Ernest Griset’s THE WOLF AND THE SHEPHERDS*

Posted by jlubans on December 24, 2019  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Griset’s own illustration for this fable.

A Wolf peeping into a hut where a company of Shepherds were regaling themselves on a leg of mutton, exclaimed, "What a clamour these fellows would have raised if they had caught me at such a banquet!"
Men, forsooth, are apt to condemn in others what they practice themselves without scruple.
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In Victorian times illustrated books of fables were popular Christmas gifts.
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Caption: Griset's merry end illustration for his fables book.

Griset, a French born English artist, capitalized on this trend with his own book.
Why did Griset draw a raffish wolf and dissolute shepherds? What is his message?
Do not the shepherds have a “right” to feast on one of their flock or are they filching from an absent owner’s “inventory”?
If the latter, then are they not as bad as the wolf running off with the goods?
The morale may be apt. I may well engage in objectionable behavior which I rationalize as appropriate yet condemn in others.
Aesop speaks to this in his Jupiter and the Two Sacks fable. We each wear two sacks – one visibly on the front of other’s people’s faults and a sack on the back – out of sight - full of our own failings.

*Source: Aesop's fables by Aesop; Griset, Ernest Henry, 1844-1907
London ; New York : Cassell, Petter, and Galpin 1874


© Copyright John Lubans 2019

Ernest Griset’s THE WOLF AND THE SHEPHERDS* Redux.

Posted by jlubans on May 12, 2021  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Griset’s (1844-1907) very own illustration.

A Wolf peeping into a hut where a company of Shepherds were regaling themselves on a leg of mutton, exclaimed, "What a clamour these fellows would have raised if they had caught me at such a banquet!"
Men, forsooth, are apt to condemn in others what they practice themselves without scruple.
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I first posted this fable – all about hypocrisy - in late 2019.
Have you noticed that much of the daily parade of commentary on FCBK and other anti-social media - whenever it strays from cats, dogs, grandkids, flowers and vacation photos - is, as I put it a while back, “ignorant, one-sided, negative, absolutely certain, ill-humored, repetitive (think ‘meme’ and ‘sharing’) and unforgiving?”
Today’s moral, “Men, forsooth, are apt to condemn in others what they practice themselves without scruple” is especially relevant right now.
I can justify objectionable behavior by people I like but become outraged when it’s perpetrated by people I despise.
Aesop speaks to this in his Jupiter and the Two Sacks fable. We each wear two sacks – one visibly on the front of other’s people’s faults and a sack on the back – out of sight - full of our own failings.

*Source: Aesop's fables by Aesop; Griset, Ernest Henry, 1844-1907
London ; New York : Cassell, Petter, and Galpin 1874

© Copyright John Lubans 2021

Ernest Griset’s THE OWLS, THE BATS, AND THE SUN*

Posted by jlubans on June 26, 2021  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Illustration by Griset, 1874

The Owls, Bats, and several ether birds of night were on a certain day got together in a thick shade, where they abused their neighbours in a very sociable manner.
Their satire at last fell upon the Sun, whom they all agreed to be very troublesome, impertinent, and inquisitive.
After which the Sun, who overheard them, spoke to them after this manner:
"Gentlemen, I wonder how you dare abuse one that you know could in an instant scorch you up, and consume every mother's son of you;
but the only answer I shall give you, or the revenge I shall take of you, is to shine on."

___________
Whence the sunny disposition
, the sun’s magnanimity?
Aye, that be the question.
Why do some people smile at personal assaults, slings and arrows and go on, while others Fizzle, Bubble & Pop? In other words, suffer fools not gladly?
Is a forgiving personality from nature or nurture?
Once when playing the fool, as I was wont to do when things got dull at work, one of my colleagues grabbed me by the head and exasperatedly implored me to “think”. I never did get an apology for that tantrum.
Then again, I never sought one.

*Source: Aesop's fables by Aesop; Griset, Ernest Henry, 1844-1907
London ; New York : Cassell, Petter, and Galpin 1874

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© Copyright John Lubans 2021

Friday Fable. Abstemius’ “A Bear and Bees”*

Posted by jlubans on October 14, 2016  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption. Illustration by Ernest Griset, 1869.

“A Bear was so enrag'd once at the Stinging of a Bee, that he ran like mad into the Bee-Garden, and over-turn'd all the Hives in revenge. This Outrage brought them out in whole Troops upon him; and he came afterwards to bethink himself, how much more advisable it had been to pass over one Injury, than by an unprofitable Passion to provoke a Thousand.”

“Better pass over an Affront from one Scoundrel, than draw the whole Herd of the Mobile** about a Man's Ears.”
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Griset’s enraged bear moves me to repeat this; it first appeared here in 2013. I cannot imagine a more evocative drawing of the damage inflicted by the bees on one highly agitated bear. Along with the new illustration the rendering of the fable is different from 2013. This time it is by Abstemius, librarian to Duke Guido Ubaldo, circa 1500 and the translation is by the redoubtable Sir Roger L’Estrange, 1692.
This fable’s moral offers wise counsel to leaders and followers, at home, in the military, in the workplace, and for any executive level office holder. Don’t overreact.
Back in 2013 I concluded: So, let’s break this cycle; move the nest far up into a tree hollow. If the bear wants honey, he’ll have to climb for it.
At work, if we are in a predictable negative cycle, stop and ask why. Then move to change the circumstances. If it’s due to a lack of support for some service, get the necessary support. Or, drop the service.

*Source: Aesop’s Fables translated by Sir Roger L'Estrange, 1692.

**Mobile, my guess, is not a medieval phone but a lengthier version of today’s mob, as in the mob protested the loss of the football game by tearing up the stadium seats and breaking into the Doritos storage shed.

© Copyright John Lubans 2016

Griset’s HOW A BAD KING BECAME A GOOD ONE*

Posted by jlubans on January 06, 2020  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Bad King John: more interested in hunting than governing.

There was once a certain King who did nothing but tyrannise over his people, ruining the rich and maltreating the poor, so that all his subjects, day and night, implored deliverance from his evil rule.
One day, returning from the chase, he called his people together and said, " Good people, I know that during my whole reign I have been a hard and tyrannical master to you, but I assure you that from henceforward you shall live in peace and at ease, and nobody shall dare to oppress you."
The people were overjoyed at this good news, and forbore to pray for the King's death as formerly.
In a word, this Prince made such an alteration in his conduct that he gained the name of "The Just," and every one began to bless the felicity of his reign.
One day one of his courtiers presumed to ask him the reason of so sudden and remarkable a change, and the King replied:
"As I rode hunting the other day, I saw a dog in pursuit of a fox, and when he had overtaken him he bit of one of his feet; however, the fox, lame as he was, managed to escape into a hole.
The dog, not being able to get him out, left him there ; but he had hardly gone a hundred paces, when a man threw a great stone at him and cracked his skull.
At the same instant the man met a horse that trod on his foot and lamed him forever; and soon after the horse's foot stuck so fast between two stones that he broke his leg in trying to get it out.
Then said I to myself, ' Men are used as they use others. Whosoever does that which he ought not to do, receives that which he is not willing to receive.'”
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Most remarkable is the king’s decision to announce he was changing his ways.
Imagine any politician doing that? No, I am not talking about the phony contrition, apology, etc while the promised change never happens.
I speak of a sincere commitment to the golden rule and to listen and to work for the people.
Kind John, depicted, was termed a Bad King because he preferred hunting to governing.
So, a step toward self-government, not necessarily a bad thing. Like the frogs who wanted a king who truly would “govern” them, got what they wanted and then some: a frog-munching stork.
I recall one boss who was so full of idea – many good ones - I was happy, nevertheless, when he stayed away from the office – I finally got time to do my own work!

*Source: Aesop's fables by Aesop; Griset, Ernest Henry, 1844-1907
London ; New York : Cassell, Petter, and Galpin 1874

© Copyright John Lubans 2020

Griset’s INDUSTRY AND SLOTH*

Posted by jlubans on March 08, 2022  •  Leave comment (0)

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An indolent young man being asked why he lay in bed so long, jocosely and carelessly answered, "Every morning of my life I am hearing causes.
I have two fine damsels, their names are Industry and Sloth, at my bedside, as soon as ever I awake, pressing their different suits.
One entreats me to get up, the other persuades me to lie still; and then they alternately give me various reasons why I should rise, and why I should not.
This detains me so long, as it is the duty of an impartial judge to hear all that can be said on both sides, that before the pleadings are over it is time to go to dinner."

Many men waste the prime of their days in deliberating what they shall do, and bring them to a period without coming to any determination.

_____________

From well before the 1890s to the 1920s it was not unusual for a British gentleman, often classically educated, to not work.
Yet, he was hardly homeless.
If rusticated (kicked out) from Oxford or Cambridge, there were still those life-long friends from public school (like Eton or Dulwich College) to rely on.
He could be a dabbler at writing or painting, but nothing regimented or 9-5.
What permitted this life style?
A surplus of poor people looking for work and willing to work for little above room and board.
However, an enterprising valet or butler could do well, building a nest egg with tips from the young master's guests and graft from butchers, bakers and candlestick makers, and fish mongers and green grocers not to mention vintners.
It is said that a yearly allowance of 200 pounds sterling from the Governor – Dear Old Dad – could sustain in style the indolent youngster.
That 200 pounds is today the equivalent of well over 10,000 pounds .
The 200 pounds per year bought a pleasant apartment, a gentleman’s gentleman (think Jeeves) and membership in a men’s club.
Some gambled promiscuously and spent long, free, weekends at friends’ country estates, wearing bespoke clothing.
And, when so motivated, Reggie, Bertie, Ronnie or Alfie (or all four) could be found salivating at stage doors for the girls of the chorus to invite to dinner.
When in serious “trouble” Dad could be relied to fetch him out.
Paying one’s bills was another matter and much leeway was given by beleaguered tailors and restauranteurs.
With a little help from his friends the indolent could borrow money – a mutually reciprocating activity - until the next allowance installment.
As for the chorus girls, well, a quiet settlement for breach of promise could be had for a few hundred pounds from Dad.
Not infrequently, Dad could not stop the marriage and it was probably the best thing that ever happened to Reggie or Ronald or Bertie or Artie.
The ex-chorus girl took the poor sap in hand and guided him toward responsible behavior and on into the paths of righteousness.
Alas, this did result in un-employing the Jeeves.
But, as happens, the newly marrieds employed a butler and a few maids along with a cook.
Not long after World War I this type of living – apart from the Royalty – began to diminish.
All said and done, Griset's indolent young man did know enough to get up for dinner.

*Source: Aesop's fables by Aesop; Griset, Ernest Henry, 1844-1907
London ; New York : Cassell, Petter, and Galpin 1874

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© Copyright text by John Lubans 2022

Phaedrus. The Stone and the Man*

Posted by jlubans on April 20, 2018  •  Leave comment (0)

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Aesop was sent one day by his master Xanthus to see what company were at the public bath.
He saw that many who came stumbled, both going in and coming out, over a large Stone that lay at the entrance to the bath, and that only one person had the good sense to remove it.
He returned and told his master that there was only one man at the bath. Xanthus accordingly went, and finding it full of people, demanded of Aesop why he had told him false.
Aesop thereupon replied that only he who had removed the Stone could be considered a man, and that the rest were not worthy the name.
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One moralist sums it up neatly: “A true man helps others.”
Why does the one man do what he does? He could, like the others, step over the stone and forget it.
Why does this “true” man take ownership and move the stone?
When I suggest you (the worker) should act like an owner, what is your response?
Hell, no! I am not paid enough to worry about anything outside my job.
Not my job!
In the workplace, the “true” person is one who - seeing something to be done - does it, regardless of his/her job description.
Humans helping (cooperating with) others make us unique and, while not everyone acts like an “owner” many do.
These many “owners” often make the difference in how an organization is perceived.
Hire “owners”; let others hire workers.

*Source: AEsop's fables / illustrated by Ernest Griset; with text based chiefly upon Croxall, La Fontaine, and L'Estrange. L.
London, New York: Cassell Petter and Galpin, [1869]

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© Copyright John Lubans 2018

Phaedrus’ THE ASS DERIDING THE BOAR*

Posted by jlubans on March 04, 2019  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Drawing by Ernest Griset (1874)

Fools often, while trying to raise a silly laugh, provoke others by gross affronts, and cause serious danger to themselves.

An Ass meeting a Boar: “Good morrow to you, brother,” says he.
The other indignantly rejects the salutation, and enquires why he thinks proper to utter such an untruth.
The Ass, with legs crouching down, replies: “If you deny that you are like me, at all events I have something very like your snout.”
The Boar, just on the point of making a fierce attack, suppressed his rage, and said: “Revenge were easy for me, but I decline to be defiled with such dastardly blood.”

_________________
One moralist explains the wisdom behind not responding vengefully: “it takes off something from the reputation of a great soul, when we see it is in the power of a fool to ruffle and unsettle it.”
The boar responds but only on his own terms. Likely, the ass is left sitting on his hind quarters puzzling over the boar’s lofty language.
Foolish speech can be countered with wit; no need to go to war.

*Source: THE COMEDIES OF TERENCE AND THE FABLES OF PHÆDRUS.
TRANSLATED By HENRY THOMAS RILEY, B.A.
TO WHICH IS ADDED A METRICAL TRANSLATION OF PHÆDRUS,
By CHRISTOPHER SMART.
LONDON: GEORGE BELL & SONS, 1887.

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© Copyright John Lubans 2019

Aesop’s THE TWO FROGS

Posted by jlubans on June 01, 2019  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: The two on a stroll. Illustration by Ernest Henry Griset. 1884

Two Frogs were neighbors.
One lived in a marsh, where there was plenty of water, which frogs love: the other in a lane some distance away, where all the water to be had was that which lay in the ruts after rain.
The Marsh Frog warned his friend and pressed him to come and live with him in the marsh, for he would find his quarters there far more comfortable and—what was still more important—more safe.
But the other refused, saying that he could not bring himself to move from a place to which he had become accustomed.
A few days afterwards a heavy wagon came down the lane, and he was crushed to death under the wheels.
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And so it can be at work.

Why stay in an “accustomed” rut? Let me count the ways and whys.
Oh yes, the reasons to hang on (even when the ground is shaking from the approaching cart wheels) will be multitudinous. A list so long, no one in his or her right mind would leave.
Au contraire, mon ami, All you have to do is leave.
I admire anyone who concludes: “This is not working. I am gone." Adios amigo, goes the song.
Of course, you want to think about it, but don’t think too long. Pack your bags, buy that Greyhound ticket, and start fresh.
If life’s an adventure, aren’t you capable? Of course you are.

*Source: AESOP'S FABLES A NEW TRANSLATION BY V. S. VERNON JONES WITH AN INTRODUCTION By G. K. CHESTERTON AND ILLUSTRATIONS BY ARTHUR RACKHAM (Publisher: London: W. Heinemann; New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1912). Available at Gutenberg.

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© Copyright John Lubans 2019