Aesop’s Fables: The Camel & The Arab and Belling The Cat

A fable is a brief story ending in a lesson or moral, often involving anthropomorphic animals. Aesop’s Fables are attributed to a slave who lived in Greece in the 6th century BCE. Whether he actually wrote all the fables is a matter of debate. Whether he was an actual person is also a matter of debate. Regardless of their source, they have been spreading common sense around the globe for millennia. Here are two:

THE CAMEL & THE ARAB
An Arab merchant was preparing to set out across a vast desert with a large inventory of precious goods. After loading his great bulging bundles on the back of his weary camel, he asked which way the animal would prefer to go, up hill or down hill?
The camel replied, “Why do you ask? Is the level road through the desert closed?”
The moral to this story is: Don’t ask obvious questions.

BELLING THE CAT
The Mice convened a Great Council meeting to discuss how to combat their mortal enemy the Cat. An eager young mouse, attending his first Great Council came forth with a proposal. “Our enemy’s main advantage is her stealth. If we had some warning of her approach, our chances of escape would be very high. I know of a small bell that could be easily detached from the Child’s toy. If we hang that bell around the Cat’s neck on a ribbon, she will not be able to sneak up on us anymore.” An excited murmur spread through the council chamber, heads nodded and whiskers twitched with favorable interest. The smart, young mouse swelled with pride. Then a wise, old mouse raised his hand. When the room was quiet and all attention turned his way, the old mouse said, “Who will attach the bell to the Cat?” Now, this was a community of hard-working, respectable mice, but none were heroes. They took a moment to mourn their fleeting moment of hope and then began again to brainstorm anti-Cat tactics.
The moral to this story is: Impossible solutions are easy to propose.

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