The Birds once met together to choose a king; and, among others, the Peacock was a candidate. Spreading his showy tail, and stalking up and down with affected grandeur, he caught the eyes of the silly multitude by his brilliant appearance, and was elected with acclamation. The magpie then stepped forth into the midst of the assembly, and thus addressed the new king: May it please your majesty, elect to permit a humble admirer to propose a question. As our king, we put our lives and fortunes in your hands. If, therefore, the Eagle, the Vulture, and the Kite, should make a descent upon us, what means would you take for our defence? This pithy question opened the eyes of the Birds to the weakness of their choice and they cancelled the election.