Aesop Fables The Two Pots


Two Pots, one of brass and the other of clay, stood together on the hearthstone. One day the Brass Pot proposed to the Earthen Pot that they go out into the world together. But the Earthen Pot excused himself, saying that it would be wiser for him to stay in the corner by the fire. "It would take so little to break me," he said. "You know how fragile I am. The least shock is sure to shatter me!" "Don't let that keep you at home," urged the Brass Pot. "I shall take very good care of you. If we should happen to meet anything hard I will step between and save you." So the Earthen Pot at last consented, and the two set out side by side, jolting along on three stubby legs first to this side, then to that, and bumping into each other at every step. The Earthen Pot could not survive that sort of companionship very long. They had not gone ten paces before the Earthen Pot cracked, and at the next jolt he flew into a thousand pieces. Equals make the best friends.

Sirach 13:2

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

1 Whoever touches pitch gets dirty, and whoever associates with a proud person becomes like him. 2 Do not lift a weight too heavy for you, or associate with one mightier and richer than you. How can the clay pot associate with the iron kettle? The pot will strike against it and be smashed. 3 A rich person does wrong, and even adds insults; a poor person suffers wrong, and must add apologies. 4 A rich person will exploit you if you can be of use to him, but if you are in need he will abandon you. 5 If you own something, he will live with you; he will drain your resources without a qualm. 6 When he needs you he will deceive you, and will smile at you and encourage you; he will speak to you kindly and say, "What do you need?" 7 He will embarrass you with his delicacies, until he has drained you two or three times, and finally he will laugh at you. Should he see you afterwards, he will pass you by and shake his head at you.

 Notes and References

"... There is, on the contrary, evidence that the Jews after Biblical times adopted fables either from Greece or from India. In Sirach 13:20 there is a distinct reference to the fable of the two pots, which is known in classical antiquity only from Avian (9), though it occurs earlier in Indian sources ('Panchatantrn,' iii. 13, 14). There is a later reference to the same fable in the rabbinic proverb, 'If a jug falls on a stone, woe to the jug! If a stone falls on the jug, woe to the jug!" (Esther Rabbah). For the later spread of Aespoic and Indian fables among the rabbis of the Talmud, see Aesop ..."

Singer, Isidore The Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History, Religion, Literature, and Customs of the Jewish People from the Earliest Times to the Present Day (Volume 5) (p. 324) Funk & Wagnalls, 1912

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