The Mouse replied, ‘They have related that on the skirt of a mountain a Partridge* was proudly walking, and the echoing sound of its merry cry pealed through the vault of heaven. It happened that a bird of prey, a hawk, was flying there. When its sight fell on the graceful movements of the Partridge, and the sound of its glee caught its ear, it longed in heart to associate with it, and began to inscribe on the tablet of its imagination the traces of its friendship. It reflected that in this world every creature stands in need of a suitable companion, and cannot do without an agreeable friend and kind associate, and that it has passed into a proverb that ‘where friends are failing there is ever ailing:’*

He whose delights no friendly comrade shares,
His tree of joy on earth no produce bears.

and that this Partridge would be a friend of comely countenance and smiling aspect, light-hearted and graceful, and that in the society of such a com­panion, the mind would be refreshed and gratified, and the bosom cheered and soothed by the friendship of such an ally.

I want a friend, say who that friend should be?
One who my progress from all knots will free,
No dust of pain will on the glass remain
Of my clear spirit, when his form I see.’

He then softly inclined towards the Partridge, who, when it saw him, cautiously ensconced itself in the fissure of a rock. The hawk, descending from the air, alighted in front of that cleft, and stated what had occurred, saying, ‘O Partridge! hitherto I have been blind to thy perfections, and thy excellence and transcendant merit have been hid from me. To-day thy mirthful cry has occasioned such joyous emotions in my heart, and thy bewitching movements have so captivated me, as to make me trust that thou wilt not henceforth stand in dread or awe of me, and that thou wilt be disposed to become my friend and associate, since where friendship precedes, happy results follow, and the tree of amity bears for its fruit the object of one’s wishes.

Such fruit grows on the tree of amity,
The more we pluck, the more its boughs supply.

The Partridge replied, ‘O conquering hero! suffer this helpless afflicted one to escape, and be pleased to devour some other partridge, and deem

That I on thee should tranquil look, alas! this were but idle scheming,
That union grow ’twixt thee and me, forgive me, God! ’tis nought but dreaming.

Whenever water and fire consent to blend together, then one may conceive that friendship might arise between thee and me, and when sun and shade can be associated, it will be supposable that we can become companions.

Cease from this fancy, which can ne’er take place.’

The hawk replied, ‘O friend! reflect that it can be nothing but friendship which could lead me to speak kindly to one like thee. My claws are not grown weak, that I should fail in making prey of such as thou art, nor has my beak become powerless or debilitated that I should fail to secure any food. There is no more in it than this, that the desire of fellowship and fraternity with thee, and the wish for propinquity and attachment to thee, induces me to agitate the chain of friendship; and thou mayest anticipate many advantages from associating with me. And among these the first will be that when birds of the same species with myself observe that I foster thee under the shadow of the wings of my protection, they will withdraw the hand of violence from thy skirt and will survey thee with respect; and thou, with mind at ease, mayest wander over mountain and plain. Another advantage will be that I will convey thee to my own nest, so that thou wilt be elevated to a superior station and a lofty abode, and wilt be advanced in dignity above thy fellows. Moreover, I will bring thee a partner of thy own kind, gentle and beautiful, whom thou mayest in real truth desire to espouse, so that embracing her with the hands of enjoyment thou mayest pass thy time to the wish of thy heart.

Time shall not wrong, nor heaven distress thee more,
Thy hopes all won, thy joy-cup brimming o’er.’

The Partridge answered, ‘Thou art the ruler of the birds and the reins of dominion over them are in the grasp of thy option, and I am one of thy subjects and of those who pay thee tribute, and the like of me are not devoid of weaknesses and infirmities, and at the time when I am aided by thy favor and hope for thy support, it is possible that I may do something which may displease thy august mind, and the talons of my lord’s anger may destroy me. It cannot but be best that I should content myself with retirement and not lift up the banner of service in thy command, which is fraught with danger to me.

To gaze upon the sun’s bright face I in myself no fitness see,
Better that, like the shadow, meek behind the wall I prostrate be.’

The hawk replied, ‘O brother! hast thou not heard and learned that the eye of friendship is blind in discovering faults, and that everything that proceeds from a friend, though it be the greatest of blemishes, seems the chiefest of beauties.

Poison from thee thy friend would sugar deem,
And of his praises make thy faults the theme.

And since I survey thy actions with the eye of friendship, and inscribe the writing of thy words and adventures on the volume of attachment, how could I trace the character of error in thy discourse? or how interpret amiss aught that thou couldst say or do?

The eye of friendship ne’er can see a fault.’

Although the Partridge repeated many excuses worthy of being approved, the hawk rejoined to them with satisfactory answers, and at last, by promises and a solemn covenant, he drew the Partridge out of the hole, and they then embraced one another, and ratified their agreement by oaths; and the hawk, taking him up, conveyed him to his own nest, and mutually pleased with each other, they passed their time in amusement and mirth. When two or three days had passed in this manner, and the Partridge felt safe with the hawk, he began to adopt an insolent tone, to speak with too great freedom, and without any reason, burst into laughter in the midst of conversation; while the hawk magnanimously appeared not to hear it, and forbore to punish it. Nevertheless, resentment found room in his breast, until one day he suddenly became slightly indisposed, so that he was unable to stir in search of food. He passed the whole day in his nest, and when night came and his crop was emptied of the food it contained, the fire of hunger blazed up and set his savage nature in motion, and the feelings of irritation against the Partridge, which he had stored up in the course of time, made him furious. In vain the monitor reason presented to his eyes his promise and compact, he did not glance at it with the eye of consent, and was seeking for a pretence to break his agreement and devour the Partridge. The latter observed the signs of wrath in his countenance, and with the sight of his eyes perceived that his destruction was at hand. Drawing a cold sigh from his afflicted heart, he said,

‘Like lover blessed, I cried, rejoicing, ‘I have won my wishes’ pearl,’
But little knew what giant surges this deceitful sea could hurl.

Alas! that at the beginning of this adventure, I did not cast my eyes to the conclusion, but associated with one of a different race, and forgot the precept of the wise.

A comrade of a different race avoid.

Consequently, this day the vessel of my life has fallen into a whirlpool, such that the mariner of deliberation is unable to set me free; and the cord of my existence is broken in such wise, that the finger-tip of thought is baffled in attempting to unite it.

My friend unfaithful and my life despair,
Heaven grants no tidings, nor fate hears my prayer.’

Thus was he soliliquizing, and meantime the hawk was unfolding his cruel talons and whetting his blood-shedding beak with the venom of tyranny, and as his first measure, sought a pretext* against the Partridge. The latter, cautiously observant, took care to be thoroughly respectful, so that the hawk found no excuse for attacking him. At length, losing patience, he called out angrily to the Partridge, ‘Is it fitting that I should be in the sun and thou pass thy time in the shade?’ The Partridge replied, ‘O world-subduing prince! now it is night, and the shades of darkness have enveloped the whole world. By the heat of what sun are you distressed? and what thing is it that affords me the convenience of shade?’ The hawk replied, ‘O thou insolent one! dost thou make me out a liar, and deny my assertion? I will give thee thy punishment.’ He had no sooner uttered these words, than he tore the Partridge in pieces.

And I have adduced this story that thou mayest know, that whoever associates with those of a different race, and passes his time with one from whose injuries be cannot be safe, his life, like that of the mountain-partridge, is sacrificed to his companionship,* and lost. In the same manner I am thy food, and I can never live secure from thy appetite. Wherefore, how can the road of amity between me and thee be opened? or in what manner can the requisites for an alliance be pro­curable?’ The Crow answered, ‘O Zírak! refer the matter to the decision of thy own judgment, and perpend it well, and reflect; What advantage could I gain by injuring thee, and were I to devour thee, how far would it satisfy* me? while, in thy personal existence and the acquisition of thy friendship, there are a thousand advantages, and a hundred thousand benefits discernable. Besides it is not seemly that I should have traversed a long and distant journey to seek thee, and thou avert thy face from me, and smite the breast of my hope with the hand of discouragement; nor is it fitting that thou, possessed of the kindly disposition and serene mind that thou hast, should slight my claims as a stranger, or that the poor should retire from thy threshold discomfited.

Praise by the care of poorer men is earned,
Why has your city not this canon learned?

And from the excellent qualities that I have observed in thee, I do not suppose that thou wilt altogether refuse to suffer me to partake of thy bene-ficence, and to perfume with the exhilarating odor of thy courtesy, the nostrils of my expectation.

Thyself art poor, then when wilt thou to poor men favour shew?’

The Mouse answered, ‘There is no kind of enmity so grave in its effects as that implanted by nature. For if an accidental hostility should arise between two persons, slight measures may suffice to remove it, and a trifling cause may dispel it. But if enmity has sprung up in the original nature, and its consequences have implanted themselves in the minds of both parties, and if to that hereditary hostility be added new reasons for hate, and former dislike be combined with subsequent quarrels, the removal thereof can in no wise enter the circle of possibility, and the getting rid of it is altogether beyond the limits of human power, and its extinction involves the annihilation of both parties.

Till the head goes, that thought the head leaves not.

And the wise have said, ‘Natural enmity is of two kinds. The first is when the injury resulting from it is not confined to one of the two parties. Now the one is vexed by the other. and now the injury is reversed, as in the case of the elephant and the lion, who cannot meet without a contest. Yet it does not follow that the victory is always on one side, and that the other will as constantly be put to flight. But on some occasions the raging lion is triumphant, and on others the furious elephant is the conqueror. Now this kind of enmity is not so intense that its wounds cannot be salved, because the party with which the victory remains, his heart will undoubtedly be pacified. The other kind is where the injury is always on one side, and the advantage on the other, like that of the mouse and the cat, and of the wolf and the sheep; and where the pain is restricted to one party, and the pleasure to the other; and this enmity is so powerful that not the revolution of the sky can change it, nor the vicissitudes of time undo its knot: and where it is known that one party aims at the life of the other, without there having been a previous attempt in time past from that other party, or the possibility of injury from him in the future, how can a reconcilliation take place there? or, how can intercourse there be carried on?

When day and night together meet,
And shade with sunshine blends,
Then I with thee will take my seat;
Yet, even then,
Discerning men
Would ridicule such friends.’

The Crow replied, ‘Praise be to God! no hostility from me to thee was mixed up in my original composition, and if in those of my race a fortuitous enmity has sprung up to thee, the mirror of my heart, at least, is free from the dust of malignity, and the glass of my mind is prepared to receive the refraction of the rays of love and affection; and assuredly as the maxim, From heart to heart there is a window,’ is true, I am in hopes that the sincere heart of that dear friend will testify to the truth of my friendship.

Think not thy loved one cannot read thy heart?’

The Mouse answered, ‘Thou art beyond measure importunate, and troublest me by thus pressing on me thy friendship; and should I accept it and thou, too, stand to thy purpose, it is probable that on some trifling cause thou wilt break the chain of amity and return to thy former original habits and natural hostility—like water, which though it be kept long in one place so as to alter its smell and taste, yet retains its primitive properties, and if they pour it on fire, does not fail to quench it. And to consort with an enemy is like mixing with snakes and vipers, which is not safe; and friendship with foes resembles associating with tigers of sharp claws, which deserves not to be tried: and the wise have said, ‘We must not be beguiled by the assurances of our enemies, although they pretend to be friendly, nor must we confide in their words though they prepare the way to an agreement most assiduously.

To hope new* friends will spring from ancient foes,
Is from a furnace* to expect a rose.

And whoever, relying on an enemy, is elated by his civilities and listens to his cajolements with the ear of approval, will meet with what befell that Camel-rider.’ The Crow inquired, ‘How was that?’