The Eagle and the Owl

1.32. THE EAGLE AND THE OWL. The partiality of parents often makes themselves ridiculous, and their children unhappy.
An Eagle and an Owl having entered into a league of mutual amity, one of the articles of their treaty was, that the former should not prey upon the younglings of the latter. But tell me, said the Owl, should you know my little ones if you were to see them? Indeed I should not, replied the Eagle; but if you describe them to me, it will be sufficient. You are to observe, then, returned the Owl, in the first place, that the charming creatures are perfectly well shaped; in the next, that there is a remarkable sweetness and vivacity in their countenances; and then there is something in their voices so peculiarly melodious. It is enough, interrupted the Eagle; by these marks I cannot fail of distinguishing them; and you may depend upon their never receiving any injury from me. It happened, not long afterwards, as the Eagle was upon the wing in quest of its prey, that he discovered amidst the ruins of an old castle a nest of grim-faced ugly birds, with gloomy countenances, and a voice like that of the Furies. These, undoubtedly, said he, cannot be the offspring of my friend, and so I shall venture to make free with them. He had scarce finished his repast and departed, when the Owl returned; who, finding nothing of her brood remaining but some fragments of the mangled carcases, broke out into the most bitter exclamations against the cruel and perfidious author of her calamity. A neighbouring Bat, who overheard her lamentations, and had been witness to what had passed between her and the Eagle, very gravely told her that she had nobody to blame for this misfortune but herself, whose blind prejudices in favour of her children had prompted her to give such a description of them as did not resemble them in any one single feature or quality. [more info]

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