19 Apr Beauty is not everything
The Hart was once drinking from a pool and admiring the noble figure he made there. “Ah,” said he, “where can you see such noble horns as these, with such antlers! I wish I had legs more worthy to bear such a noble crown; it is a pity they are so slim and slight.” At that moment a Hunter approached and sent an arrow whistling after him. Away bounded the Hart, and soon, by the aid of his nimble legs, was nearly out of sight of the Hunter; but not noticing where he was going, he passed under some trees with branches growing low down in which his antlers were caught, so that the Hunter had time to come up. “Alas! alas!” cried the Hart: “We often despise what is most useful to us.”
Moral: A Stag admired his antlers in a pool but was chased away by a hunter. The hunter was able to catch up when the Stag got his antlers caught in a tree. So what the fable teaches us is that we often despise what is most useful to us and appreciate the wrong ones.
Ancient Greek text:
῎Ελαφος εὐμεγέθης ὥρᾳ θέρους διψῶν παραγίνεται ἐπί τινα πηγὴν διαυγῆ καὶ βαθεῖαν καὶ πιὼν ὅσον ἤθελεν προσεῖχεν τῇ τοῦ σώματος ἰδέᾳ. Καὶ μάλιστα μὲν ἐπῄνει τὴν φύσιν τῶν κεράτων ὡςκόσμος εἴη παντὶ τῷ σώματι. ῎Εψεγεν δὲ τὴν τῶν σκελῶν λεπτότητα ὡς οὐχ οἵων τε ὄντων φέρειν πᾶν τὸ βάρος.᾽Εν ᾧ δὲ πρὸς τούτοις ἦν, ὑλακή τε κυνῶν αἰφνιδίως ἀκούεται καὶ κυνηγέται πλησίον. ῾Ο δὲ πρὸς φυγὴν ὥρμα καὶ μέχρις ὅπου διὰ πεδίου ἐποιεῖτο τὸν δρόμον, ἐσῴζετο ὑπὸ τῆς ὠκύτητος τῶν σκελῶν.᾽Επεὶ δὲ εἰς πυκνὴν καὶ δασεῖαν ὕλην ἐνέπεσεν, ἐμπλακέντων αὐτῷ τῶν κεράτων ἑάλω, πείρᾳ μαθὼν ὅτι ἄρα ἄδικος ἦν τῶν ἰδίων κριτὴς ψέγων μὲν τὰ σῴζοντα, ἐπαινῶν δὲ τὰ προδόντα αὑτόν.