Why imitate when you can best? It is right and true that the ancient Greeks claim any number of intellectual victories for all of eternity. In the realm of the fable, however, the romance of the French wrenches away the crown of laurel. Consider but one case in point, The Man and the Golden Eggs.
To listen to Aesop’s original take:
A man had a hen that laid a golden egg for him each and every day. The man was not satisfied with this daily profit, and instead he foolishly grasped for more. Expecting to find a treasure inside, the man slaughtered the hen. When he found that the hen did not have a treasure inside her after all, he remarked to himself, “While chasing after hopes of a treasure, I lost the profit I held in my hands!”
And then there was Jean de La Fontaine:
Wanting it all will lose it all,
and avarice does that. So let me call,
to give some evidence for what I say,
on him who owned a chicken who would lay
(or so in fable we are told)
a golden egg each day.
Deciding that inside her she must hold
a treasure-house of gold,
he killed her, opened her, and found the same
as in the hens from which no riches came.
He had destroyed the jewel of his store.
Those people always seeking more
can learn a lesson from this dunce.
How many of them recently have passed
from wealthy man to pauper all at once
because they wanted wealth too fast!
Danielle DiMartino Booth is CEO and Director of Intelligence at Quill Intelligence
For a full archive of my writing, please visit my website — www.DiMartinoBooth.com
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