Aesop's Fables (Joseph Jacobs)
Jacobs 58. The Labourer and the Nightingale (Perry
A Labourer lay listening to a Nightingale's song throughout the summer
night. So pleased was he with it that the next night he set a trap for
it and captured it. "Now that I have caught thee," he cried,
"thou shalt always sing to me."
"We Nightingales never sing in a cage." said the bird.
"Then I'll eat thee." said the Labourer. "I have always
heard say that a nightingale on toast is dainty morsel."
"Nay, kill me not," said the Nightingale; "but let me
free, and I'll tell thee three things far better worth than my poor body."
The Labourer let him loose, and he flew up to a branch of a tree and said:
"Never believe a captive's promise; that's one thing. Then again:
Keep what you have. And third piece of advice is: Sorrow not over what
is lost forever." Then the song-bird flew away.
Fables of Aesop, by Joseph Jacobs with illustrations by
Richard Heighway (1894). The page images come from Google
Books. The digitized text comes from Project
Gutenberg. You can purchase this inexpensive Dover edition, The
Fables of Aesop by Joseph Jacobs from amazon.com.