Friday Fable. Aesop’s “MERCURY AND THE SCULPTOR”

Posted by jlubans on April 27, 2017

Caption: “Hold that pose!” Sculpture by Giambologna 1529 – 1608.

“Mercury was very anxious to know in what estimation he was held by mankind; so he disguised himself as a man and walked into a Sculptor's studio, where there were a number of statues finished and ready for sale. Seeing a statue of Jupiter among the rest, he inquired the price of it. ‘A crown,’ said the Sculptor. ‘Is that all?’ said he, laughing; ‘and’ (pointing to one of Juno) ‘how much is that one?’ ‘That,’ was the reply, ‘is half a crown.’ ‘And how much might you be wanting for that one over there, now?’ he continued, pointing to a statue of himself. ‘That one?’ said the Sculptor; ‘Oh, I'll throw him in for nothing if you'll buy the other two.’"
One translator added this epimythium: “This fable can be used for a conceited man who is not esteemed in any way by other people.”
Poor Mercury, the joke’s on him. The messenger of the gods appears to suffer from an inferiority complex.
The sculptor does not help, heaping on him yet another indignity. And so it may be for all of us who are messengers, the seconds-in-command, the deputies, the associates, and the assistants. If you have Mercury’s ego, you may want to go independent, say start your own wireless radio company! If that’s already been done, well then how about a telepathy company? But, there’s always a but, that would take you out of the middle. Maybe just get back on your bike and deliver those parcels.

*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.

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.

© Copyright John Lubans 2017

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