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The Fables of Æsop;, as rendered by Joseph Jacobs, and done into pictures by Richard Heighway. Published by Macmillan and Co. 1894

Every night, as my bedtime treat, a story is read to me by my true love and proofreader. Last night it was Æsop’s The Wind and the Sun. It seems I am never willing to let anything go unchallenged, even favorite two-thousand-year-old fables. Most of these fables have a short moral lesson, written in a black-face font for greater impact, at their end. Quite often I can’t make a sensible linkage between the fable and the moral lesson, but this one I had to challenge.

The moral Kindness effects more than Severity doesn’t make sense in this case. Sometimes a wind is a most welcome treat, as to a sailor trying to get home, and sometimes the sun is harsh treatment, as to a desert traveler on a hot day. Also, sometimes severity does get important things done, whereas kindness brings on idleness to those same individuals inclined toward laziness.

To my mind a more reasonable moral to be learned from this fable is: The one who makes the rules controls the outcome. In this case the Sun made up the rules, and the Wind agreed all too quickly to them and was doomed to lose.