Aesop's Fables

The Serpent & the Eagle




A Serpent had succeeded in surprising an Eagle and had wrapped himself around the Eagle's neck. The Eagle could not reach the Serpent, neither with beak nor claws. Far into the sky he soared trying to shake off his enemy. But the Serpent's hold only tightened, and slowly the Eagle sank back to earth, gasping for breath.

A Countryman chanced to see the unequal combat. In pity for the noble Eagle he rushed up and soon had loosened the coiling Serpent and freed the Eagle.

The Serpent was furious. He had no chance to bite the watchful Countryman. Instead he struck at the drinking horn, hanging at the Countryman's belt, and into it let fly the poison of his fangs.

The Countryman now went on toward home. Becoming thirsty on the way, he filled his horn at a spring, and was about to drink. There was a sudden rush of great wings. Sweeping down, the Eagle seized the poisoned horn from out his savior's hands, and flew away with it to hide it where it could never be found.

An act of kindness is well repaid.

See also

The Serpent & the Eagle - Aesop's Fable - read online

Aesop's Fables, or the Aesopica, is a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and storyteller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 564 BCE. Of diverse origins, the stories associated with his name have descended to modern times through a number of sources and continue to be reinterpreted in different verbal registers and in popular as well as artistic media. Initially the fables were addressed to adults and covered religious, social and political themes. They were also put to use as ethical guides and from the Renaissance onwards were particularly used for the education of children.