Have you ever watched crabs at the seaside?If you have, you'll notice that they never walk straight, but always sideways. Once, though, there was a mother crab who ran about without ever thinking what she was doing. When she saw her son rushing sideways from pool to pool she thought something must be wrong with him. "Stop, stop," she cried in alarm. "Try to walk properly, like a grown-up crab. Put one leg in front of the other."
Her son was wiser than she was. "All right mother," he said. "I'll watch exactly how you do it and do the same." And of course he went on walking sideways!
Have you ever heard a goat singing? It's not a pretty sound,but it saved the life of Gerald. Although he wasn't the biggest goat in his herd, Gerald was the most quick-witted. One evening, he was – as usual – lagging behind the herd as it returned to the farm. He was fond of pushing his nose into this and that, and he was further behind than ever. Suddenly, there was a wolf, standing in front of him and looking very hungry. "Oh, oh," thought Gerald. "Trouble ahead!"
So he said to the wolf: "I know you are going to eat me for supper, so I have a favour to ask. May I sing and dance one last time, please?" The wolf thought he could wait a little longer for supper. He played a flute so Gerald began to sing and dance.
He made a terrible racket, so bad the wolf put his paws over his ears and begged him to stop. Better still, the farm dogs heard the noise and came rushing out, growling and barking, and the wolf fled empty-handed.
The other fishermen all laughed at Jack. Their nets had small holes in them, so they caught little fish as well as big ones. The small ones they could sell for making soup and fish cakes. Jack's net only had big holes, so the little fish always escaped back into the sea.
One day the king came to their town and gave a speech. "You must not catch all the little fish," he said. "If you do, they not grow into big fish, and there will be nothing left to eat.
Jack understands this, so I am putting him in charges of all the fisherman."
An olive tree grew near the edge of a lake where tall reeds rose in the shallows. It saw how the reeds bent in the wind, and couldn't resist telling them it was better to stand firm instead of waving about in every little breeze.
But one winter a great gale swept across the lake. The reeds bent almost to the ground before it but, when it was over, they stood tall and straight again. The poor old olive tree had two of its heavy branches snapped off, and it was pushed over so that half its roots were broken. "Sometimes it's better to bow down before great strength," the reeds said to the olive tree.
Two friends were travelling together through the forest when an enormous bear came lumbering towards them. Immediately, they ran towards a tree, but one of them tripped and fell. Ignoring him, the other clambered up the tree to safety. The one on the ground held his breath and pretended to be dead. The bear came over and sniffed his face before it turned away and plodded off.
"Gosh, that was a close thing," said the second friend when he had come down from his tree. "It almost looked as if the bear was talking to you." "Oh, he was," said the first friend. "He bent down and whispered in my ear, and he gave me some very good advice. He told me it was a bad idea to travel with friends who abandon you when you are in danger."
Some wild goats wandered down from the hills to the field where the farm goats were grazing. The farmer was very pleased. "Come home with us," he said to the wild goats, "and I'll give you a really good meal." He hoped they would join his herd and make it bigger.
That night he gave the wild goats a feast, but to his own goats he gave only the scraps. When he opened the barn door next day, the wild goats rushed back to the hillside. "What's the matter?" called the farmer. "We saw what your own goats had," they said. We'd soon starve if we stayed with you."
When the first men saw the first camel they were scared out of their wits. It was so big! Covered with thick, brown fur with a great hump on its back it looked as if it must be very dangerous. But the camel liked the people it met, and tried to be as helpful as possible. It would sink down on its knees and let children play on its back. After a while, men lost their fear and realized the camel was a gentle animal that could help them carry heavy loads for long distances without demanding big rewards. But instead of being grateful, men began to treat camels badly because they were no longer afraid of them.
osh the farmer had two dogs. One was a pet in the house. The other, Fanny, worked hard whenever Josh went shooting for pheasants or partridges. She chased about all day, sniffing out the birds and fetching them if the farmer killed one. Josh and his family would eat the birds for supper and divide the left-overs between Fanny and the pet dog. Fanny thought it was unfair that she worked hard while the pet did nothing, but still shared the food she had caught. "But I can't help it," said the pet. "Nobody taught me to hunt, and anyway I work hard playing with the children all day."