Once upon a time, there lived a pheasant. Like all pheasants, this fellow was rich with colorful plumes and a bright red shadow around his eye. He was sitting on a low branch, in the middle of the forest, using his beak to remove the slight ruffle in his feathers, when a fox came that way.
The fox being a fox was hungry as ever. He gazed up the tree and spotted the pheasant sitting there on it, without a care in the world.
‘What a fine meal he would make!’ thought the fox and in front of his eyes he could see himself tucking into a juicy pheasant. He drooled. Foxes can’t fly, so the only way to sink his teeth in that juicy bird was to get it to come down. In a flash, the fox had a plan.
He continued to stare at the pheasant and soon the pheasant cast his eyes on the fox.
“Please do not mind my looking,” said the fox with a humble smile. “It is just that i have travelled the world over and yet i have not seen any thing as beautiful and colorful as your feathers.” The pheasant continued to brush his feathers with his beak, but you could see that he was pleased.
“Pray, is this technique of brushing your feathers the reason why they gleam?” asked the fox again. He had to speak carefully because his mouth was watering so much.
The pheasant was thrilled. He examined himself again. “It’s a technique i have learnt from my mother,” he said, smiling.
“That’s yet another feather to your crown, my friend. Your cleanliness is an even match to your beautiful looks. I wish i were you!”
The open praise pleased the pheasant instantly. “It is very kind of you Mr. Fox.”
“Come to think of it, I have an idea,” said the fox. “Someone as beautiful as you must surely have a great heart. I think you should do something for all your feathered friends in the forest.
“Tell me,” replied the pheasant, leaning forward, looking down.
“My dear friend,” went on the fox, “Can you imagine how wonderful every bird would feel if they could learn the technique you know” Come on, my friend don’t say ‘no.’ Take classes from this same place where you are sitting now. I will invite all under this tree.”
Now living in a small hole in the same tree was a little mouse. Listening in to the fox’s speech, the mouse butted in. “Do not listen to a word this naught fox says,” the mouse said the the pheasant. “He is up to no good.”
But the pheasant was enjoying the praises heaped on him. The mouse’s interruptions seemed very rude. “Who are you?” asked the pheasant. “Please return to your home, you jealous rodent!”
The mouse felt hurt. He kept quiet, watching then with bated interest.
“Now what was that again, Mr. Fox?” asked the pheasant.
“I made an appeal to you, O’ fairy. It is about the cleanliness classes,” reminded the fox.
The pheasant smiled as he said, “I hardly have any time for work of this kind, Mr. Fox.
“Oh please don’t say no. I can see your golden heart melting,” answered the fox. “I know that you will spare a few minutes a week to pass on valuable tips to other feathered friends.”
The pheasant started smiling and twirling a feather now. The mouse was worried.
“Be cautious,” the mouse whispered.
But the pheasant just ignored it. “All right, Mr. Fox, if that is the way perhaps i should spare some of my time ti educated other.”
“Oh, that is very considerate of you,” said the fox. Can you lean a bit more so that i can talk to you at length?
“No, no!” said the mouse, knowing what the fox planned.
However, the moment he said that, the pheasant leaned over more than he should. He plunged down and before he could flap his wings and gain balance, the fox opened his large jaws and caught the bird between his set of sharp teeth.
Moral: The trouble with most of us is that, we would rather be ruined by praise, than saved by criticism.