Friday Fable. Aesop’s “The Monkeys and Their Mother”*

Posted by jlubans on June 27, 2014

20140627-monkey twcolor*.jpeg
Caption: Hand-coloured wood engraving by Joseph Swain, in Charles Bennett’s The Fables of Aesop, p.23. 1857

“THE MONKEY, it is said, has two young ones at each birth. The Mother fondles one and nurtures it with the greatest affection and care, but hates and neglects the other. It happened once that the young one which was caressed and loved was smothered by the too great affection of the Mother, while the despised one was nurtured and reared in spite of the neglect to which it was exposed.”

“The best intentions will not always ensure success.”

A very Victorian moral (from Charles Bennett) further impugns the parent: “A plant may thrive better by the roadside than in a hot-house where a Fool is a gardener.” Harsh! It’s the mother’s fault one of the two twins is a delinquent, copped by the canine copper, as depicted above.

What do the antics of these Aesopian simians have to do with work? Well, if I have a boss who, with the “greatest affection”, is more friend than supervisor, then I could suffer from a lack of challenge and discipline. It might be better to be the one neglected and have to fend for myself, something Bennett’s contemporary, Charles Darwin, would have espoused.

*Source: AESOP’S FABLES By Aesop Translated by George Fyler Townsend (probably from this edition): “Three hundred and fifty Aesop’s fables”. Chicago, Belford, Clarke & Co., 1886.
Available at Gutenberg.

@Copyright John Lubans 2014

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