Friday’s Fable: THE BEES AND THE BEETLES*

Posted by jlubans on July 27, 2012

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Against people who enjoy only carnal pleasures. 
Once upon a time, the bees invited the beetles to dinner. The beetles arrived and when dinner was served the bees offered the beetles some honey and honeycomb. The beetles barely ate anything and then flew away. Next the beetles invited the bees, and when dinner was served, they offered the bees a plate full of dung. The bees wouldn't eat even a single bite and instead they flew straight back home.”

Often Aesopian translators and editors added their own morals (or their take on the underlying meaning of each fable). Morals appear at the front, back and sometimes in the middle. When at the front, like in today’s fable, it is called the promythium, the lesson before the fable. Sometimes the morals appear to have little relationship to the story (like ours, above). One translator (Lloyd W. Daly) “defiantly titled” his translation: Aesop without Morals. (He relegated all the morals to an appendix).
If I were to put an apt moral to this story of bees and beetles, it would be that when we are confronted with a different culture we should still be polite and respectful.** In this story, the dung beetles – lowly creatures when compared to the universally admired honeybee – exhibit better manners than the bees! Confronted with an exotic (for them) food, the dung beetles at least give it a try. The bees instead turn up their noses and buzz off!
Perhaps more relevant to the work place is the moral that we may value our contribution more than that of another unit, e.g. marketing over production. In fact both our contributions are important – indeed, essential. When we dismiss, criticize or ridicule the good faith efforts of other workers we poison the work place.

*An Aesop's fable, (401) translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
**The gold medal for creative interpretation that helped me get past the promythium goes to Sheryl Anspaugh and Mara A. Lubans!.


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Comments

Posted by Miriam Holley on July 28, 2012  •  22:09:15

This is wonderful....and so so true...thanks John

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