Fables of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists/The Life of Æsop/Chapter XII
Æsop Baffles the Superstition of Augury.
IN the days of Æsop, The World was mightily addicted to Augury; that is to say, to the Gathering of Omens from the Cry and Flight of Birds. Upon this Account it was, that Xanthus one Day sent Æsop into the Yard, and bad him look well about him. If you see Two Crows (says he) you’l have good Luck after it, but if you should Chance to spye One Crow Single, ’tis a Bad Omen, and some Ill will betide you. Æsop stept out and came Immediately back again, and tols his Master that he had seen Two Crows. Hereupon Xanthus went out himself, and finding but One, (for the Other was flown away) he fell Outragiously upon Æsop for making Sport with him, And order’d him to be soundly Lash’d for’t, but just as they were stripping him for the Execution, In comes One to Invite Xanthus abroad to Supper. Well Master, says Æsop, and where’s the Credit of your Augury Now? When, I that say Two Crows, am to be beaten like a Dog, and You that saw but One, are going to make merry with your Friends? The Reason and Quickness of this Reflexion, Pacified the Master for the Present, and saved the Poor Fellow a sound Whipping.