Friday Fable. The Chippewa Nation’s “THE THREE CRANBERRIES”*

Posted by jlubans on August 25, 2017

Caption: Green on Green

“THREE Cranberries were living in a lodge together.
One was green, one was white and one was red.
They were sisters.
There was snow on the ground; and as the men were absent, they felt afraid and began saying:
‘What shall we do if the wolf comes?’
‘I,’ said the green one, ‘will climb up the shingoub, the spruce tree.’
‘I,’ said the white one, ‘will hide myself in the kettle of boiled hominy.’ ‘And I,’ said the red one, ‘will hide myself under the snow.’
Presently the wolves came, and the Three Cranberries hid themselves as they had agreed.
But only one of the Three had judged wisely.
The wolves immediately ran to the kettle, and ate up the hominy, and with it the white Cranberry.
The red one was trampled to pieces by their feet and her blood spotted the snow.
But the green one that had climbed the thick spruce tree escaped notice and was saved.”

And so it can be at work when we need to “judge wisely” when in conflict. To flee or to fight?
This fable is reminiscent of Aesop’s cat and fox pursued by hounds; the overly-cunning fox dies while the one-trick cat survives by scrambling up a tree.
So, OTJ, when a leader wishes to live “to fight another day” – retreating or withdrawing is an option. However, the retreat has to be done tactically.
The white berry’s choice is akin to “jumping from the fire into the frying pan.”
The green berry chooses to find shelter in the spruce tree,
above the wolves, masked by its green branches.
So, in the workplace, the wise follower - in a losing battle - thinks logically and provisionally, and opts to retreat and await a better time to advance her ideas.

*Source: A Chippewa Fable in “Indian Tales and Researches” by Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe, 1793-1864, included in Cooper, Frederic Taber, editor (1864-1937), “An argosy of fables; a representative selection from the fable literature of every age and land”. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company. 1921.

b>N.B. My next book, Fables for Leaders, Ezis Press, comes out end of September 2017, ($26.99) with original illustrations by Béatrice Coron.
ISBN: 978-0-692-90955-3
LCCN: 2017908783
A Coron Illustration for my "The Proud Blackberry" fable in "Fables for Leaders" PRE-PRINT, 203pp. 2017.

© Copyright John Lubans 2017

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