The Magpie Teaching A Wood Pigeon How To Make A Nest


The wood pigeon makes an untidy nest, consisting of a few bits of twigs

placed one on the other without much care. There is a fable in the Iolo

MSS., p. 159, in Welsh, and the translation appears on page 567 in

English, as follows:--

The magpie, observing the slight knowledge of nest building possessed by

the wood pigeon, kindly undertook the work of giving his friend a lesson

in the art, and as the les
on proceeded, the wood pigeon, bowing, cooed


Mi wn! Mi wn! Mi wn!

I know! I know! I know!

The instructor was at first pleased with his apt pupil, and proceeded

with his lesson, but before another word could be uttered, the bird

swelling with pride at its own importance and knowledge, said again:--

I know! I know! I know!

The magpie was annoyed at this ignorant assurance, and with bitter

sarcasm said: Since you know, do it then, and this is why the wood

pigeon's nest is so untidy in our days. In its own mind it knew all

about nest building, and was above receiving instruction, and hence its

present clumsy way of building its nest. This fable gave rise to a

proverb, As the wood pigeon said to the magpie: 'I know.'

It is believed that when wood pigeons are seen in large flocks it is a

sign of foul weather.