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The Geese and the Cranes

The Geese and the Cranes

THE GEESE and the Cranes were feeding in the same meadow, when a birdcatcher came to ensnare them in his nets. The Cranes, being light of wing, fled away at his approach; while the Geese, being slower of flight and heavier in their bodies, were captured.

The Geese and the Cranes

The Geese & the Cranes

The Geese joined the Cranes in some wheat;
All was well, till, disturbed at their treat,
Light-winged, the Cranes fled,
But the slow Geese, well fed,
Couldn't rise, and were caught in retreat.


The Geese and the Cranes

The Geese and the Cranes fed in the same meadow. A bird-catcher came to ensnare them in his nets. The Cranes, being light of wing, fled away at his approach; while the Geese, being slower of flight and heavier in their bodies, were captured.

Those who are caught are not always the most guilty.


A flock of Geese and a parcel of Cranes used often to feed together in a corn field. At last the owner of the corn, with his servants, coming upon them of a sudden, surprised them in the very fact; and the geese, being heavy, fat, full-bodied creatures, were most of them sufferers; but the Cranes, being thin and light, easily flew away.


When the enemy comes to make a seizure, they are sure to suffer most whose circumstances are the richest and fattest. In any case of persecution, money hangs like a dead weight about a man; and we never feel gold so heavy as when we endeavour to make off with it. Therefore wise and politic ministers of state, whenever they see a storm begin to gather over their heads, always take care to unlade themselves of a good part of their cargo; and, by this means, seldom find but the blasts of obloquy, through which they are to make their way, are less deaf and inexorable than the stormy waves of the ocean. Indeed, poverty is too frequently the occasion of mens' being treated as if they were guilty of the greatest crimes and reproaches; but then these sort of criminals have this advantage, that no one thinks fit to treat them with any thing worse than contempt: whereas if any pretence can be found to fall upon the man who is rich, it is a miracle if he escapes with both life and money. In short, riches are like the baggage of an army: very useful while we lie in quiet possession of the camp, or are powerful enough to defy the enemy; but when once we are put to the rout, if we would get off with our lives or liberties, we must quit our baggage as soon as possible, and leave it for plunder to our pursuers. Nay, however strongly intrenched we may think ourselves, as long as money is in the case, it is good to look about us for fear of a surprise: for, after all, he that does not, upon occasion, make himself wings with his riches to fly off with, deserves to be punished, like a Goose as he is, for his heaviness.