Thursday, December 29, 2022

Quote of the Day (Aesop, on a Creature Appearing as Something He Isn’t)

“An Ass having put on a Lion's skin, roamed about, frightening all the silly animals he met with, and, seeing a Fox, he tried to alarm him also. But Reynard, having heard his voice, said, ‘Well, to be sure! and I should have been frightened too, if I had not heard you bray.’"—Fable 336 in Aesop’s Fables, edited by Karl Halm, translated by Thomas James, part of An Argosy of Fables; A Representative Selection From the Fable Literature of Every Age and Land, edited by Frederic Taber Cooper (1921)

An “Ass” trying to appear like something he’s not—it sounds like the very definition of a politician, doesn’t it?

But one with his continual talk of being “strong,” trying to scare everyone in sight, but continually giving himself away despite his best efforts: I can really think of only one these days. Are you thinking of the same person?

No wonder that one very credible translation of the tale’s moral goes: A fool may deceive by his dress and appearance, but his words will soon show what he really is.

The image accompanying this post is by the English book illustrator Arthur Rackham (1867-1939).

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