Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
83. THE TWO MEN, THE EAGLE AND THE FOX
Perry 275 (Chambry
An eagle was once caught by a man who immediately clipped his wings and
turned him loose in the house with the chickens. The eagle was utterly
dejected and grief-stricken. Another man bought the eagle and restored
the eagle's feathers. The eagle then soared on his outspread wings and
seized a hare, which he promptly brought back as a gift for the man who
had rescued him. A fox saw what the eagle was doing and shouted, 'He's
not the one who needs your attention! You should give the hare to the
first man, so that if he ever catches you again, he won't deprive you
of your wing feathers like the first time.'
The fable shows that we should give appropriate thanks to our benefactors,
while avoiding evil-doers.
Note: The moral added to this fable flatly contradicts the moral inside
the fable pronounced by the fox. The fox is pragmatic: give the reward
to the wicked man in order to win his favour. The editor of the fable
prefers a more pious rule of behaviour: good deeds, not wickedness,
should be rewarded.
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.