Two tribes lived on the banks of a river. The tribe that lived upstream caught fish by stretching their nets across the river. They beat the water with long sticks to make the fish swim into the nets, but when they did this the water became very muddy. The tribe that lived downstream became angry. "How can we live when you are always making our drinking water so dirty," they said. "You must stop catching fish."
The other tribe became even angrier. "Why should we go hungry just to stop you complaining," they replied. In the end, both tribes went to war and killed each other, so the river became calm again, and the fish were left in peace.
Fanny the farm dog was pretty smart, but one day she got the shock of her life because no-one had ever told her about mirrors. As a special treat, she was given a big bone. She took it down to the river bank to enjoy it in peace. As she stood there with the bone in her mouth, she looked at her reflection in the water. And what did she see? Another dog with a bone in its mouth! She wanted the other bone as well as her own, so she opened her mouth to bark and her bone fell straight in and sank to the bottom.
King lion lay in his cane felling very ill. The other animals hurried off to visit him. The lion could be very fierce if they did not show him enough respect. Only the fox did not go at once. The wolf hated the fox, who was smarter than he was. "What a good chance to get him into trouble," he thought, and began telling the lion terrible stories about the fox. The fox arrived in time to hear the end of them. He saw how angry the lion was. "Wait," said the fox. "Instead of standing here talking. I have been searching for a cure for your illness. If you wrap the skin of a wolf around you while it's still warm, you'll feel better at once."
With a roar, the lion killed the wolf and wrapped his skin round him. "The wolf would have done better to make the lion feel happy," the fox told the other animals.
The frogs in the lake had an easy life doing exactly what they wanted. But what pleased one frog annoyed another, and they could see things could be better. All the frogs agreed they needed a strong leader to make the rules they should live by. So they sent a message to the King of all animals. "Very well," said the King, and threw a log into a lake, telling the frogs this was their new leader.
At first the frogs were terrified of it.
When it splashed into the lake they all dived to the bottom and hid in mud. But after a while, when the log did nothing but float on the surface, they lost their fear. They hopped all over it and carried on as before. They sent another message to the King saying they needed a better one.
"Then you must learn your lesson," said the King. This time he sent a water snake, who took one look at all the frogs and ate as many of them as it could catch.
Two burglars were prowling round a barn one night. They could hear something moving inside, and ever so carefully they climbed in to see what it was. It was a rooster. "Ah-ha," they cried. "This will do for our supper tomorrow." They grabbed it and were about to kill it when the rooster squawked in alarm: "Please don't kill me. I can be useful to you. I can wake you at dawn every day, ready to start work on time."
"That's just what we don't want," growled the burglars. "If you wake people up they'll catch us robbing their houses." So that was the end of the rooster.
A goat and a donkey lived on the same farm. The goat had to find his own food, but because he made the donkey work hard, the farmer fed him. The goat became jealous, forgetting all the donkey's hard work. He thought if the donkey stopped working, he would get his food. So he pushed him into a large hole, and he was badly hurt. The farmer sent for the vet, who examined the donkey. "The quickest way to make him better," he said, "is to feed him with goat soup." So instead of getting the donkey's food for himself, the goat finished up as food for the donkey!
By the time Denzil the donkey had grown into an old donkey, he was wiser than he had been when he was a young thing. Every day his master, the farmer, heaped heavy loads on his back, and he was glad when night fell.
Then he could enjoy his supper before a good night's sleep. One day, when he was staggering under a heavier load than usual, the farmer came racing up.
"Run for it," he said. There are soldiers coming over the hill. They are going to capture the farm." Denzil thought for a moment. "If they do," he asked, "do you think they'll make me carry heavier loads than this one?" The farmer didn't really know what Denzil was talking about, but he said: "I shouldn't think so." "Right," answered Denzil. "Then I shall stay here. Things couldn't be any worse whoever was running the farm!"
You know what dogs are like. If you drop a bit of food from the table they shallow it before they know what it is. But sometimes they wish they hadn't. Fanny the farm dog wasn't allowed in while her master Josh was eating with the family. But one day she crept in and hid under the table when no-one was looking.
She kept very quiet until suddenly a big dollop of food fell next to her. She gobbled it up without thinking. Then she let out a big bowl and rushed outside, holding her tummy with one paw. The family was eating a very hot curry for supper!