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The Old Swallows and the Young Birds

Fables

Aesop

A Swallow, observing a husbandman employed in sowing hemp, called the little Birds together, and informed them what the farmer was about. He told them that hemp was the material from which the nets, so fatal to the feathered race, were composed; and advised them unanimously to join in picking it up, in order to prevent the consequences.

The Birds, either disbelieving his information, or neglecting his advice, gave themselves no trouble about the matter. In a little time, the hemp appeared above the ground. The friendly Swallow again addressed himself to them—told them it was not yet too late, provided they would immediately set about the work, before the seeds had taken too deep root. But, they still rejecting his advice, he forsook their society; repaired, for safety, to towns and cities; there built his habitation, and kept his residence.

One day, as he was skimming along the streets, he happened to see a great number of these very Birds, imprisoned in a cage, on the shoulders of a bird-catcher. "Unhappy wretches!" said he, "you now feel the punishment of your former neglect. But those who, having no foresight of their own, despise the wholesome admonition of their friends, deserve the mischiefs which their own obstinacy or negligence bring upon their heads."

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