Friday Fable. Caxton’s “The Wicked Thief and the Sun”*

Posted by jlubans on January 05, 2018

Caption: Illustration from the Steinhowel Aesop, 1501.

Of the theef and of the sonne
No man is chaunged by nature but of an euyll man maye wel yssue and come a wers than hym self /
wherof Esope telleth suche a fable /
A theef held the feest of his weddynge /
And his neyghbours came there as the fest was holden and worshipped and bare honour to the theef /
And as a wyse man sawe that the neyghbours of this theef were ioyeful and glad /
he sayd to them /
ye make Ioye & gladness of that /
wherof ye shold wepe / take hede thenne to my wordes and vnderstond your Ioye /
The sonne wold ones be maryed /
But alle the Nacions of the world were ageynst hym /
& prayd Iupiter that he shold kepe the sonne fro weddyng /
& Iupiter demaunded of them the cause why they wolde not haue hym to be wedded /
the one of them said /
Iupiter thou knowest wel /
how ther is but one sonne & yet he brenneth vs al /
& yf he be maryed & haue ony children /
they shal destroye al kynde /
And this fable techeth vs that we ought not to be reioysshed of euyll felauship

The fable warns against a thief marrying and producing a gang of thieves as in “an euyll man maye wel yssue and come a wers than hym self”.
And so it can be in the workplace, when you keep adding like-minded thinkers to an already like-minded group.
That’s what happens when we recruit only those who are like us, not just in looks, but more importantly in philosophy or in worldviews.
I call it the tyranny of the like-minded.
Anyone other-minded faces a strong head wind when promoting his/her ideas to a room full of the opposition.
So, it is no small task for a good leader to bring in and back up people who question the status quo, who do not accept what is given nor what is assumed to be the best it can be or, worse, “good enough” by the majority.

*Source. The fables of Aesop, as first printed by William Caxton in 1484, with those of Avian, Alfonso and Poggio, now again edited and induced by Joseph Jacobs. London:1889
England’s first printer, the illustrious Mr. Caxton, lived from 1422-1492.

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“A unique and exceptional approach to developing problem solving attitudes and skills, "Fables for Leaders" is impressively well written, organized and presented.
Thoroughly 'user friendly' and an inherently fascinating read from cover to cover, "Fables for Leaders" is impressively entertaining, informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, making it unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library collections.”

© Copyright John Lubans 2017
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