Page:An argosy of fables.djvu/322

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262
ORIENTAL FABLES

THE CROWS AND THE OWLS

TWO colonies, consisting of Crows and of Owls, lived in close proximity, and hated each other in a most neighbourly manner. As the Crows slept at night, and Owls by day, each in turn attacked the others when most defenceless, and the slaughter on both sides was great. At length a certain intelligent Crow remarked that this would never do. Some plan of exterminating their enemies must be found, if they were ever to dwell in peace. Upon being asked what plan he proposed, he told his fellow Crows to fall upon him and peck him severely, and pull out a number of his feathers, promising that if they would do this he had a plan by which to destroy the Owls.

The other Crows did as their brother asked; and in a sorry plight with torn and bedraggled plumage, he presented himself at the domicile of the Owls, complained bitterly of the treatment he had suffered from his own people. When the Owls had all flocked out to learn what was the matter, the Crow explained that he had fled to them for shelter and protection. The Owls took pity on him, and one of them made room for him in his own nest. For a while all went well, until at length the Crow's feathers had grown again. Being quite recovered, he set to work and piled large quantities of brushwood around the Owls' hole, explaining, when they asked the reason, that he was trying to repay their kindness by heaping up a barrier against the cold winds. Shortly afterwards a snow storm came on and all the Owls crowded into the nest to escape the cold. Watching