What’s the Moral of this Fable?

In the Academy’s “Aesop’s Fables” course, students are asked to identify the moral of each fable that they read. Sometimes, the moral is pretty clear and all students say the same thing. One fable on which students disagree is the fable of “The Cock and the Jewel“.

Read the text of the fable:

A brisk young Cock scratching for something with which to entertain his favourite hens, happened to turn up a jewel. Feeling quite sure that it was something precious, but not knowing well what to do with it, he addressed it with an air of affected wisdom as follows: “You are a very fine thing, no doubt, but you are not at all to my taste. For my part, I would rather have one grain of dear delicious barley than all the jewels in the world.”

Some students see the Cock as an example of the vulgar person who, thinking only of the immediate needs of his body, cannot comprehend the value of a jewel. Others see the Cock as a wise person who, content with the necessities of life, has no interest in the vanities that worldly men seek.

What do you think? What is the moral of the fable of the Cock and the Jewel?

If you enjoy this study, you may enjoy our course studying Aesop’s Fables. We study hundreds of ancient fables and discuss the moral lessons, characters chosen by Aesop, and applications for our own lives. The lessons are simple enough for young children to enjoy and profound enough to provide mature adults with material for edifying meditations. The fables also provide an excellent introduction to Moral Philosophy, which is why we teach them in the Academy.

To enroll, visit the CLAA Study Center. You can start any time and work at your own pace.

God bless,
William C. Michael, Headmaster
Classical Liberal Arts Academy

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