Aesop's Fables: Townsend (1867)
136. The Birdcatcher, the Partridge, and the Cock (Perry
A BIRDCATCHER was about to sit down to a dinner of herbs when a friend
unexpectedly came in. The bird-trap was quite empty, as he had caught
nothing, and he had to kill a pied Partridge, which he had tamed for a
decoy. The bird entreated earnestly for his life: 'What would you do without
me when next you spread your nets? Who would chirp you to sleep, or call
for you the covey of answering birds?' The Birdcatcher spared his life,
and determined to pick out a fine young Cock just attaining to his comb.
But the Cock expostulated in piteous tones from his perch: 'If you kill
me, who will announce to you the appearance of the dawn? Who will wake
you to your daily tasks or tell you when it is time to visit the bird-trap
in the morning?' He replied, 'What you say is true. You are a capital
bird at telling the time of day. But my friend and I must have our dinners.'
Necessity knows no law.
George Fyler Townsend's translation of the fables, first published in 1867, is
in the public domain and can be found at many websites, including Project
Illustrations come from: Aesop's Fables, by George Fyler Townsend, with
illustrations by Harrison Weir, 1867, at Google