In time, these lessons and "stubs" will be migrated to the Buzzwords site.
Until then, consider them historical.

Aesop's Fables 4: The Crow and the Pitcher


What do you think is happening in the picture above?


A Crow perishing with thirst saw a pitcher, and hoping to find water, flew to it with delight. When he reached it, he discovered to his grief that it contained so little water that he could not possibly get at it. He tried everything he could think of to reach the water, but all his efforts were in vain. At last he collected as many stones as he could carry and dropped them one by one with his beak into the pitcher, until he brought the water within his reach and thus saved his life.
Necessity is the mother of invention.


The moral of this story, "Necessity is the mother of invention," is a well-known saying and may be found in many places besides this story.


Answer these questions about the story in complete sentences:

1. What was the Crow's problem?
2. What did the Crow hope for?
3. How was the Crow disappointed?
4. What did the Crow do at first?
5. What did the Crow finally do? And what happened at last?


Here is some vocabulary from the story:

a. to perish: to die, or to lose quality (foods that need to be in the refrigerator are called "perishables")
b. thirst: need for water or other liquids
c. delight: happiness
d. grief: sorrow, sadness
e. in vain: without result; uselessly
f. beak: a bird's mouth
g. thus: therefore, so; used to show the result or effect of something
h. necessity: need
i. invention: ability to think of something new; also, a thing that is thought of

Use one of the above terms in each of the following sentences. Be sure to use the correct form.

1. I tried __________ to reach my friend, but he didn't answer his phone.
2. The bird was holding some straw in its __________.
3. The Bible says, "Without hope, the people __________," which shows how important it is to have a dream.
4. Thomas Edison made many __________.
5. Some work because they want to; others work out of __________.
6. Quick! Get me some water! I'm dying of __________!
7. I went out without my umbrella, and it rained today; __________ I came home wet.
8. I'd love to come! I accept your invitation with __________.
9. Tears are the silent language of __________. - Voltaire


There are no "right" answers. Give your own opinion. If you can, try to talk about these questions in English with a friend. If not, try writing your answers.

1. How would adding stones to a pitcher make it possible for the Crow to drink? Describe the process.
2. What sorts of things do you think the Crow tried before he thought of adding stones to the pitcher?
3. Do you think real crows are this clever? Or is this only a story?


Remember, there may be more than one way to express your answer.

1. The Crow was dying of thirst.
2. The Crow hoped to get water from the pitcher.
3. The Crow was disappointed because he couldn't reach the water in the pitcher.
4. The Crow tried many different ways to get the water.
5. Finally, the Crow added stones to the pitcher, and at last he could reach the water.


1 e in vain
2 f beak
3 a perish
4 i inventions
5 h necessity
6 b thirst
7 g thus
8 c delight
9 d grief

This lesson is ©2012 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

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