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Fables Of Zambri, The Parsee
by [?]

V.

An elephant meeting a mouse, reproached him for not taking a proper interest in growth.

“It is all very well,” retorted the mouse, “for people who haven’t the capacity for anything better. Let them grow if they like; but I prefer toasted cheese.”

The stupid elephant, not being able to make very much sense of this remark, essayed, after the manner of persons worsted at repartee, to set his foot upon his clever conqueror. In point of fact, he did set his foot upon him, and there wasn’t any more mouse.

The lesson imparted by this fable is open, palpable: mice and elephants look at things each after the manner of his kind; and when an elephant decides to occupy the standpoint of a mouse, it is unhealthy for the latter.

VI.

A wolf was slaking his thirst at a stream, when a lamb left the side of his shepherd, came down the creek to the wolf, passed round him with considerable ostentation, and began drinking below.

“I beg you to observe,” said the lamb, “that water does not commonly run uphill; and my sipping here cannot possibly defile the current where you are, even supposing my nose were no cleaner than yours, which it is. So you have not the flimsiest pretext for slaying me.”

“I am not aware, sir,” replied the wolf, “that I require a pretext for loving chops; it never occurred to me that one was necessary.”

And he dined upon that lambkin with much apparent satisfaction.

This fable ought to convince any one that of two stories very similar one needs not necessarily be a plagiarism.

VII.

CXIX.

“It is a waste of valour for us to do battle,” said a lame ostrich to a negro who had suddenly come upon her in the desert; “let us cast lots to see who shall be considered the victor, and then go about our business.”

To this proposition the negro readily assented. They cast lots: the negro cast lots of stones, and the ostrich cast lots of feathers. Then the former went about his business, which consisted of skinning the bird.

MORAL.–There is nothing like the arbitrament of chance. That form of it known as trile-bi-joorie is perhaps as good as any.

CXX.

An author who had wrought a book of fables (the merit whereof transcended expression) was peacefully sleeping atop of the modest eminence to which he had attained, when he was rudely awakened by a throng of critics, emitting adverse judgment upon the tales he had builded.

“Apparently,” said he, “I have been guilty of some small grains of unconsidered wisdom, and the same have proven a bitterness to these excellent folk, the which they will not abide. Ah, well! those who produce the Strasburg pate and the feather-pillow are prone to regard us as rival creators. I presume it is in course of nature for him who grows the pen to censure the manner of its use.”

So speaking, he executed a smile a hand’s-breath in extent, and resumed his airy dream of dropping ducats.

CXXI.

For many years an opossum had anointed his tail with bear’s oil, but it remained stubbornly bald-headed. At last his patience was exhausted, and he appealed to Bruin himself, accusing him of breaking faith, and calling him a quack.

“Why, you insolent marsupial!” retorted the bear in a rage; “you expect my oil to give you hair upon your tail, when it will not give me even a tail. Why don’t you try under-draining, or top-dressing with light compost?”

They said and did a good deal more before the opossum withdrew his cold and barren member from consideration; but the judicious fabulist does not encumber his tale with extraneous matter, lest it be pointless.

CXXII.

“So disreputable a lot as you are I never saw!” said a sleepy rat to the casks in a wine-cellar. “Always making night hideous with your hoops and hollows, and disfiguring the day with your bunged-up appearance. There is no sleeping when once the wine has got into your heads. I’ll report you to the butler!”