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The Fox and the Crow


Once upon a time . . . a big crow stole a lump of cheese and went to perch
on a branch of a tree to eat it in peace. A passing fox sniffed the air and
stopped below the tree, his mouth watering.
"Cheese?" he said. "Mmm. I'd love . . . if only I could . . ." he said to
himself, greedily, wondering how to get hold of the morsel.
After a moment or two, he spoke to the crow: "You are a fine crow! I've
never seen anyone so big and strong. What lovely thick shiny feathers you
have! And such slender legs, the sign of a noble bird. And a regal beak.
That's it: the beak of a king! You ought to be crowned King of the Birds!"
When the crow heard such glowing praise of his beauty, he stretched to his
full length and triumphantly flapped his wings.
In his softest voice, the fox went on: "What lovely eyes you have. You
don't seem to have a single fault! You're quite perfect." The crow had never
been flattered so much in all his life. "Though I haven't heard your voice
yet," went on the fox, "I expect that such a perfect creature like yourself
can have nothing less than a wonderful singing voice!"
The crow had, till then, been blissfully drinking in the fox's praise, but
he felt a prick of doubt at the sweet words about his voice. He had never
heard that crows were fine singers! Of course, being a very fine crow, perhaps
that meant he had a beautiful voice as well. The fox could be right! And the
crow gazed down at the fox as he said: "Now then, King of the Birds, let me
hear a sweet song . . ."
Throwing caution to the winds, the crow opened his beak and, taking a deep
breath, loudly cawed: "Cra, Cra, Cra!" The lump of cheese fell through the air
and the fox caught it neatly in his jaws. "I deserved that!" he told himself
as he enjoyed the titbit. Then, licking his lips, he again spoke to the crow
on the branch.
"Silly crow. You're the ugliest bird I've ever seen, you have the worst
voice I've ever heard, but most of all, you're the most stupid bird I've ever
met! And thanks for the cheese." And off he trotted well satisfied with

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