far Prefer to being hen-pecked.

THE MORAL: When your dinner comes Don't leave it for your neighbors, Because you hear the sound of drums And see the gleam of sabres; Or, like the cock, you'll find too late That ornaments external Do not for certain indicate A bona fide kernel.

THE ABBREVIATED FOX

AND

HIS SCEPTICAL COMRADES

A certain fox had a Grecian nose And a beautiful tail. His friends Were wont to say in a jesting way A divinity shaped his ends. The fact is sad, but his foxship had A fault we should all eschew: He was so deceived that he quite believed What he heard from friends was true.

One day he found in a sheltered spot A trap with stalwart springs That was cunningly planned to supply the demand For some of those tippet things. The fox drew nigh, and resolved to try The way that the trap was set: (When the trap was through with this interview There was one less tippet to get!)

The fox returned to his doting friends And said, with an awkward smile, "My tail I know was _comme il faut_, And served me well for a while." When his comrades laughed at his shortage aft He added, with scornful bow, "Pray check your mirth, for I hear from Worth They're wearing them shorter now."

But one of his friends, a bookish chap, Replied, with a thoughtful frown, "You know to-day the publishers say That the short tale won't go down; And, upon my soul, I think on the whole, That the publishers' words are true. I should hate, good sir, to part my fur In the middle, as done by you."

And another added these truthful words In the midst of the eager hush, "We can part our hair 'most anywhere So long as we keep the brush."

THE MORAL is this: It is never amiss To treasure the things you've penned: Preserve your tales, for, when all else fails, They'll be useful things--in the end.

THE HOSPITABLE CALEDONIAN

AND


Fables for the Frivolous - 6/7

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