Prompt: Write your own fable.
“I’ve decided to take a trip through the piney woods,” a horse explained to his friend the donkey one day.
“Have you?” replied the donkey as he munched on his hay. “Well, I have been through the piney woods before; the path is long but pleasant. Remember though, when you come to the fork in the road, to go left. If you go left, you will come to a stream from which to drink and refresh yourself. The other fork will lead you to a pit of quicksand.”
Our Horse listened carefully and the next day, started out on his journey.
As he entered the forest, an owl landed on the limb of a nearby tree. “Where are you going?” inquired the owl.
The owl clucked solemnly, “Your donkey friend has a poor memory. Listen to a wise old owl and turn right. The left path will lead you to a pit of quicksand.”
With that, he alighted from his branch. “Remember, right is right!” called the owl as the flapping of his wings died away.
The owl is most certainly right, thought the horse as he continued on. The day was cool and the horse trotted slowly enjoying the forest scenery around him. Before long, the horse heard a noise behind him and looked back to see a fox approaching quickly.
“Good morning, friend.” He greeted the advancing fox.
“I’m traveling through the piney woods.” Horse paused a moment. “I’ve been warned not take the left path at the fork,” he added tentatively.
The fox looked startled “The left path?” he asked slowly. “I should have warned you to avoid the right path—for it leads to a pit of quick sand.”
“Hmm,” mused the horse.
“I must continue on–I have a long way to go and I am thirsty,” murmured the fox and he darted off the path into the underbrush onto the left side of the forest.
“I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation,” she cooed, “and I felt compelled to warn you not to listen to his advice. Foxes always have malicious agendas. Instead, turn right.” And with that she fluttered away.
The road bent, and up ahead, the horse could see the fork. When he reached the place, he hesitated and turned right, unwilling to trust the advice of a donkey and a fox.
The foolish horse took two steps and sank into the ground.
You can’t judge a book by its cover.
Certainly in many situations, sweeping assumptions are fitting and often accurate—however, we must all be careful to avoid inappropriate assumptions based solely on appearance.
Please comment! Which direction did you think the horse should have gone when he reached the fork?
Did you assume things about the characters because of their skin?
Did you assume that the owl must be wise simply because he is an owl?
Did you assume the fox must be wicked simply because he is a fox?
Did you forget that the donkey was our horse’s friend?
Read through the story again and watch for clues that the horse should have identified when he decided who to trust.
How might I have better conveyed the negative/positive connotations of the animals without implying that they are true?