BACKGROUND: In the ancient world, myths, fables, and allegories were means of communicating metaphysical truths. When I was in high school, in the early 40s, we read Bulfinch’s Mythology, Aesop’s Fables, and that master of the modern fable, James Thurber. What follows is a modern fable.
Today’s Middle East scene brings to mind Aesop’s The Frogs Desiring a King. As the fable goes, here updated, the Frogs were discontented with the sorry state of their society and petitioned Jove for a government that would ensure them an enhanced lifestyle: “Mighty Jove,” the cry went up, “send us a king who will rule over us and make us as happy as Bufo americanus.”
Jove was obliging and sent them King Posni. For three decades, King Posni kept the Frogs at peace with their neighbors, the Toads. But the Frogs were not satisfied, for King Posni was too kindly disposed toward Toadland. “Mighty Jove,” croaked one of the Frogs, “we desire a real king, one who will provide us with what we want — the things of the world and the annihilation of the Toads.”
Jove realized they would be tampering with global destiny. Sighing, he muttered, “Que sera, sera,” and sent them Brother Mustafa the Fox.
The Fox, patient as well as cunning, knew exactly how to prepare Frogland to war against the tiny kingdom of the Toads.