Aesop's Fables
A Bird in the Hand
Is Worth Two in the Bush

Aesop's Moral:
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

Another way of saying it:
Better to have a sure thing than take a major gamble.

Aesop's Fable:

The Hawk and the Nightingale

A Nightingale, perched on an oak, was spotted by a Hawk, who swooped down and snatched him.

The Nightingale begged the Hawk to let him go, insisting he wasn't big enough to satisfy the hunger of a Hawk, who ought to pursue bigger birds.

The Hawk said, "I'd be crazy to release a bird I've already caught in favor of birds I don't even yet see."

The Hawk and the Nightingale summary: I'm not sure this one is for the little kiddies! Nightingale doesn't want to die and Hawk is telling him he's about to. That seems a little cruel in this day and age. We may eat meat, but we don't usually talk to it first.

A thought: You might try a less murderous version of this story. Perhaps Hawk is instead a Horse eating hay, who is advised - by another horse - that there are yummier oats over the hill. Horse prefers the hay that is in front of him over oats that might not even be there when he gets there.

Alternatively, you might contrast this fable with Aesop's The Lion and the Mouse, which also features a predator confronted with prey. In that instance, the predator is persuaded to take pity, and in the end it serves him! (The moral: an act of kindness is never wasted.) Same circumstance: polar opposite lesson.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

How to use Aesop's Fables.

More stories with morals.

Hawk's talons and nightingale: collaged images from Color Key to North American Birds, illustrated by Frank M. Chapman

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