The Rewards of Helping Others
The Happy Family
Once upon a time there was an odd little family living in the woods. There were four in all:
A rat, a raven, a tortoise, and a gazelle.
All day the animals were away from home hunting food.
The rat caught beetles which had hidden under leaves. He visited fields and barns. Now and then he went to a hen house.
The tortoise found plenty of insects in the woods and fields and did not object to a toadstool now and then.
The raven visited grain fields where he often met the rat.
The gazelle ate grass wherever he could find it. When he could not get grass, he ate the sprouts of trees.
At night all met at their home in the woods and talked of what had happened to them through the day. This is one of their adventures:
One day when the gazelle was out feeding, a hound scented his tracks and followed him. The gazelle heard the hound bark and darted off like the wind. The hound followed until worn out with running; then he gave up the chase. The gazelle stopped to eat grass. He was hungry and a long way from home.
That evening when the animals returned home they missed the gazelle.
The raven asked, "How does it happen that the gazelle is not home? Is he tired of us already?"
"No, indeed," said the rat. "I am sure that he is not. If I were a bird I should fly away at once to find him. I know that he would be here if he could get here."
"I will see if I can find him," said the raven, and he flew away. After a while he spied the gazelle, who had been caught in a net. He was trying hard to free himself, but the ropes that bound him were too strong for him to break. The raven flew back home to get the help of the rat.
"Oh, rat," he said, "follow me. Our friend, the gazelle, is caught in a net. Come and gnaw the ropes and set him free!"
The raven flew away and the rat followed. As the rat left home, he said, "Tortoise, you had better stay at home. You go so slowly that you can not reach the gazelle in time to help. We shall soon be back, I hope."
As soon as the raven and the rat were out of sight, the tortoise said, "I can not stay here and do nothing. I may be needed. I will hurry as fast as I can;" and he started off.
The raven reached the gazelle first. He said, "Cheer up, the rat is coming to set you free."
Soon the rat arrived. He began at once to gnaw the ropes. He had just set the gazelle free when a hunter came along. The gazelle sprang to one side into the bushes, the raven flew into a tree, and the rat ran into a hole in the ground.
The hunter looked about for the gazelle, but could not find him. He was very angry.
Just then the tortoise came up. The hunter picked him up and put him into his bag for his supper.
The raven whispered to the gazelle, "The hunter is carrying off our tortoise."
As soon as the gazelle heard this, he came out of his hiding place and limped along as if he were lame.
The hunter saw him. He threw down his bag and ran after the gazelle, thinking that he could easily catch him; but the gazelle kept ahead of him. At last the hunter could run no more. He went back to get his bag, tired and cross, but sure of a supper.
But what do you suppose had happened while he was gone? The rat had gnawed a hole in the hunter's bag and set the tortoise free, and both had run off.
It was now quite dark, and all the animals went home. That was the happiest evening of their lives. Each one had done something for the others, and all were safe, and it was good to be at home. More Fairy Tales and Fables
To Nursery Rhymes Fun Home from Rewards of Helping Others
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Teaching Children the Benefits of Helping Others