The Kitten and the Starling

Kriloff’s Original Fables
Once in a certain house there lived a Starling,
A singer bad, and yet a darling
Great in philosophy his name
By friendship to a Kitten bound.
The Kitten soon would be a cat of fame,
Peaceful, and quiet, and polite all round
But, from the table chased, some trick the ground,
Which she in hunger’s pangs must rue, She meditative wanders, wearied of her long fast
Mildly her tail wags ; and, at last, She utters one long mew. Our pert philosopher would show he knew
The remedy, and said : ” My friend, thou simple art At fasting thus to play a willing part
Above thy nose a cage hangs with a finch : Thou art too squeamish, take it at a pinch !

” But conscience, then ? “—” How little dost thou know
The world ! Believe me, that’s an idle show,
A prejudice that but weak minds obey,
To greater minds—a joke for children’s play!
Whoever in the world is strong,
Is free to act or right or wrong. Here good examples will I give in proof.”
Then, dwelling on them, in his friend’s behoof
The depths of all philosophy he sought.
This pleased the fasting Kitten, and it brought
Her weakness out : the finch she seized and ate. The dainty morsel only more did whet
Her appetite, for hunger plagued her yet. Another lecture, ’twas the second,
Met with success that was not reckoned
The Kitten to the Starling said
” Thanks, my kind friend, the lesson thou hast read Has taught me what I’ve got to do.” She broke into his cage, and ate her teacher too.

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