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The Fox and The Raven

THE fox is a past master of flattery and cunning. One day he saw a raven settling on a tree, with a piece of meat in its beak. The fox sat down under the tree, looked up to the raven and began to praise him.

'Your colour,' he began, 'is pure black; that shows that you have the wisdom of Lao-tse who knows how to preserve his obscurity. The manner in which you feed your mother proves that your filial piety equals Master Chung's solicitude for his parents. Your voice is harsh and Strong; that shows that you possess the courage of king Hsiang who turned his enemies to flight by the mere sound of his voice. You are indeed the king of birds.'

The raven was delighted to hear this and said: 'You're too kind! '

And before he knew it he had dropped the piece of meat from his opened beak.

The fox caught it, ate it up, laughed and said: 'Remember this, my friend: Whenever anyone sings your praises without cause you may be sure he is after something.'

[This is Chinese version of Aesop fable. The reference to the 'wisdom of Lao-tse' is from the Tao-te-ching: ‘The one who knows his brightness, hides himself in his darkness.’ 'Master Chung' was the most faithful pupil of K'ung-tse, renowned for his filial piety. Three disciples of Confucius’ were renowned for their filial piety. One is Tzu-ch'ien, his step-mother made a coat stuffed with reeds, while for her own two sons with warm cotton. Although he clads in a threadbare jacket, he tolerated his cruel stepmother. Another filial son was Tsang Tzu, whose heart was pained when his mother bit her finger. While Chung Yu, designated name was Tzu Lu, he carried loads of rice for hundred li on his back to feed his parents, while for himself relies on cooking wild herbs. The raven was known in China the pious bird because it was said that the young birds would bring up again the food they had eaten in order to feed the old birds. ]

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