Fables of Aesop, The | Annotated Tale

COMPLETE! Entered into SurLaLune Database in September 2018 with all known ATU Classifications. Aesop Fables have Perry classification numbers which have been included in the End Notes to each of the tales. They were also used in the ATU field when no ATU classification was available for a fable. Note that Aesop as an author and Greece as the geographic location for these fables are loose categorizations due to the murky nature of Aesop's Fables in general. Read the Introductory materials to this collection to learn more. For convenience, Aesop and Greece have been used in the classifications for convenience despite the inaccuracies involved.

Jay and the Peacock, The

A JAY venturing into a yard where Peacocks used to walk, found there a number of feathers which had fallen from the Peacocks when they were moulting. He tied them all to his tail and strutted down towards the Peacocks. When he came near them they soon discovered the cheat, and striding up to him pecked at him and plucked away his borrowed plumes. So the Jay could do no better than go back to the other Jays, who had watched his behaviour from a distance; but they were equally annoyed with him, and told him:

“It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds.”


(Ro. ii. 15).

Phædrus, i. 3. Referred to by Horace, Epist. I. iii. 18, and Plautus, Aulul. II. i. Probably Indian, owing to the habitat of the bird and the similarity of the Nacca Jātaka. The parvenu bird varies. Benedict of Oxford, in his Hebrew version, makes it Raven. Most of the English Æsops call it a Jackdaw. Thackeray includes it in the Prologue to The Newcomes. A monograph has been written on this fable by M. Fuchs, 1886 (Dissertation). Our expression, " Borrowed plumes," comes from it.

SurLaLune Note

Perry 472

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Jay and the Peacock, The
Tale Author/Editor: Aesop
Book Title: Fables of Aesop, The
Book Author/Editor: Aesop & Jacobs, Joseph
Publisher: Macmillan & Co.
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1902
Country of Origin: Greece
Classification: ATU 244: The Raven in Borrowed Feathers

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