The red and blue coat
Once there were two boys who were great friends, and they were determined to remain that way forever. When they grew up and got married, they built their houses facing one another across a small path.
One day, a trickster from the village decided to fool them. He dressed himself in a two-colour coat that was divided down the middle. So, one side of the coat was red, and the other side was blue.
The trickster wore this coat and walked along the narrow path between the...
Hercules and the lazy man
A man was once driving a heavy load along a very muddy way in a cart. Finally, he came to a part of the road where the wheels sank half-way into the mud, the more the horses pulled, the deeper the wheels sank. So, the man threw down his whip, knelt down, and prayed to Hercules the Strong. "Oh Hercules, help me out of this mess." He said. But Hercules appeared to him, and said:
"Tut, tut, man, don't lie there grovelling and begging for help. Get up and put your...
The Dog and the Reflection.
A Dog had got a piece of meat and was carrying it home in his mouth so that he could eat it in peace. Now, on his way home he had to cross a plank of wood lying across a running brook(小溪). As he crossed, he looked down and saw his reflection in the water beneath(在水底下). Thinking it was another dog with another piece of meat, he made up his mind to have that meat as well as his own. So, he tried to snatch(一把抓起) the tasty morsel(一块食物) from the reflection in the...
The Wind and the Sun
The Wind and the Sun were arguing over which of them was stronger. They saw a traveller coming along the road, and the Sun said: "I see a way to settle this argument. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak will be the stronger one. You begin."
So, the Sun hid behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller. But the harder he blew the more closely the traveller wrapped his cloak around him, till at last the Wind...
The Man Who Never Lied
Once upon a time there lived a wise man by the name of Mamad. He never lied. All the people in the land, even the ones who lived twenty days away, knew about him.
The king heard about Mamad and ordered his subjects to bring him to the palace. He looked at the wise man and asked:
" Mamad, is it true, that you have never lied?"
" It's true."
"And you will never lie in your life?"
" I'm sure of that."
"Okay, tell the truth, but be careful! The lie is cunning and it...
The Wolf and the Kid
A Kid, (the proper name for a baby goat) was perched up on the top of a house, and looking down, saw a Wolf passing by under him. Immediately he began to shout at his enemy. "You murderer! You rotten thief !" he cried, from the safety of his high perch. "What are you doing here? You’re lucky I’m up here, if I were down there, I’d kick you to bits and pieces! How dare you show yourself! Do you think no one knows what a rascal you are? Run away before I lose my...
THE SINGING BONE
Once upon a time in a certain country there was great concern about a wild boar that was destroying the peasants' fields, killing the cattle, and ripping people apart with its tusks. The king promised a large reward to anyone who could free the land from this plague, but the beast was so large and strong that no one dared to go near the woods where it lived. Finally, the king proclaimed that whoever could capture or kill the wild boar should have his only daughter in...
Once upon a time there was a prince who had a sudden desire to travel about the world. He took no one with him except a faithful servant. One day he came to a great forest, and when evening fell, he could find no shelter, he didn’t know where he and his servant would spend the night. Then he saw a girl who was walking toward a little house, when he came nearer, he saw that the girl was young and beautiful.
The prince spoke to her, saying, "Dear child, can my servant and I find...
In days gone by there was a land where the nights were always dark and the sky spread over it like a black cloth, for there the moon never rose, and no stars shone in the deep darkness of sky. Four young fellows once went out of this country on a travelling expedition, and arrived in another kingdom, where, in the evening when the sun had disappeared behind the mountains, a shining globe was placed on an oak-tree, which shed a soft light far and wide. By means of this, everything...
Weighing the Elephant
A long time ago, people who lived in China knew that a strange, amazing beast called an elephant, lived in a faraway land, but no one had ever seen one. One day, a ruler from a distant country came to see the Emperor of China. He brought a gift, and that gift was a real, live elephant!
Never had anyone in China seen anything like it. It was all anyone at court could talk about.
“This elephant is bigger than a water buffalo!” said one mandarin.
“Are you kidding?”...
Sima Guang Breaks the Vat
Sima Guang was nine years old. He liked to play in his backyard with his friends Wang Wei, Li Na, and Zhang Yong.
One day, the friends were playing in the yard. Wang Wei said, “I bet I can climb up to the top of the water vat!” (A water vat is a very big clay jar used to keep rain water).
“Do not go to the top of the water vat!” said Li Na. “It is too high.”
“It is not too high for me!” said Wang Wei.
“Stay down here and play,” said Sima Guang.
“No, I want...
The Sick Lion
A Lion had come to the end of his days, and he lay sick and close to death at the mouth of his cave, gasping for breath. The animals, his subjects, came round him and drew nearer as he grew more and more helpless. When they saw him so weak, they thought to themselves: "Now is the time to pay off old grudges." So, the Boar came and dug his tusks into the lion; then a Bull gored him with his horns; still the Lion lay helpless before them: so the Ass, feeling quite safe from...
A poor man had twelve children, he had to work day and night just to feed them. So, when the thirteenth child came into the world, not knowing what to do, the poor man ran out and walked the roads, intending to ask the first person he met to be the godfather.
The first person to come his way was God, who already knew what was in his heart, and God said to him, "Poor man, I pity you. I will hold your child at his baptism, and care for him, and make him happy on earth."
Belling the Cat
Long ago, the mice held a big meeting to discuss how they could outwit their enemy, the Cat. Some said this, and some said that, but none of them had any really good ideas. Then a young mouse stood up and said he had a plan that should work. "You will all agree," he said, "that the reason the cat catches so many of us, is because it creeps up so quietly, we don’t know it’s there until it’s too late. Now, if we could hear it approaching, we could easily run away before we are...
The Wolf and the Crane
A Wolf had been gorging on an animal he had killed, when suddenly a small bone in the meat stuck in his throat and he could not swallow it. He soon felt terrible pain in his throat and ran up and down groaning and seeking for something to relieve the pain. He tried to induce everyone he met to remove the bone. "I would give anything," said he, "if you would take it out." At last the Crane agreed to try and told the Wolf to lie on his side and open his jaws as wide as...
The Lion's Share
The Lion once went hunting along with the Fox, the Jackal, and the Wolf. They hunted and they hunted till at last they surprised a Stag, and soon took its life. Then came the question of how the stag should be divided. “divide this Stag into quarters," roared the Lion; so, the other animals skinned it and cut it into four parts. Then the Lion stood in front of the carcass and pronounced judgment: The first quarter is for me in my capacity as King of Beasts; the second is...
ALLADIN AND THE MAGIC LAMP
Once upon a time in China, there was a boy named Aladdin who lived with his mother. They were very poor. One day, a rich stranger came to their house looking for Aladdin. ‘I am a merchant,’ he told Aladdin’s mother. ‘I have come all the way from Arabia. I want to take your boy with me for a little work, but I will give him so much gold for this service that you will not be poor anymore.’
Aladdin’s mother agreed because they really needed the money. However, she...
THE MOUSE, THE BIRD, AND THE SAUSAGE
A mouse, a bird and a sausage decided to set up home together. For a long time they got along happily, living within their means and managing to save a little. The bird’s job was to go into the forest every day and bring back wood for the fire, the mouse had to get water from the well, make the fire and lay the table, and the sausage did the cooking.
But people are never happy with living well when we think there is a better life to be had. One day, as...
The Old Man and Death
An old man, bent double with age, and a life time of hard work, was gathering sticks in a forest. At last he grew so tired and hopeless that he threw down the bundle of sticks and cried out: "I cannot bear this life any longer. I wish Death would come and take me away!"
As he spoke, Death, a scary skeleton, appeared and said to him: "What do you want, Mortal? I heard you call me."
"Please, sir," replied the woodcutter, immediately regretting his words, "would you...
The Lion, the Fox, and the Beasts
The Lion sent out a message that he was sick and close to death. He summoned all the animals to come and hear his dying wish. So, the Goat came to the Lion's cave, then a Sheep went in, and before she came out a Calf came up to hear the last wishes of the Lord of the Beasts. But then, the Lion seemed to recover, and came to the mouth of his cave, licking his lips, and saw the Fox, who had been waiting outside for some time. "Why do you not come to pay your...
The Bundle of Sticks
An old man on his death bed summoned his sons around him to give them some final advice. He pointed to a bundle of sticks, tied tightly together, and said to his eldest son: "Break it." The son strained and strained, but in spite of all his strength and effort, was unable to break the bundle. The other sons also tried, but none of them was successful. "Untie the bundle," said the father, "and each of you take a stick." When they had done so, the old man said to them:...
The Fox, the Cockerel, and the Dog
One moonlit night a Fox was prowling about a farmer's hen coop and saw a Cockerel roosting high up beyond his reach. "Good news, good news!" The fox cried."What news is that?" said the Cockerel."King Lion has declared a universal truce. No animal may hurt a bird from now on, we must all live together in brotherly and sisterly friendship.""That is good news," said the Cockerel; "and look! I see someone coming, we can tell him this good news, too!" The Cock...
The Miser and His Gold
Once upon a time there was a Miser who used to hide his gold at the foot of a tree in his garden. Every week he used to go and dig up the gold and gloat over how much of it he had. A robber noticed this, he went to the tree one night, dug up the gold and ran off with it! When the Miser next came to gloat over his treasure, he found nothing but the empty hole. He tore his hair and screamed so loudly that all the neighbours came to see what the matter was. The miser told...
The Man and the Nightingale
A Man lay listening to a Nightingale's song one summer night. He loved the bird’s song so much that the next night he set a trap for it and captured it. "Now that I have caught you," he cried, "you will always sing to me."
"We Nightingales never sing in a cage." said the bird.
"Then I'll eat you." said the Man. "I’ve been told that a nightingale on toast is delicious!"
"Don’t kill me," said the Nightingale; "let me free, and I'll tell you three things that are...