Aesop's Fables: Sir Roger L'Estrange (1692)
14. A FOX AND A RAVEN (Perry 124)
A certain Fox spy’d out a Raven, upon a Tree with a Morsel in his Mouth,
that set his Chops a watering: but how to come at it was the Question.
Oh thou blessed Bird! (says he) the Delight of the Gods and of Men! and
so he lays himself forth upon the Gracefulness of the Raven’s Person,
and the Beauty of his Plumes: his admirable Gift of Augury, &c. and now,
says the Fox, if thou hast but a Voice answerable to the rest of thy excellent
Qualities, the Sun in the Firmament could not shew the World such another
Creature. This nauseous Flattery sets the Raven immediately a gaping as
wide as he ever could stretch, to give the Fox a taste of his Pipe; but
upon the opening of his Mouth, he drops his Breakfast, which the Fox presently
chopt up, and then bad him remember, that whatever he had said of his
Beauty, he had spoken nothing yet out of his Brains.
THE MORAL There’s hardly any Man living that may not be wrought upon
more or less by Flattery: For we do all of us naturally overween in our
own Favour? But when it comes to be applied once to a vain Fool, it makes
him forty times an arranter Sot than he was before.
L'Estrange originally published his version of the fables in 1692. There is a
very nice illustrated edition in the Children's Classics series by Knopf: Sir
Roger L'Estrange. Aesop
- Fables which is available at amazon.com.