Friday Fable. Phaedrus’ “THE WOLF AND FOX, WITH THE APE FOR JUDGE”*

Posted by jlubans on February 09, 2018  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Illustration by Percy J. Billinghurst (1871 -1933)

Whoe’er by practice indiscreet
Has pass’d for a notorious cheat,
Will shortly find his credit fail,

Though he speak truth, says Esop’s tale.
The Wolf the Fox for theft arraign’d;
The Fox her innocence maintain’d:
The Ape, as umpire, takes his seat;
Each pleads his cause with skill and heat.
Then thus the Ape, with aspect grave,
The sentence from the hustings gave:
“For you, Sir Wolf, I do descry
That all your losses are a lie—
And you, with negatives so stout,
O Fox! have stolen the goods no doubt.”

_____________
And so it can be at work.
If you are a lowdown, deceitful, conniving, treacherous double dealer, well what would you expect your work mates to think when you do something right? (“Can’t Even Do Wrong Right” comes to mind)
Or, as one moralist puts it: “The dishonest, if they act honestly, get no credit.”


*Source: The Fables of Phaedrus Translated into English Verse. Phaedrus. Christopher Smart, A. M. London. G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. 1913.

© Copyright John Lubans 2018

Phaedrus’ Fable X. OF THE VICES OF MEN*

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

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Jupiter has loaded us with a couple of Wallets: the one, filled with our own vices, he has placed at our backs, the other, heavy with those of others, he has hung before.

From this circumstance, we are not able to see our own faults: but as soon as others make a slip, we are ready to censure.

_________
This quintessential fable also appears on p. 74 in my “Fables for Leaders” as Jupiter and the Two Sacks.
If there ever was a must-read fable for leaders it is this one.
Our willingness to blame others instead of ourselves was observed millennia ago. The flaw is nothing new. If noted, it was not revealed by Freud, Psychology Today or Dr. Phil.
In a very few words, Aesop/Phaedrus show us man’s seeming inability to look beyond self and “to walk in another person’s moccasins”. A bit of Native American wisdom, there, at the end.
Yet, in corporate suites and the cubicles of the not-for-profit the annual ritual of performance appraisal is celebrated by the master over the servant.
Far better to have a humble conversation on one’s dreams and aspirations than to seek to reduce an individual to a decimal or letter of the alphabet.

*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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Caption: Maybe Phaedrus, more likely Aesop.

**Who was Phaedrus?
Gaius Julius Phaedrus was born BC 15 and died AD 50 in Italy. Born a slave, he became a free man in the Emperor Augustus household and was educated in Greek and Latin authors.
He enlarged upon the Aesopic tradition and invented fables of his own
He did much to promote the fable literature, achieving a great popularity, we are told, in the Middle Ages.

____________
My 2010 book, Leading from the Middle, is available at Amazon.

© Copyright John Lubans 2019

Phaedrus’ THE MULES AND ROBBERS*

Posted by jlubans on May 11, 2018  •  Leave comment (0)

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Two laden Mules were on the road—
A charge of money was bestowed
Upon the one, the other bore
Some sacks of barley. He before.
Proud of his freight, begun to swell,
Stretch’d out his neck, and shook his bell.
The poor one, with an easy pace,
Came on behind a little space,
When on a sudden, from the wood
A gang of thieves before them stood;
And, while the muleteers engage,
Wound the poor creature in their rage
Eager they seize the golden prize,
But the vile barley-bags despise.
The plunder’d mule was all forlorn,
The other thank’d them for their scorn:
“’Tis now my turn the head to toss,
Sustaining neither wound nor loss.”
The low estate’s from peril clear,
But wealthy men have much to fear.

_________
And so it can be in the workplace where one, when plucked from mediocrity and thrown onto a throne might celebrate, but then there are those envious and fearful few who will their damndest to frustrate and depose you.
Are you tough enough?
Do you have a network of supporters?
Does your boss like you?
More importantly, does your boss’ boss like you!?
Would you rather be fishing?
Be “mindful”, as they say, of what you want and how you plan to achieve and keep it.

*Source: The Fables of Phaedrus Translated into English Verse. Phaedrus. Christopher Smart, A. M. London. G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. 1913

© Copyright John Lubans 2018

Friday Fable: Phaedrus’ “The Cock and the Pearl”*

Posted by jlubans on September 13, 2013  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: This Aesopic Steinhowel illustration (ca. 1500) is from a hand-colored edition at the University of Munich.

“A cock was digging desultorily on a dunghill,
Foraging for food, when he found a pearl.
‘How splendid,’ he said, ‘in such sordid surroundings!
If anyone interested in your intrinsic value
Had come across you, what a coup it would have been –
You’d soon have been restored to your appropriate setting.
Bad luck to be liberated by a lout like me,
Who am far more intent on finding food:
We’re neither of us any use to the other.’

For people who fail to appreciate my work.”

“Pearls before swine”, sayeth the parablist. And so it may be with any “pearl” on the Internet. Not only does something good have to compete with so much god-awful stuff; many users are looking for the god-awful. So, like Phaedrus, in his epimythium, one’s hard work and effort can go unappreciated. Venue matters: the pearl glows in the jeweler’s window and blog entries may dazzle when edited into book format (the codex).
And so it is in any workplace, a library or a factory. A leader’s role is to glean the good ideas from however barren a field. She fans the spark of a good idea into a flame and succumbs not to the plentiful reasons (a ratio often 10:1) not to try out a new idea.

*Source: The Fables of Phaedrus. Translated by P. F. Widdows.
Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1992. p. 70. For more about Phaedrus see The Proud Frog.

Leading from the Middle Library of the Week: University of West Florida


Copyright John Lubans 2013

Friday Fable: Phaedrus*: “The Proud Frog”**

Posted by jlubans on July 18, 2013  •  Leave comment (0)

20130719-ox.jpg
Caption: Illustration by Bernard Salomon in Les Fables d'Esope Phrygien, … par M. Antoine du Moulin Masconnois.
 A Lyon, Par Iean de Tournes, & Guillaume Gazeau. 1547.

"When poor men to expenses run,
And ape their betters, they 're undone.
An Ox the Frog a-grazing view'd,
And envying his magnitude,
She puffs her wrinkled skin, and tries
To vie with his enormous size:
Then asks her young to own at least
That she was bigger than the beast.
They answer, No. With might and main
She swells and strains, and swells again.
"Now for it, who has got the day ?"
The Ox is larger still, they say.
At length, with more and more ado,
She raged and puffed, and burst in two."

LaFontaine ended his own “THE FROG THAT WISHED TO BE AS BIG AS THE OX,” with this couplet:
“And, really, there is no telling
How much great men set little ones a swelling.”

The saying “full of himself” comes to mind. A few of us really do think we are special, really special. As a daily reader of the Chronicle of Higher Education I get a regular dose of those in the academic world bloated with self-importance, convinced that if only the rest of us possessed half his/her IQ and charm, why the world would be all Camelot.
A Brit academic, recently busted for sexually harassing one of his students, was in high denial and dudgeon this week, -he was after all a successful “ladies man” – how anyone could interpret his wit and banter as sex-laced and creepy, well, that was their problem not his. While sent packing, the prof - like Phaedrus’ frog – keeps inflating with his own importance to the splitting point, if not, like an overheated sausage, already burst.

*Phaedrus “(c 15 B.C.–c 50 A.D.), Roman fabulist. Little is known of him except from his own writings. He was a slave taken from Macedonia to Rome and later freed by the Emperor Augustus. The publication of the first two books of his Fabulae Aesopiae incurred the ill-will of the Emperor Tiberius' favorite, Lucius Aelius Sejanus, who imagined that he saw in the fables unflattering reflections of himself and Tiberius. The three remaining books did not appear until after Tiberius' death in 37 A.D. Phaedrus died about 50.” Biographical information from Encyclopedia Americana. Grolier Online, 2013. Web. 18 July 2013.

**Source: The Fables of Phaedrus Translated into English Verse. Phaedrus. Christopher Smart, A. M. London. G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. 1913.

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Caption: Frog as toreador. Unknown artist, published by McLoughlin Bros, NY around 1880.

Copyrighted John Lubans 2013.

Friday Fable. Phaedrus’ “THE PROUD FROG”*

Posted by jlubans on February 02, 2018  •  Leave comment (0)

20180202-_frogs_drinking_2_35.jpg
Caption: Who croaks first?

“When poor men to expenses run,
And ape their betters, they’re undone.

An Ox the Frog a-grazing view’d,
And envying his magnitude,
She puffs her wrinkled skin, and tries
To vie with his enormous size:
Then asks her young to own at least
That she was bigger than the beast.
They answer, No. With might and main
She swells and strains, and swells again.
“Now for it, who has got the day?”
The Ox is larger still, they say.
At length, with more and more ado,
She raged and puffed, and burst in two.”

___________
Right now I am in Todos Santos, Baja, Mexico, where not long ago one could buy froggy souvenirs: blown up, taxidermied frogs downing beer, playing the saxophone, the trumpet, the accordion and the guitar, or dealing cards and smoking cigars; whatever your gringo heart might desire.
Alas, the “raged and puffed, and burst” condition can afflict the less than mighty among us who profess to be wiser, better, cooler, etc.
Apoplexy in humans is often caused by overweening ambition just like for the “proud frog”.
So, entertain yourself at your next panel of experts by listening for loud popping noises.

**Source: The Fables of Phaedrus Translated into English Verse. Phaedrus. Christopher Smart, A. M. London. G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. 1913.
________________

“Fables for Leaders” Library of the Week: The Veterinary Medicine Library of the North Carolina State University.
Get it? Stories for vets to tell their talking animals. Maybe someone in the business school will borrow it?
_________________
Karen Muller reviews Fables for Leaders in “American Libraries” in her “How We Lead” column. Click here.

© Copyright John Lubans 2018

Friday Fable. Phaedrus’ “THE SAPIENT ASS”*

Posted by jlubans on January 12, 2018  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Loaded donkey, Jurriaan Cootwijck, 1724 - 1798

“In all the changes of a state,
The poor are the most fortunate,

Who, save the name of him they call
Their king, can find no odds at all.
The truth of this you now may read—
A fearful old man in a mead, (meadow)
While leading of his Ass about,
Was startled at the sudden shout
Of enemies approaching nigh.
He then advised the Ass to fly,
‘Lest we be taken in the place:’
But loth at all to mend his pace,
‘Pray, will the conqueror,’ quoth Jack (the Ass),
‘With double panniers** load my back?’
‘No,’ says the man. ‘If that’s the thing,’
Cries he (the Ass), ‘I care not who is king.’”
_____________
It was important for me - as sapient as any ass - to learn from the staff that worked for my “direct reports”.
To that end, I visited each department and talked with the staff, not just the super.
My doing so was considered unusual and some did not know how to take this “reaching out”.
I explained I wanted to know what they were thinking about their work, what was on their minds and whether they had suggestions for improvement.
Some used my visits to complain about the air conditioning and parking, etc. Like Jack the Ass, they saw my visits as window dressing which would make no difference in work conditions (“I care not who is king.”)
A few saw my being there for what it was: a chance to let an administrator know about some observed deficiency or work flow impasse, like having to share computer terminals.
While I could do little about climate control and parking, I could do something about streamlining work flow.
When I convened a monthly meeting of support staff, the same dynamics came into play. Some had nothing to offer – either they had no ideas or were suspicious of my motives. It made no difference who was in charge; their burden would remain the same.
Others, unlike our Jack, saw a way to lighten their load.
Ideas from the people doing the work raised our productivity to unprecedented heights.

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Caption: Bust of Phaedrus, born in Macedonia, 15 BC, died in Italy, 50 AD.

*Source: The Fables of Phaedrus Translated into English Verse. Phaedrus. Christopher Smart, A. M. London. G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. 1913.

** Laura Gibbs, in her translation, uses the term “pack saddle” not “panniers”. Double panniers are common (one pannier on each side of a saddle). In other words, regardless of master, the donkey’s burden (one saddle) will remain the same.

© Copyright John Lubans 2018

Phaedrus' Socrates and His Friends*

Posted by jlubans on September 29, 2018  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Socrates and friends at his execution**.

“The word 'friend' is in common use but true friends are hard to find.
Socrates had erected for himself a very modest house - and I myself would even be willing to die as Socrates died** if I could achieve an equal fame, yes, I would be willing to suffer the same public disapproval if I too could be vindicated after death!
Anyway, just as you would expect on such an occasion, one of his neighbours had to ask,
'Why is it, Socrates, that someone like you would build himself such a tiny little house?'
'Ah,' said Socrates, 'if only I could fill it with true friends!'”
_______________
This is my second telling of the “Socrates’ house” fable, once in verse by La Fontaine and today by Phaedrus.
In my interpretation of the La Fontaine version, I contemplated the short-lived friendships in the workplace. Once you leave, it seems too many job-related friendships slip away.
Phaedrus likewise touches on the scarcity of true friends but most notable may be his willingness to die, as Socrates did**, on principle, as long as he “could be vindicated after death!”
Observing the televised blood sport of confirming a Supreme Court justice nominee, I doubt if even Socrates saw much vindication, certainly not enough to drain the hemlock cup.
Phaedrus’ adulation goes too far for me, but his point about the paucity of genuine friends rings true.
And, returning to the blood sport, it seems the more alleged friends one has, the more enemies. The further we scramble up the ladder of success, the more slippery the rungs.
Aristotle said, “In all things moderation." Perhaps a few good friends are sufficient.
But, a life without true friends is an empty house.

*Source: Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs. Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.

**Socrates was executed by the state of Athens in 399 B.C.E.
__________
To purchase a copy of Fables for Leaders, click on this button:


Or, while supplies last, you can buy a copy at AMAZON.

© Copyright John Lubans 2018

Phaedrus’ “Aesop and the Writer”*

Posted by jlubans on April 13, 2018  •  Leave comment (0)

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(On a bad author's praising himself)

“A man had recited some rotten writings
To Aesop, containing some excessive compliments
To himself, at elaborate, infelicitous length.
So, eager to elicit the old man’s opinion,
He asked anxiously, “Am I being arrogant?
I trust no. I ‘m confident in my talent.
Aesop, exhausted by interminably listening
To such sorry stuff, said in reply,

“I approve of your lavishing praise on yourself.
From no other quarter will it conceivably come.”
______________
As an indie auth
or, a self-promoter and self-booster of his own book - Fables for Leaders - Phaedrus’ words from the first century do sting a bit.
Many reviewers – dismissively unwilling to review an indie book – might turn to Aesop as justification:
“Go right ahead and praise yourself, since no one else is likely to!”
Yes, the truth hurts.
Such are the life and times for the indie author.
But, there is a difference between my book and the “sorry stuff” from the first century.
Most would agree that Fables for Leaders is a beautifully designed (Alise Šnēbaha) and creatively illustrated (Béatrice Coron) book.
My contribution, the content, may not meet your eclectic tastes but the book itself is a splendid object.
In the workplace – since this blog is about working – we may not have self-congratulating authors, but we certainly have a goodly number of people who let everyone know how important they are to the organization, if only it would listen.
Unappreciated, unrecognized.
Alas, so it will be until “praise comes from another quarter”. If that fresh breeze from halcyon fields never springs, you can take pride in doing a good job, whether anyone hits the like button or not.

*Source: The Fables of Phaedrus Translated into English Verse. Phaedrus. Christopher Smart, A. M. London. G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. 1913.

Speaking of moderate self promotion, here’s the Fables for Leaders Library of the Week:
Radford, Virginia, USA

“A valuable book.”
And, amidst this noisy tooting of my own horn, comes an unexpected and unsolicited positive note from Creighton University’s distinguished
:
“I enjoy this book and even find John Lubans something of a kindred spirit. The heart of the book, I would say, is a collection of traditional Aesopic fables. To these Lubans adds a number of things. First of all there are what I would call ruminations, reflecting well on how the fable applies to life. Then there are fables from others, including especially himself. My hat is off to anyone who, after the thousands of fables that have been created in our literary tradition, makes a new one. I do note that Lubans' fables seem longer than the traditional Aesop fables he uses. To these texts are added simple, pleasing silhouettes, like the dramatic gesture outlined on the cover. The book also makes room for personal notes from readers. It all adds up for me to a valuable book. The fables are grouped by themes under seven chapters, with two to eight themes per chapter. Bravo, John Lubans!”
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10504/117110

© Copyright John Lubans 2018

Phaedrus’ THE MAN AND THE ASS*

Posted by jlubans on June 01, 2018  •  Leave comment (0)

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A Man having sacrificed a young boar to the god Hercules, to whom he owed performance of a vow made for the preservation of his health, ordered the remains of the barley to be set for the Ass.
But he refused to touch it, and said: “I would most willingly accept your food, if he who had been fed upon it had not had his throat cut.”
Warned by the significance of this Fable, I have always been careful to avoid the gain that exposed to hazard.
“But,” say you, “those who have got riches by rapine, are still in possession of them.”
Come, then, let us enumerate those, who, being detected, have come to a bad end; you will find that those so punished constitute a great majority.
Rashness brings luck to a few, misfortune to most.”
___________
I suppose when Mr. Putin allegedly “takes out” an exiled Russian oligarch, we might say this is one of those in the fable who “got richness by rapine” coming “to a bad end”.
But then say you, what of Mr. Putin? Good question. Phaedrus last line suggests just deserts may lurking around the corner.
And, so it is in the work world. Those who have harmed others, stepping on the fingers and heads of those scrambling up the ladder of success may yet get their comeuppance.

*Source:
The Comedies of Terence. And the Fables of Phædrus. Literally translated into English prose with notes, by Henry Thomas Riley. To which is added a metrical translation of Phædrus, by Christopher Smart. London: George Bell & Sons. 1887.

__________
Like these weekly fables? Buy and read more in Lubans’ book.
Or, if you are frugal, get your library to ante up.
© Copyright John Lubans 2018


Phaedrus’ A THIEF PILLAGING THE ALTAR OF JUPITER*

Posted by jlubans on April 28, 2020  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: What's left of a Temple of Jupiter in Lebanon.

A Thief lighted his Lamp at the altar of Jupiter, and then plundered it by the help of its own light.
Just as he was taking his departure, laden with the results of his sacrilege, the Holy Place suddenly sent forth these words: “Although these were the gifts of the wicked, and to me abominable, so much so that I care not to be spoiled of them, still, profane man, thou shalt pay the penalty with thy life, when hereafter, the day of punishment, appointed by fate, arrives.
But, that our fire, by means of which piety worships the awful Gods, may not afford its light to crime, I forbid that henceforth there shall be any such interchange of light.”
Accordingly, to this day, it is neither lawful for a lamp to be lighted at the fire of the Gods, nor yet a sacrifice kindled from a lamp.
No other than he who invented this Fable, could explain how many useful lessons it affords.
In the first place, it teaches that those whom you yourself have brought up, may often be found the most hostile to you: then again, it shows that crimes are punished not through the wrath of the Gods, but at the time appointed by the Fates: lastly, it warns the good to use nothing in common with the wicked.
___________
However labored,
the point is made. Don’t filch from the church.
Remember what happened to Bernie Madoff? That’s the Fates at work for his theft from St. Mary’s poor box when a wee lad.
But, there’s more.
The temple says good riddance to “the gifts of the wicked” yet in real life we know that some institutions are glad to accept tainted money.
When exposed, the response is “'taint enough!”
A gift of stolen money may well do good and/or it may act as a salve to a guilty conscience. Yet, unable to resist temptation, the beneficiary may mis-use the gift.
Finally, to whom is Phaedrus alluding when he says “those whom you yourself have brought up, may often be found the most hostile to you.”

*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.

© Copyright John Lubans 2020

Phaedrus’ THE PANTHER AND SHEPHERD*

Posted by jlubans on July 26, 2018  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Bullies beware.

Their scorn comes home to them again
Who treat the wretched with disdain.

A careless Panther long ago
Fell in a pit, which overthrow
The Shepherds all around alarm’d;
When some themselves with cudgels arm’d;
Others threw stones upon its head;
But some in pity sent her bread,
As death was not the creature’s due.
The night came on—the hostile crew
Went home, not doubting in the way
To find the Panther dead next day.
But she, recovering of her strength,
Sprang from the pit and fled at length.
But rushing in a little space
From forth her den upon the place,
She tears the flock, the Shepherd slays,
And all the region round dismays.
Then they began to be afraid
Who spared the beast and lent their aid;
They reck not of the loss, but make
Their pray’r for life, when thus she spake:
“I well remember them that threw
The stones, and well remember you
Who gave me bread—desist to fear,
For ’twas the oppressor brought me here.”

_____________
So, a warning for those who mistreat others with impunity (or so they think.)
Reading this, Rambo came to mind.
Rambo the much afflicted Vietnam vet who wreaks havoc on his persecutors.
Phaedrus’ panther does the same, “She tears the flock, the Shepherd slays”.
But, for those displaying kindness, the panther says, No worries, “desist to fear”.
And so it can be in the workplace. We may not seek to intentionally destroy anyone, but we may be unethical to get ahead.
When given the choice to do something unsavory in order to move up, do we go along to get ahead? Or, do we say No?
If we acquiesce, do we suffer or do our excuses give us cover?
Does the panther ever come to call?

*Source: Ts Translated into English Verse. Phaedrus. Christopher Smart, A. M. London. G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. 1913.

__________
To purchase a copy of Fables for Leaders, click on this button:

Or, you can find a copy at AMAZON.

© Copyright John Lubans 2018

Phaedrus’ THE PHILOSOPHER AND THE VICTOR IN THE GYMNASTIC GAMES*

Posted by jlubans on April 16, 2019  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Black-figure amphora ca. 6th BCE.

How Boastfulness may sometimes be checked.

A Philosopher chancing to find the Victor in a gymnastic contest too fond of boasting, asked him whether his adversary had been the stronger man.
To this the other replied: “Don’t mention it; my strength was far greater.”
“Then, you simpleton,” retorted the Philosopher, “what praise do you deserve, if you, being the stronger, have conquered one who was not so powerful?
You might perhaps have been tolerated if you had told us that you had conquered one who was your superior in strength.”
_________________
Like Krylov’s nightingale who bashes the aspiring yet toneless musicians, or Aesop’s harsh criticism of an ego-tripping writer, Phaedrus tells what to say to the braggadocios among us: If you are so great, how can you revel in a victory over someone weaker?
Good point.
I recall, after leading an organization out of its basement ranking to the top ranking among its peers, asking, Who’s the competition?
While we’d done a good job, the answer to that question was to remind me that anyone could have done so. We were fortunate in being given freedom to innovate, to repurpose resources, and to cut red tape.
We’d stormed the hill; the mountains, the real challenges, lay ahead.

*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.

__________
My book, Fables for Leaders is only a click away:


Also, My 2010 book, Leading from the Middle, is available at Amazon.

© Copyright John Lubans 2019

Friday Fable: La Fontaine’s “The Two Mules.”*

Posted by jlubans on September 20, 2013  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Before the fall.
“Two mules were bearing on their backs,
One, oats; the other, silver of the tax.
The latter glorying in his load,
March'd proudly forward on the road;
And, from the jingle of his bell,
'Twas plain he liked his burden well.
But in a wild-wood glen
A band of robber men
Rush'd forth upon the twain.
Well with the silver pleased,
They by the bridle seized
The treasure mule so vain.
Poor mule! in struggling to repel
His ruthless foes, he fell
Stabb'd through; and with a bitter sighing,
He cried, ‘Is this the lot they promised me?
My humble friend from danger free,
While, weltering in my gore, I'm dying?’
‘My friend,’ his fellow-mule replied,
‘It is not well to have one's work too high.
If thou hadst been a miller's drudge, as I,
Thou wouldst not thus have died.’”

Phaedrus appended this moral to his version of The Two Mules:
“That men of modest means
Can disdain the dangers that dog the rich.”


The fable and moral remind me of working in public and private institutions of higher learning; viz., at RPI, University of Colorado, University of Houston, Duke, North Carolina Central University and Rutgers. And, I have many professional colleagues in both sectors. While the privates (may) have a smidgeon more prestige, I wonder if it is not better to toil in public venues? As a rule, privates pay better, but unless you are of the culture, either born to or adopted, you may be regarded as an outsider, somehow not quite "the right fit". Many of the privates are church-related and amidst great kindnesses there are times when cloistered whispers aid and abet the inevitable organizational intrigue.
By law, state institutions are more open than the privates; skullduggery exists but its darkness may be circumscribed by the bright beams of sunshine pouring in through open portals. And, in the public realm, it is harder for the capricious boss to let someone go without explanation. Yes, these same protections may secure mediocrity but don’t be fooled; a subservient mediocrity exists at the privates. If you are an earnest and hard working person with creative ideas, your prospects are good in either type of institution; yet, over the long run, I’d pick, like the mule, the modest public enterprise.

*Source: THE FABLES OF LA FONTAINE Translated From The French by Elizur Wright. [Original place and date: Boston, U.S.A., 1841.] A New Edition, with Notes by J. W. M. Gibbs,1882.

Leading from the Middle Library of the Week: College of the Mainland

Copies of “Leading from the Middle,” and Other Contrarian Essays on Library Leadership can be purchased at every online bookstore in the universe. If your library (pubic, college or university) does not have a copy, correct this egregious selection mistake!

Copyright John Lubans 2013

Phaedrus’ THE BEES AND THE DRONES*

Posted by jlubans on November 02, 2018  •  Leave comment (0)

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Up in a lofty oak the Bees
Had made their honey-combs: but these
The Drones asserted they had wrought.
Then to the bar the cause was brought
Before the Wasp, a learned chief,
Who well might argue either brief,
As of a middle nature made.
He therefore to both parties said:
“You’re not dissimilar in size,
And each with each your color vies,
That there’s a doubt concerning both:
But, lest I err, upon my oath,
Hives for yourselves directly choose,
And in the wax the work infuse,
That, from the flavor and the form,
We may point out the genuine swarm.”
The Drones refuse, the Bees agree—
Then thus did Justice Wasp decree:
“Who can, and who cannot, is plain,
So take, ye Bees, your combs again.”
This narrative had been suppress’d
Had not the Drones refused the test.

____________
Solomon-like,
Justice Wasp dispenses justice. The drone, which exists many think solely to mate with Queen Bees, is regarded as lesser than a worker bee. This is unkind.
Without the drones the hive dies.
They have a quintessential purpose: propagation
Similar, it seems, to the members of Wodehouse’s immortal Drones Club.
In that day and age, around 1900, an annual income of 200 pounds sterling a month was sufficient to keep a servant, a gentleman’s gentleman (like Jeeves) and to rent a fashionable apartment and to pay club dues. Beyond that, one lived on credit and studiously avoided creditors.
Wodehouse obviously chose the name, the Drones, to reflect on the social situation of all of these non-working young men.
Fathers were more than glad to pay the young men to stay away.
Sort of like today’s “Trust Babies”, but just better educated: boarding schools like Eton and higher up, Sandhurst, Cambridge or Oxford.
Of course, for propagation a drone had to be caught by an ambitious young woman and therein lies many of Wodehouse’s comedic plots.
Alas, or perhaps inevitably, this world ended in the great and senseless tragedy of the First World War.

* *Source: Ts Translated into English Verse. Phaedrus. Christopher Smart, A. M. London. G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. 1913.

__________
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© Copyright John Lubans 2018

Phaedrus’ “THE TWO BALD MEN”

Posted by jlubans on March 16, 2018  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Who’s got the comb?

A Bald Man chanced to find a comb in the public road.
Another, equally destitute of hair, came up: “Come,” said he, “shares, whatever it is you have found.”
The other showed the booty, and added withal: “The will of the Gods has favoured us, but through the malignity of fate, we have found, as the saying is, a coal instead of a treasure.”
This complaint befits him whom hope has disappointed.
_________________
In verse, one moralist has it:
“They by this tale may be relieved
Whose sanguine hopes have been deceived.”
Life is a rocky road, we are told, full of ups and downs, and that “Many a tear has to fall but – we are sweetly apprised - it's all in the game.”
A ludicrous fable?
Maybe, but the lesson about fate’s “malignity” is there in 72 words.

*Source: The Fables of Phædrus / Literally translated into English prose with notes.” 1887.
________________
For more fables to spark one’s leadership or followership, get your copy of . Or ask your library to order a copy. Rap with your knuckels at the the information desk and thell them you want the book, pronto!

© Copyright John Lubans 2018

Friday Fable. Phaedrus’ “THE FLEA AND THE CAMEL

Posted by jlubans on September 02, 2017  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Nonchalant camel having none of it.

“AS a Camel plodded on through the desert, weighted down with many burdens, a Flea perched contentedly on his back, greatly enjoying her exalted position. After they had journeyed a long distance and towards sunset reached the halting-place, the Flea at once skipped nimbly to the ground.
‘Did you see,’ she asked, ‘how quickly I got down, so as not to tire your poor back a moment longer?’
‘Thank you,’ replied the Camel, ‘but to tell the truth, I did not feel your weight while you were on my back, nor do I notice the difference, now that you are down!’”

___________________
Like Sir Roger L'Estrange’s idiomaticA Fly upon a Wheel”,
here’s someone with an elevated ego equating herself to the hard working camel.
In the workplace, when something goes well, there’s bound to be a few who contributed little but are happy to be part of the victory photo. This taking of undeserved credit is not limited to peers, it can be the boss who puts up barriers to a group’s work and then – when it succeeds – claims it was his idea all along!
On outdoor expeditions I've been on, the flea is the guy who disappears when it is time to put up the cooking tent and re-appears just when dinner is served.

*Source: Cooper, Frederic Taber, editor (1864-1937), “An argosy of fables; a representative selection from the fable literature of every age and land”. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company. 1921.

N.B. My next book,
Fables for Leaders, Ezis Press, debuts at end of September 2017, ($26.99) with original illustrations by Béatrice Coron.
ISBN: 978-0-692-90955-3
LCCN: 2017908783

© Copyright John Lubans 2017

Phaedrus' “THE WOMAN IN LABOUR”*

Posted by jlubans on January 23, 2019  •  Leave comment (0)

No one returns with good will to the place which has done him a mischief.
Her months completed, a Woman in labour lay upon the ground, uttering woeful moans.
Her Husband entreated her to lay her body on the bed, where she might with more ease deposit her ripe burden.
“I feel far from confident,” said she, “that my pains can end in the place where they originated.”
________
Alas, this one did not make it into the Children's Classics of Aesop’s Fables by L'Estrange (1692) more recently published by Knopf in a beautiful hard cover series, the Everyman’s Library.
Imagine the titters from the little ones had it been included, as several rather outré ones were.
For example, there’s L'Estrange’s “JUPITER AND MODESTY” which speaks of “ carnal love” and, his AN APE “(bare-arse”) AND A FOX
Last but not least, there's the pissing donkeys fable certain to prompt a wave of giggling in the nursery?
I can relate to the promythium moral, “one does not return with good will to the place which has done him a mischief”.
An institution with which I parted ways, involuntarily, did not see me back for 15 years and then only because one of my students arranged a tour. I went for an hour and that was the end of it.
While nothing like giving birth, some say getting the boot at work stays with you for a long, long time with nothing to show for it, unlike a sweet, darling child.

*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.

© Copyright John Lubans 2019


Phaedrus’ THE OLD WOMAN AND EMPTY CASK*

Posted by jlubans on June 15, 2018  •  Leave comment (0)

20180615-0212-old-woman-empty-cask.jpg

Caption: Happy Days
!

An ancient dame a firkin sees,
In which the rich Falernian lees
Send from the nobly tinctured shell
A rare and most delicious smell!
There when a season she had clung
With greedy nostrils to the bung,
“O spirit exquisitely sweet!”
She cried, “how perfectly complete
Were you of old, and at the best,
When ev’n your dregs have such a zest!”

They’ll see the drift of this my rhyme,
Who knew the author in his prime.
____________________
To appreciate – even savor -
this fable, maybe you have to be of an age. One moralist has it as “The memory of a good deed lives”, but I would say this is more about memories of good times not long gone.
For whatever reason, health or money, the good old days are gone. No more partying for our “ancient dame.”
And our rhyme setter makes a personal allusion, as to being quite the party animal when “in his prime.”
So, for me this is about aging but not yet “quite over the hill”.

*Source:
The Comedies of Terence. And the Fables of Phædrus. Literally translated into English prose with notes, by Henry Thomas Riley. To which is added a metrical translation of Phædrus, by Christopher Smart. London: George Bell & Sons. 1887.
__________
Like these weekly fables? Read more in Lubans’ book.
Or, if you are a frugal rate payer, get your public library to buy a copy.
© Copyright John Lubans 2018



Friday Fable. Phaedrus’ THE EVILS OF WEALTH*

Posted by jlubans on March 20, 2020  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Plutus (with cornucopia) and his mother Demeter, C4th B.C..

Riches are deservedly despised by a man of worth because a well-stored chest intercepts praise from its true objects.

When Hercules was received into heaven as the reward of his virtues, and saluted in turn the Gods who were congratulating him, on Plutus approaching, who is the child of Fortune, he turned away his eyes.
His father, Jupiter, enquired the reason:
“I hate him,” says he, “because he is the friend of the wicked, and at the same time corrupts all by presenting the temptation of gain.
__________
Hercules, a
lways more brawn than brains, has made a faulty assumption.
He claims poor Plutus (the blind god of Fortune) intentionally lets good things (fortune) happen to bad people and bad things (misfortune) to happen to good people.
The truth according to Plutus, spoken through the playwright Aristophanes is: “Zeus (or Jupiter) inflicted (blindness) on me, because of his jealousy of-mankind. When I was young, I threatened him that I would only go to the just, the wise, the men of ordered life; to prevent my distinguishing these, he struck me with blindness' so much does he envy the good!”
Zeus comes off as petty and jealous. Especially of the good follower who does good and thinks for himself/herself.
Do you know any Jovian leaders like that?
Given his druthers, Plutus would prefer to shun the wicked and to visit the good.
Likewise, the Herculean certainty on Facebook is probably more akin to Zeus’ envy of good than to giving a guy a break.

*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.

© Copyright John Lubans 2020

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.
___________
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]

____________
For more fables to guide one’s leadership or followership – and how to deal with the stones in your path - get your copy of
.
For the cooperative reader, ask your library to order a copy!

© Copyright John Lubans 2018

Phaedrus’ THE FOX AND THE GOAT*

Posted by jlubans on April 10, 2020  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Advertising poster (1870-1900) for spool cotton.

As soon as a crafty man has fallen into danger, he seeks to make his escape by the sacrifice of another.

A Fox, through inadvertence, having fallen into a well, and being closed in by the sides which were too high for her, a Goat parched with thirst came to the same spot, and asked whether the water was good, and in plenty.
The other, devising a stratagem, replied: “Come down, my friend: such is the goodness of the water, that my pleasure in drinking cannot be satisfied.”
Longbeard descended; then the Fox, mounting on his high horns, escaped from the well, and left the Goat to stick fast in the enclosed mud.

_____________
Is it ever OK to abandon someone who has helped you? Is it OK to scramble up over a colleague at work and leave him or her far behind?
The Wall is a timed activity rarely used in corporate team building – too many risks.
But, back in the day, the Outward Bound schools made good use of it.
My team of 12 had to get itself up and over the 11-foot tall smooth-faced wall. Much too high for one person, the challenge forced us to cooperate (or not).
After brainstorming a plan, we built a human ladder and most people scrambled up and over, the ones at the top grasping and lifting those on the way up.
Eventually, only one or two were left on the ground. How to get these folks up?
Cooperation is something largely unique to mankind. Unlike the fox, we often do help each other.
But, every now and then there's a fox among us who "seeks to make his escape by the sacrifice of another."
Another version of this fable has the fox taunting the goat: "If you had half as much brains as you have beard, you would have looked before you leaped."

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Caption: Another ad using the fable. 1924. Typhoo means Doctor in Chinese
*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.

© Copyright John Lubans 2020

Friday Fable (delivered on Sunday) Phaedrus’ “THE FAMISHED BEAR”

Posted by jlubans on September 10, 2017  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: What’s for lunch?

“ONE autumn, when the crop of woodland berries had begun to fail, a hungry Bear made his way down to the rocky seashore, and seizing a big stone between his hairy limbs slowly lowered himself into the water. Before long a number of crabs had laid fast hold upon the thick fur of his hide, whereupon the Bear climbed back upon dry land, shook off the haul of sea-food he had netted, and settled down to enjoy their tender meat at his leisure.
Even the dullest brains are sharpened by hunger.”
___________________
In my on-the-job experience, I came to find that scarcity, like the bear’s hunger, could lead to innovation. But that could only happen when leaders challenged and gave permission to staff to respond in creative ways. Those circumstances brought out the best and the worst in staff. The latter stonewalled and refused to re-think what we were doing. There was only one answer to scarcity: more resources. Unlike the inventive bear, they'd as soon go "hungry".
The former seized on the opportunity to engage and to innovate.
The leader’s role was first to ask for help – thereby giving permission to staff to think! - in solving a problem. Secondly, to demonstrate by word and deed that failure in a good effort was not going to be punished.
And, I found that my questioning the status quo promoted innovation:
Why do we do this?
What do we want/need to do?
What can we do without?
Our allegedly simple minded bear eschews a Rube Goldberg complex solution with pulleys, chutes, ropes, buckets, and wheels. (Believe me, some in the workplace really do believe complex is best.)
Instead, Brother Bear finds a clever way to lower himself into the water and come up with lunch.

*Source: Cooper, Frederic Taber, editor (1864-1937), “An argosy of fables; a representative selection from the fable literature of every age and land”. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company. 1921.

N.B. My next book,
Fables for Leaders, Ezis Press, debuts at end of September 2017 ($26.99) with original illustrations by Béatrice Coron.
ISBN: 978-0-692-90955-3
LCCN: 2017908783

© Copyright John Lubans 2017

Friday Fable: Aesop's “The Frogs and the Sun”*

Posted by jlubans on June 06, 2014  •  Leave comment (1)

20140606-Frogs_&_Sun.jpg
Caption: Parasol hoisting frogs.

“On marriage of a knave of state,
Esop this fable did relate:
‘Report had thro' the marshes spread,
That Sol was on the point to wed;
The croaking tribe made such a clatter,
That Jove inquir'd what was the matter.
‘One Sun,’ a frighted Frog replies,
‘Consumes us, when our lake he dries:
Then what will be our wretched fate,
Should this new couple propagate!’"


Likewise, in one metropolis there were three major libraries. One of the directorships opened and was duly filled. Shortly after, the second library’s top job became vacant and, the decision-makers, for unknown reasons, hired the spouse of the first library director. Apparently, the threat of like-mindedness and the lack of diverse thinking, made little difference in the hiring decision. Shortly after, the third library’s executive job became vacant and that institution hired a former colleague of the first director who was also a good friend of the second director! I can well imagine the staff of these three libraries, like the frogs, were concerned about how these three similar personalities – none was particularly visionary or innovative - would influence the cooperative initiatives. Did these appointments help or hinder. Hard to say, but I would tend to lean toward the latter since all three were traditional in view and perspective. Why make these hires? Perhaps it was that each institution’s boss wanted to get the decision made and, after all, “it was just a library”, so what matter if the three were of a similar mindset?

*Source: Boothby, Brooke. Boothby, Brooke, Phaedrus, Aesop, and Marquard Gude. 1809. Fables and satires: with a preface on the Esopean fable. Edinburgh: Printed by George Ramsay and Company for Archibald Constable and Co. Available at Google Books.
20140606-frogs boothby.jpg
Caption: Sir Brooke Boothby, 1781 by Joseph Wright of Derby
Prof. Laura Gibbs introduced me to Mr. Boothby’s fables. Ms. Gibbs is an excellent source for the fable-phile and the aspiring fabulist. Here is one of her several sites dedicated to Aesop and other fable writers and translators.



@Copyright John Lubans 2014

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.

__________
My book, Fables for Leaders is only a click away:


Also, My 2010 book, Leading from the Middle, is available at Amazon.

© Copyright John Lubans 2019

Phaedrus' THE ASS AND THE LYRE*

Posted by jlubans on May 08, 2019  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Carving from Romanesque Church Aulnay-de-Saintonge, 12th c.


How Genius is often wasted through Misfortune.
An Ass espied a Lyre lying in a meadow: he approached and tried the strings with his hoof; they sounded at his touch.
“By my faith, a pretty thing,” said he; “it happens unfortunately that I am not skilled in the art.
If any person of greater skill had found it, he might have charmed my ears with divine notes.”

_____________
An ass playing a musical instrument? While the ass in the fable appreciates his limits (hooves not fingers) he still enjoys the lyre’s melodic notes.
Some have this as a fable which describes improbabilities. An ass is as likely to play a harp as is a goat to bleet out an operatic aria.
I am less sure about that take.
It seems to me that this fable is about anyone’s appreciation of someone else’s creation.
I cannot paint a picture, yet I know what I like when I see a artist’s work. I can’t do art, but I can certainly voice my approval or disapproval.
And so it can be at work.
I may not know how to do some arcane accounting routine, but I sure can praise a spread sheet that answers my questions.
Or, I can explain that I need more information and in a certain format.


*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.

__________
My book, Fables for Leaders is only a click away:


Also, My 2010 book, Leading from the Middle, is available at Amazon.

© Copyright John Lubans 2019

“All Hat, No Cattle”: The Fly and the Mule.*

Posted by jlubans on March 02, 2018  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Engraving by Christopher Hagens, 1667.

A Fly that sat upon the beam
Rated the Mule: " Why, sure you dream?
"Pray get on faster with the cart
Or I shall sting you till you smart!"
She answers: "All this talk I hear
With small attention, but must fear
Him who upon the box sustains
The pliant whip, and holds the reins.
Cease then your pertness - for I know
When to give back, and when to go."

This tale derides the talking crew,
Whose empty threats are all they do.
_____________
“All hat, no cattle”, one might say of the fly.
In the workplace, it is good to know the difference between the petty and the consequential.
Our friend the mule knows who’s boss.
Do you?
The fly’s sting is of no concern to the mule; far more concerning is the whip and bit.
And, figuratively, the presumptuous fly can represent the busywork in our lives, those daily detours from the quest.
While facebooking, twittering, or snapchatting (or any other Circe-like daily dalliance) you can get lost in the shrubs and forget to lift up your eyes to the sky.
As an antidote to getting too caught up in the daily grind, the Nordics, practice friluftsliv or “open-air living”, a literal going off of the grid to regain perspective, to reflect on what’s important and what’s not.

*Source: T
s Translated into English Verse. Phaedrus. Christopher Smart, A. M. London. G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. 1913.

____________
For more fables to guide one’s leadership or followership, get your copy of
. Or get your library to order a copy!

Peculiar pricing on Amazon! Three re-sellers are offering Fables for over $53 a copy. These are not, alas, rare book dealers recognizing a beautifully illustrated and designed book, but just Amazon wannabe's hoping to market to unsuspecting buyers. $19.99 is still the going price at BookBaby, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.

© Copyright John Lubans 2018

Phaedrus’ THE TREES UNDER THE PROTECTION OF THE GODS*

Posted by jlubans on February 07, 2019  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: An ancient olive tree in Sicily.

The Gods in days of yore made choice of such Trees as they wished to be under their protection.
The Oak pleased Jupiter, the Myrtle Venus, the Laurel Phœbus, the Pine Cybele, the lofty Poplar Hercules.
Minerva, wondering why they had chosen the barren ones, enquired the reason.
Jupiter answered: “That we may not seem to sell the honor for the fruit.” “Now, so heaven help me,” said she, “let any one say what he likes, but the Olive is more pleasing to me on account of its fruit.”
Then said the Father of the Gods and the Creator of men:
“O daughter, it is with justice that you are called wise by all; unless what we do is useful, vain is our glory.”

This little Fable admonishes us to do nothing that is not profitable.
___________
While there's much to be said
for the decorative, there’s as much or more for the productive. We need both what’s pleasing to the eye and what’s nourishing to the rest of the body.
While appearances have never been my strong suit, I do understand that when I’m meeting people for the first time, I should not let a mismatched pair of socks or a soup-stained tie give the wrong impression.
I knew one man who never altered his look: black leather jacket and jeans. And he smoked like the proverbial chimney.
No doubt an eye catcher and off putting to some, but what he offered was an unparalleled understanding of the Internet and where it might be going. I wonder how he is doing.

*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.

__________
My book, Fables for Leaders is only a click away:


Also, My 2010 democratic workplace book, Leading from the Middle, is available at Amazon.

© Copyright John Lubans 2019