Ivan Krylov

The Sheep and the Dogs

In a certain flock of Sheep, it was resolved that the number of dogs should be increased, in order that the wolves might worry no more. What was the result? Why, the number increased so greatly that at last, truly enough, the Sheep were no longer annoyed by the wolves. But dogs, too, must live. So, first, they deprived the Sheep of their fleeces, and then they tore their skins off them, choosing them by lot. At last, only five or six of the Sheep remained, and those also the dogs ate up.

The Two Dogs

Barbos, the faithful yard-dog, who serves his master zealously, happens to see his old acquaintance Joujou, the curly lap-dog, seated at the window on a soft down cushion. Sidling fondly up to her, like a child to a parent, he all but weeps with emotion; and there, under the window, he whines, wags his tail, and bounds about.

"What sort of a life do you lead now, Joujoutka, ever since the master took you into his mansion? You remember, no doubt, we used often to suffer hunger out in the yard. What is your present service like?"

"It would be a sin in me to murmur against my good fortune," answers Joujoutka. "My master cannot make enough of me. I live amidst riches and plenty, and I eat and drink off silver. I frolic with the master, and, if I get tired, I take my ease on carpets or on a soft couch. And how do you get on?"

"I?" replied Barbos, letting his tail dangle like a whip, and hanging his head. "I live as I used to do. I suffer from cold and hunger; and here, while guarding my master's house, I have to sleep at the foot of the wall, and I get drenched in the rain. And if I bark at the wrong time, I am whipped. But how did you, Joujou, who were so small and weak, get taken into favour, while I jump out of my skin to no purpose? What is it you do?"

"' What is it you do?' A pretty question to ask !" replied Joujou, mockingly. "I walk upon my hind legs."

The Travellers and the Dogs

ONE evening two friends were walking along, and carrying on a sensible conversation, when suddenly fromthe threshold of a gateway a yard-dog began to bark at them. After it began a second, then two or three others, and in another moment half a hundred dogs had run together from all the courtyards. Already was one of the travellers on the point of picking up a stone, when the other one said to him,

"Hold hard, brother ! You won't prevent the dogs from barking ; you will only provoke the pack all the more. Let 's go straight on. I know their nature better."

And, in fact, they had only gone some fifty paces when the dogs gradually began to calm down, and at last they could not be heard at all.

The envious can look at nothing without setting up a howl at it. But you go your own way. They may continue barking for awhile— but they will leave off.

The Horse and the Dog

DOG and a Horse, which served the same peasant, began to discuss each other's merits, one day.

"How grand we are, to be sure!" says Barbos. "I shouldn't be sorry if they were to turn you out of the farmyard. A noble service, indeed, to plough or to draw a cart! And I've never heard of any other proof of your merit. How can you possibly compare yourself with me? I rest neither by day nor by night. In the daytime I watch the cattle in the meadows; by night I guard the house."

"Quite true," replied the Horse. "What you say is perfectly correct. Only remember that, if it weren't for my ploughing, you wouldn't have anything at all to guard here."
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"N T EIGHBOUR, light of my eyes! do eat a little more."

-i- ^ "Dear neighbour, I am full to the throat.'

"No matter; just a little plateful. Believe me, the soup is cooked gloriously."

"But I've had three platefuls already."

"Well, what does that matter? If you like it and it does you good, why not eat it all up? What a soup it is! How rich! It looks as if it had been sprinkled over with amber. Here is bream; there is a lump of sterlet. Take a little more, dear, kind friend. Just another spoonful! Wife, come and intreat him."

Thus does Demian feast his neighbour Phocas, not giving him a moment's breathing-time. Phocas feels the moisture trickling down his forehead; still he takes one more plateful, attacks it with all the strength he has left, and somehow manages to swallow the whole of it.

"That's the sort of friend I like !" cries Demian. "I can't bear people who require pressing. But now, dear friend, take just one little plateful more!"

But, on hearing this, our poor Phocas, much as he liked fish soup, catching hold of his cap and sash, runs away home without looking behind him. Nor from that day to this has he crossed Demian's threshold.

THE Sheep could not live in peace on account of the Wolves, and the evil increased to such a pitch, that at last the rulers of the beasts had to take vigorous steps towards interfering and saving the victims. With that intent a council was summoned. The majority of its members, it is true, were Wolves; but then all Wolves are not badly spoken of. There have been Wolves known, and that often (such instances are never forgotten), to have walked past a flock quite peacefully—when completely gorged. So why should not Wolves have seats in the council? Although it was necessary to protect the Sheep, yet there was no reason for utterly suppressing the Wolves.

Well, the meeting took place in the thick wood. They pondered, considered, harangued, and at last framed a decree. Here you have it, word for word :—" As soon as a Wolf shall have disturbed a flock, and shall have begun to worry a Sheep, then the Sheep shall be allowed, without respect to persons, to seize it by the scruf of the neck, to carry it into the nearest thicket or wood, and there to bring it before the court."

This law is everything that can be desired. Only, I have remarked, up to the present day, that although the Wolves are not to be allowed to worry with impunity, yet in all cases, whether the Sheep be plaintiff or defendant, the Wolf is always sure, in spite of all opposition, to carry off the Sheep into the forest.

The Peasant and the Dog

A PEASANT, who was a great economist, and the possessor of a well-to-do homestead, hired a Dog to watch his courtyard and bake his bread, and, besides all this, to hoe and water his young cabbages.

"What stuff is this he 's made up ? " says the reader. " There 's neither rhyme nor reason in it ! Let's suppose the Dog watched the courtyard. Good ! But has any one ever seen dogs baking bread or watering cabbages? "

Reader! I should not have been altogether justified if I had answered in the affirmative. But the matter in question is not that, but this — that our Barbos undertook to do all these things, and demanded and got triple pay in consequence.

For Barbos this was capital. What did any one else matter?

Meanwhile the Peasant got ready for the fair, went to it, amused himself there for a time, and then came home again. At his first glance round — life became a burden to him  he tore and raged with vexation. There was no bread in the house, there were no cabbages; and, besides this, a tliief had slipped into the yard and stripped the store-room bare.

On Barbos then burst a storm of abuse; but he had his excuse ready for everything. It was utterly impossible for him to bake bread on account of having to look after the cabbages. The cabbage-garden turned out a failure merely because the constant guarding of the courtyard left him without a foot to stand on. And he had not observed the thief, simply because he was at that moment preparing to bake the In-ead.

Elephant and Pug

Elephant and Pug
© Book of Fables

Along the streets Big Elephant was led,
To show him off, most likely.
Since Elephants are not a common thing to see
A crowd of gapers followed on his heels.
All of a sudden Pug springs up in front of them.
And seeing Elephant, it raises a great rumpus,
It lunges, barks and howls
And does its best to pick a quarrel.
'Hey neighbor, stop the fuss,'
A mutt intones, 'You? Deal with Elephant?
Look at you barking yourself hoarse, and he just strolls
And doesn't care one bit about your noise.'
'Ho ho!' Pug says,
'That's just what I enjoy,
Since I can be a real tough guy
Without a single blow or bruise.
That way, the other dogs will say:
'To bark at Elephant this Pug

Must be a real strong mug!'


© Postcards From the Past