Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
296. THE CRANE AND THE CROW
Perry 298 (Ademar
A crane and a crow had made a mutual pledge of assistance, agreeing that
the crane was to defend the crow from other birds, while the crow would
use her powers of prophecy to warn the crane about future events. These
two birds often went to the field of a certain man and ate the crops that
he had sowed there, tearing them up by the roots. When the farmer saw
what was happening to his field, he was upset, and said to his boy, 'Give
me a stone.' The crow alerted the crane, and they prudently made their
escape. On another occasion, the crow again heard the farmer asking for
a stone and warned the crane so that the crane would not get hurt. After
some thought, the man understood that the crow was able to predict what
was happening. He said to the boy, 'When I say, "give me some bread,"
I want you to give me a stone.' The farmer then went to the field and
told the boy to give him some bread, so the boy gave him a stone. The
farmer threw the stone at the crane and broke both his legs. The injured
crane said to the crow, 'What has become of your god-given prophecies?
Why didn't you warn me that this was going to happen?' The crow then said
to the crane, 'In this case it is not my understanding that is at fault.
The counsels of wicked people are always deceptive, since they say one
thing and do another!'
For someone who seduces innocent people with his promises but later
causes them nothing but trouble.
Note: For another fable about the crow's prophetic powers, 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.