| Share
 

Viper and File

The biter bit. AEsop says a viper found a file, and tried to bite it, under the supposition that it was good food; but the file said that its province was to bite others, and not to be bitten. (See Serpent.) The viper of real life does not bite or masticate its food, but swallows it whole.

I fawned and smiled to plunder and betray,
Myself betrayed and plundered all the while;
So gnawed the viper the corroding file.

Beattie: Minstrel.

“Thus he realised the moral of the fable: the viper sought to bite the file, but broke his own teeth.” —The Times.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

More on Viper and File from Infoplease:

  • The Viper and the File - A Viper entered a carpenter's shop, and went from one to another of the tools, begging for something to eat. Among the rest, he addressed himself to t
  • Viper and File - Viper and File The biter bit. AEsop says a viper found a file, and tried to bite it, under the ...
  • The Lioness and the Vixen - A Lioness and a Vixen were talking together about their young, as mothers will, and saying how healthy and well-grown they were, and what beautiful co
  • The Cat and the Cock - A Cat pounced on a Cock, and cast about for some good excuse for making a meal off him, for Cats don't as a rule eat Cocks, and she knew she ought not
  • Bitten - Bitten Imposed upon, let in, made to suffer loss. “I was terribly bitten in that ...

Related Content

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring