All summer long the grasshoppers sat on the tips of the tall grass and sang their hearts out. Everybody stopped to listen to them. Their song was the song of long hot summer days. Only the ants did not stop. They scurried about their business, collecting fallen seeds and hurrying back to their nest with them. There was no joy in their lives, only never-ending work. At last, summer was over, and the rains and mists of winter came.
Each day, the ants carefully shared out some of their seeds to keep them alive, always making sure there were enough left to last the winter. One day the grasshoppers came to their nest. "Please share some of your seeds with us," they begged. "We sang all summer long and had no time to collect food. Now we are cold and starving." But aunts just laughed at them. "If you had spent the summer working instead of singing you would not be hungry," they said. "And if you are cold, why don't you spend the winter dancing to keep warm?"
The lion, king of all the animals, was old and sick. He said to wolf: "I need a good meal to get back my strength. Bring me the stag that lives in the forest so I can kill him." The crafty wolf went to the stag. He told him the lion was dying and had chosen him to be the next king because of his beauty. "Come with me," said the wolf, "so you can be ready to put on the crown when he is dead." The stag was so pleased with himself that he believed every world the wolf told him.
He followed him to the lion' s den. "The king is very weak," said the wolf. "Bend down near his mouth so he can whisper in your ear all the things a new king needs to know." The stag did as the wolf told him, and immediately the lion pounced on him and killed him.
"Why don't we go hunting together," said a lion to a donkey one fine morning. "I'm strong and you're fast, so we'll make a good team." The donkey thought this was a wonderful idea, and they caught more food than the donkey had ever seen before. At the end of the day the lion looked at the big heap. "We'll divide this into three lots," he said. "I get the first because I'm the king of animals, and that's only fair. That leaves two, so as your partner I'll take the second lot. And you must give me the third one as well to show how grateful you are to me for not eating you up."
One cold day in winter, a farm-worker was mending some fences when he found a snake. It was covered in snow, and stiff with cold. In a few more moments it would certainly die. "It's one of God's creatures," thought the farm-worker. "It would be a shame if it dies when I can help it." So he put it inside his shirt to get warm. After a little while the snake recovered, but instead of being grateful it bit the farm-worker, and he dropped dead. "What an idiot," said the snake to itself as it crawled away. "Did he really expect me to stop behaving like a snake?"
Sam was a rather silly shepherd. In fact everyone called him "Silly" for short. Every time he went to market, the farmers warned him about the big bad wolf, but he ignored them. One day, though, Sam saw it following his flock of sheep, but it stayed in the distance and didn't come near. Next day the same thing happened, and the next, and the next.
At last Sam thought to himself: "The wolf may be big but it isn't bad at all. It's a very nice wolf, and it's looking after my sheep for me." So next time he went to market he put the wolf in charge, and when he got back he had no sheep left.
When God had finished making all the different animals he invited them to a big party to celebrate. Every single animal brushed its fur and went, looking near and tidy, except the tortoises. It was very rude not to send a note explaining why they couldn't come to the party, so next day God called down to the tortoises to ask them where they had been. The tortoises opened their sleepy eyes. "It was so nice and warm at home that we stayed there," they said, and went back to sleep. "In that case you can carry your homes around on your backs," said God. And that is why all tortoises live inside a thick shell.
Father and son stag were lying together in a clearing in the forest. Suddenly, in the distance, they heard sounds of dogs barking and hunters shouting. Son stag said, "Quick, it's time to run and hide until they have gone." Father stag laughed. "Why should we hide from dogs," he said. "We are bigger and stronger than they are. We can toss them aside with our great antlers. We should stand and fight." Son stag admired the bravery of his father, but he did not believe him. "Better to run and live to fight another day," he replied. So his father stayed, and as the dogs drew near he put down his antlers and charged. But there were too many dogs, and as fast as he tossed one aside, there more attacked him. At last they dragged him down, and the hunters killed him.
One day the stag that had escaped from the hunters and their dogs ran until he reached a bright, clear stream, flowing through the grassy meadows. He stopped to drink, and saw his reflection in the water. He admired his wide, pointed antlers. "Nature has given me fine weapons to defend myself," he thought.
Then he saw his legs. "What weak, thin things they are," he said to himself. "Why could they not be thick and strong." Just then he heard a deep growl, and looking up he saw a lion about to pounce on him. At once he fled, racing and leaping over the long grass. His legs, that had look so weak and feeble, made him speed like the wind and the lion could not keep up. Then he came to a tangled wood of bushes and small trees. As he felt the hot breath of the lion on his neck, he cried "what a fool I am. My legs were my strongest weapon."
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