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Aesop's The Ant and The Dove: A modern interpretation

I love well written stories, especially those with a valuable moral. Aesop's Fables are some of my favorites because they are easy reads with clear lessons. The Fable of the Ant and the Dove is a bit lesser known, but completely relevant centuries after it was written.

In short, the dove saves the ant and then the ant has the opportunity to return the favor. The lesson or moral: one good turn deserves another. What strikes me as I re-read this tale is that our society no longer teaches this moral. When are we taught to repay kindness with kindness? To offer assistance without expecting the favor to be returned? To return a favor without being asked, not as a debt to be paid, but as the right thing to do?

When we examine the ant, he would seem far too small to offer any assistance at all to the dove, but the dove helps the lesser creature anyway. The dove does not even seem to think much of what he did...he could help, it cost him nothing, so he took a second and helped a creature most others would never even acknowledge.

Of course, when the ant was gratefully availing himself of the assistance, he realized the dove could not even sense the disaster about to befall him. So, unsure if he would be able to save his own savior, he acted in the only way he could and was successful. The dove, too, was saved and flew away grateful. That may have been their only interaction ever, no sense of obligation or permanent relationship is implied.

In practical application, it is important to consider when have we ever been the ant? Have we been the lesser in a situation and a person of greater stature assisted us? Have we ever been the lesser with an opportunity to serve someone greater? In the story, neither party has expectations beyond the moment. They each just do the right thing at the right time for the right reason. Integrity, I believe, can be defined in this way.

So, whether I am the ant or the dove, I want to be a person of integrity who does the right thing at every opportunity. I do not want to see every interaction as a transaction or an obligation. In a world obsessed with oppressors and the oppressed, I refuse to judge my current fellow earthlings by the behavior of former fellow earthlings. I will not judge a person by anything except the content of his or her character. I will help anyone I can anytime I can in any way I can. That is the modern lesson of the Dove and the Ant.

May we all seek to live our lives with a good deal more integrity. Thanks for reading! God bless!

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