A Fowler was building a net. A Blackbird asked and the Fowler said it was a city. The Blackbird took the bait and was caught. Just too gullible.
There is no glory in tricking those easy to trick.
A Fowler setting his nets in order, was curiously watched by a Blackbird, who could not forbear coming and asking the Man civilly what he was about. “I am making a nice little town for such as you,” answered the Fowler, “and putting into it food and all manner of conveniencies.” He then departed and hid himself. The Blackbird believing his words, came into the nets and was taken. “If this be your faith and honesty,” said he to the Man, “I hope your town will have but few inhabitants.”
As a fowler was bending his net, a black-bird call’d to him at a distance, and ask’d him what he was a doing. Why says he, I am laying the foundations of a city; and so the birdman drew out of sight. The black-bird mistrusting nothing, flew presently to the bait in the net, and was taken; and as the man came running to lay hold of her; Friend, says the poor black-bird, if this be your way of building, you’l have but few inhabitants.
There is no sham so gross, but it will pass upon a weak man that is pragmatical, and inquisitive.
A FOWLER was placing his nets, and putting his tackle in order by the side of a copse, when a Blackbird, who saw him, had the curiosity to enquire what he was doing. Says, he, I am building a city for you birds to live in; and providing it with meat, and all manner of conveniences for you. Having said this, he departed and hid himself; and the Blackbird, believing the words, came into the nets, and was taken. But when the Man came up to take hold of him, If this, says he, be your faith and honesty, and these the cities you build, I am of opinion, you will have but few inhabitants.
Methinks this Fowler acted a part very like that which some rulers of the people do, when they tell them, that the projects, which they have contrived with a separate view, and for their own private interests, are laid for the benefit of all that come into them. And to such the Blackbird truly speaks, when he affirms, that erectors of such schemes will find but few to stick by them at the long run. We exclaim against it, as something very base and dishonest, when those of a different nation, and even our enemies, break the faith which they have publicly plighted, and tricked us out of our properties. But what must we call it, when governors themselves circumvent their own people, and, contrary to the terms upon which they are admitted to govern, contrive traps and gins to catch and ensnare them in. Such governors may sneered in their plot the first time, but must not be surprised, if those who have once escaped their clutches, never have opinion enough of them to trust them for the future.
Thomas Bewick (The Fowler and The Blackbird)
A Fowler was busy placing his nets, and putting his tackle in order, by the side of a coppice, when a Blackbird, who was perched on an adjacent tree, eyed him with great attention; but being at a loss to know the use of all this apparatus and preparation, had the curiosity to ask him what he was doing. I am, says the Fowler, building a fine city for you birds to live in, and providing it with meat and all manner of conveniences for you. Having said this, he departed and hid himself, and the Blackbird, believing his words, came into the nets and was taken; but when the man ran up to seize his captive, the Bird thus addressed him: If this be your faith, and these the cities you build, it will be a great pity if you should ever again persuade any poor simple bird to try to inhabit them.
The fowler’s professions of friendship for the birds, while he aimed at their destruction, may be paralleled by too many instances in real life; and however mortifying it may be to reflect upon, yet so it is, that the designing knave far too often succeeds in his deep-laid schemes to ensnare, over-reach, and ruin the honest and the unsuspecting man. Planners and projectors of this character, both of high and low degree, are suffered to roam at large, and it behoves the inexperienced to guard against their plots with a watchful eye; for while they smoothly disclaim taking any mean advantage over those they are addressing, with their plausible pretensions, their sole study and aim is to fill their own pockets, and then to hug themselves with the thoughts of their success, and to laugh at those whom they have duped. As long as people can be found credulous enough to suffer themselves to be imposed upon, so long will there arise gentry of this description, who will live in affluence by taking advantage of their weakness.
Gherardo Image from 1480
Cassita et Auceps
Auceps laqueos disponebat et struebat insidias avibus, cuius opera contemplans cassita, quid rei gereretur admirans, accessit propius, et sciscitatur de homine quid struat. Respondit ille se urbem condere. Atque omnibus perfectis, occultat se intra ramos arborum. Cassita ad novam urbem aspiciendam celeriter advolat et, laqueo implicita, capitur. Cumque accurrisset auceps, tristis haec illi, “Si tales urbes condis,” inquit, “non facile multos incolas reperies.”