The vain crow flew to the leader of the swans and said, “Do you know who I am? I am the king of the crows and I know a hundred ways of flight. I can fly high; I can fly low. I can fly straight up or straight down, and even sideways. I challenge you to compete with me in any manner of flight.” The swan said nothing at all. He only smiled at the crow. The vain crow thought that the swan was stupid.
The crow then cawed aloud, “KAW, KAW, KRAK, KRU, KAW!” He took off into the air. He circled and dived, flew sideways and in jerks. He flew straight up into the sky, folded his wings and dropped down like a stone, only to spread his wings again at the last moment and fly off again.
The swan watched all this display of flight with a smile on his face. At last the crow landed before the swan and said, “Did you see? Can you fly like that? I can beat you any time, anywhere, in any kind of flight.”
The swan went on smiling at the crow. He said, “My dear crow. I know only one way of flight, and that is straight ahead of me. Come, let us compete in that.” So saying, the swan flew straight out over the sea. The crow followed. On and on flew the swan, with the crow at his wingtip. They flew for an hour and the swan gave no sign of turning back. He just kept flying steadily on.
The crow now began to feel tired. But he could not admit this, and he flew on. At last he could no longer fly and looked for a place to land. But there was only the sea, and no land, as far as he could see. He grew afraid as he started losing height and sank towards the sea. Soon his wings were touching the sea from time to time, and he knew he was going to die.
The swan then said, “Brother, are you playing with the waves?” The crow realized then that he had been a fool. His pride was leading him to his death. He looked at the swan and said, “Sir, please help me, or I shall drown into the sea.” The swan took pity on him, placed him on his back and flew back safely to shore.
It is rightly said, “Pride leads to a fall,” Only foolish people go around boasting all the time of themselves, their family and all that they can do. Truly great people do not need to show off. Everyone can see their greatness.
Pride and vanity may make us do things that are dangerous for ourselves and for others. We should know our talents. We can be proud of them. But we also know our weaknesses and our limits. We admit our mistakes. We see the talents of others and praise them for their achievements. This type of honesty gives us success and brings us joy.