The Young Man and the Swallow

095. THE YOUNG MAN AND THE SWALLOW. A prodigal young spendthrift, who had wasted his whole patrimony in taverns and gaming-houses, among lewd, idle company, was taking a melancholy walk near a brook. It was in the month of January, and happened to be one of those warm, sunshiny days, which sometimes smile upon us even in that wintry season of the year; and to make it the more flattering, a swallow, which had made its appearance, by mistake, too soon, flew skimming along upon the surface of the water.
The giddy youth observing this, without any farther consideration, concluded that summer was now come, and that he should have little or no occasion for clothes, so went and pawned them at the broker's, and ventured the money for one stake more among his sharping companions.
When this, too, was gone, the same way with the rest, he took another solitary walk in the same place as before. But the weather being severe and frosty, had made everything look with an aspect very different from what it did before; the brook was quite frozen over, and the poor swallow lay dead upon the banks of it; the very sight of which cooled the young spark's brains, and coming to a kind of sense of his misery, he reproached the deceased bird, as the author of all his misfortunes: "Ah, wretch that thou wert;" says he, "thou hast undone both thyself and me, who was so credulous as to depend upon thee." [more info]

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