The Geese and The Cranes

Geese landed to feed with cranes. When scared, the lighter cranes fled but the geese were caught instead.

The more vulnerable need to watch more closely.

Townsend VersionTownsend version

The geese and the Cranes were feeding in the same meadow, when a birdcatcher came to ensnare them in his nets. The Cranes, being light of wing, fled away at his approach; while the Geese, being slower of flight and heavier in their bodies, were captured.

Samuel CroxallSamuel Croxall

Croxall - Geese and CranesA FLOCK of Geese and a parcel of Cranes used often to feed together in a corn-field. At last, the owner of the corn, with his servants, coming upon them of a sudden, surprised them in the very fact; and the Geese being heavy, fat, full-bodied creatures, were most of them sufferers; but the Cranes, being thin and light, easily flew away.


Whittingham - Geese and Crane

C. Whittingham (1814)

When the enemy comes to make a seizure, they are sure to suffer most, whose circumstances are the richest and fattest. In any case of persecution, money hangs like a dead weight about a man; and we never feel gold so heavy as when we endeavour to make off with it. Therefore wise and politic ministers of state, whenever they see a storm begin to gather over their heads, always take care to unlade themselves of a good part of their cargo; and, by this means, seldom find but the blasts of obloquy, through which they are to make their way, are less deaf and inexorable than the stormy waves of the ocean. Indeed, poverty is too frequently the occasion of men’s being treated as if they were guilty of the greatest crimes and reproaches: but then, these sort of criminals have this advantage, that no one thinks fit to treat them with any thing worse than contempt: whereas, if any pretence can be found to fall upon the man who is rich, it is a miracle if he escapes with both life and money. In short, riches are like the baggage of an army; very useful, while we lie in quiet possession of the camp, or are powerful enough to defy the enemy;, but when once we are put to the rout, if we would get off with our lives or liberties, we must quit our baggage as soon as possible, and leave it for plunder to our pursuers. Nay, however strongly intrenched we may think ourselves, as long as money is in the case, it is good to look about us for fear of a surprise: for, after all, he that does not, upon occasion, make himself wings with his riches to fly off with, deserves to be punished, like a goose as he is, for his heaviness.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

A party of Geese and a party of Cranes were discovered by the farmer eating his young corn, then just appearing above the ground. The Cranes, being light of wing, flew off, and all the weight of the punishment fell upon the Geese.

Crane Poetry VisualCrane Poetry Visual


Geese and Cranes

The Geese joined the Cranes in some wheat;
All was well, till, disturbed at their treat.
Light-winged, the Cranes fled,
But the slow Geese, well fed,
Couldn’t rise, and were caught in retreat.

Beware of enterprizes where the risks are not equal.

1001Olores et Anseres

Olores et anseres, amici inter se facti, exierant quondam in campos. Quibus coniunctim pascentibus, superveniunt venatores. Olores, corporis celeritate et volatu, tuto evadunt periculum. Anseres autem, natura tardiores, deserti ab amicis, in venatorum incidunt manus.


Haec fabula arguit eos qui amicos suos non adiuvant totis viribus, sed produnt in periculis.

Perry #228