One morning last week, as I was fluttering through my Daily Readings, I came across a story that I immediately recognized as a fable. Way back when I had just learned to read, my father gave me a beautifully illustrated edition of “Aesop’s Fables” and throughout my life I delight every time I recognize a fable. Aesop was a slave and a story teller in Ancient Greece and his tales are as true today as they have been for centuries.
The dictionary tells us that, “A fable is a literary genre: that can be fact or fiction, that features animals, legendary creatures, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature that are used to illustrate the human condition.” In other words, there is ‘a moral to the story’ and it is the reader’s task to find it. One of the most famous is “The Goose That Laid A Golden Egg.”
The newest fable in my collection is about a cunning loan shark who mistakenly believed he was the best at it. I’m adding a couple of others I have clipped and saved because I think they are great fun. No author’s name was on any of these but I tip my hat to clever. See if you can find the life’s lesson in each …
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THE STORY THE PEBBLES TELL
In a small Italian town, hundreds of years ago, a small business owner owed a large sum of money to a loan-shark. The loan-shark was a very old, unattractive looking guy that just so happened to fancy the business owner’s daughter.
He decided to offer the businessman a deal that would completely wipe out the debt he owed him. However, the catch was that we would only wipe out the debt if he could marry the businessman’s daughter. Needless to say, this proposal was met with a look of disgust.
The loan-shark said that he would place two pebbles into a bag, one white and one black.
The daughter would then have to reach into the bag and pick out a pebble. If it was black, the debt would be wiped, but the loan-shark would then marry her. If it was white, the debt would also be wiped, but the daughter wouldn’t have to marry the loan-shark.
Standing on a pebble strewn path in the businessman’s garden, the loan-shark bent over and picked up two pebbles. Whilst he was picking them up, the daughter noticed that the craft geezer had picked up two black pebbles and placed them both into the bag.
He then asked the daughter to reach into the bag and pick one. The daughter naturally had three choices as to what she could have done:
* -- Refuse to pick a pebble from the bag.
* -- Take both pebbles out of the bag and expose the loan-shark for cheating.
* -- Pick a pebble from the bag fully well knowing it was black and sacrifice herself for her father’s freedom.
She drew out a pebble from the bag, and before looking at it ‘accidentally’ dropped it into the midst of the other pebbles. She said to the loan-shark;
“Oh, how clumsy of me … oh, never mind … if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.”
The pebble left in the bag is obviously black, and seeing as the loan-shark didn’t want to be exposed, he had to play along as if the pebble the daughter dropped was white, and clear her father’s debt.
MORAL OF THE STORY: It’s always possible to overcome a tough situation through out of the box thinking, and not give in to the only options you think you have to pick from.
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BUT I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU
There was a blind girl who hated herself purely for the fact she was blind. The only person she didn’t hate was her loving boyfriend, as he was always there for her. She said that if she could only see the world, she would marry him.
One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her – now she could see everything, including her Boyfriend. Her boyfriend asked her, “Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?”
The girl was shocked when she saw that her boyfriend was blind too, and refused to marry him. Her boyfriend walked away, absolutely crushed, and later wrote a letter to her:
“Just take care of my eyes, dear”
MORAL OF THE STORY: When circumstances change, it’s up to you to stay the same.
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YOU HAVE TO HAVE GOOD HORSE SENSE WITH OL’ BENNY
An out-of-towner accidentally drives his car into a deep ditch on the side of a country road. Luckily a farmer happened by with his big old horse named Benny. The man asked for help.
The farmer said Benny could pull his car out. So he backed Benny up and hitched the horse to the man's car bumper. Then he yelled, "Pull, Nellie, pull!" Benny didn't move. Then he yelled, "Come on, pull Ranger! Pull!" Still, Benny didn't move. Then he yelled, really loud, "Now pull, Fred, pull hard!" Benny just stood. Then the farmer nonchalantly said, "Okay, Benny, pull." Benny pulled the car out of the ditch.
The man was very appreciative but curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times. The farmer said, "Oh, Benny is blind … if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn't even try."
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?
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IN LIFE, YOU CAN TAKE ONLY WHAT YOU GIVE
There was a farmer who sold a pound of butter to a baker. One day the baker decided to weigh the butter to see if he was getting the right amount, which he wasn’t. Angry about this, he took the farmer to court.
The judge asked the farmer if he was using any measure to weight the butter. The farmer replied, “Honor, I am primitive. I don’t have a proper measure, but I do have a scale.”
The judge asked, “Then how do you weigh the butter?”
The farmer replied;
“Your Honor, long before the baker started buying butter from me, I have been buying a pound loaf of bread from him. Every day when the baker brings the bread, I put it on the scale and give him the same weight in butter. If anyone is to be blamed, it is the baker.”
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Honesty is undefeated.