The Spendthrift and The Swallow

A prodigal young Fellow, who had run through all his money and even sold all his outer clothes except his cloak, saw a Swallow skimming over the meadows one fine day in the early spring. Believing that summer was really come, he sold his cloak too. The next morning there happened to be a severe frost, and, shivering and nearly frozen himself, he found the Swallow lying stiff and dead upon the ground. He thereupon upbraided the poor bird as the causes of all his misfortune. “Stupid thing!” said he, “had you not come before your time, I should not now be so wretched.”

Be not ready to believe rumors.

Aesop, 6th century

Hello coffee loves and avid readers! Welcome to Olive’s School at Olive’s Café, where you explore life lessons told by great Grandpa Aesop.

When I read this fable, it was pretty amusing that Frank (I’m calling the fellow Frank to make it easier) believed that summer was coming all because he saw a swallow soaring near the meadow in the early spring. However, he ended up frozen, and naked, the next day. I also found it more amusing that he blamed the swallow for his misfortune, but it was Frank’s fault for all his own misfortunes. If he hadn’t spent his money frivolously, he wouldn’t have sold his clothes, and he would have stayed warm for the upcoming frost. Just a thought.

I can go on and on about the things he should have done to stay warm instead of blaming the swallow, but since it’s a fable, it’s supposed to teach us a lesson. Although it was amusing, I find the story and the quote a lesson that we can learn, either we’re the ones believing the information we receive, or the ones giving the information. I will admit, I have been naïve in my early years growing up, and I’m still naïve to this day. Since I am naïve, I take it upon myself to make sure that I seek information from different sources that defend it. Usually, I just look for another source.

This lesson can be applied today based on how we pass information from one entity to another, from social media to news outlet, even in our lives. We tend to have a habit of passing information, and we sometimes make the mistake of not adding the sources to support our claim. We tend to blame others for “false” information because we rely on them when the information is vital to us. I mean, it’s infuriating when that happens because it’s new information that we’ve never come across with. We also have to be careful when passing on information or believe them. Sometimes it seems harmless, but we may never know. It could hurt not only others, but ourselves as well, even do a lot of damage. However (and you don’t have to do this), I’ve come to ask myself: should I have believed this information? Should I have asked questions? Was it really useful? Should I have looked it up myself to see if it’s true? If that is the case, Frank should have learned about when birds of all species return to their homes in the season. My question is didn’t he know when the swallow was actually supposed to fly back home? Maybe, maybe not….

Overall, I learned, and still learning, is that if I receive any information, or even give information, I look for reliable sources to back up the claim, find out if the claim is true, or ask questions when I feel there’s something missing. Otherwise, I just don’t give information that I know nothing of from a source that doesn’t have concrete evidence. Sometimes, it also helps to ask for thoughts from others. If anything, Frank could have asked someone else if it was going to be warmer the next day, BUT the story was told in the 6th century, and advanced technology didn’t exist yet.

Remember, when you do receive, or give, information, make sure you back up your claim, or even let the recipient know to look up the information themselves. We have access to a lot of information, and we even have become so resourceful, it gets overwhelming with what we do with it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Thank you for tuning in on Olive’s School of Life at Olive’s Café!

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