Diaries Magazine

Old Fables New Morals - Hercules and the Wagoner

Posted on the 03 September 2018 by C. Suresh
So, there was this wagoner driving his cart on a rainy day when his wheels sank down in the slush and the cart would not move. The poor chap goes down on his knees and prays to Hercules to help him by lifting the cart out of the slush where it was stuck. Hercules appears and says, "Put your shoulder to the wheel and push it yourself. You will find your prayers fruitless if you do not first try to help yourself first."
The moral, apparently, was that 'Self-help is the best help' according to Aesop. But, then, the Wagoner probably had not done an MBA. Now, if you can conceive of an MBA actually doing things like driving carts on rainy days, instead of making reports about the logistics problems caused by rains, the story would have not ended with Hercules' statement.
"How may a mere mortal accomplish a task that is beyond the strength of mighty Hercules?"
(Note that he would not say, "I bet you cannot lift this cart off, you bum!" That MAY have had the cart off the mud but would leave the wagoner buried in the ground.)
"Lifting this puny cart is beyond my strength? What makes you say so?"
"Else why would kindhearted Hercules decline to help a mortal in distress? If he does, it must be because the task is beyond him."
And that would have the cart off the slush, Hercules' ears ringing with praises and apologies.
The moral of the story would really have been, "IF stroking the ego does not work, try wounding it."

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