THE CAT AND THE CROW.

A crow and a cat once lived in brotherhood. One day, as they were together under a tree, they spied a leopard making towards them, of which they had not been ware, till he was close upon them. The crow at once flew up to the top of the tree; but the cat abode confounded and said to the crow, 'O my friend, hast thou no device to save me? All my hope is in thee.' 'Indeed,' answered the crow, 'it behoveth brethren, in case of need, to cast about for a device, whenas any peril overtakes them, and right well saith the poet:

      He is a right true friend who is with thee indeed And will himself undo, to help thee in thy need,
      Who, when love's severance is by evil fate decreed, To join your sundered lives will risk his own and bleed.'

Now hard by the tree were shepherds with their dogs; so the crow flew towards them and smote the face of the earth with his wings, cawing and crying out, to draw their attention. Then he went up to one of the dogs and flapped his wings in his eyes and flew up a little way, whilst the dog ran after him, thinking to catch him. Presently, one of the shepherds raised his head and saw the bird flying near the ground and lighting now and then; so he followed him, and the crow gave not over flying just out of the dogs' reach and tempting them to pursue and snap at him: but as soon as they came near him, he would fly up a little; and so he brought them to the tree. When they saw the leopard, they rushed upon it, and it turned and fled. Now the leopard thought to eat the cat, but the latter was saved by the craft of its friend the crow. This story, O King, shows that the friendship of the virtuous saves and delivers from difficulties and dangers.




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