Krylov’s THE PEASANT AND THE HORSE*

Posted by jlubans on February 20, 2021

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Caption: Laughing Horse by Neil Seager

A PEASANT was sowing oats one day. Seeing that, a young Horse began to reason about it, grumbling to itself.
"A pretty piece of work this, for which he brings such a lot of oats here! And yet they say men are wiser than we are.
Can anything possibly be more foolish or ridiculous than to plough up a whole field like this, in order to scatter one's oats over it afterwards to no purpose?
Had he given them to me, or to the bay here, or had he even thought fit to fling them to the fowls, it would have all been more like business.
Or even if he had hoarded them up, I should have recognised avarice in that.
But to fling them uselessly away! No; that is sheer stupidity."
Meanwhile time passed; and in the autumn the oats were garnered, and the Peasant fed this very Horse on them.
Reader, there can be no doubt that you do not approve of the Horse's opinions. But, from the oldest times to our own days, has not man been equally audacious in criticising the designs of Providence, although, in his blind folly, he sees nothing of its means or ends?
_____________
Long before the internet
, Krylov gave us this fable about humankind’s “blind folly” in gainsaying not only Providence, but each other.
The braying ass of a horse’s diatribe reminds me of much of the daily parade of commentary on so-called** social media: ignorant, one-sided, negative, absolutely certain,
ill-humored, repetitive (think “meme” and “sharing”) and unforgiving.
I won’t go on but I (and you) could.
Will the silly donkey offer an apology to the sower? Will he offer thanks to him as he munches on the harvest of winter oats?

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

**A misnomer if there ever was one. The clunky phrase, social media, is just the pathological opposite. More apt: Anti-Social Media which daily rails against the notion of solidarity, the idea that most of us mean well, we have kind hearts, and want to help each other even when we make poor decisions.

© Copyright all text John Lubans 2021

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