Post 2/2023 Sunday 29 January . . . I like fables. Stories that use cleverness and understanding to solve problems, real or imagined. I like the ancient fables of Aesop. The Boy Who Called Wolf, comes to mind. On the flip side, we’ve got those nasty conspiracy theories to contend with–mindlessness as opposed to the mindfulness of fables.
First, some photos.
Happy Birthday, Doris!
Elkhart County River Preserve County Park
We walked here last Sunday afternoon. The Parks Department notes this as an area where “Historic canals, dams, and foundations blend seamlessly with wild beauty in this vast linear park that runs along the Elkhart River. Get away from the crowds and let your inner-explorer go wild for these timeless landscapes rich in history and natural splendor.”
Enduring thoughts from Aesop
Aesop is believed to have lived at the end of the sixth into the seventh centuries BCE. He lived in ancient Greece, a slave whose storytelling skill led to his being freed, notes editor Rochelle Larkin in the Great Illustrated Classics edition of Aesop’s Fables (Baronet Books, 2000).
I’ve found reading Aesop’s accounts prescient, muse-worthy, head-noddingly affirmative, truthful. Problems solved. I received my first copy of Aesop’s Fables as a Christmas gift from Leslie, our hired hand on our farm (and later other local farms) who was displaced from his family in England during WW II. I’ll leave modern-day applications of Aesop’s fables to you.
The Traveller and His Dog: A traveler was about to start on a journey and said to his dog, who was stretching himself by the door. “Come, what are you yawning for? Hurry up and get ready: I mean you to go with me.” But the dog merely wagged his tail and said quietly, “I’m ready, master: it’s you I’m waiting for.” Point: Sometimes the slow ones blame the active for the delay.
The Moon and Her Mother: The Moon once asked her Mother to make her a gown that would fit her well. “How,” replied she, “can I make a gown to fit you when you are first a new Moon, then a full Moon, and then neither one nor the other?” Moral: Changeable people are not easily satisfied.
The Olive-Tree and the Fig -Tree. An olive-tree taunted a fig-tree with the loss of her leaves at a certain season of the year. “You,” she said, “lose your leaves every autumn, and are bare till the spring: whereas I, as you see, remain green and flourishing all the year round.” Soon afterwards there came a heavy fall of snow, which settled on the leaves of the olive-tree so that she bent and broke under the weight; but the flakes fell harmlessly through the bare branches of the fig-tree, which survived to bear many more crops. Moral: To everything there is a season, and a purpose.
The Dog and the Shadow: A dog was crossing a plank bridge over a stream with a piece of meat in his mouth, when he happened to see his own reflection in the water. He thought it was another dog with a piece of meal twice as big, so he let go his own, and flew at the other dog to get the larger piece. But, of course, all that happened was that he got neither: for one was only a shadow, and the other was carried away by the current. Moral: If you grasp at the shadow, you may lose the substance.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf: A shepherd’s boy was tending his flock near a village and thought it would be great fun to hoax the villagers by pretending that a wolf was attacking the sheep: so, he shouted out, “Wolf! Wolf!” and when the people came running up, he laughed at them for their pains. He did this more than once, and every time the villagers found they had been hoaxed, for there was no wolf at all. At last, a wolf really did come, and the boy cried, “Wolf! Wolf!” as loud as he could: but the people were so used to hearing him call that they took no notice of his cries for help. And so, the wolf had it all his own way and killed off sheep after sheep at his pleasure. Moral: You cannot believe a liar even when he tells the truth.
Today we walked in the vicinity of the Greencroft campus. The walk again proved to be not just like a breath of fresh air, but a veritable head clearing breath of fresh air.
An 1893 quote from Oscar Wilde, poet and dramatist, states, “An east wind, not knowing, I suppose, who I was, has given me a cold.” The quote is included on a bookmark for The Wrong Kind of Snow, by Antony Woodward and Robert Penn (Hodder & Stoughton, October 2007), The book’s subtitle is: The Complete Daily Companion to the British Weather. Each day of the year has a page with weather history and facts. Weather or not, I may look for a copy.
More from the bookmark: “In Britain, what isn’t affected by the weather? Since the first chilly Roman on Hadrian’s Wall pulled socks on before his sandals (yes, they’re the culprit), British life and British weather have been inseparable. Our collection of islands, sandwiched between an ocean and a continent, lies at a point where four competing air masses meet. This combination gives our weather two key characteristics–mildness and changeability. Bizarrely, together, they make the British the most weather-affected place on earth. In Britain there is no such thing as a dull day.”
2 thoughts on “A birthday, fables, fresh air”
“The most weather-affected place on the earth” — that’s quite a claim for England. I remember being drawn to fables too. Was it because animals and plants took on human traits and thus seemed more like kin?
Kin it is. Wildlife and nature’s kin-gdom, awkward as that word sounds.