Phaedrus’ THE EAGLE, THE CROW, AND THE TORTOISE*

Posted by jlubans on September 11, 2022

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Caption: “It’s Raining Turtles!” Illustration by Gherardo di Giovanni di Miniato del Fora, Florence, 1480.

No one is sufficiently armed against the powerful; but if a wicked adviser joins them, nothing can withstand such a combination of violence and unscrupulousness.

An Eagle carried a Tortoise aloft, who had hidden her body in her horny abode, and in her concealment could not, while thus sheltered, be injured in any way.
A Crow came through the air, and flying near, exclaimed: “You really have carried off a rich prize in your talons; but if I don’t instruct you what you must do, in vain will you tire yourself with the heavy weight.”
A share being promised her, she persuades the Eagle to dash the hard shell from the lofty stars upon a rock, that, it being broken to pieces, she may easily feed upon the meat.
Induced by her words, the Eagle attends to her suggestion, and at the same time gives a large share of the banquet to her instructress.

Thus she who had been protected by the bounty of nature, being an unequal match for the two, perished by an unhappy fate.

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This fable is being played out in the news right now - with unintended results. The Ukrainian “turtle” bounces, not shatters, when dropped from on high. And there’s a deadly price paid by the Russian eagle and Belarusian crow for each of those “drops”.


*Source: THE COMEDIES OF TERENCE AND THE FABLES OF PHÆDRUS.
TRANSLATED By HENRY THOMAS RILEY, B.A.
TO WHICH IS ADDED A METRICAL TRANSLATION OF PHÆDRUS,
By CHRISTOPHER SMART.
LONDON: GEORGE BELL & SONS, 1887.

© Copyright text by John Lubans 2022

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