The Carpenter and the Ape

An ape one day sat watching a Carpenter who was splitting a piece of wood with two wedges. First the Carpenter drove the smaller wedge into the crack, so as to keep it open, and then when the crack was wide enough, he hammered in the larger wedge and pulled the first one out. At noon the Carpenter went home to dinner, and the Ape now thought that he would try his hand at splitting boards. As he took his seat on the Carpenter’s bench, his long tail slipped into the crack in the board. The Ape did not notice this, but set to work. The first wedge he drove in exactly as he had seen the Carpenter do. But then he forgot, and pulled it out before he had driven in the second one. The two sides of the board instantly sprang together, and caught the Ape’s tail between them. The poor prisoner had now nothing to do but sit there groaning with pain until the Carpenter’s return, when he was given a sound beating and told that he had suffered justly for meddling with other people’s business.

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