Aesop Fable I – The Eagle and the Fox

“The Eagle and the Fox once became friends and decided to live near each other, and they made this close acquaintance the confirmation of their friendship. The Eagle, mounting upon a huge tree, gave birth to its young. The Fox, arriving at the underlying brush, gave birth. One day, when the Fox was away in search of food, the Eagle was in need of nourishment, so it flew down to the brush, took the Fox’s offspring, and shared them as a meal among its own children. The Fox returned and, as she recognized what had been done, was not pained more by the loss of her children than by eagerness for vengeance. For, being a land animal, she was unable to pursue a winged one. On which account she stood far away and cursed her enemy, which is the only thing left to those who are lacking strength and power. But it so happened that the Eagle was not able to long ward off the punishment for its crime against friendship. For, while some people were sacrificing a goat in the field, it flew down and snatched the burning liver from the altar. Upon arriving at the nest, a great wind arose from the old fair breeze, and set a bright fire to the nest. On that account, the Eagle’s young were burned (their wings were not yet fully-grown) and fell to the ground. The Fox then ran up and devoured them in sight of the Eagle.

This tale makes it clear that those who break the bonds of friendship, even though they may seem to escape chastisement due to the impotence of their victims, will not then elude divine punishment.”


ἀετὸς καὶ ἀλώπηξ φιλίαν πρὸς ἀλλήλους ποιησάμενοι πλησίον ἑαυτῶν οἰκεῖν διέγνωσαν, βεβαίωσιν φιλίας τὴν συνήθειαν καὶ ἐν ταὐτῷ ἅμα εἶναι ἡγούμενοι. καὶ δὴ ὁ μὲν ἀναβὰς ἐπὶ μήκιστον δένδρον ἐνεοττοποίησεν, ἡ δὲ εἰσελθοῦσα κάτωθεν εἰς τὸν ὑποκείμενον θάμνον ἔτεκεν. μιᾷ οὖν τῶν ἡμερῶν ἐξελθούσης τῆς ἀλώπεκος ἐπὶ νομὴν ὁ ἀετὸς ἀπορῶν τροφῆς καταπτὰς εἰς τὸν θάμνον καὶ τὰ γεννήματα ἁρπάσας μετὰ τῶν ἑαυτοῦ νεοττῶν ἐθοινήσατο. ἡ δὲ ἀλώπηξ ἐπανελθοῦσα ὡς ἔγνω τὸ πραχθέν, οὐ τοσοῦτον ἐπὶ τῷ θανάτῳ τῶν νεοττῶν ἐλυπήθη, ὅσον ἐπὶ τῆς

ἀμύνης· χερσαία γὰρ οὖσα πετεινὸν διώκειν οὐκ ἠδύνατο. διόπερ πόρρωθεν στᾶσα, ὃ τοῖς ἀδυνάτοις καὶ ἀσθενέσι ὑπάρχει ἔργον, τὸν ἐχθρὸν κατηρᾶτο. συνέβη οὖν ἀντὶ τῆς πολλῆς ἀγάπης μεγίστην ἔχθραν μεταξὺ ἐσχηκέναι. θυόντων δέ τινων αἶγα ἐπ’ ἀγρῷ ὁ ἀετὸς καταπτὰς μέρος τι τῆς αἰγὸς μετὰ καὶ ἐμπύρων ἀνθράκων ἐπὶ τὴν καλιὰν ἀνήγαγεν. σφοδρὸς οὖν ἄνεμος ἐμπνεύσας, ἐκ λεπτοῦ καὶ παλαιοῦ

χόρτου οὖσα ἡ καλιά, λαμπρὰν φλόγα ἀνήγαγεν. καταφλεχθέντες δὲ οἱ νεοττοί—καὶ γὰρ ἦσαν ἔτι πτηνοὶ ἀτελεῖς—ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν κατέπεσον. ἡ δὲ ἀλώπηξ προσδραμοῦσα ἐν ὄψει τοῦ ἀετοῦ πάντας αὐτοὺς κατέφαγεν.

     ὁ λόγος δηλοῖ, ὅτι οἱ φιλίαν παρασπονδοῦντες, κἂν τὴν ἐκ τῶν ἠδικημένων ἐκφύγωσι κόλασιν δι’ ἀσθένειαν, ἀλλ’ οὖν γε τὴν ἐκ θεοῦ τιμωρίαν οὐ διακρούσονται.

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