The Stone and the Worm

Kriloff’s Original Fables
” Who makes this noise here ? Some poor ignorant
fool !

A Stone said, in a valley, of the rain that made a pool
‘ ” And all are glad to see him,—it needs but look around ! And as a wished-for guest have him expected,
But why is he for this selected ? He wetted for some hours the ground. Let something now of me be known ! Here I an age have been ; still, modest ever, Lying in quiet there where I am thrown :
Yet thanks to me from any heard I never. The world’s ways must be blamed, all own : No trace of justice in it can I see.” A Worm said : “Shame to thee ! This rain, however short the time it fell, The valley, dried up by the heat,
Hath dressed again in verdure sweet,
And made the farmer’s heart with hope to swell
But thou within the vale a useless weight dost dwell.”
Thus many boast, their service has lasted forty years
Though from it, like the Stone’s, no earthly good appears.
[It is doubtful whether Kriloff here intended to show
up the evils inherent in the system of State Service, in other words, whether he wrote against the Tchinovnicks as an institution, but at any rate he intended to show the many instances in the service of incapable men holding
their office for life. Kriloff probably thought more of these particular instances, as he was by no means an
innovator, but their frequency then and now proves that the system produces them. It requires an unusual
” scandal ” before those once possessed of a place, even
in the case of worse defects than sheer incapacity, lose
it through any disciplinary measures. It is a tendency of the system to make all concerned hold together and protect each other, and the chiefs are more afraid of “a
scandal” hurting themselves, than of any harm done
through individual laches.]

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