Aesop's Fables: Townsend (1867)
266. The Peasant and the Apple-Tree (Perry
A PEASANT had in his garden an Apple-Tree which bore no fruit but only
served as a harbor for the sparrows and grasshoppers. He resolved to cut
it down, and taking his axe in his hand, made a bold stroke at its roots.
The grasshoppers and sparrows entreated him not to cut down the tree that
sheltered them, but to spare it, and they would sing to him and lighten
his labors. He paid no attention to their request, but gave the tree a
second and a third blow with his axe. When he reached the hollow of the
tree, he found a hive full of honey. Having tasted the honeycomb, he threw
down his axe, and looking on the tree as sacred, took great care of it.
Self-interest alone moves some men.
George Fyler Townsend's translation of the fables, first published in 1867, is
in the public domain and can be found at many websites, including Project
Illustrations come from: Aesop's Fables, by George Fyler Townsend, with
illustrations by Harrison Weir, 1867, at Google