Crow and the pitcher

A lesson from Aesop: “In a pinch, good use of our wits may help us out.” Design featuring pitcher with an Etruscan cat motif by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

A crow with an unquenchable thirst happened upon a pitcher that once had been full of water. The crow tucked her beak into the pitcher only to discover that much of the water had evaporated and the pitcher was nearly empty. She could not reach down far enough to get at the water. She tried and tried until she stopped in despair.

Then a thought came to her… she took a pebble and dropped it into the pitcher, then another, then another, and another, and another, until the water slowly rose close to the rim. After casting a few more pebbles in, she learned that little by little does the trick, and she was able to quench her thirst at last.

Aesop Crow and the Pitcher Notecard

 

A sleeping lion was awakened by a little mouse that was running back and forth on him. With his big paw the lion lifted the little mouse by the tail and opened his big jaws to swallow him.

“Forgive me!” The mouse cried, “And I will never forget it.” He continued, “I may even be able to do you a good turn one of these days.”

The lion was so tickled at the idea that a little mouse might be able to help him that he lowered the mouse to the ground and let him go.

Lion

Aesop: Kindness is never wasted. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Some time later, the lion was captured in a trap set by hunters who were intent on keeping him alive in captivity. As the hunters left to go in search of a cart to carry him, the little mouse happened by and saw the plight of the lion. Soon the little mouse gnawed away the netting that bound the lion, and then smiled up at the King of Beasts: “Was I not right.

Aesop Mouse and the Lion Notecard

Fox

Fox design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

A fox observed a Crow swoop down and pick of a choice piece of cheese then take safety on a tree branch. He said to himself: “That’s for me.”

Mr. Fox sauntered to the foot of the tree and address the Crow: Madam Crow, how well you look today: how glossy your feathers are, and how sparkling your eyes are. I am sure your voice surpasses that of all other birds, just as your figure does. Please let me hear just one song from you that I may greet you as the Queen of the Birds!

The Crow lifted her head to perform her best “Caw! Caw!” But the moment she opened her beaks, the piece of cheese fell to the ground to be snapped up by Mr. Fox.

“That will do,” he smirked. “All I wanted was your cheese.”

Then he went on his way leaving Madam Crow pondering how this Flatterer robbed her by stealth of both wit and wealth.

Ant

A Celtic ant design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

An Ant will carry a leaf hundreds of miles to bring it to the anthill or the “group mind.” An Ant work for the good of the entire community. This ant (pictured above) was just rescued from a raging river by a dove that dropped a feather that he climb upon. The feather carried him to shore were he sits and contemplates the world.

Bees

Bees buzzing design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Bees. We cannot say enough about bees, that bring the sweet honey of life… and sting only with provoked. Bees spread pollen from flower to flower and mix things up to keep things growing.

Mouse

Little brown mouse design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

A Mouse must touch everything with his or her whiskers to know it, yet he or she can chew every little thing or idea to pieces. And oh, the Mouse must watch out for predators like birds, cats, and snakes. Life is not easy when you must watch closely, little brown mouse, for that piece of cheese may be sitting on trigger that will spring a deadly trap.

We take these small creatures for granted in our daily walks, but they will figure large in some of the coming stories on this page.

For my May10Boys.

In a recent post, I have the impression that rabbits might be asleep and not paying attention to completing the race… True, the old belief that plodding wins the race, but in the race of life, much strategy is needed to continue the race. This page has been loosely focused on minimalist texts and quotes that offer hope in a world seemingly filled with conflicting forces. It is going to increasingly be populated with creatures, including the Hare, that offer lessons within parables.

Rabbit1

A parable is a short story that illustrates a practical moral lesson; it is a simulative that expresses a relationship under which something else is figured. Many storytellers through the ages have used parables to reveal truths about human nature and relating to others in layered situations. I hope to continue this tradition in my own way.

A Jay ventured into an area with some peacocks during molting season. There were lots of feathers on the ground, but the feathers started to fly after the precocious jay tried to re-purpose some of the discarded plumage by tying them to his tail and head. He thought himself quite a sight and strutted towards the peacocks with great swagger.

Ah Oh Bird

Disheartened, the Jay was compelled to return to his own kin-birds. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

As he approached the group, the peacocks quickly recognized the cheat and plucked his borrowed plumes. Disheartened and naked (they removed some of his feathers as well), the Jay was compelled to return to his kin-birds. However, as the other Jays observed his behavior from a distance, they were equally annoyed.

Turning their backs to the Jay, the understanding among all the birds was clear: it is not only fine feathers that make fine birds.

It’s never wise to compare yourself to others.

Fish

Fish design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Earlier in the day, a fisherman was drawing up a net from the sea that was full of all sorts of fish. While the big fish were all caught and hauled into the ship, a little fish escaped through the net mesh and swam back into the deep. As he crossed paths with more big fish, the little fish was grateful that his seeming insignificance was actually his safety net.

Plodding

Aesop’s fable of the Tortoise and the Hare designed by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

The Hare boasted of his speed within a congregation of animals: “I’ve never been beaten when I run at my full speed.” Then he put forth a challenge to all of his animal friends: “Does anybody care to race me today?”

The tortoise quietly stepped forward: “I accept your challenge.”

The Hare hopped up with delight: “That’s a joke? I could dance around you the whole way and still beat you!”

The Tortoise modestly responded: “Keep your boasting until you finish the race.” She glanced at the other critters with a curious grin: “You’re on.”

Soon a course was fixed and a start was made. The Hare darted forth at once and disappeared around a bend. Then paused to wait for the others to arrive… showing his contempt for the Tortoise and lay down to take a nap.

The Tortoise plodded on and on, patiently, carefully. The Hare awoke to see her just at the finish line and could not run fast enough to save the race.

All of the animals observed that plodding wins the race.

Aesop’s Tortoise and the Hare postcard

 

peafowl

Peacock exits after Juno’s refusal. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

In Greco-Roman mythology the Peacock is identified with Juno who created the Peacock from Argus whose hundred eyes symbolize the vault of heaven and the eyes of the stars.

Aesop tells of when Peacock was hanging out with the Roman goddess Juno. He petitioned her to give him the voice of a nightingale to compliment his handsome attire.

Juno refused.

Peacock persisted though: “Of all the birds, I know I am your favorite.”

To this the goddess wisely responded: “Be content with your lot; one cannot be best in everything.”

Peacock Notecard