Friday Fable. Aesop’s “THE HEN AND THE EGGS”*

Posted by jlubans on April 07, 2017

Caption: An "Oh, Oh" moment. Woodcut from the 1672 Amdsterdam edition of Aesop's Fables.

“A hen came across the eggs of a snake and devoted herself to them, settling atop the eggs and brooding on them. A swallow saw what the hen was doing and said, 'O you stupid, senseless creature! They will destroy you first of all and then destroy everyone around you!'”
"The fable shows that we should never put our trust in a wicked man, even if he seems to be completely innocuous."

L'Estrange added his own epimythium: ''Tis the hard Fortune of many a Good Natur'd Man to breed up a Bird to Pick out his own Eyes, in despite of all Cautions to the contrary.'”
And thus can be said of a subordinate whom you have supported, indeed, championed, who stabs you in the back.
It reminds me of a politically incorrect friend. He had promoted and backed a young manager, helped her achieve a job well beyond what she could have expected were it not for my friend’s recognizing her potential and championing her in the organization.
No, there was no “hanky panky”.
Well, there came a time when my friend found himself besieged by a fuss budget boss and was politically in need of a helping hand. He turned to the subordinate for a good word or two. The subordinate informed him - through a mutual colleague, no less - that she would not speak on his behalf. “Every man for himself” in other words.
My friend was forced to leave the organization.
Now years later, he has still not heard from the former subordinate why she chose not to speak well of him. Nor has she ever thanked my friend for giving her an opportunity that nobody else in that organization would have. Can you spell i-n-g-r-a-t-i-t-u-d-e?
So, like the hen, my friend had bred “up a Bird to Pick out his own Eyes.”

*Source: Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs. Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.

N.B. My new book, Fables for Leaders, Ezis Press, comes out in June 2017 as an e-book ($15.00) and a soft cover print-on-demand book, ($25.00). The print book will feature original illustrations by the renowned Béatrice Coron. One of the fables in this forthcoming book is relevant to today's fable: my “The Snake and the Egg” which was first posted to this blog in August of 2013.

© Copyright John Lubans 2017
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