2.2 Two Fables


Two friends were travelling together through a wood, when suddenly they came across a bear. The bear saw the travellers and rushed out upon them.

One of the travellers was good at climbing trees. Without waiting for his friend, he caught hold of the branch of a nearby tree, and hid himself among the leaves.

 The other did not know what to do. He had heard that bears do not bother with dead animals. So he threw himself flat down upon the ground, with his face in the dust.

The bear, coming up to him, put its muzzle close to his ear, and sniffed and sniffed. But the man lay very quietly on the ground and did not even breathe. At last with a growl it shook its head and slouched off.

Then the fellow in the tree came down to his comrade, and laughing, said, “What was it that Master Bruin whispered to you?” “He told me,” said the other, “Never trust a friend who deserts you at a pinch.”


Once upon a time, a Town Mouse went on a visit to his cousin in the country. The Country Mouse was a simple, rustic fellow, he loved his town friend. He gave him a hearty welcome. Beans, cheese and bread, were all he had to offer, but he offered them freely. The Town Mouse rather turned up his long nose at this simple country fare, and said;

 “I cannot understand, Cousin, how you can put up with this poor food! But of course you cannot expect anything better in the country. Come with me and I will show you how to live. When you see town life, you will wonder how you could ever live in the country.”

 No sooner said than done. The two mice set off for the town and arrived at the big house where the Town Mouse lived in a hole.

 “You will want some refreshment after our long journey,” said the polite Town Mouse, and took his friend into a grand dining room. There they found the remains of a fine feast. Soon the two mice were eating up jellies and cakes and all that was nice.

Suddenly they heard growling and barking. “What is that?” said the Country Mouse. “It is only the dogs of the house,” answered the other.

“Only!” said the Country Mouse. “I do not like that music at my dinner!”

Just at that moment the door flew open, in came two huge mastiffs, and the two mice had to scamper down and run off. “Good-bye, Cousin,” said the Country Mouse.

“What! Going so soon?” said the other. “Yes,” he replied; “Better beans and bread in peace than cakes and jellies in fear.”