received the second prize, I consider almost an insult to myself.'
1 No !' declared the Fence-rail, who had been witness at the distribution of prizes, ' reference must also be had to industry and perseverance. Many respectable people said so, and I understood it well. The Snail certainly took half a year to get across the threshold ; but has broken his thigh-bone in the haste he was compelled to make. He devoted himself entirely to his work, and he ran with his house on his back ! All that is very praiseworthy, and that's how he got the second prize.'
' I might certainly have been considered too,' said the Swallow. ' I should think that no one appeared swifter in flying and soaring than myself, and how far I have been around—far—far—far !'
I Yes, that's just your misfortune,' said the Fence-rail. ' You're too fond of fluttering. You must always be journeying about into far countries when it begins to be cold here. You've no love of fatherland in you. You cannot be taken into account.'
' But if I lay in the swamp all through the winter ? ' said the Swallow. ' Suppose I slept through the whole time; should I be taken into account then ? '
' Bring a certificate from the old swamp-wife that you have slept away half the time in your fatherland, and you shall be taken into account.'
II deserved the first prize, and not the second,' said the Snail. ' I know so much at least, that the Hare only ran from cowardice, because he thought each time there was danger in delay. I, on the other hand, made my running the business of my life, and have become a cripple in the service. If any one was to have the first prize, I should have had it; but I make no fuss, I despise it ! '
And so he spat.
11 am able to depose with word and oath that each prize, at least my vote for each, was given after proper consideration,' observed the old Boundary-post in the wood, who had been a member of the body of judges. ' I always go on with due consideration, with order, and calculation. Seven times before I have had the honour to be present at the distribution of prizes, but not till to-day have I carried