Two owls were born into the same family. The older was obedient, hardworking and well-mannered, all in all a credit to his family. The younger was idle, rude and vain. He spent all his time staring at himself in windows or ponds and bullying other birds out of birdbaths so that he could sleek and polish his feathers.
‘What will become of you?’ his worried parents said. ‘One day you will have to fend for yourself and you have no skills.’
The foolish young owl only said, ‘But I look good.’
And no one could convince him that looking good was no substitute for hard work.
As the years went on the younger owl continued his frivolous life. He never got a job and he was always in debt. Through his diligence the older brother rose to great heights in business and became engaged to the daughter of his wealthy employer. The younger owl arrived late at the wedding and brought no present, because he did not care to spend money on anyone but himself. In fact he only came to the wedding because he hoped to borrow money from his brother now that he was marrying into a wealthy family. Still his brother welcomed him, because he was a genuinely good owl and loved his brother as he should.
As for the bride, as soon as she saw the younger owl’s sleek feathers, his perfectly-round eyes and his shining beak, she fell instantly in love and decided to marry him instead.
Moral: It is better to be beautiful than to be good (Owlscar Wilde)