Friday Fable. Aesop’s “THE FLEA AND THE MAN”*

Posted by jlubans on May 27, 2016

Caption: Charlie tap-dancing; Finnegan, on left, coaching. Moguls looking on.

“A Flea bit a Man, and bit him again, and again, till he could stand it no longer, but made a thorough search for it, and at last succeeded in catching it. Holding it between his finger and thumb, he said—or rather shouted, so angry was he—‘Who are you, pray, you wretched little creature, that you make so free with my person?’ The Flea, terrified, whimpered in a weak little voice, ‘Oh, sir! pray let me go; don't kill me! I am such a little thing that I can't do you much harm.’ But the Man laughed and said, ‘I am going to kill you now, at once: whatever is bad has got to be destroyed, no matter how slight the harm it does.’"
“Do not waste your pity on a scamp.”

The minuscule Charlie, pictured above, another flea in durance vile, takes an alternative path, reinventing himself, as they say in the office, into a performing flea. Managed by the hapless Finnegan in the cartoon, Charlie’s repertoire includes singing and tap dancing. He Looks Like Your Ordinary Flea - Until He Opens His Mouth! You Won’t Believe What you hear!
Remember Jose Cura's “Norma”? Charlie does it better.
Alas, the cartoon ends tragically. The bartender slaps the bar and inadvertently ends Charlie’s Hollywood career. Finnegan, the man, is desolated. His dreams of swimming pools, chauffeur driven limousines, starlets on each arm - the really good life is not to be.

*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.

Copyright © John Lubans 2016
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