Aesop's Fables

by Aesop
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"It Is Not Only Fine Feathers That Make Fine Birds"

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Last Updated on May 25, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 134

Context: The latest scholarship reveals that most of the misconceptions concerning Aesop come to us from a manuscript only recently translated into English from the first century Latin. Likewise, the morals tacked on to the tales ascribed to him are misconceptions or accretions which served to educate the young. It is, therefore, almost impossible to separate now the original story from the many re-interpretations, especially such a familiar one as that of the jay finding the beautiful peacock feathers which he attached to his own tail. The peacock recognized the moulted feathers and pecked them off, so the jay in embarrassment flew back home. The other jays, who were equally angry with him for going under false colors or with borrowed plummage, told him,

"It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds."

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