The Fox and the Crow
A Crow, having taken a piece of cheese out of a cottage window, flew up with it into a high tree in order to eat it; which the Fox observing, came and sat underneath, and began to compliment the Crow upon the subject of her beauty. "I protest," says he, "I never observed it before, but your feathers are of a more delicate white than any that ever I saw in my life! Ah! what a fine shape and graceful turn of body is there! And I make no question but you have a tolerable voice. If it is but as fine as your complexion, I do not know a bird that can pretend to stand in competition with you." The Crow foolishly believed all that the Fox said was true; but, thinking the Fox a little dubious as to her vocal powers, and having a mind to set him right in that matter, opened her mouth, and, in the same instant, let the cheese drop out of her mouth. This being what the Fox wanted, he caught it up in a moment, and trotted away, laughing to himself at the easy credulity of the Crow.
When anyone is flattered as possessing qualities he ought to feel conscious he does not possess, let him beware lest the flatterers wish either to deprive him of some solid good, or to make him appear ridiculous in the eyes of others.