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Aesop's Fables by  J. H. Stickney




N A FOREST, deep, shady, and still, there once lived a company of Hares.

Whenever a leaf fell rustling to the ground, or a squirrel, jumping in the [51] branches, broke a twig, the Hares started and trembled, they were so timid.

One day there came a great wind, rushing through the tops of the trees with a roaring noise, and waving the branches back and forth.

It frightened the Hares so much that they all started together, running as fast as they could to get out of the forest, which had been their home.

"What a sad state is ours," they said, "never to eat in comfort, to sleep always in fear, to be startled by a shadow, and fly with beating heart at the rustling of the leaves. Better death, by far. Let us drown ourselves in yonder lake."

But when they came to the lake, it happened that there were scores [52] of frogs sporting on the banks; who, when they heard the sound of footsteps, jumped into the water.

The timid Hares were startled by the splash; but, as they saw the frogs dive to the bottom of the lake, a wise old Hare said, "Stop a moment! let us consider. Here are creatures that are more timid than we—they are afraid even of us. See, they are frowning themselves for fear of us! It may not be so bad with us as we thought. Perhaps we have been foolish, as foolish as the frogs, who are alarmed when there is no danger. Let us make the best of our lot, and try to be brave in it." So back they went again to the forest.

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