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Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)

Perry 488 (Phaedrus 2.4)

An eagle had made her nest up high in an oak tree; meanwhile, in a hollow halfway up the tree, a cat had given birth to kittens; finally, at the foot of the tree there was a forest-dwelling sow and her litter of piglets. As it turned out, this fortuitous congregation was eventually destroyed by the cat's wicked and malicious scheming. First, she went to the eagle's nest and said, 'You are about to be destroyed, and so am I! Woe is me! You can see for yourself how the treacherous sow keeps digging in the dirt day after day: she plans to uproot the tree so that she will be able to attack our offspring down there on the ground.' After having scared the eagle out of her wits with these words, the cat then crept down to the den of the bristly sow. 'Your litter is in grave danger,' said the cat, 'because the eagle is ready to seize your little piglets as soon as you go out to look for food.' Having filled the houses of both the eagle and the sow with terror, the sneaky creature hid herself safely inside her hollow in the tree. She crept out at night on tiptoe, finding plenty of food for herself and her kittens, but during the day she only poked her nose out of her den, pretending to be afraid. Meanwhile, the eagle didn't stir from the branches since she expected some disaster and the wild sow would not venture out of doors, since she wanted to protect her home from the eagle's attack. To make a long story short: the sow and the eagle both died of hunger, together with their children, thus supplying the cat and her kittens with a bountiful feast.
This fable is a lesson for foolish and gullible people that someone who speaks with a forked tongue often stirs up all kinds of trouble.

Source: Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs. Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
NOTE: New cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.