Friday Fable: One Good Turn Deserves Another

You may have heard of the old fable, “The Ant and the Dove”:

An ant stopped at a fountain one morning to quench his thirst, but he slipped into the water and began to drown. A passing dove, seeing the ant’s plight, snapped a leaf off a nearby tree and dropped it into the fountain. The ant climbed onto the leaf and floated to safety.

That afternoon, the dove was pecking at some dirt when a hunter snuck up on her with his net at the ready. The ant, seeing the dove’s danger, rushed over and bit the hunter’s heel. The startled man dropped the net, and the dove, warned of her danger, flew to safety.

And the moral is: One good turn deserves another.

You’re probably thinking, first, “Holy Smokes, the ants in Greece must be awfully big!” and second, “Wasn’t it a lion and a mouse?” To which I say, first, I spent a couple of months in Greece and never noticed a single ant, but here in Canada it’s the wee red ones that hurt like hell, so don’t judge an ant by its exoskeleton. And second, Aesop wrote over 300 fables and he liked to repeat himself – but don’t we all?

That is a good old tale. But if Aesop were a modern slave to the written word, he might have called his fable “The Blog Tourist and the Commenter”:

A writer took her new releases on a small blog tour, writing guest posts and interviews for a series of blogs that for the most part she didn’t follow herself because she was a technological dinosaur who still read newspapers (at least in the winter when the fire needed starting). She didn’t really know what she was doing and she worried if anyone would read her posts, let alone comment on them. A fellow writer and blogger followed the tour, read the interviews, and took the time to comment on several of them. When the writer saw this, she felt really good and the whole blog tour didn’t feel like a waste of time.

At the end of the blog tour, the winners of the book giveaways were notified but the frequent commenter who’d so kindly followed the blog tour didn’t win a damned thing. The writer, noticing this, asked her publishers to make the commenter an extra winner just for being awesome. The publishers said yes and the commenter won some books. When the commenter was notified of this, she felt really good and the whole effort of visiting all those blogs didn’t feel like a waste of time.

And the moral is: Even though writers could spend more time writing books instead of blogging and following blogs, it feels good to get out there occasionally and mingle with strangers in a mutually supportive way.

I don’t read many blogs, and I rarely comment on those I read, but this may change.

Today I read this article in the paper: You (not so) dirty rat. Anyone who scoffed at Aesop’s empathetic dove and ant should take a look and see how rats do good turns for each other all the time. (My son used to have rats until my dog ate them. I’ll save that story for another Friday Fable, one without any good turns at all.)

That’s it for this Friday.

(Thanks, Danielle. I hope you like the books.)

8 Comments on “Friday Fable: One Good Turn Deserves Another

    • Awesome! So happy to make your day. (And so nice to combine a day-making with a blog-writing, though only the latter was on my to-do list for Friday. I should put “make someone’s day” on my list once in a while, take a lesson from those doves and rats.)

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  3. I really loved my first look at your blog. I have felt all the feelings you mentioned about the blog touring. I also had rats for my daughter until they got cancer and died. Although everybody said how friendly they are, we only had one nice one. The other bit people all the time. Our dog at the time never would have eaten them. He was a border collie and loved all our pets and was their chief guardian and protector. He took it on himself to make that his job. Everybody knows that border collies love having jobs.

    • Thanks for all these thoughts and kind words. Your dog sounds like he was a real sweetheart. Sadly, our old dog did catch one of my son’s rats, but I think it died of a heart attack, as there were no wounds on it. I have read that many small animals like mice and rats and squirrels die of fright when they encounter large animals. It was very sad for my son, of course, but at least it didn’t have the horror of being eaten, which is just a haunting thought, the stuff of nightmares. Poor little thing. Our dogs have always lived well with cats, but the rats never bonded with anyone but each other. I always got the feeling they were terrified of everyone else. No more little critters for me – I love to see them in the outdoors only. Or in picture books. 🙂

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