“Beware of Flattery”: adopted from an old Indian Tale

The Flattering Fox and the Cursed Crow


Read the following story in verse

And be free from the Flattery Curse

In a forest lived a crow;

she never ever had a row.

Everyday she looked for food,

and got it in time good.

But, one hot day,

in the month of May,

she could find nothing to eat,

neither grain nor meat.

Came there just then an old woman,

who had a basket with ‘vadas’ (*) laden.

The crow swooped down

and took a vada for her own.

The old woman passed on,

quite unaware of the con!

Now, there was a witness to this scene—

a fox keen and mean.

He thought quickly of a plan,

thoroughly worthy of his clan.

He ran upto the tree

where the crow sat full of glee

In a voice of honey he said:

Oh, what a lovely shiny black head!

The crow hearing the remark

thought it quite a lark.

Continued the fox smart,

having made the right start.

“Dear Madam Crow,

please accept my humble bow.

Your bountiful beauty

must go with a voice sweet and fruity.”

All this the bird,

surprised but happy, heard.

The fox knew it was time to strike;

the crow was ‘hot-iron’ like.

“Sing me a song” the fox coaxed.

The crow never realised she was hoaxed.

Opening her beak to sing,

to the vada she was unable cling.

The fox gobbled the vada—he was no gourmet,

while the crow watched in silent dismay.

So, what lesson this story holds,

carefully in its folds?

Be wary of praise—

it might just be manipulative flattery in disguise.

(*) Vadas: Indian savoury.