Wisdom, Pride, and a Turtle

Illustration by E. Boyd Smith

Illustration by E. Boyd Smith

There is a fable about a turtle and some geese.  They lived together at a pond for many years but a severe drought dried up the pond.  Desperate for water, the geese decided to seek a new home.  While saying goodbye to their turtle friend, he beseeched them not to leave him there alone.  The geese said if they stayed, they would all die.  The turtle had a stroke of genius, the geese could carry either end of a good stick in their beaks, let him bite the middle of it and fly him to a new watery home.  After all, the turtle had a very strong bite.  The concerned geese questioned if the turtle could not talk during the journey or else he would fall to an unfortunate demise.  The turtle reaffirmed his ability to hang on and not talk.   The journey began and all was going well until they passed a town and the people saw a turtle flying in the sky holding a stick. The townspeople called to the animals to find out who came up with such a grand idea.  The turtle, knowing it was his idea could not resist and replied, “It was my idea!”  And the turtle fell. (Taken from Translated Indian fables of Bidpai by Maude Dutton)

“This story illustrates how pride leads its victims to their fall.  It whispers to them, ‘You can get there all alone.  You just need a little intelligence and strength.’  This reasoning may work in certain aspects of our lives . . Where pride says, ‘I am the one who did it,’ wisdom prefers to recognize, ‘God empowered me to be able to do it.’ . . .  Are our personal abilities, intelligence, and work sufficient to enable us to fulfill the measure of our creation? . . . Certainly not!  True wisdom includes recognizing our dependence on our Creator and His Son, Jesus Christ, to reach our full potential.”  Gerald Causse

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