As a child, I loved to hear mom read to me from Aesop's Fables.
I also enjoyed my grandmother reading to me from Uncle Remus' Fables. I suspect that fables are as old as mankind.
Fables are interesting little stories with a moral; some sort of wisdom or advice. Recently, my beagle Sherman and I went for our morning walk and had an encounter that immediately made me think of Aesop. The beagle and the crawdad is a fable in the making.
Among the fables that stand out most for me are, "The Fox and the Grapes," "The Crow and the Pitcher," and "The Frog and the Scorpion."
"The Fox and the Grapes," is the story of a fox that desires to eat some hanging grapes. He jumped and jumped and could not reach them. Finally, he left muttering that those were probably sour grapes anyway. How often does someone who falls short of a goal declare that the goal was not worth the effort?
"The Crow and the Pitcher," is the story of a thirsty crow that landed on the lip of a pitcher to get a drink. However, no matter how he stretched his beak into the pitcher, the water was too low to reach. Giving the matter great thought, the crow picked up pebbles and dropped them into the pitcher until the water rose high enough for him to drink. Thoughtfulness and ingenuity can overcome most obstacles.
"The Frog and the Scorpion," is the story of a scorpion that meets a frog lounging at the water's edge. The scorpion begs the frog to carry him on his back to the other side. The frog, fearful, declined. But the scorpion insisted that he would never harm a creature that did him such a great favor. The frog agreed and carried the scorpion to the other side. As the scorpion climbed off the frog's back, it stung the frog. As the frog lay dying, it asked, "Why did you sting me?" The scorpion replied, "Because I am a scorpion."
Those who are evil will lie to get their way and then unleash their evil.
I couldn't tell you how many dozen crawdads live in my front yard. I don't know why. My property is hundreds of yards from any body of water. Nevertheless, after every rain, I see new mud mounds and holes in the ground where they live.
If nothing else, beagles are eternally curious and are compelled to sniff everything. Every time we go outside, Sherman's nose is skimming the top of the grass.
On a recent morning, after a rain, we stumbled onto a crawdad ambling through the grass. Sherman had never seen such a strange creature before. As Sherman moved in to get a closer look and take a sniff, it pulled its tail in and raised its claws skyward.
Sherman was immediately confused. What kind of reaction was that? He cautiously circled looking for a better approach for a sniff. The crawdad turned to meet the challenge.
Flapita, flapita, flapita, flap, ears flying. Sherman vigorously shook his head and a crawdad went cartwheeling through the air.
Apparently, Sherman was unable to get an adequate sniff. He cautiously approached again. Again, the crawdad tucked up and raised its claws.
I have never noticed any facial expression on a crawdad before. However, I would swear that this one actually looked angry.
Circling again, Sherman cautiously tried to sniff. Flapita, flapita, flapita, flap! Again, the crawdad went cartwheeling through the air. I had a hearty belly laugh.
This time, Sherman decided that there were other things in the yard that needed to be sniffed and we went on with our walk.
Is there a moral to the story? I am not sure. Don't sniff it if it has claws? Not everything in the yard wants to be smelled?
Perhaps the moral is, "curiosity pinched the beagle."