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The Owl and the Birds by Aesop for ESL Students

Last updated on March 29, 2024 by in English Short Stories Category with No Comments on The Owl and the Birds by Aesop for ESL Students, 95 Views and Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Owl and the Birds by Aesop for ESL students with a podcast and vocabulary practice in real context based on the English Immersion Program

The Owl and the Birds is now in the public domain available on Gutenberg Project.

Podcast of the Owl and the Birds

The Owl and the Birds

The Owl and the Birds from Aesop for advanced ESL students with vocabulary practice in real context

The owl is a very wise bird; and once, long ago, when the first oak sprouted in the forest, she called all the other birds together and said to them: “You see this tiny tree? If you take my advice, you will destroy it now when it is small: for when it grows big, the mistletoe will appear upon it, from which birdlime will be prepared for your destruction.”

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The owl’s wisdom was not appreciated by the other birds in the forest.

Again, when the first flax was sown, she said to them, “Go and eat up that seed, for it is the seed of the flax, out of which men will one day make nets to catch you.” Once more, when she saw the first archer, she warned the birds that he was their deadly enemy, who would wing his arrows with their own feathers and shoot them. But they took no advice or notice of what she said: in fact, they thought she was rather mad, and laughed at her.

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The Owl and the Birds with a Persian version in our bilingual academy

When, however, everything turned out as she had foretold, they changed their minds and conceived a great respect for her wisdom. Hence, whenever she appears, the birds attend upon her in the hope of hearing something that may be for their good. She, however, gives them advice no longer, but sits moping and pondering on the folly of her kind.

English proverbs from the short story

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure:

This proverb aligns with the owl’s advice to take preventive measures against future threats, even if they seem harmless at the moment.

Forewarned is forearmed:

This proverb reflects the advantage the birds would have had if they had listened to the owl’s warnings and prepared for the dangers ahead.

Vocabulary in context

  1. sprout: to grow, develop, shoot
  2. mistletoe: an evergreen bush that grows as a parasite on trees such as apple and oak
  3. birdlime: a sticky substance made from plants spread on trees to catch and trap birds
  4. flax: a plant that yields oil from its seeds and flax from its stems
  5. sown: planted, seeded
  6. archer: a person or hunter who shoots with a bow and arrow
  7. conceive: to consider, regard, think of
  8. mope: to feel miserable and sad
  9. ponder on: to contemplate, think about
  10. folly: foolishness, madness, idiocy

Questions and answers

Answer the following questions in the comment box below.

  1. Why did the other birds reject the owl’s warning in this fable?
  2. What kind of danger did the owl warn the birds about in the story?
  3. What lesson can we learn from the way the birds treated the owl’s advice in this short story?

About Dr. Mohammad Hossein Hariri Asl

Dr. Mohammad Hossein Hariri Asl is an English and Persian instructor, researcher, inventor, author, blogger, SEO expert, website developer, and the creator of LELB Society. He's got a PhD in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). Study our guest posting guidelines for authors.

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