AESOP'S FABLES - online children's book

300 favourite fables with illustrations by Arthur Rackham

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THE Swan is said to sing but once in its life—when it
      knows that it is about to die. A certain man, who had heard of the song of the Swan, one day saw one of these birds for sale in the market, and bought it and took it home with him. A few days later he had some friends to dinner, and produced the Swan, and bade it sing for their entertainment : but the Swan remained silent. In course of time, when it was growing old, it became aware of its approaching end and broke into a sweet, sad song. When its owner heard it, he said angrily, ' If the creature only sings when it is about to die, what a fool I was that day I wanted to hear its song ! I ought to
have wrung its neck instead of merely inviting it to
         » sing.
A SNAKE suffered a good deal from being constantly trodden upon by man and beast, owing partly to the length of his body and partly to his being unable to raise himself above the surface of the ground : so he went and complained to Jupiter about the risks to which he was exposed. But Jupiter had little sympathy for him. I dare say," said he, ' that if you had bitten the first that trod on you, the others would have taken more trouble to look where they put their feet.' 190