The Ibis

A rascally young ibis, once he had learned to run and fly, never stopped. He was constantly in search of food and ate everything he found.

But one morning the young ibis stayed in the nest. He had a temperature and a terrible stomach ache.

His mother was frightened and ran to him immediately, looked at him, felt him with her beak and claws, and said: "I see. You have eaten something you should not, because you are so greedy, and it has made you ill."

With these words the mother ibis flew to the pond and filled her crop with water. Returning to the nest she gave him some water to relieve the discomfort.

The Flames

For more than a month the flames had glowed in the glass-blowers furnace, where bottles and glasses were made.

One day they saw a candle supported on a fine shining candlestick coming towards them. At once, with passionate longing, they strove to approach the sweet little candle.

One in particular, leaping from the ember that fed it, turned its back on the furnace, and slipping through a little crack, flung itself upon te candle, devouring it greedily.

But the eager flame soon consumed the poor little candle and, not wishing to die with it, tried to return to the furnace from which it had escaped.

But it could not detach itself from the soft wax, and it called in vain for help from the other flames.

The rebel flame turned into suffocating smoke, leaving all of its brothers resplendent, looking forward to a long and glittering life.

 The Tree & the Pole

Robinia -- Royal Collection, Windsor Castle
Robinia (Detail)
Royal Collection, Windsor Castle

A tree which grew luxuriantly, lifting to heaven its plume of green leaves, objected to the presence of a straight, dry old pole beside it.

"Pole, you are too close to me. Can you not move further away?"

The pole pretended not to hear and made no reply.

Then the tree turned to the thorn hedge surrounding it.

"Hedge, can you not go somehwere else? You irritate me."

The hedge pretended not to hear, and made no reply.

"Beautiful tree," said a lizard, raising his wise little head to look up at the tree, "do you not see that the pole is holding you up straight? Do you not realise that the hedge is protecting you from bad company?"

The Lion

The cubs had not yet opened their eyes. They had lain for three days between the mother lioness's paws, moving only to grope for milk, hearing and seeing nothing.

A little apart, the lion proudly watched them.

Suddenly he stood up, and shaking his beautiful mane gave vent to a roar like thunder.

The cubs at once opened their eyes, while all the wild animals of the jungle fled in terror.

Moral: As the lion awakens his children with a loud cry, so praise awakens the sleeping virtue of our sons. It encourages them to study and to strive for honour, and puts to flight everything that is unworthy of them.

The Miser

 Every now and again the toad opened his mouth and swallowed a little earth.

"Why are you so thin?" aladybird asked him one day.

"Because I am always hungry," replied the toad.

"But you only eat earth!" exclaimed the charming insect. "Why do you not eat your fill?"

"Because one day," replied the miser, "even the earth might come to an end."

 The Stream

 A mountain stream, forgetting that it owed its water to the rain and little brooks, decided to swell until it became as big as a river.

So it began to dash itself violently against its banks, noisily tearing away soil and stones in order to widen its bed.

But when the rains stopped, the waters shrank. The poor stream found itself caught among the stones it had torn from its banks, and was forced with much labour to hew itself a new path down into the valley.

Moral: He who wants too much gets nothing.

The Lily

The lily placed itself on the bank of the Ticino, and the current tore away the bank with the lily.