The Slave-Boy who pretended to know the Language
of Birds

A young slave, learning that his master and his wife were to spend the morrow in a suburban garden, went secretly there, and buried beneath three trees some fruit, comfits, and wine. The husband sent his wife, escorted by the young slave, before him to the garden, promising to join her in a short time. As the lady and the slave were walking up and down the garden, a crow, sitting on a tree, croaked, upon which the young slave exclaimed: “Thou sayest truly.” His mistress asked him what he meant by such a remark, and he replied that the bird had said there was some fruit at the foot of such a tree. She desired him to search, and he produced the fruit; and, in like manner, when the bird croaked a second and a third time, the comfits and wine were unearthed, with which they regaled themselves. After this, the crow again croaked, and the slave-boy, pretend­ing to be angry and shamefaced, threw a stone at it. The lady rebuking him for his ingratitude to a bird that had provided them with such good things, the slave-boy replied that it had made a very improper suggestion to him. She insists upon knowing what it was the bird had said this time, and after much seeming reluctance he told her, when, to his great delight, she very cordially approved of the bird's suggestion, but just at this moment the husband made his appearance—and so the story ends, lamely enough.