Friday Fable. Krylov’s “THE PEBBLE AND THE DIAMOND”*

Posted by jlubans on December 15, 2017

“A DIAMOND, which some one had lost, lay for some time on the high road.
At last it happened that a merchant picked it up.
By him it was offered to the king, who bought it, had it set in gold, and made it one of the ornaments of the royal crown.
Having heard of this, a Pebble began to make a fuss. The brilliant fate of the Diamond fascinated it; and, one day, seeing a Moujik (Russian peasant) passing, it besought him thus :
‘Do me a kindness, fellow-countryman, and take me with you to the capital.
Why should I go on suffering here in rain and mud, while our Diamond is, men say, in honour there?
I don't understand why it has been treated with such respect.
Side by side with me here it lay so many years; it is just such a stone as I am—my close companion.
Do take me!
How can one tell? If I am seen there, I too, perhaps, may be found worthy of being turned to account.’
The Moujik took the stone into his lumbering cart, and conveyed it to the city.
Our stone tumbled into the cart, thinking that it would soon be sitting by the side of the Diamond.
But a quite different fate befell it. It really was turned to account, but only to mend a hole in the road.”

And so it can be in the workplace.
When a coruscating colleague is promoted to an exalted position those of us left behind may exclaim, “Lucky dog! Why not me? Are my achievements any less stellar?”
Well, the Chorus may answer, “You are but one of hundreds of cobblestones in the road of life. Fret not; it beats being a hole in the road.”
If the vote does not go your way, what to do?
The sanctimonious will proclaim: “Eschew envy.”
If you see yourself as “a diamond in the rough”, keep doing a good job and eventually you will gain recognition, if only within yourself.
Maybe that’s more important than the roar of the crowd?

*Source: Krilof and his fables, by Krylov, Ivan Andreevich, 1768-1844; Ralston, William Ralston Shedden, 1828-1889. Tr. London, 1869
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Caption: A month ago, Fables for Leaders was singled out for its Five Star award by Readers’ Choice.

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© Copyright John Lubans 2017

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