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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729–1781)

The Peacocks and the Crow

From “Fables”

A VAIN crow adorned herself with the feathers of the richly tinted peacocks which they had shed, and when she thought herself sufficiently tricked out, mixed boldly with these splendid birds of Juno.

She was recognized, and quickly the peacocks fell upon her with sharp bills, to pluck the lying disguise from her.

“Cease now!” she cried at length, “you shall have your own again!”

But the peacocks, who had observed some of the crow’s own shining wing-feathers, replied:

“Be still, wretched fool! These, too, cannot be yours!”

And they continued to peck at her.