Zeus decided, it is said, to create a sovereign over the birds, and made a proclamation that on a certain day all the birds should present themselves before him, when he would himself choose the most beautiful among them to be king.
The Jackdaw looked into the lake and realized how ugly he was. So he searched through the woods and fields and collected the feathers which had fallen from the wings of his companions. He stuck the feathers in all parts of his body, hoping thereby to make himself the most beautiful of all.
When the appointed day arrived, and the birds had assembled before Zeus, the Jackdaw also made his appearance in his many feathered finery.
There was not a bird in sight that had as many colored feathers as the Jackdaw. Zeus declared the Jackdaw to be the most beautiful of all the birds. However, the birds indignantly protested, and recognizing their own feathers stuck onto the Jackdaw, the birds each went to the Jackdaw and plucked their own feathers off him.
The Jackdaw, being stripped of his stolen plumage, was shown to be nothing but a Jackdaw after all.