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Meanwhile the Tortoise plodded slowly along, kicking up no dust, feeling no heat. When he came up to the Hare the latter was sleeping soundly, and the Tortoise passed on slowly but surely, moving steadily, never resting a minute.
It was late afternoon when the Hare awoke and looked up and down the road. "I declare," he said; "that slow-poke has not come along yet. I'll take a few nibbles at this clover and then run back and meet him."
The clover was sweet and juicy, and it was some time before the Hare again remembered his race. When he did, he turned to the road and examined the dust. Think how surprised he was to see the trail of the Tortoise leading by him toward the brook. There was no more nibbling of lunches, no more sleeping or resting, for off down the road he ran, covering the ground in long leaps that brought him quickly to the brook, where, sitting lazily at the edge of the water, was the Tortoise, calmly waiting.
"Here, take your money," said the Fox to the Tortoise; adding as he turned to the Hare, "Steady going wins the race."
THE FOX AND THE STORK
A FOX and a Stork one time struck up quite a , friendship; but the Fox never could forget how much smarter he was or how great enmity he felt against most birds, so he was quite willing to amuse himself at the expense of his friend.
Finally he thought of a plan which pleased him so much as he thought it over that he ran his best to invite the Stork to take dinner with him on the morrow. When the Stork came, as she did promptly and willingly, she found that the Fox had prepared a dinner of soup, and had put it in a large, shallow plate, from which he could lap it very nicely, but from which she was unable to get anything, for she could barely wet the tip of her bill in it.
The Stork was rather wise herself, and when she reached home she kept thinking about the treatment she had received at the hands of Master Fox, and after a long and wakeful night she conceived a plan for revenge. In the morning she called upon the Fox and invited him to take dinner with her in return.
Master Fox arrived on time, still chuckling over the joke he had played on the Stork; but he was surprised and no little disappointed to find that the Stork had provided for the dinner a quantity of fine minced meat, which she had put in the bottom of a vase with a very long neck. She could thrust her bill into this and pick up the meat without trouble; but the Fox could get nothing except the drippings that he licked from the sides of the vessel.
"A fine dinner we have had!" said the Stork.
"You need not apologize," replied the Fox.
THE LION AND THE MOUSE
DO you know the story of the Lion and the Mouse? It is an old, old story, but a lovely story, I think. It runs like this:
One day a huge Lion lay sleeping soundly in the shade of a great tree. His strong legs were stretched out limply on the ground, and his shaggy head and powerful jaws looked very beautiful in repose, for the wicked teeth were covered and the fierce eyes closed. Two little Mice, seeing him there, began to play about him, and finally one of them, much braver than the other, ran over the Lion's head, through his tawny mane and beneath his great fore paw.
The Lion's rest was nearly over, and the little feet of the Mouse tickled the huge beast into wakefulness. Opening one eye, he spied the Mouse under his paw, and closed his big toes over his trembling prisoner.
"What are you doing here, you miserable little Mouse?" said the Lion in a terrible roar. "Why do you disturb my noonday nap in the shade? I'll break every bone in your ugly little body."
Down came the big toes, out sprang the awful claws, just as they do on the cat's foot when she dreams of hunting. The Mouse thought surely his last hour had come, and he cried loud as he could in his weak, trembling voice:
"O, Mr. Lion, spare me! Spare me! I didn't mean to disturb you, truly I didn't. You see, I was just playing, and your mane was so soft and beautiful, I couldn't keep out of it, and under your paws was
THE MOUSE GNAWED AT THE BIO ROPES
just the place to hide, so here I came. I didn't mean any harm—I didn't think you'd care, Mr. Lion. Don't kill me this time. I'll never, never do it again."
"Well, see that you don't," growled the Lion. "Killing you would he small business for me, anyhow."
It was not many days after this that the Lion, while hunting near by, was caught in a net which some hunters had spread for him. He struggled fiercely and roared in anger, but the more he rolled about and the harder he kicked and pawed, the more closely the net clung to him, till at last, weary with fighting, he lay bound and helpless, an easy prey for the hunters when they should return. The Mouse which the Lion had spared lived in a little