Fables for the Fair/Fable 22

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THERE was once a Woman who had Two Nieces. One Day she Called them Both to her and Spoke as follows:

"If you will Remove those Birds from your Hats," she said, "I will give Each of You a beautiful Live Bird in a Neat Cage. They will Carol and Twitter all Day, and you will Not have the Debasing Consciousness of having Destroyed the Life of a Living Creature. Moreover, by Trimming your Hats with Ribbon Loops you will Present a far more Attractive Appearance. If anything Disgusts a Man, it is the Cruelty of Women in this Regard."

"I shall be Glad to Do as you Suggest," said One Niece.

"And I shall do No Such Thing," said the Other. "To Begin with, I had Just as Soon adorn a Hat as a Cage, if I were a Bird. And what is More to the Purpose, the Hat is very Becoming to me As it Is."

"Then I will Give your Sister Both the Birds," said her Aunt.

Later on a Young Man begged the Aunt to Introduce him to her Niece.

"Which one?" said she.

"The One with the Yellow Wing in her Hat," replied the Young Man. "I did Not Notice any Other."

"My Other Niece has a far Better Disposition," said the Woman, "and a much Kinder Heart. She would Not take the Life of Harmless Birds, but keeps Hers in a Cage, and is Devotedly Attached to Them. Would you not Prefer to meet Her?"

"I think Not," replied the Young Man. "I Especially Admired the One with the Yellow Wing. And Personally I do Not Care for Birds as Pets. I Think they are Noisy and Messy."

This teaches us that a Bird in the Hat is Worth Two in the Cage.