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

Perry 437 (Dio Chrysostom, Orations 12)

Since the owl was a wise bird, she advised the other birds when the first oak tree sprouted that they should not allow it to grow. If they didn't uproot the tree at all costs, it would produce an inescapable substance, birdlime, that would bring about their death and destruction. Later on, when the people began to sow flaw, the owl told the birds that they should pluck out the flax seed, since it was also going to wreak havoc on the birds. The third time the owl saw a man with a bow and she said that the man would overtake them with their own feathers: although the man walked on foot he would be able to launch arrows with wings. Each time the birds refused to heed the owl's advice. They acted as if she were crazy and said she was out of her mind. As things turned out, the birds discovered, much to their surprise, that the owl had been right all along. Therefore, whenever any other bird encounters the owl, they now treat her with reverence, as if she were an expert in everything. But the owl does not give them advice any more; she only complains.

Note: Perry also includes a second passage from Dio Chrysostom (Orations 72) which includes this same story. For a fable about a bird being shot by his own feathers, see Fable 43.

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.