Envy and Avarice
Two neighbours came before Jupiter and entreated him to grant their hearts’ desire. Now, one was full of avarice and the other eaten up with envy. So to punish them both, Jupiter granted that each might have whatever he wished for himself, but only on the condition that his neighbour had twice as much.
The avaricious man prayed to have a room full of gold. No sooner had he said that, it was done, but all his joy was turned to grief when he found that his neighbour had two rooms full of the precious metal.
Then came the turn of the envious man, who could not bear to know that his neighbour had any joy at all. So he prayed that he might have one of his own eyes put out, which would ensure his companion would become totally blind.
Message: Vices are their own punishment.
A horse and an ass
An Ass congratulated a Horse for being taken care of so well, while he himself had scarcely enough to eat, and not even that without hard work. But when war broke out, the heavy armed soldier mounted the Horse, and rushed into the very midst of the enemy, and the Horse, got wounded and fell dead on the battle-field.
Then the Ass, seeing all these things, changed his mind, and commiserated with the Horse, saying: ‘How fortunate am I! I can remain at home in safety while he is exposed to all the perils of war.’
Message: Be content with what you have.
Wolf and Lamb
Once upon a time, a wolf was lapping water at a spring on a hillside. He saw a lamb just beginning to drink a little lower down. "There's my supper," thought he, ‘if only I can find some excuse to seize it.’ Then he called out to the lamb, "How dare you muddle the water from which I am drinking?"
"Nay, master, nay," said the lamb: "if the water be muddy up there, I cannot be the cause of it, for it runs down from you to me."
"Well, then," said the wolf, "Why did you call me bad names this time last year?" "That cannot be," said the lamb; "I am only six months old."
"I don't care," snarled the wolf; "If it was not you it was your father;" and with that he rushed upon the poor little lamb and ate it up.
Message: Any excuse will serve a tyrant.
Young Thief and Mother
A young man, caught in a daring act of theft, was ordered to be executed. He expressed his desire to see his mother, and to speak with her before he was led to execution. His wish was granted.
When his mother came to him, he said: "I want to whisper to you," and when she brought her ear near him, he nearly bit it off. All the bystanders were horrified, and asked him what he could mean by such brutal and inhuman conduct.
"It is to punish her," he said. "When I was young, I began with stealing little things, and brought them home to mother. Instead of rebuking and punishing me, she laughed and said: It would not be noticed. It is because of her that I am here today."
Message: Indiscipline leads to ruin.
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