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THE FOX AND THE GRAPES
A HUNGRY Fox once saw some fine, luscious . grapes hanging temptingly from a vine a few feet above his head. He leaped and snapped and leaped again, but never could he quite reach the grapes. So many times did he try that he tired himself out completely, and it was some time before he could drag himself limping away.
As he went along he grumbled savagely to himself, "What nasty things those grapes are! No gentleman would eat a thing so sour."
When a person says he does not want a thing which he knows he cannot get, we may hear some one exclaim "Sour grapes!" Nearly every one knows just what the speaker means, for this fable is many times older than any of us. People keep reading it and liking it because it shows up a common trait of character in a very sharp manner. We might say, "Most every man thinks that the thing he cannot have is no good," but nobody would remember the saying half as long as he remembers the little fable of the Fox and the Grapes.
THE THREE LITTLE PIGS
LONG, long ago, when pigs could talk, and long i before any one ever heard of bacon, an old piggy mother lived all alone with her three little sons. Their pretty little home was right in the middle of a big oak forest where acorns were so plentiful and so good that every little pig grew fat and as round as an apple. All were just as happy as happy could be until one sad, sad year when no rains came, and the frosts killed all the acorns. Then, indeed, poor Mrs. Piggy-wiggy had a hard time to find food for her little ones. One day when she had worked hard and found only three acorns, she called her sons to her, and while the tears rolled down her cheeks, told the little pigs that she must send them out into the world to seek their fortune.
She kissed every one of them and started them on their travels, each down a different path, and each carrying a neat bundle slung on a stick across his shoulder.
The first little pig had not gone far when he met a man who was carrying a fine bundle of straw on his back.
"Please, Mr. Man, give me that straw so I can build me a house," said the first little pig.
The man, who was very kind and generous, gave him the bundle of straw, and the little pig built a cozy little house with it.
The little pig had just finished his house and was about to lie down and go to sleep when a big wolf came along and knocked at the little pig's door.
"Little pig, little pig, let me in, let me in," said the wolf.
But the little pig laughed softly and answered, "No, no, no, by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin."
Then the wolf used his big bass voice and said very sternly, "I'll make you let me in; for I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in!"
So he huffed and he puffed and he blew his house in, because, you see, it was only straw and very light. When he had blown the house in he caught the little pig and ate him all up, not leaving so much as the very tip of- his curly little tail.
The second little pig, when he had gone a little way on his path, also met a man. This man was carrying a bundle of sticks on his back, and when the little pig saw it he took off his hat, bowed politely, and said in his softest voice. "Please. Mr. Man, will you give me those sticks to build me a house with?"
The man was good-natured and gave the sticks to the little pig, who built a pretty little house with two nice rooms in it.
Hardly was it finished when along came a big, big wolf who said in a little, squeaky voice, "Little pig, little pig, please let me come in."
But the second little pig answered, "No, no, by the hair of mv chinnv-chin-chin."
"Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in," roared the big wolf in his heavy bass voice.
So he huffed and he puffed, and he puffed and he huffed, and at last he blew the house in and gobbled up the little pig in very short order. That's what happened to the second little pig.
But the third little pig met a man carrying on his back a load of bricks and mortar, and he said, "Please, Mr. Man, will you give me those bricks and that mortar to build me a house with?"
So the man gave him the bricks and the mortar and a little trowel as well, and the little pig set to work to build his house. He worked all day, and at night he had a little house built. It wasn't as cozy as the first little pig's house, and it wasn't as pretty as the second little pig's house, and it had only one room in it, but it was a nice, strong little house.
Hardly had he finished it when along came the wolf, just as he had come to the other little pigs.
"I've come to call on you," said the wolf. "Let me in, little pig, let me in."
But the little pig smiled to himself as he said, "No, no, bv the hair of mv chinnv-chin-chin."
"Then," said the wolf, "I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house in!"
Well, he huffed and he puffed, and he puffed and he huffed, and he huffed and he puffed, but no matter how hard he huffed or how loud he puffed, he could not blow the house in.
At last he had no breath left to huff and puff with, so he sat down outside the little pig's house and thought it over.
Presently he called out, "Little pig, I know where there is a nice field of turnips."
"Where?" said the little pig.
"Behind the farmer's house, three fields away; and if you will be ready to-morrow morning I will call for you, and we will go together and get some breakfast."
"Very well," said the little pig; "I will be sure to be ready. What time do you mean to start?"
"At six o'clock," replied the wolf.
Well, the wise little pig got up at five, scampered away to the field, and brought home a fine load of turnips before the wolf came. At six o'clock the wolf came to the little pig's house and said, "Little pig, are you ready?"
"Ready!" cried* the little pig. "Why, I have been to the field and come back again long ago, and now I am busy boiling a potful of turnips for breakfast."
This made the wolf very angry indeed, and he said to himself, "I'll get that little pig somehow or other."
So he called out again in his friendliest voice, "Little pig, I know where there is a nice apple tree."
"Where?" said the little pig.
"Just round the hill in the big orchard," said the