A mussel was sunning itself by the river bank, when a bittern came by and and pecked at it. The mussel closed its shell and nipped the bird's beak. Hereupon the bittern said, 'If you don't let me go to-day, if you don't let me go to-morrow, there will be a dead mussel.' The shell-fish answered, ' If I don't come out to-day, if I don't come out to-morrow, there will surely be a dead bittern.' Just then a fisherman came by and seized the pair of them." The moral of which word to the wise will be sufficiently obvious to the youngest reader.
Once upon a time a countryman came into the town on market-day, and brought a load of very special pears with him to sell. He set up his barrow in a good corner, and soon had a great crowd round him ; for everyone knew he always sold extra fine pears, though he did also ask an extra high price. Now, while he was crying up his fruit, a poor, old, ragged, hungry-looking priest stopped just in front of the barrow, and very humbly begged him to give him one of the pears. But the countryman, who was very mean and very nasty-tempered, wouldn't hear of giving him any, and as the priest didn't seem inclined to move on, he began calling him all the bad names he could think of. " Good sir," said the priest, " you have got hundreds of pears on your barrow. I only ask you for one. You would never even know you had lost one. Really, you needn't get angry." "Give him a pear that is going bad ; that will make him happy," said one of the crowd. "The o