The Boy and the Worm

Kriloff’s Original Fables
In treachery don’t flatter thyself that .luck thou’lt find ! A traitor, e’en in those that use him, has good reason To know men think him base, though, wanting him,
they’re kind
;
And traitors are the first that always pay for treason.
A Peasant by a Worm was asked, that he should give
Permission in his garden the summer through to live.
The self-invited guest could honestly affirm, That he would touch no fruit, with leaves content Which faded to the ground the breezes sent. The Peasant reasoned thus: “Why should not help be
lent? My garden’s not so small but place there’s for a worm : Let him of it be free. No loss to speak of well can follow Should he a leaf or two there swallow.” Permission given thus, the Worm crawls up a tree
;
There from all weathers safe beneath a bough he’ll be ; His few wants satisfied, he lives unstirred,
And nothing more of him is heard. Meantime to gild the fruits the Sun-God sends his beams. In the same garden, where already ripened all, Glossy and amberlike, transparent seems An apple on a branch, loaded to let it fall. A Boy there was that for that apple sighed,
And long had it alone ‘mong hundreds eyed
;
But, how to reach it if he tried ? Upon the apple tree to climb he dare not, And make it shake he can’t, though strength he
spare not, And, in a word, the apple, do what he will, stands firm. To steal it who the Boy will help now? Why, the Worm.
‘ Listen,” he says the Urchin to, ” I know for sure, The master down his apples soon will shake
;
Then for us hard the apple to secure
;
However, I to get it undertake;
But I must share. I suffer shall no wrong,
If thou get ten times more of it than I
;
A smaller part would well supply
Me with my food a whole age long.”
The terms were clearly put : the Urchin gave consent
:
The Worm got up the tree, and there to work he went
;
The apple, with its stalk bit through, soon fell. The Worm’s reward I’ve still to tell. The apple once upon the ground,
The Boy pounced on it, ate it pips and core
;
And, when the Worm his share came creeping for, The Boy’s heel smashed him, flattened in his gore : And neither Worm nor apple e’er was found.