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.
TWO men were traveling together, when a Bear suddenly met them on their path.
One of them climbed up quickly into a tree and hid himself in the branches. The other, seeing that he must be killed, fell flat on the ground, and when the Bear came up and felt him with his nose, and smelt him all over, he held his breath, and showed the appearance of death as much as he could.
The Bear soon left him, for it is said he will not touch a dead body. When he was quite gone, the other Traveler climbed from the tree, and asked his friend what it was the Bear had said in his ear. "He gave me this advice," his friend answered. "Never travel with a friend who deserts you at the coming of danger. Remember: A friend in need is a friend indeed."
Misfortune tests the sincerity of friends.
A fisherman who lived on the produce of his nets, one day caught a single small Fish as the result of his day's labor. The Fish, panting convulsively, thus entreated for his life: "O Sir, what can I be to you, and how little am I worth? I am not yet come to my full size. Pray spare my life, and put me back into the sea. I shall soon become a large fish fit for the tables of
the rich, and then you can catch me again, and make a handsome profit of me." The Fisherman replied, "I should indeed be a very simple fellow if, for the chance of a greater uncertain profit, I were to forego my present certain gain."
A cock was once strutting up and down the farmyard among the hens when suddenly he espied something shinning amid the straw.
"Ho! ho!" quoth he, "that's for me," and soon rooted it out from beneath the straw. What did it turn out to be but a Pearl that by some chance had been lost in the yard?
"You may be a treasure," quoth Master Cock, "to men that prize you, but for me I would rather have a single barley-corn than a peck of pearls."
Precious things are for those that can prize them.