Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
326. THE JACKDAW AND THE PEACOCKS
Perry 472 (Phaedrus
Aesop offers us this instructive story so that we will refrain from
strutting about in other people's stuff, and instead live our lives in
the clothes that suit us.
A jackdaw, puffed up with foolish pride, found some peacock feathers that
had fallen on the ground. He picked up the feathers and, putting them
on, he tried to join the lovely peacock flock, scorning his fellow jackdaws.
The peacocks, however, tore the feathers off that presumptuous bird and
pecked at him until he went away. After having been badly mauled by the
peacocks, the jackdaw then sadly returned to his own folk, but he was
cast out once again and suffered the pain of public humiliation. One of
the jackdaws whom he had originally scorned said to him, 'If you had been
content to dwell among us, satisfied with what Nature had bestowed on
you, then you would not have been humiliated by the peacocks, nor would
your disgrace have met with our rebuff.'
Note: Horace alludes to a version of this story in which it is a crow,
not a jackdaw, who puts on other feathers (Epistles
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.