Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Aesop’s Fable and More: Betrayal


The Ass, the Fox, & the Lion

An Ass and a Fox had become close comrades, and were constantly in each other's company. While the Ass cropped a fresh bit of greens, the Fox would devour a chicken from the neighboring farmyard or a bit of cheese filched from the dairy. One day the pair unexpectedly met a Lion. The Ass was very much frightened, but the Fox calmed his fears.

"I will talk to him," he said.

So the Fox walked boldly up to the Lion.

"Your highness," he said in an undertone, so the Ass could not hear him, "I've got a fine scheme in my head. If you promise not to hurt me, I will lead that foolish creature yonder into a pit where he can't get out, and you can feast at your pleasure."

The Lion agreed and the Fox returned to the Ass.

"I made him promise not to hurt us," said the Fox. "But come, I know a good place to hide till he is gone."

So the Fox led the Ass into a deep pit. But when the Lion saw that the Ass was his for the taking, he first of all struck down the traitor Fox.


Traitors may expect treachery.

Some examples from history . . .

A man named Temujin wanted to be the supreme chief. To achieve this goal, he was obliged to defeat Jamukha, his arch-rival.

In the end, he won because Jamukha was betrayed by his friends, who delivered him to Temujin. He had Jamukha put to death.

As to the men who had betrayed their chief and delivered him to Temujin, they were also put to death, Temujin believing that if they betrayed one master, they would not hesitate to betray their next master. Loyalty is everything.

In 1206 Temujin was proclaimed leader of the Mongols and given the honorific name of Genghis Khan.

A 25 year old pre-emperor Julius Caesar was sailing the Aegean Sea when he was kidnapped by Sicilian pirates. The pirates who captured him demanded a ransom of 20 talents (about 620 kg of silver) for his life. Caesar refused and demanded they ask for 50, as 20 talents of silver was too small a ransom for Julius Caesar. The pirates, of course, agreed and Caesar sent most of his crew off to gather the silver.

Over the next month, Caesar now alone with the pirates, took to treating them as his subordinates. The pirates quickly grew to respect and like him, and allowed him the freedom to more or less do as he pleased on their ships and island. He spent most of his time reading poetry and composing speeches, after which he would then recite to the pirates. He also joined in the various games and exercises of the pirates and even demanded they not talk whenever he napped or went to sleep for the night. He generally acted as not their prisoner, but rather, their leader.

While he was friendly with the pirates, he also didn’t appreciate being held captive. Even though he was just a private citizen at the time, he swore to them that, once free, he would hunt them down and have them crucified.

After his crew returned with his ransom and returned Caesar home, he managed to quickly raise a small fleet to return to the pirates' island. He captured them all, and took back his 50 talents of silver, along with all of their possessions. He then had them crucified under his own authority, despite being forbidden not to by the proconsul of the region.

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