An Eagle lodged its young within a hollow tree;
A Sow lived at the foot; a Cat between the two.
Friendly they were, good neighbours, the whole three,—
Between the mothers there was no to-do.
At last the Cat malignant mischief made;
She climbed up to the Eagle: "Ma′am, our peace
Is ended, death," she says, "is threatening; I′m dismayed.
We perish if our children die; she′ll never cease,
That Sow accursed. See! how she grubs and digs,
And mines and burrows, to uproot our oak;
She hopes to ruin us and ours, to feed her pigs
When the tree falls—Madam, it is no joke!
Were there but hopes of saving one,
I′d go and quietly mourn alone."
Thus sowing fear broadcast, she went
With a perfidious intent,
To where the Sow sat dozily.
"Good friend and neighbour," whispered she,
"I warn you, if you venture forth,
The Eagle pounces on your family;
Don′t go and spread the thing about,
Or I shall fall a victim to her wrath."
Having here also sown wild fears,
And set her neighbours by the ears,
The Cat into her hole withdrew;
The Eagle after would not fly
To bring home food; the poor Sow, too,
Was still more fearful and more shy.
Fools! not to see that one′s first care
Is for one′s self to find good fare;
Both stayed at home, still obstinate,
To save their young from cruel fate.
The royal bird, she feared the mine;
The Sow, a pounce upon her swine;
Hunger slew all the porcine brood,
And then the eaglets of the wood;
Not one was left—just think of that!
What a relief to Madame Cat!
A treacherous tongue sows misery
By its pernicious subtlety;
Of all the ills that from Pandora′s box arose,
Not one brought half so many woes
As foul Deceit; daughter of Treachery.