One day the king went for a long walk in the woods. When he came back to his own garden, he sent for his family to come down to the lake for a swim. When they were all ready to go into the water, the queen and her ladies left their jewels in charge of the servants, and then went down into the lake.
As the queen put her string of pearls away in a box, she was watched by a Girl Monkey who sat in the branches of a tree near-by. This Girl Monkey wanted to get the queen’s string of pearls, so she sat still and watched, hoping that the servant in charge of the pearls would go to sleep.
At first the servant kept her eyes on the jewel-box. But by and by she began to nod, and then she fell fast asleep.
As soon as the Monkey saw this, quick as the wind she jumped down, opened the box, picked up the string of pearls, and quick as the wind she was up in the tree again, holding the pearls very carefully. She put the string of pearls on, and then, for fear the guards in the garden would see the pearls, the Monkey hid them in a hole in the tree. Then she sat near-by looking as if nothing had happened.
By and by the servant awoke. She looked in the box, and finding that the string of pearls was not there, she cried, “A man has run off with the queen’s string of pearls.”
Up ran the guards from every side.
The servant said: “I sat right here beside the box where the queen put her string of pearls. I did not move from the place. But the day is hot, and I was tired. I must have fallen asleep. The pearls were gone when I awoke.”
The guards told the king that the pearls were gone.
“Find the man who stole the pearls,” said the king.
Away went the guards looking high and low for the thief.
After the king had gone, the chief guard said to himself: “There is something strange here. These pearls,” thought he, “were lost in the garden. There was a strong guard at the gates, so that no one from the outside could get into the garden. On the other hand, there are hundreds of Monkeys here in the garden. Perhaps one of the Girl Monkeys took the string of pearls.”
Then the chief guard thought of a trick that would tell whether a Girl Monkey had taken the pearls. So he bought a number of strings of bright-colored glass beads.
After dark that night the guards hung the strings of glass beads here and there on the low bushes in the garden. When the Monkeys saw the strings of bright-colored beads the next morning, each Monkey ran for a string. But the Girl Monkey who had taken the queen’s string of pearls did not come down. She sat near the hole where she had hidden the pearls.
The other Monkeys were greatly pleased with their strings of beads. They chattered to one another about them. “It is too bad you did not get one,” they said to her as she sat quietly, saying nothing. At last she could stand it no longer. She put on the queen’s string of pearls and came down, saying proudly: “You have only strings of glass beads. See my string of pearls!”
Then the chief of the guards, who had been hiding nearby, caught the Girl Monkey. He took her at once to the king.
“It was this Girl Monkey, your Majesty, who took the pearls.”
The king was glad enough to get the pearls, but he asked the chief guard how he had found out who took them.
The chief guard told the king that he knew no one could have come into the garden and so he thought they must have been taken by one of the Monkeys in the garden. Then he told the king about the trick he had played with the beads.
“You are the right man in the right place,” said the king, and he thanked the chief of the guards over and over again.
Once upon a time three Fishes lived in a far-away river. They were named Thoughtful, Very-Thoughtful, and Thoughtless. One day they left the wild country where no men lived, and came down the river to live near a town.
Very-Thoughtful said to the other two: “There is danger all about us here. Fishermen come to the river here to catch fish with all sorts of nets and lines. Let us go back again to the wild country where we used to live.”
But the other two Fishes were so lazy and so greedy that they kept putting off their going from day to day.
But one day Thoughtful and Thoughtless went swimming on ahead of Very-Thoughtful and they did not see the fisherman’s net and rushed into it. Very-Thoughtful saw them rush into the net.
“I must save them,” said Very-Thoughtful.
So swimming around the net, he splashed in the water in front of it, like a Fish that had broken through the net and gone up the river. Then he swam back of the net and splashed about there like a Fish that had broken through and gone down the river.
The fisherman saw the splashing water and thought the Fishes had broken through the net and that one had gone up the river, the other down, so he pulled in the net by one corner. That let the two Fishes out of the net and away they went to find Very-Thoughtful.
“You saved our lives, Very-Thoughtful,” they said, “and now we are willing to go back to the wild country.”
So back they all went to their old home where they lived safely ever after.
Once upon a time a Big Rat lived in the forest, and many hundreds of other Rats called him their Chief. A Tricky Wolf saw this troop of Rats, and began to plan how he could catch them. He wanted to eat them, but how was he to get them?
At last he thought of a plan. He went to a corner near the home of the Rats and waited until he saw one of them coming. Then he stood up on his hind legs.
The Chief of the Rats said to the Wolf, “Wolf, why do you stand on your hind legs?”
“Because I am lame,” said the Tricky Wolf. “It hurts me to stand on my front legs.”
“And why do you keep your mouth open?” asked the Rat.
“I keep my mouth open so that I may drink in all the air I can,” said the Wolf. “I live on air; it is my only food day after day. I can not run or walk, so I stay here. I try not to complain.” When the Rats went away the Wolf lay down.
The Chief of the Rats was sorry for the Wolf, and he went each night and morning with all the other Rats to talk with the Wolf, who seemed so poor, and who did not complain. Each time as the Rats were leaving, the Wolf caught and ate the last one. Then he wiped his lips, and looked as if nothing had happened.
Each night there were fewer Rats at bedtime. Then they asked the Chief of the Rats what the trouble was. He could not be sure, but he thought the Wolf was to blame.
So the next day the Chief said to the other Rats, “You go first this time and I will go last.”
They did so, and as the Chief of the Rats went by, the Wolf made a spring at him. But the Wolf was not quick enough, and the Chief of the Rats got away.
“So this is the food you eat. Your legs are not so lame as they were. You have played your last trick, Wolf,” said the Chief of the Rats, springing at the Wolf’s throat.
He bit the Wolf, so that he died. And ever after the Rats lived happily in peace and quiet.
Once upon a time a Deer lived in a forest near a lake. Not far from the same lake, a Woodpecker had a nest in the top of a tree; and in the lake lived a Turtle. The three were friends, and lived together happily.
A hunter, wandering about in the wood, saw the footprints of the Deer near the edge of the lake. “I must trap the Deer, going down into the water,” he said, and setting a strong trap of leather, he went his way.
Early that night when the Deer went down to drink, he was caught in the trap, and he cried the cry of capture.
At once the Woodpecker flew down from her tree-top, and the Turtle came out of the water to see what could be done.
Said the Woodpecker to the Turtle: “Friend, you have teeth; you gnaw through the leather trap. I will go and see to it that the hunter keeps away. If we both do our best our friend will not lose his life.”
So the Turtle began to gnaw the leather, and the Woodpecker flew to the hunter’s house.
At dawn the hunter came, knife in hand, to the front door of his house. The Woodpecker, flapping her wings, flew at the hunter and struck him in the face. The hunter turned back into the house and lay down for a little while.
Then he rose up again, and took his knife. He said to himself: “When I went out by the front door, a Bird flew in my face; now I will go out by the back door.” So he did.
The Woodpecker thought: “The hunter went out by the front door before, so now he will leave by the back door.” So the Woodpecker sat in a tree near the back door. When the hunter came out the bird flew at him again, flapping her wings in the hunter’s face. Then the hunter turned back and lay down again.
When the sun arose, he took his knife, and started out once more. This time the Woodpecker flew back as fast as she could fly to her friends, crying, “Here comes the hunter!”
By this time the Turtle had gnawed through all the pieces of the trap but one. The leather was so hard that it made his teeth feel as if they would fall out. His mouth was all covered with blood. The Deer heard the Woodpecker, and saw the hunter, knife in hand, coming on. With a strong pull the Deer broke this last piece of the trap, and ran into the woods.
The Woodpecker flew up to her nest in the tree-top. But the Turtle was so weak he could not get away. He lay where he was. The hunter picked him up and threw him into a bag, tying it to a tree.
The Deer saw that the Turtle was taken, and made up his mind to save his friend’s life. So the Deer let the hunter see him. The hunter seized his knife and started after the Deer. The Deer, keeping just out of reach, led the hunter into the forest. When the Deer saw that they had gone far into the forest he slipped away from the hunter, and swift as the wind, he went by another way to where he had left the Turtle.
But the Turtle was not there. The Deer called, “Turtle, Turtle!”; and the Turtle called out, “Here I am in a bag hanging on this tree.”
Then the Deer lifted the bag with his horns, and throwing it upon the ground, he tore the bag open, and let the Turtle out.
The Woodpecker flew down from her nest, and the Deer said to them: “You two friends saved my life, but if we stay here talking, the hunter will find us, and we may not get away. So do you, Friend Woodpecker, fly away. And you, Friend Turtle, dive into the water. I will hide in the forest.”
The hunter did come back, but neither the Deer, nor the Turtle, nor the Woodpecker was to be seen. He found his torn bag, and picking that up he went back to his home.
The three friends lived together all the rest of their lives.
Once upon a time there was a Goose who had beautiful golden feathers. Not far away from this Goose lived a poor, a very poor woman, who had two daughters. The Goose saw that they had a hard time to get along and said to himself: “If I give them one after another of my golden feathers, the mother can sell them, and with the money they bring she and her daughters can then live in comfort.”
So away the Goose flew to the poor woman’s house.
Seeing the Goose, the woman said: “Why do you come here? We have nothing to give you.”
“But I have something to give you,” said the Goose. “I will give my feathers, one by one, and you can sell them for enough so that you and your daughters can live in comfort.”