The Crow and the Pitcher

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The Crow and the Pitcher
by Aesop

Caxton's translation (1484)[edit]

Of the crowe whiche was a thurst

Better is crafte and subtylyte than force / As reherceth to vs this fable / Of a crowe whiche vpon a day came for to drynke oute of a boket / and by cause that she myght not reche to the water / she dyd fyll the boket ful of small stones / in soo moche that the water came vpward / wherof she dranke thenne at her wylle / and playsyre /

And therfore hit appiereth wel / that wytte or sapyence is a moche fayr verture For by sapyence or wytte / thow shalt mowe resyste to all faultes /

Townsend's translation (1887)[edit]

The Crow and the Pitcher

A Crow perishing with thirst saw a pitcher, and hoping to find water, flew to it with delight. When he reached it, he discovered to his grief that it contained so little water that he could not possibly get at it. He tried everything he could think of to reach the water, but all his efforts were in vain. At last he collected as many stones as he could carry and dropped them one by one with his beak into the pitcher, until he brought the water within his reach and thus saved his life.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Jacobs' translation (1894)[edit]

The Crow and the Pitcher

A Crow, half-dead with thirst, came upon a Pitcher which had once been full of water; but when the Crow put its beak into the mouth of the Pitcher he found that only very little water was left in it, and that he could not reach far enough down to get at it. He tried, and he tried, but at last had to give up in despair. Then a thought came to him, and he took a pebble and dropped it into the Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped it into the Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher. At last, at last, he saw the water mount up near him, and after casting in a few more pebbles he was able to quench his thirst and save his life.

Little by little does the trick.