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THE FOX WITHOUT A TAIL.
A Fox being caught in a trap, was glad to compound for his neck by leaving his tail behind him; but, upon coming abroad into the world, he began to be so sensible of the disgrace such a defect would bring upon him, that he almost wished he had died rather than come away without it. However, resolving to make the best of a bad matter, he called a meeting of the rest of the foxes, and proposed that all should follow his example.
“ You have no notion,” said he, "of the ease and comfort with which I now move about: I could never have believed it if I had not tried it myself; but really, when one comes to reason upon it, a tail is such an ugly, inconvenient, unnecessary thing, that the only wonder is that, as foxes, we could have put up with it so long. I propose, therefore, my worthy brethren, that you all profit by the experience that I am most willing to afford you, and that all foxes from this day forward cut off their tails."
Upon this one of the oldest stepped forward, and said, “I rather think, my friend, that you would not have advised us to part with our tails, if there were any chance of recovering your own.”
MERCURY AND THE WOODMAN.
A WOODMAN was felling a tree on the bank of a river, and by chance let slip his axe into the water, when it immediately sunk to the bottom. Being thereupon in great distress, he sat down by the side of the stream, and lamented his loss bitterly. But Mercury, whose river it was, taking compassion on him, appeared at the instant before him ; and hearing from him the cause of his sorrow, dived to the bottom of the river, and bringing up a golden axe, asked the woodman if that was his. Upon the man denying it, Mercury dived a second time, and brought up one of silver. Again the man denied that it was his. So diving a third time, he produced the very axe which the man had lost.
“That is mine !” said the woodman, delighted to have recovered his own; and so pleased was Mercury with the fellow's truthfulness and honesty, that he at once made him a present of the other two.
The man goes to his companions, and, giving them an account of what had happened to him, one of them determined to try whether he might not have the like good fortune. So repairing to the same place, as if for the purpose of cutting wood, he let slip his axe intentionally into the river, and then sat down on the bank, and made a great show of weeping.
Mercury appeared as before, and hearing from him that his tears were caused by the loss of his axe, dived once more into the stream, and bringing up a golden axe, asked him if that was the axe he had lost.
“Ay, surely," said the man, eagerly; and he was about to grasp the treasure, when Mercury, to punish his impudence and lying, not only refused to give him that, but would not so much as restore him his owu axe again.
Honesty is the best policy.
THE OAK TREE,
The oak tree was an acorn once,
And fell upon the earth ;
And gave the oak tree birth.
The little sprouting oak tree !
Two leaves it had at first,
Then out the branches burst.
The little sapling oak tree!
Its root was like a thread, Till the kindly earth had nourished it;
Then out it freely spread.
On this side and on that
It grappled with the ground, And in the ancient rifted rock
Its firmest footing found.
The winds came and the rains fell;
The gusty tempests blew ;
And stronger yet it grew.
The boy that saw the acorn fall,
He feeble grew, and gray ; But the oak was still a thriving tree,
And strengthened every day.
Four centuries grows the oak tree,
Nor does its verdure fail ;
Its heart is like the ironwood,
Its bark the plaited mail.
Now cut us down the oak tree,
The monarch of the wood,
We'll build a vessel good.
The oak tree of the forest
Both east and west shall fly,
Upon our ship shall lie.
For she shall not be a man-of-war,
Nor a pirate shall she be,
IT'S VERY HARD.
“It's very hard to have nothing to eat but porridge, when others have every sort of dainty,” muttered Charlie, as he sat with his wooden bowl before him. “It's very hard to have to get up so early on these bitter cold mornings, and work hard all day, when others can enjoy themselves without an hour of labour ! It's very hard to have to trudge along through the snow, while others roll about in their coaches!"
"It's a great blessing,” said his grandmother, as she sat at her knitting, "it's a great blessing to have food, when so many are hungry; to have a roof over one's head, when so many are homeless : it's a great blessing to have sight, and hearing, and strength for daily labour, when so many are blind, deaf, or suffering !”
Why, grandmother, you seem to think that nothing is hard,” said the boy, still in a grumbling tone.
No, Charlie; there is one thing that I think
What's that?” cried Charlie, who thought that at last his grandmother had found some cause for complaint.
“Why, boy, I think that heart is very hard that is not thankful for so many blessings !”
THE WOLF AND THE LAMB.
As a wolf was lapping at the head of a running brook, he spied a stray lamb paddling, at some distance, down the stream. Having made up his mind to seize her, he bethought himself how he might justify his violence.
“ Villain !” said he, running up to her, “how dare you muddle the water that I am drinking ?"
Indeed,” said the lamb humbly, “I do not see how I can disturb the water, since it runs from you to me, not from me to you.”
“Be that as it may," replied the wolf, " it was but a year ago that you called me many ill names.”
” “O sir !” said the lamb, trembling," a year ago I was not born."
“Well," replied the wolf, “if it was not you, it was your father, and that is all the same ; but it is