The Eagle and the Crow
A crow fancies himself an eagle and gets in trouble. This ancient moral tale is retold by Edward Baldwin in his 1854 book of fables.
It is considered that the eagle is the king of birds. It is impossible to imagine any thing in the form of a bird more beautiful than he is. His beauty does ont consist in gaudy colours, like the jay's nor in a huge train, like the peackck's, which, though nature has painted it with an exquisite pencil, must after all be allowed to be somewhat disproportioned and monstrous. The colours of the eagle are a deep and a tawny brown, mottled like those of the partridge, sober, yet highly gratifying to the eye. His form is made for strength and action. His eye is lively and piercing; and the sight of it is so strong that it is said he can gaze without blenching at the brightest rayes of the noontide sun.The eagle builds his nest in the crags of the rock. It hangs over the sea, and remains undestroyed by the most furious tempests. He is a bird of prey, and his scream is terrible to such animals as he is accustomed to devour. He feeds upon serpents, harts, hares, and various other animals, which he discerns from an immense distance, pounces upon them from his elevation in the sky, and carries them away in his talons.A hungry eagle gazed from a distance upon a flock of sheep. With his eye he singled a lamb from the number, and flapping his wings, came down with immense swiftness, seized the poor animal with his talons, and flew away with him.A crow, who beheld every thing that passed, was filled with admiration of the action of the eagle. He thought he would do the same, and show himself a bird of spirit. He imitated the king of birds in the sweep he had seen him take, and then lighted upon the back of the old ram, the bell-wether of the flock. Determined to do the business as completely as he could, he entangled his feet thoroughly inthe fleece of the ram, and then spread his wings to fly away with him. He might as well have thought to fly away with the city of London.The shepherd remarked his situation. He was exceedingly sorry for the loss of the lamb that the eagle had carried off, but he was not at all apprehensive of what the crow would do. He took him in his hand, disentangled his claws from the back of the ram, clipped his wings, and turned him into the garden, for the amusement of his children.There happened to be a magpie hanging in a cage by the garden-wall. He looked at the crow, and said, as the shepherd's children had taught him to do, "What bird are you?" The crow could not speak, but he hung down his head, and thought with himself, "A very little while ago I mistook myself for an eagle, but I now find I am a very silly crow."
Source (click to close)
Source type: Book
The Book of Fables: Selections from Aesop and Other Authors
Published by Collins
, New York