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149. TIT FOR TAT.
A MERCHANT OF CHINA AND
A certain merchant of China, going one day on a journey, placed in his neighbour's charge a hundred weight of iron. Not having had the success for which he hoped, he returned home. The first thing he did on his arrival, was to go to his friend's house.
My iron," said he.
“ Your iron! I am sorry to tell you bad news. An accident has happened that nobody could foresee; a rat has eaten it all. But what can be done? There is always in a granary some hole where the little animals enter, and commit a thousand depredations.”
The merchant is astonished at such a miracle, and pretends to believe it. A few hours after, he finds his neighbour's child in the by-path, takes him home with him, and shuts him up in a room under lock and key. The next day he invites the father to sup with him.
“Excuse me, I pray you; all pleasures are lost to me. They have stolen my son, He is my only onealas ! what do I say ?-he is mine no more.”
"I am sorry to hear this news; the loss of an only son must affect you much. But, my dear neighbour, I will tell you that last evening, as I was going out, I saw an owl carry off your child !”
“ Do you take me for an idiot, to wish to make me believe such a story? How! an owl, which weighs at most two or three pounds, carry off a child that weighs at least fifty? The thing is absurd, impossible !”
“I cannot tell you how it was done; but I saw it with my own eyes, I tell you. Besides, how do you
I find it strange and impossible, that the owls of a country where a single rat eats a hundred weight of iron should carry off a child that weighs only half a hundred weight?"
The neighbour upon this found that he was not dealing with a fool, and returned the iron to the merchant in exchange for his son.
A CHINESE STORY.
A CAMEL AND A JACKAL. There once lived a Camel and a Jackal who were great friends. One day the Jackal said to the Camel, “I know that there is a fine field of sugar-cane on the other side of the river. If you will take me
across I'll show you the place. This plan will suit me as well as you. You will enjoy eating the sugar-cane, and I am sure to find many crabs, bones, and bits of fish by the river-side, on which to make a good dinner.”
The Camel consented, and swam across the river, taking the Jackal, who could not swim, on his back. When they reached the other side, the Camel went to eat the sugar-cane, and the Jackal ran up and down the river-bank devouring all the crabs, bits of fish, and bones he could find.
But being so much smaller an animal, he had made an excellent meal, before the Camel had eaten more than two or three mouthfuls ; and no sooner had he finished his dinner, than he ran round and round the sugar-cane field, yelping and howling with all his might.
The villagers heard him and thought, “There is a jackal among the sugar-canes ; he will be scratching holes in the ground, and spoiling the roots of the plants." And they went down to the place to drive him away. But when they got there, they found to their surprise not only a jackal, but a camel who was eating the sugarcanes ! This made them very angry and they caught the poor camel, and drove him from the field, and beat him until he was nearly dead.
When they had gone, the Jackal said to the Camel, “We had better go home.” And the Camel said, “Very well, then jump upon my back as you did before.”
So the Jackal jumped upon the Camel's back, and the Camel began to recross the river. When they had got well into the water, the Camel said, “This is a pretty way in which you have treated me, friend Jackal. No sooner had you finished your own dinner than you must go yelping about the place loud enough to arouse the whole village, and bring all villagers down to beat me black and blue and turn me out of the field before I had eaten two mouthfuls! What in the world did you make such a noise for ? "
"I don't know," said the Jackal. “ It is a custom I have. I always like to sing a little after dinner.”
The Camel waded on through the river. The water reached upto his knees—then above them-up, up, up, higher and higher, until he was obliged to swim. Then turning to the Jackal he said, “I feel very anxious to roll.” “0, pray don't; why do you wish to do so ?” asked the Jackal. “I don't know," answered the Camel : “it is a custom I have. I always like to have a little
a roll after dinner.” So saying, be rolled over in the water, shaking the Jackal off as he did so. And the Jackal was drowned, but the Camel swam safely ashore, *
• From Old Deccan Days, hy Mary Frere.
A GENTLEMAN AND A BOY. A boy was one day sitting on the steps of a door. He had a broom in one hand and in the other a large piece of bread and butter, which somebody had kindly given him.
While he was eating it, and merrily humming a tune, he saw a poor little dog quietly sleeping not far from him. He called out to him, “ Come here, , poor fellow !"
The dog, hearing himself kindly spoken to, rose, pricked up his ears and wagged his tail. Seeing the boy eating, he came near him. The boy held out to him a piece of his bread and butter. As the dog stretched out his head to take it, the boy bastily drew back his hand and hit him a hard rap on nose. The poor dog ran away, howling most dreadfully, while the cruel boy sat laughing at the mischief he had done.
A gentleman who was looking from a window on the other side of the street saw what the wicked boy had done. Opening the street door, he called him to cross over ; at the same time, holding up a sixpence between his finger and thumb.
“Would you like this?” said the gentleman, .
“Yes, if you please, Sir," said the boy, smiling; and he hastily ran over to seize the money.
Just at the moment that he stretched out his hand, he got so severe a rap on the knuckles, from a cane which the gentleman had behind him, that he roared out like a bull!
“ What did you do that for?” said he, making a very long face and rubbing his band. “I didn't hurt you, nor ask you for the sixpence.”
“What did you hurt that poor dog for just now?” said the gentleman. “He didn't hurt you, nor ask you
for your bread and butter. As you served him I have served you. Now remember, dogs can feel as well as boys, and learn to behave kindly towards dumb animals in future.”
_"ROYAL READERS, No. 3."
A MINISTER AND A BEAU.
All's right! now off, Jehu !
What, do you preach in coaches, my old boy?