Friday Fable. Aesop’s “The Eagle and the Arrow”*

Posted by jlubans on September 18, 2015

Caption: Cigarette Card, American Tobacco Company. “Turkish Trophies” brand. 1913. From the Carlson Fable Collection at Creighton University.

“AN EAGLE sat on a lofty rock, watching the movements of a Hare whom he sought to make his prey. An archer, who saw the Eagle from a place of concealment, took an accurate aim and wounded him mortally. The Eagle gave one look at the arrow that had entered his heart and saw in that single glance that its feathers had been furnished by himself. ‘It is a double grief to me,’ he exclaimed, ‘that I should perish by an arrow feathered from my own wings.’"

This fable brings to mind a close friend’s experience. She worked under a grizzled and grumpy academic officer who was very difficult to deal with. While she was told by trusted sources that he had his positive aspects and was well regarded by his peers, she never saw anything but a mean streak an axe-handle wide. And as things worked out it became this officer’s fixation – with some enthusiastic prompting by two or three of her peers - to get my friend gone. When she asked around as to whence this urge to be rid of her, she got the strong impression that her actions over many years as an effective follower and leader (independent-thinking and action-taking) provided the feathered fletching (gossip, jealousy, and resentment) to direct the pink slip’d shaft.
Now this story has a curious ending. Within one or two years of my friend’s “outplacement” (hah!), her nemesis was diagnosed with a fatal illness and soon “shufflel'd off this mortall coile”. Some say, “What goes around, comes around.” Karma, dude.

*Source: 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 the Gutenberg Project.

© John Lubans 2015

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