Rival Songsters

By Mary Boyle

Illustration for the fable Rival Songsters by Mary Boyle

“What’s that?” asked the Wind. “Me singing,” said the Corncrake, “I Sing at Eventide.”

“Like me,” brayed Neddy, browsing near, “My hee haw! is enchanting and well-sustained, for its many the Whack I’ve had for the very same,” he added.

“And my voice is oft heard at midnight in Sweet Melody,” said a quadruped of the Feline as she set up a prolonged “mew.”

“Never heard such a Row since I Learned to Lisp,” shrieked the Wind, and he Blew a Blast which Silenced the trio effectually.

“That’s because you’ve No Ear for music,” croaked the Corncrake, after an interval, “but Why stay to question such as I?”

“I’m on the look out for a musical Freight,” quoth the Wind.

“Bear my refrain Along with you,” suggested Neddy.

“Phew!” said the Wind. Then after a while—”What’s that?”

“The tinkling of a Sheep-Bell,” purred Madame.

“A trumpery bell,” put in Ned.

“Little bell, little bell, wilt Come along o’me?” asked the Wind.

“If it please you,” answered the Sheep-Bell meekly. “If you think me Worthy to be borne.”

“Worthy, ah! your very Worth lies in your Not Asserting it. Come along Pretty Tinkler.”

Moral.

He who possess a voice take heed,
It may not charm.
Sing not your praise. It does no good,
But works your harm.

From Æsop Redivivus, by Mary Boyle.
London, New York, 1890.

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