A Fable by George Reavis

Once upon a time the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a “new world” so they organized a school. They had adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects.

The duck was excellent in swimming. In fact, better than his instructor. But he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school and also drop swimming in order to practice running. This was kept up until his webbed feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in school so nobody worried about that, except the duck.

The rabbit started at the top of the class in running but had a nervous breakdown because of so much makeup work in swimming.

The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of the treetop down. He also developed a “charlie horse” from overexertion and then got a C in climbing and D in running.

The eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing class, he beat all the others to the top of the tree but insisted on using his own way to get there.

At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceeding well and also run, climb and fly a little had the highest average and was valedictorian.

The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their children to a badger and later joined the groundhogs and gophers to start a successful private school.

Does this fable have a moral?

Note: This story was written when George Reavis was the Assistant Superintendent of the Cincinnati Public Schools back in the 1940s! This content is in the public domain and free to copy, duplicate, and distribute. If you would prefer a full-color, illustrated book, one is currently available from Crystal Springs Books at 1-800-321-0401 or 603-924-9621 (fax 603-924-6688).

Vocabulary Help

  • average – média
  • badger – texugo
  • beat – bater, ganhar, vencer
  • burrow – cavar tocas
  • charlie horse – caimbras
  • climb – escalar
  • dig – cavar
  • drop swimming – desistir da natação
  • duck – pato
  • eagle – águia
  • eel – enguia
  • fight – lutar, contestar
  • fly – voar
  • groundhog – marmota
  • instead – ao invés de
  • makeup work – trabalho de recuperação
  • nervous breakdown – colapso nervoso
  • new world – novo mundo
  • Once upon a time – Era uma vez
  • passing grades – notas suficientes apenas para ser aprovado
  • prairie dogs – cães da pradaria
  • problem child – criança problema
  • rabbit – coelho
  • run – correr
  • slow – lento
  • squirrel – esquilo
  • start from the ground up – começar a partir do chão
  • stay after school – ficar depois da aula
  • subjects – assuntos, matérias
  • swim – nadar
  • tax levy – imposto
  • teacher – professor
  • treetop down – a partir do topo da árvore
  • valedictorian – oradora
  • very poor in running – muito ruim na corrida
  • webbed feet – pé de pato