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99 Fables

William March, William T. Going, Richard Brough

Publication Year: 2011

“March has picked up where Aesop and Don Marquis left off, prick- ing vanities and exposing antics of chronic phonies. . . . Here are damning truths about the Noblest Animal, here is vitriol without venom. richard Brough catches the full flavor in his illustrations.” —New York Times Book Review

Published by: The University of Alabama Press

Title Page, Other Works by the Author, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

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Acknowledgments

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pp. v-xii

WITHOUT TWO SUMMER grants-in-aid from the Research Committee of the University of Alabama this edition would not have been possible. Nor would it have been possible without the full co-operation of the heirs, trustee and executor of the estate of the late William Edward March Campbell...

Contents

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pp. ix-xi

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Introduction

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pp. xiii-25

WHEN WILLIAM MARCH died in 1954, the longest unpublished manuscript among his papers was this collection of fables. It 'was first assembled "about 1938," when William Edward March Campbell had just retired as vice-president of the Waterman Steamship Corporation, 'which in...

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1. Aesop and King Croesus

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pp. 1-2

KING CROESUS DECIDED TO put heavier taxes on his people who were even then sullen and discontented with the burdens they already bore, and he discussed the matter with his trusted messenger, the slave Aesop. Aesop could find no flaw...

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2. The Insulted Rabbit

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pp. 3-28

A FARMER CAME TO THE edge of the forest and scolded the animals that were loitering there. He said, "No sooner is my back turned than you sneak under my fence and eat my cabbagesl" In turn, he pointed at the wolf, the lion, the panther, and the tiger, but those animals laughed and...

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3. The Escaped Elephant

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pp. 4-5

AFTER SOME YEARS IN A circus, an elephant escaped and returned to her jungle. As she waded into the river and took her old place there, her friends asked what her life had been like in the years of her absence. "I suppose they starved you and made you do work beyond your strength," said an old bull...

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4. The Persimmon Tree

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pp. 6-7

A POSSUM WATCHED THE persimmons on the fox's tree turn from green to yellow to a tantalizing shade of gold. "How pleasant it would be if I could eat my fill of the ripe fruit," he said. He turned away, regretting that his moral code...

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5. The Young Poet and The Worm

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pp. 8-9

A YOUNG POET STOOD BY A riverbank and looked at the world about him. It was summer and the countryside was green; fruit hung in the orchards, cattle ate in the meadows of white clover, and the yellow grain waved and ripened in the fields. It was then the poet knew how greatly God had...

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6. The Bird and The Waterfall

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pp. 10-11

A BIRD OF PARADISE BUILT his nest near a waterfall. The animals of the forest came often to look at the fall and admire its beautiful colors, for when the sun shone on it, it was like a brilliantly tinted rainbow. The bird of paradise,...

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7. The Criminal Female

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pp. 12-13

THE ANIMALS HELD COURT to try some female offenders. The first was a squirrel who had stolen the food supply of her sister. "It's true! It's all true I" said the squirrel; "but it was a cold, hard winter, and I was thin, and my lover likes fat squirrels. I stole my sister's food only that I might become...

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8. The Sheep and The Soldiers

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pp. 14-15

A COMPANY OF HIGHspirited soldiers on their way to the wars fell out to rest beside a country lane, and before them were sheep browsing on the side of a hill. The sheep moved with lowered eyes, following their leader wherever he led them and bumping their faces against the rumps of the...

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9. The Stableboy

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pp. 16-17

A ST ABLEBOY IN THE provinces had one ambition, and that was to go to court and learn to he a gentleman: for this reason he saved his wages, hoping .his ambition would be realized in time. One of the grooms had been in the capital when he was younger, and had stories to tell of the fine gentlemen...

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10. The World and Its Redeemers

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pp. 18-19

FOR YEARS THE MOUNTAIN goats had lived in comfort, each generation finding itself better off than its predecessor. In time they might have achieved contentment, but when things seemed most stable with them, a redeemer appeared, saying it was the destiny of mountain goats to convert and enlighten the ·world. The goats, aroused by the zeal...

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11. The Donkey and The Calf

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pp. 20-21

FOR YEARS THE MOUNTAIN goats had lived in comfort, each generation finding itself better off than its predecessor. In time they might have achieved contentment, but when things seemed most stable with them, a redeemer appeared, saying it was the destiny of mountain goats to convert and enlighten the ·world. The goats, aroused by the zeal...

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12. White and Yellow Corn

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pp. 22-23

A FARMER FED HIS CHICKENS on white corn which he grew in his own fields. One year he decided to plant yellow corn instead of white corn, but when the yellow corn was harvested, his chickens refused to eat it. The situation soon became serious...

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13. The Two Stags

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pp. 24-25

WHILE THE REMAINDER of the herd were resting in the glade, a stag with a fine spread of antlers would stand on top of a hill and scan the horizon, looking for a fight. One day he saw a stag whose antlers were as fine as his own, and the warlike...

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14. The Crow and The Parrot

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pp. 26-27

A PARROT, MUCH PRIZED by his mistress, struck up a friendship with a crow. One day the parrot's mistress came to the window to see how her pet was getting along, and the crow hid behind some vines. "Does my pretty polly like the nice...

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15. The Mongoose and The Cobra

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pp. 28-29

THE MONGOOSE AND COBRA were enemies, sworn to destroy each other on sight. One day the mongoose met a holy man, and after hearing his views on brotherhood and love, he said..

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16. The Wasp and The Caterpillar

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pp. 30-31

THE FEMALE WASP, WHEN she found the caterpillar she was looking for, pierced his nerve center and carried him off to the nest she had prepared. The male wasp turned to the beetle...

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17. Nightingales and Mockingbirds

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pp. 32-33

A MERCHANT IMPORTED A pair of nightingales and had an enclosed garden built for them. Afterwards, he and his friends would sit patiently, waiting for the birds to sing their song; but..

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18. The Farmer and The Mink

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pp. 34-35

A FARMER CAUGHT THE mink who was raiding his chicken roost and brought him to trial. The mink, acting in his own defense, asked that the indictment be read to him, and the judge...

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19. The Farmer Boy and The Ladies

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pp. 36-37

A FARMER BOY AT THE fair paid his money and went into the juggler's tent; but he wasn't able to enjoy the show after all, for in front of him were two ladies wearing hats in· the latest fashion~ The hat of the lady on his right was a full..

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20. The Proud Queen

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pp. 38-39

THERE WAS ONCE A QUEEN so proud that never in her life had she put her foot on the ground. When she got out of her carriage, slaves unrolled a carpet for her to walk on, and as...

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21. The Truthful Hawk

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pp. 40-41

A COMMUNITY OF BEES were raided so often by the bear that they found another home for themselves, and they offered the hawk a reward to move their honey for them, provided he took...

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22. The Polecat and His Friends

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pp. 42-43

A POLECAT WAS INDIGNANT at the way the other animals treated him. He told his grievances to the old tortoise, and as recalled the slights he suffered, his voice trembled. He said, "Do they ask me to their parties? Do they come...

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23. The Democratic Bretts

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pp. 44-45

THE WITTINS, HEARING THEIR neighbors the Bretts had a new fonn of government, sent a party to study the system and report on how it worked out in practice. The delegation found the...

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24. The Distinguished and The Obscure

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pp. 46-47

ON A REMOTE PLAIN, between a mountain and a river, many animals lived, safe from the habits of humans. There was a variety of animals on the plain, and they differed widely as to size, strength, and brilliance of coloration. The...

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25. The Magician and The Peasants

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pp. 48-49

A MAGICIAN FELL OUT with his assistant, a man who had long since learned the secrets of his master. The assistant, wanting revenge, waited until the magician performed next at...

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26. The Kissless Lovebird

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pp. 50-51

A LOVEBIRD BECAME disgusted with the habits of her kind. She eyed the lovemaking of her sisters with disdain, and often would cry out angrily: "What silly lives you lead I-Kissing...

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27. The Window and Her Son

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pp. 52-53

A RICH WIDOW DISCOVERED her young son was missing, and although a search was made, he was not found. Later, a report came that the boy had been seen playing near a horse...

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28. The Wild Horses

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pp. 54-55

A HERD OF WILD HORSES who had roamed the plains found themselves trapped and captured and led away to serve the purposes of men. While they had been free to go where they chose, to do what suited them best at all times, they..

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29. The Elephants and The Antelopes

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pp. 56-57

FOR A LONG TIME THE antelopes and the elephants had lived without conflict, and then the antelopes became conscious of their comparative weakness. They said to one another...

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30. The Rigid Oak and The Flexible Reed

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pp. 58-59

AN OAK TREE GREW BESIDE a stream, and although he was proud of his power and spread of branches, he did condescend to talk to a reed nearby, a thing so flexible that he would bend if even a dragonfly lit on his stalk. Seeing this, the...

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31. The King and His Successor

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pp. 60-61

A KING, DESIRING AN HEIR as wise and well-informed as himself, hit on a test to settle the matter. In his childhood he had visited a foreign country where he had seen a monkey;...

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32. The Gull and The Earthquake

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pp. 62-87

A SEAGULL, TIRED FROM A long flight over the ocean, flew toward land and lighted on a crag, but, as it happened, an earthquake occurred at that identical moment, and the shoreline trembled, lifted upward, and collapsed beneath him...

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33. The Shepherd and His Monument

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pp. 63-65

WHEN THE WITTINS DECIDED to erect a monument to the hero who founded their nation, the sculptor was faced with a problem: where to find a model whose body was as godlike...

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34. The Ditch

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pp. 66-91

A RABBIT WHO HAD BEEN sent out to examine the premises of a farmer recited his findings upon his return. When he had finished, the raccoon spoke: "How wide did you say...

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35. The Old Cow and The Heifers

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pp. 67-92

A HERD OF CATTLE WERE told that on the other side of the mountain there were fields so green that they could browse all day on the sweetest clover. They set out for their paradise in excellent spirits, telling one another that their troubles...

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36. The Bees' Honey

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pp. 68-69

THE BEES, HAVING MADE their honey, were beset by their enemies, the farmer and the bear. The bear claimed the honey because the tree in which the bees had their hive was on...

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37. The Two Seals

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pp. 70-71

AN OLD BULL SEAL FELL in love with a giddy young female, and for a time the courtship progressed normally; then the young female ended the affair abruptly, and said in explanation...

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38. The Beaver's House

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pp. 72-73

A BEAVER HAD FINISHED a house of which he was proud, and he invited his friend the eagle to look at it. He said that although he considered the new structure the most perfect he had ever seen, he realized his opinion might be a little..

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39. The Peacock and His Bride

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pp. 74-75

A TURKEY HEN FELL IN love with a peacock, and afterwards she would watch while he strutted in a circle. If occasionally he accepted the food she scratched up for him or acknowledged her existence with a glance, she was so..

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40. The Grasshoppers and Their Wealthy Neighbors

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pp. 76-77

THE GRASSHOPPERS, SEEING that their neighbors lived in comfort during the hard winter months, called a meeting to discuss conditions. They said the fruits of the earth belonged..

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41. The Monkey Hill

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pp. 78-79

A TROOP OF MONKEYS made their home on a rocky hill, and it seemed a more quarrelsome community never existed, for they had lasting and intricate feuds among themselves, and their dislike of one another was so great it was...

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42. The Dog and Her Rival

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pp. 80-81

A DOG WHO HAD BEEN greatly loved by her master found her life less pleasant after he married. She came one night to talk things over with the mare and said, "I wish them both happiness. Perhaps it would be better if I went away...

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43. The Identical Crows

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pp. 82-107

TWO CROWS HAD A~ argument as to which was the fairer, and the other animals, tiring of the endless debate, suggested that the woodcutter, known to all as a just man, be called in to settle the matter. The woodcutter consented...

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44. The Panther and the Woodcutter

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pp. 83-84

THERE WAS ONCE A PANTHER who, famished by a cold winter, became so bold that he crept up to a woodcutter's cottage and tried to lure the owner outside so that he could eat him. He tapped on the window and stood in the dark...

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45. Good News and Bad News

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pp. 85-86

A FARMER, HEARING THAT a band of robbers were nearby, sent his wife to the village for safety. Later, when it was reported the robbers had left the neighborhood, he went to the...

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46. The Woodchuck and The Old Bones

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pp. 87-88

A WOODCHUCK MADE HIS home in a cemetery, between two ancient graves, and after he had dug his burrow, he came above ground and examined the inscription on the headstone...

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47. The Turtle and The Geese

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pp. 89-114

A FARMER HAD A NUMBER of geese who ate, swam in the pond, and lived happily despite the fact that their master on market days drove them into pens and chopped off the...

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48. The Panthers, The Leopards, and The Jaguars

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pp. 90-91

FOR MANY YEARS THE jaguars had lived at peace with their neighbors, the leopards and the panthers, and then, these latter two having become enemies, the jaguars found...

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49. The Woodcutter and The Lion

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pp. 92-93

A WOODCUTTER AND A LION struck up a friendship. They were forever playing pranks on each other or arguing which was the stronger, a lion or a man. The small animals...

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50. The Hyena and The Badger

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pp. 94-95

MEN CAME INTO THE forest one day and began cutting the trees. The animals were alarmed and sent the badger...

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51. The Magician and The Mole

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pp. 96-97

A MAGICIAN, HIDING FROM his enemies, took refuge in a cave. While there, he met a mole who promised to guide him safely through the tunnels that he and his kind had built, and as they passed through the passages together,...

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52. Man and His Natural Enemy

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pp. 98-99

HIS SUBJECT THAT morning was a favorite one among Wittin teachers: Man's superiority to the other animals. His pupils listened and nodded lazily, and then one of them...

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53. The Traitorous Jackal

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pp. 100-101

A JACKAL CAME TO THE farmers, the enemies of his kind, and said that he had repudiated his own people and from that day on he wanted to be thought of as a farmer, not as...

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54. The Tears of the Rich

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pp. 102-103

A MULE WHO HAD TOILED faithfully all his life became so decrepit that he was no longer able to do his work. His master, seeing the old animal was of no further use, detennined...

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55. Dishonored Prophets

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pp. 104-106

THE ART OF PROPHECY was held in such high repute among the ·Wittins that they found it necessary to crucify those of their oracles who did not measure up to the niceties of their calling. And so it was that prophecy became...

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56. The Wolves and The Work Animals

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pp. 107-132

A FARMER, HEARING THAT wolves were heading in the direction of his £ann, called his work animals together to organize a defense. The animals listened to their master's words, and the fanner, noticing their submissive bearing and sensing their lack of interest in resisting the wolves, raised his...

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57. The Fat Woman and The Terrier

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pp. 108-109

A TERRIER WAS OFTEN taken for a walk by his mistress, a large woman, and as they went down the street, with the terrier tugging at his leash and the fat woman panting a few steps behind, the dog got the idea that he was pulling his...

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58. The Murderer and His Moral Code

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pp. 110-111

A MAN CAME TO THE courthouse saying he wanted to give himself up. He had killed his wife and her sweetheart, but he felt no remorse. for his deed, and he was...

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59. The King and The Bright Young Men

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pp. 112-115

EACH SPRING THE KING of the Bretts examined a score of the country's' brightest young men, fitting them into that profession or branch of public life where their peculiar talents...

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60. The King and The Outcast

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pp. 116-117

THE KING OF THE WITTINS, driving through the park with his nobles, came upon a crowd near one of the lakes. When he asked the cause of their assembly, a woman who...

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61. The End of The World

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pp. 118-119

AT ONE POINT IN THEIR history, the Bretts were attacked and conquered by their neighbors. One man who escaped the general slaughter took refuge in an old field deep in the forest, and when he realized that he was safe, he threw...

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62. The Snapping Turtle and The Wisteria Vine

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pp. 120-121

OF ALL THE CREATURES of the forest, the snapping turtle was the most tenacious: once he seized an enemy in his jaws, he wouldn't turn loose until his adversary admitted he was...

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63. The Screech Owl and The Farmer

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pp. 122-123

A SCREECH OWL JUST learning to talk flew into a tree to practice the one word he knew, a word his mother had taught him that morning. He seated himself on a limb and...

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64. The Queen and The Woodcutter's Wife

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pp. 124-126

SHE HAD FINISHED W ASHing her pots when she looked up and saw a royal party approaching; then a page boy sounded' a call on' a trumpet, and she came to her door wiping...

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65. The King and The Plotters

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pp. 127-128

AT ONE TIME IN THEIR history the Bretts had a merciful and just king, and during his reign there were few offenses for which he could not find an excuse, and pardon. Things...

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66. The Sow With The Unlimited Milk

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pp. 129-130

THERE WAS ONCE A FARMER with a spotted sow, the pride of his life. He boasted of her at the inn, saying she not only gave birth to big litters at quick intervals, but protected...

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67. The Cock and The Capon

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pp. 131-156

A COCK IN CHARGE OF a barnyard of hens lifted his neck, crowed, and said to his friend, the capon: "Why do you complain that because of the injustice done you, you never...

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68. The Hangman and The Hero

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pp. 132-134

THE WITTINS REGARDED the taking of life with such repugnance that they required their hangman to wear a costume which made his profession known to all. He must live...

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69. The Doubting Ducks

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pp. 135-160

A FOX HAD HIS EYES on a flock of ducks, but at his approach they would back away from him, ready to take flight if he came nearer. "What have I done? Why do you mistrust...

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70. The Pig and The Dirty Doves

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pp. 136-137

A PIG, WHOSE PEN WAS built against a barn, noticed that the farmer had put up a dovecote near his sty. When he realized the affront, the pig trembled with rage, protesting to...

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71. The Mink and The Tame Animals

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pp. 138-139

A MINK WHO HAD traveled and seen much of the world made friends with a group of barnyard animals, and when their work for the day was done, he would creep up to the edge...

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72. The Philosophical Lead-Ram

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pp. 140-141

THERE WAS ONCE A LEADram who lived in a slaughterhouse and whose duty was to guide his kind to their deaths. The sheep never questioned his authority, and once he had...

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73. The Guinea Fowl and The Farmer

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pp. 142-143

A GUINEA FOWL LIVED in a wasteland near the melon patch of a fanner. At night when the fanner and his wife were asleep, the guinea fowl would fly to the patch and...

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74. The Doctor and The Hippopotamus

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pp. 144-145

A YOUNG ORANGUTAN WAS ambitious to cure the ills of others, and when he saw how often his friends died because a bone or some other object was lodged in their throats, he decided...

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75. Cowards and Fearless Men

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pp. 146-147

A CHIPMUNK AND A RABBIT, concluding that their natural timidity was their best protection against the dangerous...

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76. The Visitor and The Razorback Hogs

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pp. 148-149

ONE DAY AS A FORESTER and his friend from the city were walking in the woods, a peculiar, stropping sound came to their ears. The noise got more pronounced as they went...

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77. The Lark and Her Nest

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pp. 150-151

TWO MEN WERE WALKING through a barley field when a lark sprang up and circled above their heads. At first the men paid no attention to her, but when she didn't flyaway, as was...

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78. The Birthday of The Hermit

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pp. 152-153

A HERMIT HAD SO ENDEARED himself to the defenseless animals of the forest and field that they wanted to bring him presents on his birthday as a sign of their affection. The day when...

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79. Men and The Other Animals

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pp. 154-155

TRAVELER PITCHED HIS tent for the night, and the animals of the forest, who had never before seen a man, sat near his fire, asking him questions about the customs of his country...

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80. The Disasters

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pp. 156-157

A WOMAN WHO LIVED alone with her mother returned home one day to find her street in a state of commotion. People strode up and down on the cobblestones, shouting and...

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81. The Untouchable

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pp. 158-159

A TRAVELER, HAVING LOST his way in the mountains, took refuge for the night in a cave; but he saw at once that another...

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82. The Nightingale That Listened To Men

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pp. 160-162

A NIGHTINGALE} SO LACKing in fear that he built his nest in a tree beside the palace of the King of the Wittins, listened to the...

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83. The Miracle

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pp. 163-165

THE PEOPLE OF A FARAWAY island worshipped the god of the volcano that lifted itself above them. Each day they took him offerings and left them at a shrine near the crater's edge..

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84. The Rattlesnake and The Scorpion

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pp. 166-167

THE RATILESNAKE AND the scorpion were usually to be found not far from each other, but the tie that bound them together was dislike rather than affection. When they met, as...

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85. The Squirrel and The Trees

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pp. 168-169

A FARMER WITH A GROVE of walnut trees was enraged at a squirrel who was stealing his nuts, and threatened to kill him if he didn't stop his thefts. He said: "I wouldn't mind so much...

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86. The Fisherman and The Hen

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pp. 170-172

WHEN HE REACHED THE brook where he intended to fish, an angler found he had left his bait at home, but after considering...

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87. The King and The Nature of Man

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pp. 173-175

AS HE GREW OLDER, THE King of the Bretts was concerned more and more with the nature of man, saying that before...

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88. The Law of The Foxes

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pp. 176-177

THE FOXES AND THE farmer ended their long war and signed a truce. The farmer promised not to hunt down the...

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89. The Farmhand and His Judges

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pp. 178-179

A FARMHAND WAS BROUGHT to trial for stealing a broken pump handle, a pickle bottle, and a box of colored crayons...

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90. The Strangers

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pp. 180-181

THE WAGON PILED HIGH with household goods creaked and moved slowly down the village street. The man was driving while his wife and their children sat in the rear, half...

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91. The Slave and The Cart Horse

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pp. 182-183

A SLAVE WHO HAD BEEN beaten by his master came to the hut where his wife waited for him. He lay on a pallet, while...

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92. The Fox and The Fur Piece

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pp. 184-185

TWO FOXES WERE RESTING in their cage at the zoo and talking about their brother who had escaped not long before, when they...

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93. The Prophets and The Mountains

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pp. 186-187

THE TORTOISE, WHO HAD seen the defeated mountain goats return to their homes after their wars to enlighten the world...

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94. The Pious Mantis

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pp. 188-189

OF ALL THE CREATURES of the forest, there was none so devout as the female mantis. She would sit all day, her forefeet...

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95. The Prayer That Was Almost Answered

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pp. 190-192

BEFORE HIM WAS A cemetery, and behind him were the hunters who wanted his skin, so the little fox jumped the wall and hid himself in a grave that had caved in at one...

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96. The Unspeakable Words

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pp. 193-194

THERE WERE WORDS IN the Brett language considered so corrupting in their effect on others that if anyone wrote them or was heard to speak them aloud, he was fined...

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97. Aesop's Last Fable

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pp. 195-197

AESOP, THE MESSENGER of King Croesus, finished his business with the Delphians and went back to the tavern where he had taken lodgings. Later, he came into the taproom where...

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98. Iadmon and Aesop

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pp. 198-199

AFTER THEY HAD KILLED the slave Aesop, the Delphians were uneasy in their minds and consulted the Oracle of Apollo...

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99. The Unique Quality of Truth

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pp. 200-202

WHEN THE OLD SCHOLAR heard that Truth was in the country, he decided to find her, as he had devoted his life to studying...


E-ISBN-13: 9780817385859
E-ISBN-10: 0817385851
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817356859
Print-ISBN-10: 0817356851

Page Count: 226
Illustrations: 26 illustrations
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Library Alabama Classics
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth

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