The Owls, The Bats, and The Sun

Night birds got together in shade and said the Sun was a problem. The Sun overheard but was kind enough to just shine on and not burn them.

Hope that a strong enemy does not exert its strength.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

Owls, Bats and the Sun

Ernest Griset (1874)

The Owls, Bats, and several other birds of night were on a certain day got together in a thick shade, where they abused their neighbours in a very sociable manner. Their satire at last fell upon the Sun, whom they all agreed to be very troublesome, im pertinent, and inquisitive. After which the Sun, who overheard them, spoke to them after this manner: “Gentlemen, I wonder how you dare abuse one that you know could in an instant scorch you up, and consume every mother’s son of you; but the only answer I shall give you, or the revenge I shall take of you, is to shine on.”


[Note: The Northcote fable is the same fable as in the JBR Collection above. Only the illustrations and Application associated with the fable in the Northcote book are displayed here.]


The powerful, the virtuous, and the wise may serenely overlook or despise the attacks made upon them by the envious, the malignant, or the weak. It would be a waste of their time, and unbecoming their high characters, to honour with their notice undeserved abuse. Whoever makes a return to it, does in some measure lower himself to a level with his base accuser; those who are innocent, should disregard the malice of their enemies, they have only to follow the bright example of the Sun, that is, to “shine on.”

JN Fable 038

Sketch: James Northcote; Wood drawing: William Harvey; Engraving: T. Williams (1828)

JN Fable 038a

Wood drawing: William Harvey (1828)