THE APE AND THE BOAR
AN Ape once took up his abode in a corner of the desert where there were many fig trees. He was a wise creature, and reasoned thus with himself:
"I cannot live without food, and there is nothing here
except fig trees. I must therefore eat sparingly of this
fruit while it is ripe, and store away a quantity for my
Accordingly, it was his custom every day to shake a
fig tree, eat a few green figs, and then dry the rest.
One morning when he was in the top of one of the trees,
a wild Boar ran by. He had been chased by a hunter far from
his home. When the Ape saw the Boar, he trembled with fear
so that the whole tree shook. The Boar, however, bowed low
to the Ape, and said,—
"Do you want a guest?"
The Ape thereupon assumed a friendly air, and replied,—
"You are, indeed, most welcome. I regret only that I did
not know beforehand of your coming. If I had, I would have
prepared a feast in your honor. Now I have nothing to offer
you but a few green figs."
The Boar again bowed humbly. "I have come a long distance,"
he replied, "and am hungry and weary. Anything, however simple
it may be, that you will set before me, will taste as fine
to me as a feast."
Thereupon the Ape shook the fig tree until not a single
fig was left upon it. The Boar ate the fruit eagerly and
should have been content, for the Ape had given him a
generous meal. But, being a greedy creature, he remarked
as he ate the last fig on the ground: "My dear host,
these figs are delicious, but I am still ravenous with
hunger. I pray you to shake another tree."
The Ape, who was still afraid of his guest, swung himself
over into another tree and shook it. The Boar again fell
to eating, nor was he satisfied when he had again swallowed
the last fig.
"Make haste," he cried rudely to the Ape, at last forgetting
his manners, his greediness was so great, "and find another
tree as good as this last one."
But the Ape sat quietly where he was.
You have already made way with more figs than I eat in a
month," he said. "If I give you any more, I myself must
starve, for these figs are my only source of food."
Then the Boar growled with rage. To pay you for your
stinginess, I will bring you down from that tree and
eat you alive!" he shouted. He climbed into the tree,
still growling, to bring down the Ape; but scarcely had
he lodged in the first branch before it cracked beneath
his weight and he fell to the ground, breaking his own neck.