The Crow bothered a Sheep who said a Dog would not have stood for the abuse. The Crow pointed out that he picked his targets just for that reason.
Pick your enemies.
A troublesome crow seated herself on the back of a Sheep. The Sheep, much against his will, carried her backward and forward for a long time, and at last said, “If you had treated a dog in this way, you would have had your deserts from his sharp teeth.” To this the Crow replied, “I despise the weak and yield to the strong. I know whom I may bully and whom I must flatter; and I thus prolong my life to a good old age.”
JBR Collection (The Jackdaw and The Sheep)
A Jackdaw sat chattering upon the back of a Sheep. “Peace, you noisy thing!” said the Sheep. “lf I were a Dog, you would not serve me so.” “True,” replied the Jackdaw; ” I know that. I never meddle with the surly and revengeful, but I love to plague helpless creatures like you, that cannot do me any harm in return.”
Samuel Croxall (The Jackdaw and the Sheep)
A JACKDAW sat chattering upon the back of a sheep. Peace, you noisy thing, says the sheep; if I were a dog, you durst not serve me so. That is true enough, replies the Jackdaw, I know very well who I have to do with; I never meddle with the surly and revengeful: but I love to plague such poor helpless creatures as you are that cannot do me any harm again.
Many people in the world are of the temper of this Jackdaw in the fable, who do mischief for mischief’s sake; and, at the same time, are never so well pleased, as when they do it to the innocent and undeserving. They love themselves too well to offer an injury to one of their own malicious principles, for fear of a suitable return; but desire no better grounds, at any time, for being hurtful, than the prospect of being so with impunity. How inconsistent are such proceedings as these with honour and generosity! How opposite to the character of a great and good man! and how directly contrary to the rules prescribed for the behaviour of noble and heroic spirits.
Thomas Bewick (The Magpie and The Sheep)
A Magpie sat chattering upon the back of a Sheep, and pulling off the wool to line her nest. Peace, you noisy thing, says the Sheep: if I were a dog, you durst not serve me so. That is true enough, replies the Magpie, I know very well whom I have to deal with: I never meddle with the surly and revengeful; but I love to plague such poor helpless creatures as you are, who cannot do me any harm.
It is the characteristic of a mean, low, base spirit, to be insolent or tyrannical to those who are obliged to submit to it, and slavishly submissive to those who have the spirit and the power to resist. Men of this stamp take especial care not to meddle with people of their own malicious principles, for fear of meeting with a suitable return; but they delight in doing mischief for mischief’s sake, and seem pleased when they can insult the innocent with impunity. This kind of behaviour is inconsistent with all the rules of honour and generosity, and is opposite to every thing that is great, good, amiable, and praise-worthy.
There was a crow sat chattering upon the back of a sheep; Well! sirrah, says the sheep, you durst not ha’ done this to a dog. Why I know that says the crow as well as you can tell me, for I have the wit to consider whom I have to do withall. I can be as quiet as any body with those that are quarrelsome, and I can be as troublesome as another too, when I meet with those that will take it.
‘Tis the nature and the practice of drolls and buffoons, to be insolent toward those that will bear it, and as slavish to others that are more then their match.
Cornicula et Ovis
Cornicula strepitat in dorso oviculae. Ovis inquit, “Si obstreperes sic cani, ferres infortunium.” At cornicula inquit, “Scio quibus insultem: molesta placidis, amica saevis.”