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all the men of that time who were distinguished for their efforts on behalf of humanity. Pestalozzi was amongst the number, with Bentham, Payne, Wilberforce, Clarkson, Washington, Madison, Klopstock, Kosciusko, and others.
Pestalozzi's relations with Fichte, of which mention is made in these letters to Fellenberg, were much more intimate than has generally been supposed. Fichte had married a very old friend of Mrs. Pestalozzi's, and as he often stayed in Zurich, a great friendship had sprung up between the two thinkers, who, in 1794, spent several days together at Richterswyl. We shall see that the relations which thus existed between the German philosopher and the Swiss philanthropist, contributed in no small degree to the subsequent appreciation in Germany of the principles and work of the great educational reformer.
In his letters to Fellenberg, Pestalozzi often speaks of certain writings, to which, in spite of many difficulties, he is in the habit of devoting all the leisure left him by his agriculture. These works, published in 1797, were his Fables and his Inquiry into the Course of Nature in the Development of the Human Race. Both are distinguished from his other books by a very marked political tendency. The former first appeared under the curious title of Figures for my A B C Book, a name Pestalozzi had given to Leonard and Gertrude, because it contained, as he said, the ABC of wisdom for the people. The figures he now adds to it are short apologues, intended to give body, as it were, to its moral teaching. The title of Fables only appeared in the second edition, published at Basle, in 1803, and is scarcely suitable to the nature of the work.
There are as many as two hundred and thirty-nine of these so-called fables, all in prose, nearly all very short, and all containing some striking and original truth bearing on morality, education, society, or politics. In reading the book, we are struck by the author's imagination no less than by his power of observation and reflection. To give some idea of the fables, we cannot do better than append a few :
8. THE GRASS AND THE MUSHROOM.
The Mushroom said to the Grass, "I grow in an instant, but you take a whole year." "True," replied the Grass
"whilst I am acquiring my value, you, in your uselessness, may come and go a hundred times."
26. THE TWO COLTS.
Two colts, as like as two eggs, fell into different hands. One was bought by a peasant, whose only thought was to harness it to his plough as soon as possible; this one turned out a bad horse. The other fell to the lot of a man who, by looking after it well, and training it carefully, made a noble steed of it, strong and mettlesome.
Fathers and mothers, if your children's faculties are not carefully trained and directed aright, they will become not only useless, but hurtful, and the greater the faculties, the greater the danger.
53. A FOOL'S FOUNTAIN.
The fountain of a poor, vain fool having run almost dry, he told his servant to stop the pipe when there was no one near, but to let it run on the approach of strangers. "That will only make the fountain worse," answered the servant, "and there will often be no water just when it is most needed." To which his master replied, "I can bear anything so long as people do not know that my fountain is dry."
72. THE OAK AND THE GRASS
Said the Grass to the Oak, under whose shade it grew, "I should thrive better in the open than under your shelter." "Ungrateful one!" exclaimed the Oak, "you forget that every winter I cover you with my leaves." "What!" cried the Grass, "your proud branches rob me of sun, dew, and rain; your roots of the nourishment of the soil; and yet you would have me grateful for the forced alms of a few withered leaves, which serve rather to foster your own growth than prevent my decay!"
74. THE CRUMBLING ROCK.
A rock, which for centuries had sheltered cattle from sun and rain, was crumbling with age. Day after day pieces broke off, and fell upon the animals, till at last they fled from the place where they had formerly loved to rest. But the old herdsman, half blind and half deaf, could not understand
what had happened, and thought they had been bewitched by an enemy.
It is sad to see the old shelters becoming dangerous ruins; sadder still to see the leaders of the people failing to under stand the danger.
86. THE INTERIOR OF THE HILL.
A simpleton, seeing a hill covered with beautiful verdure, thought that it must be good earth right through; but a man who knew the place took him to a spot where the interior was exposed, and it was nothing but rock and gravel.
The hills of the earth, however green and fertile they may be, have nearly always a hard, barren subsoil. Similarly, men, however noble in heart and mind, are seldom without strata of rock and gravel in the flesh.
Even when outward appearances are most beautiful, and most rich in power, honour, and dignity, shut in below the surface are the vices of our nature. Hence, however high a man may be placed, he must give ear to the precept: "Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation; for the spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak."
92. THE LIME-TREE AND THE KING.
A King, who was standing alone under a lime-tree, was struck by the beauty of its foliage, and exclaimed: "Would that my subjects held to me as these leaves hold to thy branches!" The Tree answered him: "I am for ever carrying the sap of my roots to each of my leaves."
97. A SIMPLETON'S JUDGMENT.
Some magnificent poplars and a few scrubby, undersized oaks grew by the side of the same stream. Simple Simon therefore concluded that the poplar makes good wood, and the oak bad.
I know teachers who judge of their scholars, pastors of their flocks, and rulers of those they govern, with no more reason than Simple Simon judged of the merits of the oak and the poplar-tree.
101. ONE OF THE BAD EFFECTS OF PROVERBS.
"It is sad that, in spite of his feelings, a man so often finds himself obliged to be unkind to his horses!" said a kindhearted waggoner one day, compelled to hurry his overburdened beasts. And then gradually he got into the habit of repeating the words with as little thought as Good-morning or Good-night, till at last they became a proverb amongst the waggoners of the country; and now, any wretched fellow who ill-treats his horses or his oxen, excuses himself with: "It cannot be otherwise; a waggoner must be unkind in spite of his feelings."
116. THE FEELING OF EQUALITY.
A shepherd, who fed his sheep rather poorly but all alike, found that, as a rule, they were satisfied. But one day he picked out a dozen for better treatment, and from that moment there was discontent in the flock, and many ewes died of vexation.
117. THE LIMIT OF EQUALITY.
A Dwarf said to a Giant: "I have the same rights as you." "True, my friend," replied the Giant; "but you could not walk in my shoes."
160. THE LORD AND HIS VASSALS.
"I do a great deal to make you contented and happy," said a great lord to his vassals. "True, true," they replied with one accord, "and we have much to thank you for." One peasant only did not speak. He was silent for a time, and then said: "May I ask my lord a question?" "Certainly," was the reply. Peasant:
I have two fields of corn, one richly manured, but badly cultivated and full of weeds; the other sparingly manured, but well cultivated and clean. Which will yield me the most?"
Lord: "The second, of course, since you have made it possible for the corn to grow freely."
Peasant: "Well, my lord, if, instead of loading us with gifts, you would be good enough to leave us to manage our own affairs, I think we should be better off."
176. WHY JUPITER MADE THE LION KING.
The animals stood before Jupiter's throne awaiting his decree, most of them believing and hoping that the elephant would be appointed. The lion had as domineering an air as though he were king already, but the elephant moved quietly to and fro with the greatest unconcern.
Suddenly the voice of the lord of the thunder was heard: "The lion is king."
"My choice surprises you," said Jupiter to the others, who were standing open-mouthed with astonishment; "you must learn, then, that the elephant needs you not, having intelligence and talents enough to be self-sufficing; but the lion has need of you, and as he is able, at the same time, to make himself respected, I appoint him to be king."
197. MEPHISTOPHELES SINGS THE PRAISES OF A BRAZEN TONGUE.
The princes of hell, assembled in council, complained of the slow progress of the kingdom of lying and injustice. "The violent means," they said, "that our servants employ against our eternal enemies, truth and justice, are absolutely useless. In vain do we make martyrs of the heroic followers of truth, love, and justice; the more we persecute hell's enemies, the more strength do they seem to gain.”
After a moment's silence, Mephistopheles rose and addressed the assembly: "It is true that our servants do not understand all that is wanted to establish our sway amongst men. They should pursue our enemies not only with fire and sword, but above all with the tongue. They must learn better how to throw dust into men's eyes by empty words; to twist injustice into justice, and lying into truth; to make straight crooked, and crooked straight; to pervert the truth in an opponent's mouth even before it is uttered; to represent all manifestations of goodness, kindness, and love as the contemptible results of human folly and weakness. The sole strength of our enemies lies in the crumbs of love and truth that have fallen to them from heaven; but this gift is in weak hands, from which, if we be but bold enough of speech, we may wrest it. A clever, brazen tongue cannot be too highly praised, for it is always associated with hatred, injustice, harshness, and lying, which in themselves are quite enough