Once, when a hungry crow was flying around in search of food, he saw a piece of bread lying outside a baker’s shop. Delighted, he swooped down, picked the bread up and flew to a tree to feast on it.
A fox, who was also wandering about in search of food, spotted the crow with the bread. The bread appeared very tasty to him indeed! He quietly went to the tree, stood under it and called out to the crow.
‘Oh crow!’ he said, ‘you have such glossy black feathers. They make you look really handsome.’
The crow, who had not heard a word of praise until then, puffed up his chest in pride.
The fox continued singing the crow’s praises. ‘Your beak is so sharp and pointed. It makes your handsome body stand out. Looking at your beak, I assume that your voice will be strong and powerful too. I am positive that if you sing a song it will be lovely to hear.’
The crow wanted to immediately open his mouth and sing. But since the bread was in his beak, he felt helpless.
Now the fox adopted a beseeching voice, ‘Please sing a song. I really want to hear your melodious voice.’
By then the crow was completely flattered. He could not hold back any longer. He closed his eyes, opened his beak to sing and down fell the bread. The fox picked it up in a trice and was off.
After completing his cackling song, the crow opened his eyes and found both his bread and the fox gone. Only then did the foolish crow realize that the fox had tricked him. He lost his food for the price of his ego.
To reflect upon
Why is it important to differentiate between genuine praise and flattery?