Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
128. THE EAGLE, THE SOW AND THE CAT
Perry 488 (Phaedrus
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.
Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura
Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.