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Aesop: In His 3rd Millenium
IX. The Spider, the Cockerel, the Sheep, and the Ram

About False Witness...

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A Guide to this Site | Did Aesop Exist? | I. The Lion and The Mouse | II. The Scorpion and The Ladybug | III. The Dog in the Manger | IV. The Ants and The Grasshopper | V. The Frog and the Chrysalis | VI. Hercules and The Carter | VII. The Fox and his Tale | VIII. An Elephant, A Bear, and a Katydid | IX. The Spider, the Cockerel, the Sheep, and the Ram | X. The Farmer and the Snake | XI. The Lion, The Fox, and the Ass | XII. The Dog, the Cat, and the Bear | XIII. The Ship and the Whale | XIV. The Duckling, the Hawk, and the Mallard

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Spiders sometimes weave tangled webs they wish they hadn't.

Ofttimes the cockerels come home to roost! Praise be.

OK, OK, so cockerels don't exactly roost. But it makes a statement, don't you think? I believe the bane of America's culture is her Puritan heritage. The Witchhunt is alive and well in this new millenium.

Gossip creates a total abrogation of human rights when reputations are destroyed without a victim able to confront his accusers. Guilt by Accusation! No evidence, just assertion. I hate, loathe, and despise gossip, in case you didn't notice. 'Nuf said by me.

The Fable below does a better job.

A Spider, who was vain about her craft, spun webs in every imaginable spot she could find, often in unlikely spots that annoyed the Farmer and his Wife. She was swift and could create a masterpiece in less than an hour.

An aging Ram resided in a pen, beloved of the Children, although he was half blind. One day the gate to his pen was left open by the youngest Child whose strength was not sufficient to latch it soundly. The Ram leaned against it and blundered out of his pen, unable to see where he was going.

He drifted into the barn and innocently brushed through one of the Spiders art works which she had spun across the doorway. The web was destroyed and the Spider was outraged.

She made her way to all the farm structures, the pig pen, the barn stalls, the hen house, and told all the oxen, the horses, the pigs, the hens, and anyone she could find about the wicked, vicious Ram who had deliberately destroyed her home.

Inflamed by her own passion the Spider wove webs of deceit about the Ram, creating horror stories of abuse, viciousness, and oppression of which the Ram was the purported villain. All the animals believed her. After all, it was very entertaining. All believed her, that is, but one.

The Cockerel was new to the farm, a large handsome bird and a favorite of the hens to whom he was kind, wise, and very protective. He watched the animals shun the Ram. He saw the Ram isolated and lonely.

A Sheep watched the Cockerel carefully, then hesitantly approached him. "I saw the whole thing," she said, sheepishly. "But I was afraid of the Spider."

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"What did you see?" asked the Cockerel.

"It was an accident. The poor Ram did not see the web. But, sir," she went on, "it is very difficult for any of us to avoid the Spider's webs. She has no concern for the rights of others."

The Sheep gained confidence because the Cockerel listened attentively. "And further, Ram has never done any of the other things, either. Anyone could tell you that."

The Cockeral thanked the Sheep and approached the Ram and asked to hear his side of the story. The Ram told the truth with humility and conviction, and the Cockeral then spoke to a few other of the Farm creatures.

Finally he sought out the Spider and said to her, "There is a Commandment among Humans that says, 'Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor.' You have told vicious lies about the Ram, who is a good fellow and innocent of all your deceit. Several here have contradicted your stories."

The Cockerel looked around the barnyard. None of the animals would look him in the eye. "What say you all? asked the Cockerel. Shall the Spider answer for her sins?"

All the animals, deciding a new game was afoot, began to yell out, "Yes! Yes! Kill her! Kill her!" And with that the Cockeral snapped the squirming Spider with his beak and made a tasty meal of her.

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