The Baby's Own Aesop by Crane, Walter

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Transcriber's note:

In the original, some titles use V for U and I for J. This has been preserved in this e-book.

Spelling errors are noted with a [Transcriber's Note], but obvious punctuation errors and inconsistent formatting have been corrected.

THE BABY'S OWN ÆSOP

Being the Fables Condensed in Rhyme with Portable Morals Pictorially Pointed by

WALTER CRANE

Engraved & Printed in Colours by Edmund Evans

London Frederick Warne and Co. and New York

[Illustration: BABY'S OWN ÆSOP]

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

PREFACE

For this rhymed version of the Fables I have to thank my early friend and master W.J. LINTON, who kindly placed the MS. at my disposal. I have added a touch here and there, but the credit of this part of the book still belongs to him.

Walter Crane

[Illustration: ENGRAVER EE & PRINTER]

[Illustration]

To the Possessors of "Baby's Opera" & "Baby's Bouquet" with Walter Crane's Compliments

CONTENTS

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_Page_

9. _The Fox and the Grapes._

10. _The Cock and the Pearl._--_The Wolf and the Lamb._

11. _The Wind and the Sun._

12. _King Log and King Stork._

13. _The Frightened Lion._

14. _The Mouse and the Lion._--_The Married Mouse._

15. _Hercules and the Waggoner._

16. _The Lazy Housemaids._

17. _The Snake and the File._--_The Fox and the Crow._

18. _The Dog in the Manger._--_The Frog and the Bull._

19. _The Fox and the Crane._

20. _Horse and Man._--_The Ass and the Enemy._

21. _The Fox and the Mosquitoes._--_The Fox and the Lion._

22. _The Miser and his Gold._--_The Golden Eggs._

23. _The Man that pleased None._

24. _The Oak and the Reeds._--_The Fir and the Bramble._

25. _The Trees and the Woodman._

26. _The Hart and the Vine._

27. _The Man and the Snake._

28. _The Fox and the Mask._

29. _The Ass in the Lion's Skin._

30. _The Lion and the Statue._

31. _The Boaster._

32. _The Vain Jackdaw._

33. _The Peacock's Complaint._

34. _The Two Jars._--_The Two Crabs._

35. _Brother and Sister._

36. _The Fox without a Tail._

37. _The Dog and the Shadow._

38. _The Crow and the Pitcher._--_The Eagle and the Crow._

39. _The Blind Doe._

40. _The Geese and the Cranes._

41. _The Trumpeter taken Prisoner._

42. _Hot and Cold._

43. _Neither Beast nor Bird._

44. _The Stag in the Ox-stall._--_The Deer and the Lion._

45. _The Lion in Love._

46. _The Cat and Venus._--_Mice in Council._

47. _The Hen and the Fox._--_The Cat and the Fox._

48. _The Hare and the Tortoise._--_The Hares and the Frogs._

49. _Porcupine, Snake & Company._--_The Bear and the Bees._

50. _The Bundle of Sticks._

51. _The Farmer's Treasure._

52. _The Cock, the Ass, and the Lion._--_The Ass and the Lap Dog._

53. _Fortune and the Boy._

54. _The Ungrateful Wolf._--_The Fisherman and the Fish._

55. _The Herdsman's Votes._--_The Horse and the Ass._

56. _The Ass and the Sick Lion._

ÆSOP'S FABLES

[Illustration]

THE FOX & THE GRAPES

This Fox has a longing for grapes, He jumps, but the bunch still escapes. So he goes away sour; And, 'tis said, to this hour Declares that he's no taste for grapes.

THE GRAPES OF DISAPPOINTMENT ARE ALWAYS SOUR

THE COCK & THE PEARL

[Illustration]

A rooster, while scratching for grain, Found a Pearl. He just paused to explain That a jewel's no good To a fowl wanting food, And then kicked it aside with disdain.

IF HE ASK BREAD WILL YE GIVE HIM A STONE?

THE WOLF AND THE LAMB

A wolf, wanting lamb for his dinner, Growled out--"Lamb you wronged me, you sinner." Bleated Lamb--"Nay, not true!" Answered Wolf--"Then 'twas Ewe-- Ewe or lamb, you will serve for my dinner."

FRAUD AND VIOLENCE HAVE NO SCRUPLES

THE WIND & THE SUN

[Illustration]

The Wind and the Sun had a bet, The wayfarers' cloak which should get: Blew the Wind--the cloak clung: Shone the Sun--the cloak flung Showed the Sun had the best of it yet.

TRUE STRENGTH IS NOT BLUSTER

KING LOG & KING STORK

[Illustration]

The Frogs prayed to Jove for a king: "Not a log, but a livelier thing." Jove sent them a Stork, Who did royal work, For he gobbled them up, did their king.

DON'T HAVE KINGS

THE FRIGHTENED LION

[Illustration]

A Bull Frog, according to rule, Sat a-croak in his usual pool: And he laughed in his heart As a Lion did start In a fright from the brink like a fool.

IMAGINARY FEARS ARE THE WORST

THE MOUSE & THE LION

[Illustration]

A poor thing the Mouse was, and yet, When the Lion got caught in a net, All his strength was no use 'Twas the poor little Mouse Who nibbled him out of the net.

SMALL CAUSES MAY PRODUCE GREAT RESULTS

THE MARRIED MOUSE

So the Mouse had Miss Lion for bride; Very great was his joy and his pride: But it chanced that she put On her husband her foot, And the weight was too much, so he died.

ONE MAY BE TOO AMBITIOUS

HERCULES & THE WAGGONER

[Illustration]

When the God saw the Waggoner kneel, Crying, "Hercules! Lift me my wheel From the mud, where 'tis stuck!" He laughed--"No such luck; Set your shoulder yourself to the wheel."

THE GODS HELP THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES

THE LAZY HOUSEMAIDS

[Illustration]

Two Maids killed the Rooster whose warning Awoke them too soon every morning: But small were their gains, For their Mistress took pains To rouse them herself without warning.

LAZINESS IS ITS OWN PUNISHMENT

THE SNAKE & THE FILE

[Illustration]

A Snake, in a fix, tried a File For a dinner. "'Tis not worth your while," Said the steel, "don't mistake; I'm accustomed to _take_, To _give's_ not the way of a File."

WE MAY MEET OUR MATCH

THE FOX & THE CROW

Said sly Fox to the Crow with the cheese, "Let me hear your sweet voice, now do please!" And this Crow, being weak, Cawed the bit from her beak-- "Music charms," said the Fox, "and here's cheese!"

BEWARE OF FLATTERERS

THE DOG IN THE MANGER

[Illustration]

A Cow sought a mouthful of hay; But a Dog in the manger there lay, And he snapped out "how now?" When most mildly, the Cow Adventured a morsel to pray.

DON'T BE SELFISH

THE FROG & THE BULL

Said the Frog, quite puffed up to the eyes, "Was this Bull about me as to size?" "Rather bigger, frog-brother." "Puff, puff," said the other, "A Frog is a Bull if he tries!"

BRAG IS NOT ALWAYS BELIEF

THE FOX & THE CRANE

[Illustration]

You have heard how Sir Fox treated Crane: With soup in a plate. When again They dined, a long bottle Just suited Crane's throttle; And Sir Fox licked the outside in vain.

THERE ARE GAMES THAT TWO CAN PLAY AT

HORSE AND MAN

[Illustration]

When the Horse first took Man on his back, To help him the Stag to attack; How little his dread, As the enemy fled, Man would make him his slave & his hack.

ADVANTAGES MAY BE DEARLY BOUGHT

THE ASS & THE ENEMY

"Get up! let us flee from the Foe," Said the Man: but the Ass said, "Why so?" "Will they double my load, Or my blows? Then, by goad, And by stirrup, I've no cause to go."

YOUR REASONS ARE NOT MINE

THE FOX & THE MOSQUITOES

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Being plagued with Mosquitoes one day, Said old Fox, "pray don't send them away, For a hungrier swarm Would work me more harm; I had rather the full ones should stay."

THERE WERE POLITICIANS IN ÆSOP'S TIME

THE FOX & THE LION

The first time the Fox had a sight Of the Lion, he 'most died of fright; When he next met his eye, Fox felt just a bit shy; But the next--quite at ease, & polite.

FAMILIARITY DESTROYS FEAR

THE MISER & HIS GOLD

[Illustration]

He buried his Gold in a hole. One saw, and the treasure he stole. Said another, "What matter? Don't raise such a clatter, You can still go & sit by the hole."

USE ALONE GIVES VALUE

THE GOLDEN EGGS

A golden Egg, one every day, That simpleton's Goose used to lay; So he killed the poor thing, Swifter fortune to bring, And dined off his fortune that day.

GREED OVEREACHES ITSELF

[Transcriber's Note: 'OVEREACHES' should be 'OVERREACHES']

THE MAN THAT PLEASED NONE

[Illustration]

Through the town this good Man & his Son Strove to ride as to please everyone: Self, Son, or both tried, Then the Ass had a ride; While the world, at their efforts, poked fun.

YOU CANNOT HOPE TO PLEASE ALL--DON'T TRY

THE OAK & THE REEDS

[Illustration]

Giant Oak, in his strength & his scorn Of the winds, by the roots was uptorn: But slim Reeds at his side, The fierce gale did outride, Since, by bending the burden was borne.

BEND, NOT BREAK

THE FIR & THE BRAMBLE

The Fir-tree looked down on the Bramble. "Poor thing, only able to scramble About on the ground." Just then an axe' sound Made the Fir wish himself but a Bramble.

PRIDE OF PLACE HAS ITS DISADVANTAGES

THE TREES & THE WOODMAN

[Illustration]

The Trees ask of Man what he lacks; "One bit, just to handle my axe?" All he asks--well and good: But he cuts down the wood, So well does he handle his axe!

"GIVE ME AN INCH & I'LL TAKE AN ELL"

THE HART & THE VINE

[Illustration]

A Hart by the hunters pursued, Safely hid in a Vine, till he chewed The sweet tender green, And, through shaking leaves seen, He was slain by his ingratitude.

SPARE YOUR BENEFACTORS

THE MAN & THE SNAKE

[Illustration]

In pity he brought the poor Snake To be warmed at his fire. A mistake! For the ungrateful thing Wife & children would sting. I have known some as bad as the Snake.

BEWARE HOW YOU ENTERTAIN TRAITORS

THE FOX & THE MASK

[Illustration]

A Fox with his foot on a Mask, Thus took the fair semblance to task; "You're a real handsome face; But what part of your case Are your brains in, good Sir! let me ask?"

MASKS ARE THE FACES OF SHAMS

THE ASS IN THE LION'S SKIN

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"What pranks I shall play!" thought the Ass, "In this skin for a Lion to pass;" But he left one ear out, And a hiding, no doubt, "Lion" had--on the skin of an Ass!

IMPOSTERS GENERALLY FORGET SOMETHING

THE LION & THE STATVE

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On a Statue--king Lion dethroned, Showing conqueror Man,--Lion frowned. "If a Lion, you know, Had been sculptor, he'd show Lion rampant, and Man on the ground."

THE STORY DEPENDS ON THE TELLER

THE BOASTER

[Illustration]

In the house, in the market, the streets, Everywhere he was boasting his feats; Till one said, with a sneer, "Let us see it done here! What's so oft done with ease, one repeats."

DEEDS NOT WORDS

THE VAIN JACKDAW

[Illustration]

"Fine feathers," Jack thought, "make fine fowls; I'll be envied of bats & of owls:" But the peacocks' proud eyes Saw through his disguise, And Jack fled the assembly of fowls.

BORROWED PLUMES ARE SOON DISCOVERED

THE PEACOCK'S COMPLAINT

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The Peacock considered it wrong That he had not the nightingale's song; So to Juno he went, She replied, "Be content With thy having, & hold thy fool's tongue!"

DO NOT QUARREL WITH NATURE

THE TWO JARS

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"Never fear!" said The Brass to the Clay Of two Jars that the flood bore away: "Keep you close to my side!" But the porcelain replied, "I'll be smashed if beside you I stay."

OUR FRIEND OUR ENEMY

THE TWO CRABS

"So awkward, so shambling a gait!" Mrs Crab did her daughter berate, Who rejoined, "It is true I am backward; but you Needed lessons in walking quite late."

LOOK AT HOME

BROTHER & SISTER

[Illustration]

Twin children: the Girl, she was plain; The Brother was handsome & vain; "Let him brag of his looks," Father said; "mind your books! The best beauty is bred in the brain."

HANDSOME IS AS HANDSOME DOES

THE FOX WITHOUT A TAIL

[Illustration]

Said Fox, minus tail in a trap, "My friends! here's a lucky mishap: Give your tails a short lease!" But the foxes weren't geese, And none followed the fashion of trap.

YET SOME FASHIONS HAVE NO BETTER REASON

THE DOG & THE SHADOW

[Illustration]

His image the Dog did not know, Or his bone's, in the pond's painted show: "T'other dog," so he thought "Has got more than he ought," So he snapped, & his dinner saw go!

GREED IS SOMETIMES CAUGHT BY ITS OWN BAIT

THE CROW & THE PITCHER

[Illustration]

How the cunning old Crow got his drink When 'twas low in the pitcher, just think! Don't say that he spilled it! With pebbles he filled it, Till the water rose up to the brink.

USE YOUR WITS

THE EAGLE AND THE CROW

The Eagle flew off with a lamb; Then the Crow thought to lift an old ram, In his eaglish conceit, The wool tangled his feet, And the shepherd laid hold of the sham.

BEWARE OF OVERRATING YOUR OWN POWERS

THE BLIND DOE

[Illustration]

A poor half-blind Doe her one eye Kept shoreward, all danger to spy, As she fed by the sea, Poor innocent! she Was shot from a boat passing by.

WATCH ON ALL SIDES

THE GEESE & THE CRANES

[Illustration]

The Geese joined the Cranes in some wheat; All was well, till, disturbed at their treat, Light-winged, the Cranes fled, But the slow Geese, well fed, Couldn't rise, and were caught in retreat.

BEWARE OF ENTERPRIZES WHERE THE RISKS ARE NOT EQUAL

THE TRUMPETER TAKEN PRISONER

[Illustration]

A Trumpeter, prisoner made, Hoped his life would be spared when he said He'd no part in the fight, But they answered him--"Right, But what of the music you made?"

SONGS MAY SERVE A CAUSE AS WELL AS SWORDS

HOT AND COLD

[Illustration]

When to warm his cold fingers man blew, And again, but to cool the hot stew; Simple Satyr, unused To man's ways, felt confused, When the same mouth blew hot & cold too!

ÆSOP AIMED AT DOUBLE DEALING

NEITHER BEAST NOR BIRD

[Illustration]

A Beast he would be, or a bird, As might suit, thought the Bat: but he erred. When the battle was done, He found that no one Would take him for friend at his word.

BETWEEN TWO STOOLS YOU MAY COME TO THE GROUND

THE STAG IN THE OX STALL

[Illustration]

Safe enough lay the poor hunted Deer In the ox-stall, with nothing to fear From the careless-eyed men: Till the Master came; then There was no hiding-place for the Deer.

AN EYE IS KEEN IN ITS OWN INTEREST

THE DEER & THE LION

From the hounds the swift Deer sped away, To his cave, where in past times he lay Well concealed; unaware Of a Lion couched there, For a spring that soon made him his prey.

FATE CAN MEET AS WELL AS FOLLOW

THE LION IN LOVE

[Illustration]

Though the Lion in love let them draw All his teeth, and pare down every claw, He'd no bride for his pains, For they beat out his brains Ere he set on his maiden a paw.

OUR VERY MEANS MAY DEFEAT OUR ENDS

THE CAT AND VENUS

[Illustration]

"Might his Cat be a woman," he said: Venus changed her: the couple were wed: But a mouse in her sight Metamorphosed her quite, And for bride, a cat found he instead.

NATURE WILL OUT

MICE IN COUNCIL

Against Cat sat a Council of Mice. Every Mouse came out prompt with advice; And a bell on Cat's throat Would have met a round vote, Had the bell-hanger not been so nice.

THE BEST POLICY OFTEN TURNS ON AN IF

THE HEN AND THE FOX

[Illustration]

The Hen roosted high on her perch; Hungry Fox down below, on the search, Coaxed her hard to descend She replied, "Most dear friend! I feel more secure on my perch."

BEWARE OF INTERESTED FRIENDSHIPS

THE CAT AND THE FOX

The Fox said "I can play, when it fits, Many wiles that with man make me quits." "But my trick's up a tree!" Said the Cat, safe to see Clever Fox hunted out of his wits.

TRUST TO SKILL RATHER THAN WIT

THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE

[Illustration]

'Twas a race between Tortoise and Hare, Puss was sure she'd so much time to spare, That she lay down to sleep, And let old Thick-shell creep To the winning post first!--You may stare.

PERSISTENCE BEATS IMPULSE

THE HARES AND THE FROGS

Timid Hares, from the trumpeting wind, Fled as swift as the fear in their mind; Till in fright from their fear, From the green sedges near, Leaping Frogs left their terror behind.

OUR OWN ARE NOT THE ONLY TROUBLES

PORCUPINE, SNAKE, & COMPANY

[Illustration]

Going shares with the Snakes, Porcupine Said--"the best of the bargain is mine:" Nor would he back down, When the snake would disown The agreement his quills made them sign.

HASTY PARTNERSHIPS MAY BE REPENTED OF

THE BEAR & THE BEES

"Their honey I'll have when I please; Who cares for such small things as Bees?" Said the Bear; but the stings Of these very small things Left him not very much at his ease.

THE WEAKEST UNITED MAY BE STRONG TO AVENGE

THE BUNDLE OF STICKS

[Illustration]

To his sons, who fell out, father spake: "This Bundle of Sticks you can't break; Take them singly, with ease, You may break as you please, So, dissension your strength will unmake."

STRENGTH IS IN UNITY

THE FARMER'S TREASURE

[Illustration]

"Dig deeply, my Sons! through this field! There's a Treasure"--he died: unrevealed The spot where 'twas laid, They dug as he bade; And the Treasure was found in the yield.

PRODUCTIVE LABOUR IS THE ONLY SOURCE OF WEALTH

THE COCK, THE ASS & THE LION

[Illustration]

The Ass gave a horrible bray, Cock crowed; Lion scampered away; Ass judged he was scared By the bray, and so dared To pursue; Lion ate him they say.

DON'T TAKE ALL THE CREDIT TO YOURSELF

THE ASS AND THE LAP DOG

"How Master that little Dog pets!" Thinks the Ass; & with jealousy frets, So he climbs Master's knees, Hoping dog-like to please, And a drubbing is all that he gets.

ASSES MUST NOT EXPECT TO BE FONDLED

FORTVNE AND THE BOY

[Illustration]

A Boy heedless slept by the well By Dame Fortune awaked, truth to tell, Said she, "Hadst been drowned, 'Twould have surely been found This by Fortune, not Folly befel."

FORTUNE IS NOT ANSWERABLE FOR OUR WANT OF FORESIGHT

THE UNGRATEFUL WOLF

[Illustration]

To the Wolf, from whose throat Dr Crane Drew the bone, his long bill made it plain He expected his fee: Snarled Wolf--"Fiddle de dee, Be thankful your head's out again."

SOME CHARACTERS HAVE NO SENSE OF OBLIGATION

THE FISHERMAN & THE FISH

Prayed the Fish, as the Fisherman took Him, a poor little mite, from his hook, "Let me go! I'm so small." He replied, "Not at all! You're the biggest, perhaps in the brook."

A LITTLE CERTAINTY IS BETTER THAN A GREAT CHANCE

THE HERDSMAN'S VOWS

[Illustration]

A Kid vowed to Jove, so might he Find his herd, & his herd did he see Soon, of lions the prey: Then 'twas--"Get me away, And a goat of the best take for fee."

HOW OFTEN WOULD WE MEND OUR WISHES!

THE HORSE AND THE ASS

Overladen the Ass was. The Horse Wouldn't help; but had time for remorse When the Ass lay dead there; For he then had to bear Both the load of the Ass & his corse.

GRUDGE NOT HELP!

THE ASS & THE SICK LION

[Illustration]

Crafty Lion,--perhaps with the gout, Kept his cave; where, to solve any doubt, Many visitors go: But the Ass, he said "No! They go in, but I've seen none come out."

REASON FROM RESULTS