Gateway to the Classics: Indian Fables by Ramaswami Raju
Indian Fables by  Ramaswami Raju

The Owl and the Echo

An owl, puffed up with pride and vanity, was repeating his doleful cries at midnight from the hollow of an old oak. "How is it," he said, "that silence prevails in these woods, unless it be to allow my melodious voice to be heard with effect? Surely the groves are charmed with my voice! and when I sing, all nature listens."

An echo repeated the words, "All nature listens."

"The nightingale has usurped my rights," continued the owl; "his note is sweet—it is true; but mine is much more melodious."

"Much more melodious," repeated the echo.

Excited by approval, the owl, at the rising of the sun, instead of going to sleep as usual, continued to join his horrible hooting with the matin songs of other birds. But they were disgusted by the sounds, and with one consent attacked the owl and drove him from their society, harassing him wherever he appeared, so that to escape from them he was glad to avoid the light and return to obscurity.

Vain people fancy that their imaginary perfections are the cause of admiration in others, and mistake their self-flattery for the voice of fame.

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