Fables of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists/Fable XII
A Crow and a Muscle.
THere was one of Your Royston-Crows, that lay Battering upon a Muscle, and could not for his Blood break the Shell to come at the Fish. A Carrion-Crow, in this Interim, comes up, and tells him, that what he could not do by Force, he might do by Strategem. Take this Muscle up into the Air, says the Crow, as High as you can carry it and then let him fall upon that Rock there; His Own Weight, You shall see, shall break him. The Roystoner took his Advice, and it succeeded accordingly; but while the One was upon Wing, the Other stood Lurching upon the Ground, and flew away with the Fish.
It is no longer an Amity of Virtue, but of Design, when we seek our Own Interest, under Colour of obliging Others; and men of Frankness and Simplicity, are the most easily Impos'd upon, where they have Craft and Treachery to deal withal. The Imposture, in Truth, can hardly Miscarry, where there is a full Confidence on the One side, and a Plausible Address and Disposition on the Other; Wherefore 'tis good to be Wary, but so as not to be Inexorable, where there is but any place for Charity it self to hope for better things; Not but that a Supine, Credulous Facility exposes a man to be both a Prey, and a Laughing stock, at once. 'Tis not for us to judg of the good Faith of mens Intentions, but by the Light we receive from their Works. We may set up this for a Rule however, that where the Adviser is to be evidently the Bettet for the Council, and the Advised, in Manifest Danger to be the worse for't, there's no Medling. The Crow's Counsel was good enough in itself; but it was given with a fraudulent Intention.