Friday Fable. Aesop’s “FATHER AND SONS”*

Posted by jlubans on February 07, 2014

Caption: An Aesop collector's card from Creighton University's "Turkish Trophies Cigarettes" collection, circa 1900?
“A certain man had several Sons who were always quarrelling with one another, and, try as he might, he could not get them to live together in harmony. So he determined to convince them of their folly by the following means. Bidding them fetch a bundle of sticks, he invited each in turn to break it across his knee. All tried and all failed: and then he undid the bundle, and handed them the sticks one by one, when they had no difficulty at all in breaking them. ‘There, my boys,’ said he, ‘united you will be more than a match for your enemies: but if you quarrel and separate, your weakness will put you at the mercy of those who attack you.’"
“Union is strength.”

Well this fable might have a different outcome had Aesop known my story of “The Dog and the Stick”.
Tik un tā, (“anyway” in Latvian), so it can be in the world of work. When an organization’s departments bicker, expect failure. Frank disagreements, spirited argument, respectfully presented, are not of which I speak. I mean a “backstabbing kind of love” – an aspiring country music writer’s song title – the kind that uses a “perfumed dagger” – my first boss’ phrase – and whispered gossip and nasty rumor that undercut one’s own.
The only sure way to stop that is don’t participate. A good friend has an effective way of dealing with someone who wants to engage in gossip; after a moment’s pause, he changes the subject. He will not let the conversation degrade.

*Source: AESOP'S FABLES A NEW TRANSLATION BY V. S. VERNON JONES WITH AN INTRODUCTION By G. K. CHESTERTON AND ILLUSTRATIONS BY ARTHUR RACKHAM (Publisher: London: W. Heinemann; New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1912). Available at Gutenberg.

Friday’s Leading from the Middle Library: Berea College Library, Berea KY, USA.

Copyright John Lubans 2014
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