The Eagle and the Fowls – Jataka Tales

Kriloff’s Original Fables
Amid the light and freshness of the sky,
One early morn, An Eagle flew on high
To where the lightnings of the gods are born,
And sailing down, from out the clouds alighted
Upon a fence, which from on high he’d sighted,
And where some hens were sitting in their yard.
Why he had chosen it to say is hard,
A seat ill-suited to the kingly bird,
But kings have their caprices, as we’ve heard : Perhaps no fitter seat was there,
No oak, nor rock with summit bare
Perhaps an honour to the Hens designed : Whate’er it was that moved his mind,
He sat not long, but thence
Flew to another fence.
A draggled Hen, who sat there hatching eggs,
Watching the Eagle, of her neighbour begs,
She’ll tell her why eagles such honours get. ” It cannot be their flight, for even I Could make a shift from fence to fence to fly, Why should we be such fools to set Eagles before ourselves ? They’ve got
No more than we in legs and eyes, my dear ! And here, upon this very spot, Thou’st seen the proof that they like Fowls fly low.” The Eagle, wearied rubbish like this to hear,
Says : ” Dame, thou’rt right, but only partly though : Lower than fowls an eagle sometimes flies, But ne’er a fowl can mount unto the skies.”
When thou, Critic, dost of genius write,
Waste not thy pains its weaknesses to find, But to its strength and grandeur turn thy mind,
And strive thyself to reach its giddy height.

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