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Then said the fire, “So will I burn,” and it burst into a dreadful flame.
A tree near the fire said: “Fire, why do you burn?” "Shall I not burn,” it replied,
“When ladybird is burned,
And little stream runs?” Then said the little tree, “So will I rustle,” and it began to shake so violently that the leaves fell off.
A maiden came by, carrying her little pitcher to the well, and she said: “Tree, why do you rustle so?” "Shall I not rustle?" the tree replied;
“Ladybird is burned,
And little fire burns.” “Then I will break my little pitcher,” said the maiden. So she broke her pitcher.
Then said the well, as the water flowed out: "Maiden, why dost thou break thy pitcher?”. “Shall I not break my pitcher?” she said;
“Ladybird is burned,
“Ah!” said the well, “then I will begin to flow.” And the water began to flow so rapidly that the maiden, the tree, the fire, the stream, the broom, the door, the fly and the ladybird were all swept away together.
THE TWO TRAVELERS m wo men were traveling through a wood, when
I one of them picked up an ax which he saw lying on the ground.
"Look here!” he said to his friend; “I've found an ax.”
"Don't say, 'I've found an ax'; say, 'We've found an ax';" replied the other. “We are friends and are traveling together. Whatever we find ought to belong to both of us."
“No, indeed!” said the first traveler. "I found the ax myself; you did not see it at all until I had it in my hand. No part of it belongs to you."
They had not gone far, however, before the owner of the ax came running after them in a great passion, threatening them furiously if they did not at once return his property.
“Now we are in for it!” said the man with the ax.
“Not at all!” said the other. “You should say, 'I am in for it', not 'we'. You gave me no share in the ax; I will have no share in the danger!”
• THE Two TRAVELERS AND THE OYSTER 111
THE TWO TRAVELERS AND THE
OYSTER AS two men were walking by the seaside at low H water they saw an oyster, and they both stooped at the same time to pick it up. One pushed the other away, and a dispute ensued.
A traveler coming along at the time, they determined to ask him which of the two had the better right to the oyster.
While each was telling his story the traveler gravely took out his knife, opened the shell and loosened the oyster. When they had finished, and were listening for his decision, he just as gravely swallowed the oyster, and offered them each a shell.
“The Court,” said he, “awards you each a shell. The oyster will cover the costs.”
Does it ever happen that two men in a lawsuit lose more money than the thing they were disputing about is worth? Is that what the fable means?
By ROBERT Louis STEVENSON
Adapted from the FRENCH STORY BY
O NCE upon a time there lived in a forest
a woodcutter and his family, a wife and seven children. These seven children were all boys, and the oldest of them was only ten, while the youngest was seven. As the woodcutter was very
poor, his children were a great burden to him, for no one of them could do anything to earn a living.
To make it worse, the youngest boy was a puny little fellow who hardly ever spoke a word, and who was thought very stupid by his brothers and even by his parents. Really, this silence was a mark of his good sense, but his father and mother could think of him as only silly and good for nothing, and they were sure he would turn out a fool.
This boy was not only very delicate; he was extremely small, for when he was born he was scarcely bigger than your thumb, and so they called him little Hop-o'-my-thumb.
Naturally, everything that went wrong in the house was blamed upon this little boy, and he become the drudge of everybody. Nevertheless, he was much sharper and wiser than all his brothers, and while they were chattering away he kept a still tongue in his head, but listened intently all the time.