Krylov’s THE EAGLE AND THE SPIDER*

Posted by jlubans on August 14, 2018

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Caption: Teacher Mary Blow’s illustration from Scholastic.


AN Eagle had soared above
the clouds to the highest peak of a mountain range, and perching upon an ancient cedar, admired the landscape spread out below. It seemed as though the boundaries of the whole world could be seen from that height.
"Heaven be praised," said the Eagle, "for giving me such powers of flight, that there is no mountain too high for me to reach. I am now looking down upon the beauties of the world from a point which no other living creature has ever reached!"
"What a boaster you are," observed a Spider from a near-by twig. "Where I am sitting isn't so far below you, is it, friend Eagle?"
The Eagle glanced upward. True enough, the Spider was busily spinning its web from a twig above his head.
"However did you reach this height?" asked the Eagle. "Weak and wingless, as you are, how did you ever crawl way up here?"
"Why, I fastened myself unto you," returned the Spider. "You yourself brought me from down below clinging to your tail feathers. But now that I am so high up in the world I can get along very well by myself, without your help. So you needn't put on any airs with me. For I want to tell you that—"
At this moment a sudden gust of wind swept by, and brushed the Spider, web and all, back again into the depths of the valley from which it had come.
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Sometimes riding another’s coattails might not be the best way to get to where you think you deserve to be.
If getting there is all you want, then relax; you’ve made it. Unless this height turns our to be - as it does for the spider and countless others in the hierarchy – your “level of incompetence”.
If you have an overweening ambition, as they say, then you had better have the resources to survive and thrive like the eagle in his home.
The eagle sees clearly from far away, she illuminates and is illuminated in the easterly sunshine of springtime.
Do you, the coattail rider, want to be inspired? From the mountain’s peak, will you inspire others?

*Source: Krilof and his fables, by Krylov, Ivan Andreevich, 1768-1844; Ralston, William Ralston Shedden, 1828-1889. Tr. London, 1869.
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© Copyright John Lubans 2018

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