Friday Fable. Abstemius’ “A Bear and Bees”*

Posted by jlubans on October 14, 2016

Caption. Illustration by Ernest Griset, 1869.

“A Bear was so enrag'd once at the Stinging of a Bee, that he ran like mad into the Bee-Garden, and over-turn'd all the Hives in revenge. This Outrage brought them out in whole Troops upon him; and he came afterwards to bethink himself, how much more advisable it had been to pass over one Injury, than by an unprofitable Passion to provoke a Thousand.”

“Better pass over an Affront from one Scoundrel, than draw the whole Herd of the Mobile** about a Man's Ears.”

Griset’s enraged bear moves me to repeat this; it first appeared here in 2013. I cannot imagine a more evocative drawing of the damage inflicted by the bees on one highly agitated bear. Along with the new illustration the rendering of the fable is different from 2013. This time it is by Abstemius, librarian to Duke Guido Ubaldo, circa 1500 and the translation is by the redoubtable Sir Roger L’Estrange, 1692.
This fable’s moral offers wise counsel to leaders and followers, at home, in the military, in the workplace, and for any executive level office holder. Don’t overreact.
Back in 2013 I concluded: So, let’s break this cycle; move the nest far up into a tree hollow. If the bear wants honey, he’ll have to climb for it.
At work, if we are in a predictable negative cycle, stop and ask why. Then move to change the circumstances. If it’s due to a lack of support for some service, get the necessary support. Or, drop the service.

*Source: Aesop’s Fables translated by Sir Roger L'Estrange, 1692.

**Mobile, my guess, is not a medieval phone but a lengthier version of today’s mob, as in the mob protested the loss of the football game by tearing up the stadium seats and breaking into the Doritos storage shed.

© Copyright John Lubans 2016

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