The Eagle and the Beetle

A hare, being pursued by an eagle, took himself for refuge to the nest of a beetle, whom he entreated to save him. The beetle therefore interceded with the eagle, begging of him not to kill the poor suppliant, and pleaded with him, by mighty Jupiter, not to break the laws of hospitality because he was so small an animal. But the eagle, in wrath, gave the beetle a flap of his wing, and straightway seized upon the hare and devoured him.

When the eagle flew away, the beetle flew after him, to learn where his nest was. Getting into the nest, the beetle rolled the eagle's eggs out of it one by one and broke them. The eagle, grieved and enraged to think that any one should attempt so audacious a thing, built his nest the next time in a higher place. But there, too, the beetle got at it again and served him in the same manner as before.

Upon this the eagle, being at a loss what to do, flew up to Jupiter, his Lord and King, and placed the third brood of eggs as a sacred deposit in his lap, begging him to guard them for him. But the beetle, having made a little ball of dirt, flew up with it and dropped it in Jupiter's lap, who, rising up on a sudden to shake it off and forgetting the eggs, threw them down and they were again broken.

Jupiter, being informed by the beetle that he had done this to be revenged upon the eagle who had not only wronged him, but had acted impiously towards Jove himself, told the eagle, when he came to him, that the beetle was the aggrieved party and that he complained not without reason. Being unwilling that the race of eagles should be diminished, he advised the beetle to come to peace with the eagle. As the beetle would not agree to this, Jupiter transferred the eagle's breeding to another season, when there are no beetles to be seen.

No one can slight the laws of hospitality with impunity; and there is no station or influence, however powerful, that can protect the oppressor, in the end, from the vengeance of the oppressed.