Once a Hare who is very sure that he can run quickly says to the Tortoise:

“Let’s run a race.”

“Let’s,” answers the Tortoise. Of course, the Hare runs quickly, and when he looks back, he does not see the Tortoise. “She can’t run quickly,” thinks the Hare, “so I may rest here.”

And he goes down to rest. Soon the Hare falls asleep. But the Tortoise is walking on and on. She doesn’t rest for a minute. When the Hare gets up, he runs quickly, but it is too late. The Tortoise has won the race.

It is often so in life that somebody is too sure of himself, he fails.



Once upon a time there lived a large oak-tree in a big forest. He was very proud, as he was so big.

“Look at me,” he said to the fir-tree. “I’m so big and beautiful. But you are small.”

The little fir-tree looked up at the large oak-tree. He had heard all this many times and he was tired to hear it. The oak-tree always showed off because he was big.

“I am not a bad tree,” said the fir-tree. “Look how green I am! My day will come.” But the oak-tree only laughed.

Then one day, when all the forest was in snow, the little fir-tree heard children’s voices.

The children came from the house that stood in the forest. “Here is a beautiful tree,” said one of the boys. “Come here!” he called the other children. “Come and see how beautiful it is.”

“Oh, yes, it’s a wonderful tree!” cried the children.

The oak-tree looked at it in surprise. He did not understand it.

It was New Year time. And the children came to celebrate it with a beautiful fir-tree. They liked to sing and dance round it.

The large oak-tree was very angry when he saw it.

As the little fir-tree looked down at the children’s smiles, he knew that this big day had come at last. This was really the big day, for the biggest joy and the best job that one can do is to bring happiness to people.



One day a little lam lost his way in a dark forest. He ran here and there, but he could not find his way home. He was afraid and began to bleat. A hungry wolf heard him. The wolf was glad to see such a good dinner.

“Oh, Mr. Wolf,” said the little lamb, “please, show me the way home.”

“Show you the way home?” asked the wolf. And he laughed: “I am hungry. I want to eat you. You’re so nice!”

“Oh, please, please, Mr. Wolf,” asked the lamb, “don’t eat me. Please, let me go!”

“No, no. I want to eat you,” said the wolf and jumped at the lamb.

But then the lamb had a good idea.

“Oh, Mr. Wolf,” said he, “I’ve heard that you can sing very well. And I like to dance. Please sing for me, I want to dance. It will be my last dance before you eat me.”

The wolf liked to hear such words, he thought that he could sing very well.

“All right,” he said. “I often sing before my dinner. Today I’m very hungry, but I think I can sing just one song before I eat you. Dance now! It will be your last dance.”

So the wolf sang a song and the lamb danced. He tried to dance very well.

When the wolf stopped, the lamb cried:

“Your song was wonderful. But can you sing lauder?”

“Yes, I can sing louder than any other animal in the forest. Listen.”

So the wolf sang a very loud song. And the lamb danced very well. But the wolf made so much noise that the dogs heard him and ran into the forest to see what the matter was. When the wolf saw the dogs, he ran away. And the clever little lamb ran quickly to his mother.



Wee Frog and his wife were playing happily in a pond when they heard the sound of bells. “ It’s a king’s carriage!” cried Mrs. Frog. “I want to see the king.” And she hopped to see the king.

The king looked very grand. His horses ran as quickly as the wind.

They did not see Mrs. Frog and one of the horses hurt her. Poor Mrs. Frog was crying bitterly. Wee Frog was very angry with the king. “Don’t cry, darling!” he said to his wife. “I will teach the king to be more mindful to small creatures.” He went off on his tiny cart to teach the king a lesson.

On the way he met Wee Ant. “Where are you going, Wee Frog?” asked Wee Ant.

“To the king’s palace,” answered Wee Frog.

“May I go with you?” asked Wee Ant.

“hop on to my cart,” said Wee Frog.

They were passing along the street when Miss Pussy looked out of the window.

“Wee Frog, where are you going?”

“To the king’s place.”

“May I go with you?” asked Miss Pussy.

“Hop on to my cart,” said Wee Frog.

By and by they came to a cool and beautiful river. Big River loved the little frog.

“Where are you going?” asked Big River.

“To the king’s palace.”

“May I go with you?”

“You are welcome.” Said Wee Frog.

At last Wee Frog reached the king’s palace. The king was surprised to see a little frog in the corner of his room.

“A little frog is so small that the rats will eat his up,” he said to himself. Ha called his servants and said, “Throw this frog to the rats.”

So Wee Frog was put into a trap where there were seven hungry rats. He was afraid. Then he suddenly remembered his friends. So he called out, “Miss Pussy, Miss Pussy, help me if you can.”

Miss Pussy heard him and in a moment she came to save Wee Frog. She opened the trap and killed the rats.

The next morning a servant came to throw the frog away. “The rats have killed him”, he thought. But when he opened the trap there was the frog there, and all the rats were dead!

The king was puzzled. “Put the frog in the with the elephants!” he ordered.

The next day, poor Wee frog was locked up with three huge elephants. “Now I must die!” he thought. Then he remembered his friends and called out, “Wee Ant, Wee Ant, help me if you can!”

Wee Ant heard him, and quietly climbed up into the elephant’s trunk and the elephant died. Two other elephants were frightened and did not even come to Wee Frog. When the frog was brought alive the king, he thought very hard of ways to get rid of the frog. “Frog can’t run away from horse,” he thought, “and horses will trample him over.”

So this time Wee Frog was put in with the horses. But he had a clever idea. His friend Big River could save him! “Big River, help me if you can!” he called out. Big River came down swiftly and the horses were washed away.

There was nothing the king could do. The little frog was far too clever for him. “Perhaps it is better to make friends with him,” he thought. “I must be more mindful of small creatures.”

So Wee Frog taught the king a lesson! He and the king became good friends and often talked together in the king’s beautiful garden.



Doctor John Dolittle lived many years ago when our grandfathers and grandmothers were little boys and girls.

He was a good doctor. He lived in a little town. Everybody in the town, young and old, knew the Doctor. When he walked down the street everybody said, “There goes the Doctor, what a clever man he is!”

He lived in a small house but there was a big garden behind it. As Doctor Dolittle liked animals, he kept many pets in his house and garden. Goldfish lived in a pond in the garden; rabbits lived in a shed; white mice lived in the piano; a squirrel lived in the cupboard; a hedgehog lived in the cellar.

The Doctor also had a cow with a calf, a horse that was twenty-five years old, chickens, pigeons, two sheep and many other animals and birds. But best of all the Doctor loved his parrot Mit.

Doctor Dolittle had a sister. She lived with him and looked after the house. Her name was Betty. She did not like animals and she was very angry with the Doctor. She said that the animals only made the house dirty.

One day an old woman came to the Doctor for medicine and sat on the hedgehog who was asleep on a chair. She did not like it and after that she walked ten miles every week to the doctor in the next town.

“Nobody will ever come to you if you keep all these animals in the house,” said Betty. “Soon we shall have no money left. No nice people will come to you.”

“But I like my animals better than your nice people,” answered the Doctor.

“You are silly!” shouted Betty and went out of the room.

As time went on, the Doctor got more animals, but no people came to him for medicine. At last the Doctor had only one patient left, a man whom everybody called Catsmeat, because he sold meat for cats. Catsmeat was not very rich and he was ill only once a year; he paid the Doctor a penny for a bottle of medicine.

But people could not live for a whole year on a penny. The Doctor had a little money in his money-box, and soon it was empty.

Then the Doctor sold the piano and moved the white mice to the drawer of his desk.

Soon he became very poor, and when he walked down the street everybody said, “There goes Doctor Dolittle. Once he was a clever rich doctor, now he is very poor. He has no money and there are holes in his shoes.”

One day the Doctor was sitting in the kitchen when Catsmeat came for his medicine.

“Why don’t you become an animal doctor?” asked Catsmeat quite suddenly. “You know more about animals, a hundred times more than our horse doctors. That book about cats which you wrote is wonderful. Listen, you could earn a lot of money selling medicine for animals. I can send all the old women to you who have cats and dogs are sick. Old women always feed their cats too much and they are always ill. Then all the farmers will come to you with their sick horses, cows, and sheep. You must become an animal doctor!”

Catsmeat went away, and Mit, the parrot came and stood on the Doctor’s desk.

“He is right,” said the parrot. “You must be an animal doctor. The silly people don’t know that you are the best doctor in the world. Leave the people and work for the animals.”

“There are a lot of animal doctors, said Doctor Dolittle.”

“That’s true,” answered Mit, “but they don’t know anything. I’ll tell you something, Doctor. Do you know that animals can talk?”

“I know that parrots can talk,” said the Doctor.

“We, parrots, can speak two languages, the language of people and the language of birds. You must learn bird language,” said Mit.

Doctor Dolittle took a notebook and a pencil and began to learn the language of birds.

“Don’t speak too quickly, Mit. I want to write the words down. It is so interesting and quite new!”

“Well,” said Mit, “if you know bird language, you will be the best bird doctor in the world. But you must learn animal language too. Animals do not always speak with their mouth. They speak with their ears, legs, tails. You must watch them and learn their language.”

Mit very soon taught the Doctor so much about animal language that Doctor Dolittle could understand animals and talk to them himself. After that he did not make medicine for people any more but worked only for animals.

As soon as Catsmeat told everybody that Dr. Dolittle became an animal doctor, the old ladies began to bring their sick cats and dogs who had eaten too much cake. Farmers who lived far away brought him their sick cows, goats, sheep, horses and pigs.

The Doctor treated all the animals that people brought to him. He could talk to them in their own language and easily found out what was wrong with them. When they found out that he could understand them, they told him what was wrong and gave them good medicine.

In a short time the name of Doctor Dolittle was known to every living thing for a thousand miles around. And very often late at night wild animals came to the Doctor too. They were bears and hares, wolves and foxes, squirrels and mice.

Doctor Dolittle always helped them and treated them very well.

And it is said that he even treated centipedes, ladybirds, butterflies, caterpillars, bees, ants, beetles, dragonflies and spiders. What a clever doctor he was!

Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten

In der Nähe der Stadt Bremen lebte ein Esel. Er war schon alt und konnte nicht mehr arbeiten. Sein Herr gab ihm ganz wenig essen. Der Esel lief also fort. Er wollte nach Bremen gehen und dort Stadtmusikant werden. Auf seinem Weg traf er einen Hund. Der Hund war sehr traurig: er konnte nicht mehr jagen und hatte keine Freunde mehr. "Komm mit mir nach Bremen! Wir werden Stadtmusikanten." – sagte der Esel. Der Hund lachte wieder und ging mit dem Esel weiter. 

Da sahen die beiden eine Katze. Sie saß auf einem Baum und weinte. "Was ist denn los mit dir?" – fragten der Esel und der Hund. "Ich bin schon so alt und sehr müde, man wollte mich totschlagen. Was soll ich denn tun?" –  erklärte die Katze. "Wir gehen nach Bremen. Komm mit" – schlugen ihr der Esel und der Hund vor. Die Katze freute sich und sie gingen alle drei zusammen weiter. Am Nachmittag trafen sie einen Hahn.

Seine Stimme war sehr leise. Er sah sehr schwach aus. Die Köchin wollte ihn in der Suppe kochen und er lief fort. Die Tiere nahmen ihn mit nach Bremen. Spät am Abend kamen sie in einen Wald. Hier mussten sie schlafen. Da sahen sie eine Hütte. In der Hütte wohnten die Räuber. "Wir müssen die Räuber fortjagen" – sagten die Tiere. Alle vier sangen sehr laut und die Räuber liefen vor Angst fort. Man sah sie hier nie wieder. Die vier "Musikanten" lebten in der Hütte glücklich bis an ihr Ende.