'Fables' Editor's note: Two original fables about an array of animal characters. Each comes with its own moral.

Story Time

May 03, 1998|By Arnold Lobel

The Camel Dances

The camel had her heart set on becoming a ballet dancer.

"To make every movement a thing of grace and beauty," said the Camel. "That is my one and only desire."

Again and again she practiced her pirouettes, her releves, and her arabesques. She repeated the five basic positions a hundred times each day. She worked for long months under the hot desert sun. Her feet were blistered, and her body ached with fatigue, but not once did she think of stopping.

At last the Camel said, "Now I am a dancer." She announced a recital and danced before an invited group of friends and critics. When her dance was over, she made a deep bow.

There was no applause.

"I must tell you frankly," said a member of the audience, "as a critic and a spokesman for this group, that you are lumpy and humpy. You are baggy and bumpy. You are, like the rest of us, simply a camel. You are not and never will be a ballet dancer!"

Chuckling and laughing, the audience moved away across the sand.

"How very wrong they are!" said the Camel. "I have worked hard. There can be no doubt that I am a splendid dancer. I will dance and dance just for myself."

That is what she did. It gave her many years of pleasure.

Satisfaction will come to those who please themselves.

The Pelican and the Crane

The Crane invited the Pelican to tea.

"So nice of you to ask me to come," said the Pelican to the Crane. "No one invites me anywhere."

"Entirely my pleasure," said the Crane to the Pelican, passing him the sugar bowl. "Do you take sugar in your tea?"

"Yes, thank you," said the Pelican. He dumped half the sugar into his cup, while spilling the other half on the floor.

"I seem to have no friends at all," said the Pelican.

"Do you take milk in your tea?" asked the Crane.

"Yes, thank you," said the Pelican. He poured some of the milk into his cup, but most of it made a puddle on the table.

L "I wait and wait," said the Pelican. "Nobody ever calls me."

"Will you have a cookie?" asked the Crane. "Yes, thank you," said the Pelican. He took a large pile of cookies and stuffed them into his mouth. His shirtfront was covered with crumbs.

"I hope you will invite me again," said the Pelican.

"Perhaps," said the Crane, "but I am so very busy these days."

"Good-bye until the next time," said the Pelican. He swallowed many more cookies. He wiped his mouth with the tablecloth and left.

After the Pelican had gone, the Crane shook his head and sighed. He called for his maid to clean up the mess.

When one is a social failure, the reasons are as clear as day.

COPYRIGHT 1980 BY ARNOLD LOBEL. Used by permission o HarperCollins Publishers.

Pub Date: 5/03/98

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