A hunter pursued a wounded hart into the ruins of an ancient city. Hot on the trail, the man rounded a corner of the antique streets and found himself confronted by a griffin. Neither were prepared to fight, but both were too proud to surrender the hapless quarry.
“Depart, dumb beast,” shouted the hunter, “lest I slay thee.”
“As for dumb, O Hunter," replied the griffin, speaking the tongue of man, “thou canst hear thine error. And if thou wouldst take my life, thou art more than I take thee for.”
The hunter, a practical man, wasted no worry on the griffin's power of speech, and returned, “Thou say thou takest me, but thy beak lacks the point of thy words. Fly!”
“Babbler,” quoth the griffin, “thine only point is the tongue in thy mouth.”
“Mine arrow will make my point, in thine heart. Save thy breath for flight.”
“So many words, thou upright pig. But the bones of thy father are dry in my nest.”
“And the hide of thy dame swaddles my babe.
“The babes of men lay for nine seasons in their own filth.
“And griffins are born in feces.”
“But they are born griffins.”
“Look about thee, beast. Even these ancient walls bespeak my power over thee.” And so it was, for cut into the stone was the image of a mighty hero, strangling a griffin.
The griffin sneered in response. “If griffins carved in stone, thou wouldst see men under their talons.”
“But griffins cannot carve stone.”
“No, rather thy flesh.”
“Yet thy blood this day shall flow.”
“Not so freely as thy boasts.”
“The wind blows from thy direction.”
And so they contended, each winning his point, neither losing ground. And as the two contended, the hart covered ground, too.