Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
488. THE OWL AND THE OTHER BIRDS
Perry 437 (Dio
Chrysostom, Orations 12)
Since the owl was a wise bird, she advised the other birds when the first
oak tree sprouted that they should not allow it to grow. If they didn't
uproot the tree at all costs, it would produce an inescapable substance,
birdlime, that would bring about their death and destruction. Later on,
when the people began to sow flaw, the owl told the birds that they should
pluck out the flax seed, since it was also going to wreak havoc on the
birds. The third time the owl saw a man with a bow and she said that the
man would overtake them with their own feathers: although the man walked
on foot he would be able to launch arrows with wings. Each time the birds
refused to heed the owl's advice. They acted as if she were crazy and
said she was out of her mind. As things turned out, the birds discovered,
much to their surprise, that the owl had been right all along. Therefore,
whenever any other bird encounters the owl, they now treat her with reverence,
as if she were an expert in everything. But the owl does not give them
advice any more; she only complains.
Note: Perry also includes a second passage from Dio Chrysostom (Orations
72) which includes this same story. For a fable about a bird being shot
by his own feathers, see Fable 43.
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.