Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bishop Daniel's Fables, XI

The Dog, the Cat and the Monkey (A tale from India)

A cake, a dog was looking at,
Was stolen by his friend, the cat.
“Don’t touch the cake – said the feline –
I stole the cake, and it is mine.” –
“But I have watched it for so long...”
And to determine, who was right,
The dog and cat begin to fight.
But then a monkey comes along
And says: “What is the matter, boys?
What is the reason for this noise?”
They tell of their conflicting claims.
The monkey, having private aims,
Replies: “My friends, I am surprised
To see you so uncivilized...
To fight over a piece of fudge!
Why don’t you let me be your judge?
I’ll settle quickly this affair –
I’ll deal with you both fair and square
And give each one an equal share.”
And then, with no more words or tales
The monkey brings a pair of scales;
He takes the cake in hand and starts
To break it in two equal parts,
And the division seems just right –
It’s almost perfect – but not quite,
For this must be a just division:
The judge insists upon precision,
And, practicing his gentle art,
He takes himself the larger part
Between his fingers and his thumb
And bites away a tiny crumb.
But now the process is reversed:
The second part outweighs the first
And must be trimmed in the same way.
So, back and forth the scales do sway,
Until there’s nothing on the left,
But on the right a crumb is left. –
“To bring about your reconciliation
I will destroy this case of litigation” –
The monkey says and, with a frown,
He takes the crumb and gulps it down.


When there’s an argument among the heirs
To an estate, which all believe is theirs
Or between working men and their employers,
Who profits by it? Who, except the lawyers?

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