A Thrush and A Swallow

A Thrush’s mother disapproved of her son’s friendship with a Swallow. The Thrush and Swallow live at different seasons. One would kill the other.

Know the nature of those you deal with.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

A young Thrush, who lived in an orchard, once became acquainted with a Swallow. A friendship sprang up between them, and the Swallow, after skimming the orchard and the neighbouring meadow, would every now and then come and visit the Thrush. The Thrush, hopping from branch to branch, would welcome him with his most cheerful note. “Oh, mother!” said he to his parent, one day, “never had creature such a friend as I have in this same Swallow.” Nor ever any mother,” replied the parent bird, “such a silly son as I have in this same Thrush. Long before the approach of winter, your friend will have left you, and while you sit shivering on a leafless bough, he will be sporting under sunny skies hundreds of miles away.”

L'Estrange VersionL’Estrange version

Ah my dear mother! says the thrush, never had any creature such a friend as I have, of this same swallow. No, says she, nor ever any mother such a fool to her son as I have, of this same thrush; to talk of a friendship betwixt people that cannot so much as live together in the same climate and season. One is for the summer, t’other for winter, and that which keeps you alive, kills your companion.


‘Tis a necessary rule in allyances, matches, societies, fraternities, friendships, partnerships, commerce, and all manner of civil dealings and contracts, to have a strief regard to the humour, the nature, and the disposition of those we have to do withall.