Friday Fable. Aesop’s “APOLLO AND THE SNAKE”

Posted by jlubans on January 23, 2015

Caption: Ruins of Apollo’s temple at Delphi, Greece.

“A creeping snake who had been stepped on by many people made his way to the temple of Apollo and went inside. Apollo immediately explained to the snake, 'If you had simply killed the first person who stepped on you, no one would ever have dared to step on you again!'“

"The story shows that if people who have previously committed a crime are swiftly punished, then others will become afraid on their account."

Apollo suggests an unforgiving response. When someone insults you or threatens you, do not turn away. It is probably better in any case to confront that person. Of course, your “sting” must be one that “kills”, metaphorically speaking. You can ask for clarification and explanation to maybe reach a resolution, but, if your only recourse is one-upmanship or bluff and bravado then silence is the better option. This fable does imply a different view of how to deal with conflict; none of this “turning the other cheek” stuff for Apollo! It does show how Christian philosophy (if not practice) differs from the “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” of an earlier time.

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

@Copyright John Lubans 2015
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