The Fox and the Crow
A homely old female Crow, having flown out of a shop in the town with a piece of rich cheese in her bill, betook herself to a fine eminence in the country, in order to enjoy it; which a cunning Fox observing, came and sat at her feet, and began to compliment the Crow upon the subject of her beauty.
“I protest,” said he, “I never observed it before, but your feathers are of a more delicate white than any I ever saw in my life! Ah, what a fine shape and graceful turn of the body is there! And I make no question but you have a voice to correspond. If it is but as fine as your complexion, I do not know a bird that can pretend to stand in competition with you. Come, let me hear you exercise it by pronouncing a single monosyllable, which will bind me to you, hand and heart, for ever.”
The Crow, tickled with this very civil language, nestled and wriggled about, and hardly knew where she was; but thinking the Fox had scarcely done justice to her voice, and willing to set him right in that matter, she called out “Yes,” as loud as possible. But, through this one fatal mistake of opening her mouth, she let fall her rich prize—(in the Fox’s shrewd estimation all she was worth in the world)—which the Fox snapped up directly, and trotted away to amuse himself as he pleased, laughing to himself at the credulity of the Crow, who saw but little of him or her cheese afterwards.
Advice to Rich Widows.—When you listen to a knave’s flattery upon what you are, you may have cause to regret not having kept your mouth shut upon what you had; and if you possess great store of cheese, be sure that no fortune-hunter will marry you for the mere sake of the Pairing.
From The Fables of Æsop and Others, Translated into Human Nature, by Charles H. Bennett.
London: W. Kent and Company, 1857.