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The Book of Fables and Folk Stories by  Horace E. Scudder

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THE TRAVELERS AND THE BEAR

TWO friends were walking along the road, when a Bear came suddenly upon them.

One of them got first to a tree, and climbed up into it and hid among the branches.

The other, who was slower, fell flat upon the ground, and made believe that he was dead.

When the Bear came up to him, and poked him with his nose, he held his breath; for it is said that this animal will not touch a dead man. The Bear went off, and the Man who was in the tree came down, and asked the other what the Bear had whispered.

"He told me," said the other, "not to travel with friends who would desert me when danger came."

This fable teaches that misfortunes sometimes show which of our friends are true friends.


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