Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Old Fables New Morals - The Goatherd and the Wild Goats

You know, there are these times from Aesop got quite the wrong moral from his own fables. Yeah, I know that I did say once earlier that adults makes a mess of learning morals from stories but for the very guy, who is messing up with children's minds by telling stories with morals, to get it wrong...

Take this one, for example, about the goatherd and the wild goats. This chappie, apparently, went out with his goats and a snowstorm hit the place. Finding some wild goats also in trouble, he drove them also to his place. Intending to entice them to stay with him, he fed them better than his own goats for as long as the snowstorm lasted. When the snowstorm stopped storming, the wild goats scampered away. Hearing the goatherd fuming about their ingratitude, when he had taken better care than his own goats, they said, "That is why we are leaving. If we stay, the next time you find some new goats, you will neglect us and take care of them." AND Aesop thinks that the moral of that story is, "Old friends cannot be neglected with impunity for new ones."


To be honest, I thought so too. Till I used that fable once with a bunch of management guys from different areas of specialization. They opened my eyes to the reality of the moral of the tale.


"So, you think that fable tells me I should not offer attractive schemes only to new customers? Nonsense. As usual, you have got the moral all wrong."


"What? What have I..."


"See, does the tale tell anything about any of his old goats scampering away? So, exactly how has he lost? His old friends are still with him. AND, if even one of the new lot had stayed with him, he is better off by one more goat. I think the moral should be more of 'Change is difficult for people. You may not get the new, but you will not lose the old.'"


"Yeah, Right!" chimed in the HR guy. "We entice people from other companies with better pay and perks. That does not cause an exodus of our own people. Pity! There are some we would happily give a farewell party to..."


"You mean, you do not lose any old customers...or employees..."


"Don't go wholesale like that. It is alright for fables to talk in either-or. Whether it applies to wild goats or no, when it comes to people, some 'wild goats' will stick to us...and some of our own 'goats' may leave. The point is, we generally gain in the process."


Hmmm! Either Aesop got it wrong or human beings are a whole lot more stupid than wild goats!

10 comments:

  1. Interesting take, Suresh. As a consumer though, I feel the marketing guys are not learning the right lessons. No wonder so many brands are losing it! :)

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    1. Thanks Adite. That was a tongue in cheek satire on the ways of the corporate world 😀

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  2. If I were the goatherd, would have sold them to biriyani kadai bhai and made a 'killing' :)

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    1. Making a living and making a one time killing are probably not the same thing 😀

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    2. ha ha ha. Killing the golden goat as it were :)

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  3. The fable is also new to me . There are fables and proverbs that contradict each other rt ? Without any intervention or alternate interpretation .... it's always fun to visit your pages Suresh.. :)

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  4. At this rate,Aesop will be turning in his grave lol

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