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

Posted by jlubans on July 18, 2013

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.

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

Copyrighted John Lubans 2013.
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