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Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)

Perry 574 (Ademar 67)

An eagle was sitting sadly in her tree when she was joined by a kite. The kite said to the eagle, 'Why do I see you looking so sad?' The eagle replied, 'I cannot help but be sad at heart, since I need a mate who is my equal but I cannot find one anywhere.' The kite then said to the eagle, 'You should marry me! I am even stronger than you are, which makes me the ideal bird for you.' The eagle asked him, 'Just what kinds of prey are you able to catch?' The kite said, 'Well, on several occasions I have managed to capture an ostrich in my talons and eat it.' When she heard this, the eagle accepted the kite's proposal and married him. After the wedding ceremony and festivities were finished, the eagle said to the kite, 'Go and get us some of that prey which you promised.' The high-flying kite was only able to offer the eagle a nasty little mouse whose flesh was all putrid and rotten. The eagle said, 'Is this what you promised?' The kite replied, 'In order to make this most eminent match with you, I had no choice but to agree to anything you asked, even if it meant promising something impossible.'
For women who want to marry men who are richer than they are and who find out afterwards that their husbands are worthless.

Note: Compare the medieval English proverb, circa 1300: 'Nultow never, late ne skete / A goshawk maken of a Kete, / No faucon maken of busard, / no Hardy knyht mak of coward' (cited in The Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs).

Source: Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs. Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
NOTE: New cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.