Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
129. THE CAT AND THE ROOSTER
Perry 16 (Chambry
A cat had seized a rooster and wanted to find a reasonable pretext for
devouring him. He began by accusing the rooster of bothering people by
crowing at night, making it impossible for them to sleep. The rooster
said that this was actually an act of kindness on his part, since the
people needed to be woken up in order to begin their day's work. The cat
then made a second accusation, 'But you are also a sinner who violates
nature's own laws when you mount your sisters and your mother.' The rooster
said that this also was something he did for his masters' benefit, since
this resulted in a large supply of eggs. The cat found himself at a loss
and said, 'Well, even if you have an endless supply of arguments, I am
still going to eat you anyway!'
The fable shows that when someone with a wicked nature has set his
mind on committing some offense, he will carry out his evil acts openly
even if he cannot come up with a reasonable excuse.
Note: The cat's last words in L'Estrange
are especially delightful: 'Come, come, says Puss, without any more
ado, 'tis time for me to go to Breakfast, and Cats don't live upon Dialogues.'
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.