A bird once set out to cross a windy sea with its three fledglings. The sea was so wide and the wind so strong, the father bird was forced to carry his young, one by one, in his strong claws.
When he was half-way across with the first fledgling, the wind turned to a gale, and he said, “My child, look how I am struggling and risking my life in your behalf. When you are grown up, will you do as much for me and provide for my old age?” The fledgling replied, “Only bring me to safety, and when you are old I shall do everything you ask of me.” Whereat the father bird dropped his child into the sea and it drowned, and he said, “So shall it be done to such a liar as you.”
Then the father bird returned to shore, set forth with his second fledgling, asked the same question, and receiving the same answer, drowned the second child with the cry, “You, too, are a liar!”
Finally he set out with the third fledgling, and when he asked the same question, the third and last fledgling replied, “My dear father it is true you are struggling mightily and risking your life in my behalf, and I shall be wrong not to repay you when you are old, but I cannot bind myself. This though I can promise: when I am grown up and have children of my own, I shall do as much for them as you have done for me.” Whereupon the father bird said, “Well spoken, my child, and wisely; your life I will spare and I will carry you to shore in safety.”