Friday Fable. Sir Roger L’Estrange’s, “A Hedge-Hog and a Snake”*

Posted by jlubans on November 06, 2015

Caption. These edible hedgehogs would never behave like their brother in this fable.

A Snake was prevail'd upon in a Cold Winter, to take a Hedge-Hog into his Cell; but when he was once in, the Place was so narrow, that the Prickles of the Hedge-Hog were very troublesome to his Companion: so that the Snake told him, he must needs provide for himself somewhere else, for the Hole was not big enough to hold them both. Why then, says the Hedge-Hog, He that cannot Stay, shall do well to Go: But for my own part, I'm e'en Content where I am; and if You be not so too, y'are free to Remove.”
“Possession is Eleven Points of the Law.”

The unwanted houseguest or the guest who overstays his welcome! We’ve all had them. P.G. Wodehouse tells, in a note on the oddities of American life, of an overnight guest who stayed for 15 years. Probably in Chillicothe, Ohio. For some reason Mr. Wodehouse, was taken with the name of this buckeye town. But, I digress.
More relevantly, Grant Burningham’s “Your Worst House Guest” documents dozens of outrageous tales of woe about hedgehog guests. There’s a prevalent theme among the comments on these jeremiads: spineless hosts. If the hapless host showed some gumption and set limits the hedgehog guest would know the score and either get out or behave.
And, I suppose, that’s the way it is in the workplace. Sometimes, when a worker behaves badly, the boss is to blame for making a poor hire and subsequently for not calling the behavior or for not adequately training the miscreant.
“It came seventeen years ago—and to this day
It has shown no intention of going away.”

— Edward Gorey, "The Doubtful Guest"

*Source: Abstemius' Fables translated by Sir Roger L'Estrange, 1692.

Leading from the Middle Library of week: Campbell County Public Library, Gillette, Wyoming, USA

© Copyright John Lubans 2015

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