A dog was lying in a manger of hay which had been provided for the cattle to eat, but when they approached he angrily growled and prevented them from getting near, to which they remarked:
"He doesn't need it himself yet he won't let us have it, the selfish beast."
The dog in a manger
(if you don't need it, don't keep it from others who do)
The fox and the grapes
A hungry fox passed below a fine bunch of grapes hanging high from a vine. After trying in vain to jump and reach them he gave up, saying to himself as he walked off, "the grapes looked ripe, but I see now they are quite sour."
The bathing boy
(give help in a crisis, not criticism)
A boy, who had strayed out of his depth, began to drown in a river, when a passing stranger saw him and began to scold him for being reckless.
"Please help me out first, then by all means scold me afterwards," pleaded the boy.
The spendthrift and the swallow
(one swallow does not make a summer)
A man who had wasted his fortune had nothing left but the clothes he wore.
On seeing a swallow one Spring morning he decided the weather would be warmer, so he sold his coat. The weather however turned colder the next day and killed the swallow. When the shivering man saw the dead swallow he moaned, "Thanks to you I am freezing."
Mercury and the woodman
(honesty is the best policy)
A woodman lost his axe into the river when it glanced off a tree he was felling. Mercury appeared while the man was lamenting his loss, and on hearing his tale dived into the river, and recovered a golden axe.
"That's not mine," said the woodman, so Mercury returned it to the river, resurfacing this time with a silver axe.
"That's not mine," again said the woodman, and again Mercury returned it to the river, resurfacing this time with the woodman's own axe.
"That's mine." said the grateful woodman.
Mercury promptly rewarded the man for his honesty by giving him the golden and silver axes as well.
On hearing the woodman's tale, an envious friend set out to do as the woodman had done. Visiting the same spot and deliberately losing his axe in the river. Just as before, Mercury appeared and dived in to recover the lost axe. When Mercury produced a golden axe, the man greedily stretched out for it claiming, "That's mine." Mercury, not best pleased with the man's dishonesty, held on to the golden axe, and refused to recover the original.
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