The Peacock and the Magpie

150. THE PEACOCK AND THE MAGPIE. The birds met together upon a time to choose a king; and the peacock standing candidate, displayed his gaudy plumes, and catched the eyes of the silly multitude with the richness of his feathers: the majority declared for him, and clapped their wings with great applause.
But, just as they were going to proclaim him, the magpie stept forth into the midst of the assembly, and addressed himself thus to the new king: “May it please your majesty elect to permit one of your unworthy subjects to represent to you his suspicions and apprehensions in the face of this whole congregation: we have chosen you for our king, we have put our lives and fortunes into your hands, and our whole hope and dependence is upon you; if, therefore, the eagle, the vulture, or the kite, should at any time make a descent upon us, as it is highly probable they will, may your majesty be so gracious as to dispel our fears, and clear our doubts about that matter, by letting us know how you intend to defend us against them?”
This pithy, unanswerable question drew the whole audience into so just a reflection, that they soon resolved to proceed to a new choice. But from that time the peacock has been looked upon as a vain, insignificant pretender, and the magpie esteemed as eminent a speaker as any among the whole community of birds. [more info]

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