Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
154. THE EAGLE AND THE FOX
Perry 1 (Phaedrus
Even a high and mighty person should beware of his inferiors; their
ingenuity can find a way to take revenge.
There was once an eagle who stole the cubs of a fox and carried them off
to her nest as food for her chicks to peck at. The mother fox set off
in pursuit, begging the eagle not to impose this unbearable loss on such
a miserable creature as herself. The eagle scoffed at her request, fully
confident in the loftiness of her own position. The fox then snatched
a burning faggot from the altar and completely surrounded the tree with
flames, threatening pain to her enemy at the cost of her own flesh and
blood. The eagle conceded: in order to snatch her chicks from the maw
of death, she returned the fox's cubs unharmed.
Note: The fable of the unhappy friendship between the fox and the eagle
was already attested in the Greek poet Archilochus, circa 650 B.C.E.
(frag. 174 West). It is also alluded to in Aristophanes,
Birds 652-3. For a quite different ending to the story, see Fable
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.