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The Whale and the Grasshopper And other Fables   By:

The Whale and the Grasshopper And other Fables by Seumas O'Brien

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With a frontispiece by Robert McCaig

Boston Little, Brown, and Company 1916

To Edward J. O'Brien



The Whale and the Grasshopper 1 The House in the Valley 14 Peace and War 26 The Valley of the Dead 36 The King of Montobewlo 51 The Dilemma of Matty the Goat 67 Ham and Eggs 101 The White Horse of Banba 117 Rebellions 136 Kings and Commoners 143 The Folly of Being Foolish 155 The Lady of the Moon 163 A Bargain of Bargains 177 Shauno and the Shah 191 The Mayor of Loughlaurna 212 The Land of Peace and Plenty 230 The Linnet with the Crown of Gold 242 The Man with the Wooden Leg 258 The Hermit of the Grove 278 The King of Goulnaspurra 294


When Padna Dan started talking to his friend Micus Pat as they walked at a leisurely pace towards the town of Castlegregory on a June morning, what he said was: "The world is a wonderful place when you come to think about it, and Ireland is a wonderful place and so is America, and though there are lots of places like each other, there's no place like Ballysantamalo. When there's not sunshine there, there's moonshine, and the handsomest women in the world live there, and nowhere else except in Ireland or the churchyards could you find such decent people."

"Decency," said Micus, "when you're poor is extravagance, and bad example when you're rich."

"And why?" said Padna.

"Well," said Micus, "because the poor imitate the rich and the rich give to the poor and when the poor give to each other they have nothing of their own."

"That's communism you're talking," said Padna, "and that always comes before education and enlightenment. Sure, if the poor weren't decent they'd be rich, and if the rich were decent they'd be poor, and if every one had a conscience there'd be less millionaires."

"'Tis a poor bird that can't pick for himself."

"But suppose a bird had a broken wing and couldn't fly to where the pickings were?" said Micus.

"Well, then bring the pickings to him. That would be charity."

"But charity is decency and wisdom is holding your tongue when you don't know what you're talking about."

"If the people of Ballysantamalo are so decent, how is it that there are so many bachelors there? Do you think it right to have all the young women worrying their heads off reading trashy novels and doing all sorts of silly things like fixing their hair in a way that was never intended by nature and doing so for years and years and having nothing in the end but the trouble of it all?"

"Well, 'tis hard blaming the young men because every young lady you meet looks better to you than the last until you meet the next, and so you go from one to another until you're so old that no one would marry you at all unless you had lots of money, a bad liver, and a shaky heart."

"An old man without any sense, lots of money, a bad liver, and a shaky heart can always get a young lady to marry him," said Micus, "though rheumatics, gout, and a wooden leg are just as good in such a case."

"Every bit," said Padna, "but there's nothing like a weak constitution, a cold climate, and a tendency to pneumonia... Continue reading book >>

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