Lessing’s THE WILD APPLE-TREE

Posted by jlubans on November 19, 2021

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Caption: Christmas ornament on wild apple-tree, July 2021

A SWARM of Bees settled and built their hive in the hollow trunk of a Wild Apple-Tree.
They soon filled the hollow with the treasures of their Honey, and the Wild Apple-Tree became so proud in consequence that it looked down contemptuously upon all its neighbours.
Hereupon a Rose-Bush thus addressed the Tree:
"Truly, yours is a poor sort of pride that bases itself upon borrowed sweetness!
Is your miserable fruit any the less bitter because the Bees have made their home in your hollow trunk?
Sweeten it then with their honey, if you can; for not until then will you be of any value to Mankind!"
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I’m reminded of some
research library colleagues who worked in top-ranked universities.
Like the apple-tree, they were happy to be on campus, content to be on the rim of the bubbling crucible of innovation and scholarship, and to bask in the ambiance reflected from those inventing and innovating. Indeed, a "poor sort of (borrowed) pride."
However, what they contributed was more about maintaining than originating.
Change was reactive and imitative, usually following coercion external to the organization.
For me, regardless of the library’s rank it was important to do our own share of innovation and scholarship.
I was blessed that I had, for the most part, supportive bosses who gave me freedom and encouragement to do just that and to spread it far and wide.

*SOURCE: Lessing, Fables, Book II, No. 25. Translated by G. Moir Bussey.Excerpted From: Cooper, Frederic Taber, 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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20% off Through December 31 2021
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And, don’t forget my book on democratic workplaces, Leading from the Middle

© Copyright photo and text by John Lubans 2021

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