Page:An argosy of fables.djvu/321

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261
CHINESE FABLES

when he saw that he was so handsome he continued to spread his tail, even after his feathers were dry.

"Kwong-toh! Kwong-toh! How beautiful I am! How beautiful I am!"

Just then the Crow called to him:

"Friend, it is your turn to show your cleverness!"

But the Peacock was proud and jealous. He had no intention of decorating the crow for Lord Tiger's wedding. So he said:

"Didn't you hear the cry of that eagle? We must fly! We must hide ourselves!"

And, pretending a great haste, he ran against the pots of paint and knocked them into the river.

"I did not hear an eagle cry," said the Crow.

"Then, I must have been mistaken. Come, I will paint you."

"The paint is at the bottom of the river," the Crow said.

"But here is one pot."

"Then hurry!"

"There! You're lovely!"

The Crow went to look at himself in the water of the river—and found that he had been cruelly deceived. He wished to complain; but his voice choked in his throat, and he could only scream harshly:

"Caw! Caw!"

Ever since then crows have been black and have had a harsh voice; while Peacocks are made gorgeous with a thousand colours.

But their voice is no better for that!

Beware of false friends.

(From Contes et Légendes de l'Annam.)