THE PARTRIDGE AND THE HAWK
A PARTRIDGE was one day strutting along the ground when a Hawk alighted near by. The Partridge thought that her last hour had surely come, and hid, trembling with fear, in a hole in the rock. The Hawk, however, made no effort to harm her, but, on the contrary, began to talk to her in soft, caressing tones.
"My dear, merry-faced, pretty-strutting Partridge,"
he began, "please come out of that hole and make friends
"Base deceiver," replied the Partridge, "cease your
flattery and false offers of friendship! Do. I not
know that you are now probably fresh from feasting on
one of my kin?"
But the Hawk tried to calm her suspicions. "I own," he
continued, "that up to the present moment I have always
looked upon partridges as my prey, but to-day, when I saw
you strutting up the hill so prettily, the desire came over
me to win you for my friend. If you will only come and live
in my nest, I will promise to protect you from all other
hawks, and, in good time, will bring you another partridge
for your mate."
"Even if your promise should be true," the Partridge
made answer, safe within her hole, "I know that you are
one of the kings among birds, and that I am only a poor
Partridge. Suppose that some day I should displease you.
Would you not promptly tear me to pieces?"
Still the Hawk was so persistent with his pledges of
friendship that the Partridge at last crept out of her
hole. The Hawk, greatly delighted, embraced her fondly and
carried her off to his nest.
For many days they lived happily together, until the Hawk
fell sick. All day long he was obliged to stay in the nest,
and could not go out for food. He grew more and more hungry
as night came on, and his eyes rested ever more longingly
and more longingly on the Partridge. Finally he decided to
pick a quarrel with her.
"It is not right," the Hawk suddenly snapped, "that I should
lie here, in the hot sun and that you should be protected by
The Partridge had drawn further away into the corner of the nest.
"Oh, King of Birds," she replied gently, "it is now night
and there is no sun. The heat that you feel is the fever in
"You saucy baggage," retorted the Hawk. "Will you tell me that
what I say is untrue? You shall be punished for this."
And so saying, he fell upon her and tore her to pieces.