A farmer whose land was by the sea used to look at the water and think how peaceful it looked. "I should like to be a merchant," he thought. So he sold his farm and, with the money, bought a ship and a cargo of wine. He had only been at sea for two days when a great storm arose. I seemed that his heavy boat would sink, so he threw the big jars of wine overboard, and at last managed to get safely back. Some months later one of his friends looked at the sea and said how calm and peaceful it looked. "That means it is thirsty," said the farmer, "and is waiting for another shipload of wine.
As you know, sheep have their long woolly coats cut off every summer. Men called sheep-shearers travel from farm to farm to do the job. Some of them are good, but a few are very clumsy. Sally the sheep was waiting to be sheared, as usual, but this year she was unlucky. The sheep-shearer wasn't good at all. Still, she gritted her teeth and tried to be brave. After a while she could stand it no longer. "Steady on," she yelled. "If it's my wool you want, be careful. But if you're trying to turn me into lamb chops for supper, please kill me at once and stop torturing me!
Fanny the farm dog was in her kennel in the yard one night when she was woken by a burglar creeping towards the house. She gave a warning growl. The burglar tried to make her a friend by throwing her a piece of chocolate. Fanny loved chocolate, but she knew something was wrong, and growled louder. The thief threw her another piece, but this time Fanny began barking furiously. Her master woke up, and poked his head out of the window, holding his shotgun. The burglar ran as fast as his legs would take him. Fanny hadn't forgotten who fed her every day, and she knew that was better than two pieces of chocolate.
Horace the dog was very proud of his appearance. Half his fur was grey and half was black. He thought it made him look very distinguished. He went to see his mother once a week, but she didn't like his grey hair. She thought they made him look too old, so every week she pulled a few out. He went to see his sister as well, but she didn't like black hair, because she thought they made him look bad-tempered. Every week she pulled a few out. The end of it was that poor old Horace became the first bald dog. His mother had to knit him a coat to keep him warm.
Denzil the donkey was pottering about in the woods when he found a leopard skin. "Hee-haw," he brayed to himself. "I've got a cool idea. I'll wrap this leopard skin round myself and everyone will think I'm a real tough customer. Wicked!" So he did, and at first it worked like a treat. All the animals he met took one look at him and jumped into the bushes.
Then he saw Freddie the Fox. "Hee-haw," brayed Denzil. "Watch yourself, man. Aren't you scared of a leopard?" Freddie sat down and laughed. "I would be, Denzil," he said, "but I've never met a leopard before that brayed like a donkey."
There was once a very pretty fox with a long, bushy tail. She was fond of waving her tail around so everyone would admire it, but one day it got caught in a hunter's trap. The only way she could escape was by biting off half her tail. Then she went around all the other foxes saying: ‘Long tails are out of fashion now. Look, short tails are all the rage. You should cut off your tails to make them as smart as mine.' It would have been a clever trick if it had worked, but none of the other foxes were silly enough to believe a word of it!
The whales and the dolphins loved a good fight. The dolphins would nip the tails of the whales. The whales would butt the dolphins with their heads.
They were always larking about like this, and they loved every minute of it. Just swimming around would be so boring. Butt Johny the goldfish, who worried about everything, didn't like it when they were fighting.
One day, when the whales and dolphins were having an especially good battle, he swam between them.
"Let me try and arrange peace between you," he said. "Absurd," said the whales.
"Ridiculous," said the dolphins. "Can't you see what fun we're having? Go back to the seabed."
A long, long time ago, or so they say, there was a thief who nobody could catch. Everybody complained to Bill, the local wizard, but he was too lazy to do anything – until the thief stole his favourite dinosaur-flavoured toffees. He set a trap. He made some magic potion and left it by an open window. He did behind the curtains until a hand came in and grabbed the potion. Bill the Wizard listened. "Glug, glug… EEK," he heard. He went to the window, and saw a little ant scuttling away. "That worked rather well," chuckled Bill the Wizard, and went to bed. Even today you can see ants running around looking for magic potion to turn them back into people!
A hungry sparrow hawk was speeding through the sky when it spotted a little nightingale sitting in a tree-top, singing beautifully. Without a second thought, it swooped down and snatched the nightingale from her branch. She wriggled and squirmed, but couldn't get free.
"Please don't eat me," begged the nightingale. "I'm such a little bird. I'd hardly make a mouthful for you. Let me go, and chase something bigger that would fill your tummy." The sparrow hawk opened its beak wide. "If I could see something bigger, I would," he said as he swallowed the nightingale. "But something is better than nothing."
Even dim-wits have a few tricks. Denzil the donkey was in the meadow when a wolf leapt from the woods. "I'm too young and handsome to die," thought Denzil. As the wolf was about to jump he held up a hoof. "Before you eat me, Mr Wolf," he said, "you should pull this thorn out of my foot, or you'll have a bad tummy-ache." "Good point," growled the wolf and bent down to look. Denzil kicked him on the nose as hard as he could, and the wolf ran off howling. "Well done, Denzil," cried the other donkeys when he got home. "We never thought you could be so smart."
Timmy was a mischievous little calf, always doing what he was told not to. Timmy the Terror his mum called him. "You must never go swimming in the mill stream, Timmy," she told him. "The water is much too dangerous there."
So of course that's exactly what Timmy the Terror did the very next day. Just as his mum said, the water was fast and dangerous, and Timmy was soon in trouble. He might very well have drowned but, luckily for him, a wise cow came along the path by the stream. "Help," spluttered Timmy, as he went under for the third time. The cow began giving Timmy a long lecture on hoe dangerous the stream was, and how foolish he was to swim in it. "Please, madam," yelled Timmy as he went under for the fourth time, "rescues me now, and give me the lecture when I'm on dry land. If you don't it might be too late for me to hear it."