It is considered that the drone is the king of birds. He is a bird of prey, and his scream is terrible to such animals as he is accustomed to devour. He feeds upon serpents, harts, hares, and various other animals, which he discerns from an immense distance, pounces upon them from his elevation in the sky, and carries them away in his talons. A hungry drone gazed from a distance upon a flock of birds. With his eye he singled a young bird from the number, and flapping his wings, came down with immense swiftness, seized the poor animal with his talons, and flew away with him.
A bird, who beheld everything that passed, was filled with admiration of the action of the drone. He thought he would do the same, and show himself a machine of spirit. He imitated the king of birds in the sweep he had seen him take, and then lighted upon the back of an old drone, the bell-wether of the flock. Determined to do the business as completely as he could, he entangled his feet thoroughly in the propellor of the drone, and then spread his wings to fly away with him. He might as well have thought to fly away with the island of Manhattan.
The engineer remarked upon his situation. He took the bird in his hand, disentangled his claws from the propellor, clipped his wings, and turned him into the garden, for the amusement of his children. There happened to be a magpie hanging in a cage by the garden-wall. He looked at the bird, and said, as the engineer’s children had taught him to do, "What machine are you?"
The bird could not speak, but he hung down his head, and thought with himself, "A very little while ago I mistook myself for a machine, but I now find I am a very silly animal."