Monday, July 17, 2017

The Toad and The May-Fly

The Toad and The May-Fly

As some workmen were digging marble in a mountain, they came upon a Toad of enormous size in the midst of a solid rock. They were very much surprised at so uncommon an appearance, and the more they considered the circumstances of it, the more their wonder increased. It was hard to conceive by what means this creature had preserved life and received nourishment in so narrow a prison, and still more difficult to account for his birth and existence in a place so totally inaccessible to all his species. They could come to no other conclusion but that he was formed together with the rock in which he had been bred, and was coeval with the mountain itself. While they were pursuing these speculations, the Toad sat swelling and bloating, till he was ready to burst with pride and self-importance, to which at last he thus gave vent: “Yes,” said he, “you behold in me a specimen of the antediluvian race of animals. I was begotten before the Flood; and who is there among the present upstart race of mortals that shall dare to contend with me in nobility of birth or dignity of character?” A May-fly, sprung that morning from the river, as he was flying about from place to place, chanced to be present, and observed all that passed with great attention and curiosity. “Vain boaster,” said he, “what foundation hast thou for pride, either in thy descent, merely because it is ancient, or thy life, because it has been long? What good qualities hast thou received from thy ancestors? Insignificant even to thyself, as well as useless to others, thou art almost as insensible as the block in which thou wast bred. Even I, that had my birth only from the scum of the neighbouring river, at the rising of this day’s sun, and who shall die at its setting, have more reason to applaud my condition than thou hast to be proud of thine. I have enjoyed the warmth of the sun, the light of day, and the purity of the air: I have flown from stream to stream, from tree to tree, and from the plain to the mountain. I have provided for posterity, and I shall leave behind me a numerous offspring to people the next age of to-morrow; in short, I have fulfilled all the ends of my being, and I have been happy. My whole life, ’tis true, is but of twelve hours, but even one hour of it is to be preferred to a thousand years of mere existence which have been spent, like thine, ignorance, sloth, and stupidity.”

((Size and age don’t indicate importance.))

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