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Group Four

31 The brash gnat

32 The enemy's trumpeter

33 A tortoise dies

34 A doomed man

35 The scorpion stings

36 A wolf finds reasons

37 The stork chooses

38 The tricky wolf

39 A donkey thinks

40 A patient dies

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33. Tortoise Dies Trying To Fly

A tortoise once called to an eagle flying by,
Hey, what would you charge to teach me to fly?
And the eagle looked down with a groan and frowned:
Little friend, you were made to stay on the ground!

        Baloney!
said the tortoise as the eagle landed near
         You're the most selfish eagle anywhere around here!
        You act high and mighty with the tricks you know,
        And you don't care at all for the creatures below.

OK
, eagle said, Here, I'll grab your leg
And I'll teach you to fly if you just won't beg!
So the eagle grabbed the tortoise and shot up high
Like a bright flying star in the midnight sky

        Then he loosened his grip and the tortoise plunged down
        And schmushed like a fritter when he hit the ground,
        Then that eagle sang out in the tone of a saint:
        Only terrible fools try to be what they ain't.

MORAL: The wise avoid foolish expectations.


from the book Praying Your Story and the forthcoming book Aesop's Best: 80 Fables in Verse by William Cleary

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