Friday Fable. Odo of Cheriton’s “The He Goat Who Wanted to Take a Ride.”*

Posted by jlubans on July 04, 2013

20130705-donkey bray.jpeg
“Against those having no respect for their lords.”
“Once upon a time, a he-goat was appointed the ass’s servant; and he observed that the ass was both simple and humble. So our goat climbed up on the ass and wanted to take a ride.
The ass, enraged, drew up his hind feet and sent himself tumbling to the rear – he fell, indeed, squarely on his back. This squashed and killed the goat. And the ass merely remarked: ‘When an ass is your lord, don’t think you can ride him.’
In like manner, many men observe that their lords are simple, aged, blind, or inept. Hence they scorn and laughingly mock them.”
Well, I can identify with Odo’s interpretation. I am sure there were times, because of my casual ways, I appeared “simple and inept” – and a few colleagues felt free to scorn and mock. I never did kick up my heels much about it, preferring to let my deeds speak. Perhaps “simple and inept” in sytle, some folks saw that I was letting them lead, encouraging them to take initiative. I did not want to be ridden, I wanted to accomplish - with them alongside - what we set out to do. We did. The mockers? Hard to say. Like the he-goat, a few got their come-uppance. Others, have done OK. Perhaps they are now the ass, un-deservedly scorned and mocked.

Caption: The ass leads.
Speaking of asses, the first chapter in Leading from the Middle
is “Balaam’s Ass: Toward Proactive Leadership in Libraries.”

*Source: The Fables of Odo of Cheriton, translated by John C. Jacobs. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press 1985 . Pp. 152-153

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