Patty the Milkmaid was going to market carrying her milk in a Pail on her head.
As she went along she began calculating what she would do with the money she would get for the milk.
“I’ll buy some fowls from Farmer Brown,” said she, “and they will lay eggs each morning, which I will sell to the parson’s wife. With the money that I get from the sale of these eggs I’ll buy myself a new dimity frock and a chip hat; and when I go to market, won’t all the young men come up and speak to me! Polly Shaw will be that jealous; but I don’t care. I shall just look at her and toss my head like this.”
As she spoke she tossed her head back, the Pail fell off it, and all the milk was spilt.
So she had to go home and tell her mother what had occurred.
“Ah, my child,” said the mother: “Do not count your chickens before they are hatched”
In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.
“Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?”
“I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you to do the same.”
“Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper; “we have got plenty of food at present.”
But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil.
When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer.
Then the Grasshopper knew: It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.
A Waggoner was once driving a heavy load along a very muddy way.
At last he came to a part of the road where the wheels sank half-way into the mire, and the more the horses pulled, the deeper sank the wheels.
So the Waggoner threw down his whip, and knelt down and prayed to Hercules the Strong.
“O Hercules, help me in this my hour of distress,” quoth he.
But Hercules appeared to him, and said:
“Tut, man, don’t sprawl there. Get up and put your shoulder to the wheel.”
Once when a Lion was asleep a little Mouse began running up and down upon him; this soon wakened the Lion, who placed his huge paw upon him, and opened his big jaws to swallow him.
“Pardon, O King,” cried the little Mouse: “forgive me this time, I shall never forget it: who knows but what I may be able to do you a turn some of these days?”
The Lion was so tickled at the idea of the Mouse being able to help him, that he lifted up his paw and let him go.
Some time after the Lion was caught in a trap, and the hunters who desired to carry him alive to the King, tied him to a tree while they went in search of a wagon to carry him on.
Just then the little Mouse happened to pass by, and seeing the sad plight in which the Lion was, went up to him and soon gnawed away the ropes that bound the King of the Beasts.
“Was I not right?” said the little Mouse.
The Lion once gave out that he was sick unto death and summoned the animals to come and hear his last Will and Testament.
So the Goat came to the Lion’s cave, and stopped there listening for a long time.
Then a Sheep went in, and before she came out a Calf came up to receive the last wishes of the Lord of the Beasts.
But soon the Lion seemed to recover, and came to the mouth of his cave, and saw the Fox, who had been waiting outside for some time.
“Why do you not come to pay your respects to me?” said the Lion to the Fox.
“I beg your Majesty’s pardon,” said the Fox, “but I noticed the track of the animals that have already come to you; and while I see many hoof-marks going in, I see none coming out. Till the animals that have entered your cave come out again I prefer to remain in the open air.”
A Hound, who in the days of his youth and strength had never yielded to any beast of the forest, encountered in his old age a boar in the chase.
He seized him boldly by the ear, but could not retain his hold because of the decay of his teeth, so that the boar escaped.
His master, quickly coming up, was very much disappointed, and fiercely abused the dog.
The Hound looked up and said: “It was not my fault, master; my spirit was as good as ever, but I could not help mine infirmities. I rather deserve to be praised for what I have been, than to be blamed for what I am.”