Saturday, January 1, 2011

Fables and folklore -- timeless tales

Fables and folklore are fondly remembered from childhood because of their humor, larger than life characters--often including the personification of animals--their dramatic action and the delicious fear they inspired in us when we were children. In short, they almost never failed to entertain.

Regardless of time or place, these imaginative stories illustrate what motivations operate at the core of nearly all people: our deepest concerns, human weaknesses, moral failings and, sometimes, our noble instincts as well. Ultimately, these stories are sources of wisdom about human nature and life. For these reasons, revisiting some of the fables and folk tales of our youth is a good idea no matter what our age. There is always something worthy to be reminded of--or even something new that we may neeed to learn, in a fairly safe encounter and with a smile.

I am exploring fables and folk tales this year and thought sharing a fable from Aesop, one of our greatest story tellers, would be a wonderful way to start the New Year with a moral still so relevant for us today.

The Four Oxen and the Lion
By Aesop

A Lion used to prowl about a field in which Four Oxen used to
dwell. Many a time he tried to attack them; but whenever he came
near they turned their tails to one another, so that whichever way
he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them. At
last, however, they fell a-quarrelling among themselves, and each
went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field. Then
the Lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all

Moral: United we stand, divided we fall.

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