Friday Fable. Odo of Cheriton’s “THE BIRD OF SAINT MARTIN”

Posted by jlubans on November 17, 2017

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Caption: Winter Wren

“AMONG the Birds there is one known as the Bird of Saint Martin, which is no larger than a Wren, and whose legs are long and slender like reeds.
It happened once at the festival of Saint Martin, when the sun was shining brightly, that the little Bird of Saint Martin flung itself down upon the ground beside a tree and rolling over kicked its legs high in the air exclaiming:
‘There, if the Heavens should fall I could hold them up with my legs!’
Just then a single leaf fell from a branch of the tree and fluttered down upon the Bird.
The latter sprang up, half dead with fear, and flew away crying shrilly, ‘Oh, Saint Martin, Saint Martin, save your little Bird!’
There are many like this Bird of Saint Martin, whose faith is strong in times of safety, but weak in times of danger.”

______________
And so it can be in the workplace when a bold executive trumpets – at a happy hour with like-minded co-workers - that he will fix tomorrow what’s wrong with the organization today.
Nodding, they each order another, and dream of wrongs to be righted.
Comes the dawn, our hero meets an entrenched and resistant workforce. Its cri de coeur: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” echoes through the land. Last night’s champion, like the Bird of St. Martin, quickly quails and retreats in haste.
Little wonder the wise old birds sit in silence, gazing into the horizon.

*Source: 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.

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For more fables, old and new, and their applications to organizational life, see my new book:
Fables for Leaders, with original illustrations by Béatrice Coron and designed by ALISE ŠNĒBAHA, 2017 ($19.99).
Ezis Press
ISBN: 978-0-692-90955-3
LCCN: 2017908783
Amazon

© Copyright 2017 John Lubans

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