Handmade illustration of the fable from Jean de La Fontaine, French poet of the 17th century.
A long-legged Heron, with long neck and beak,
Set out for a stroll by the bank of a creek.
So clear was the water that if you looked sharp
You could see the pike caper around with the carp.
The Heron might quickly have speared enough fish
To make for his dinner a capital dish.
But he was a very particular bird:
His food fixed "just so," at the hours he preferred.
And hence he decided 'twas better to wait,
Since his appetite grew when he supped rather late.
Pretty soon he was hungry, and stalked to the bank.
Where some pondfish were leaping--a fish of low rank.
"Bah, Bah!" said the Bird. "Sup on these? No--not I.
I'm known as a Heron: as such I live high."
Then some gudgeon swam past that were tempting to see,
But the Heron said hautily: "No--not for me.
For those I'd not bother to open my beak,
If I had to hang 'round come next Friday a week."
Thus bragged the big Bird. But he's bound to confess
That he opened his elegant beak for much less.
Not another fish came. When he found all else fail,
He was happy to happen upon a fat snail.
Jean de La Fontaine