A Fisherman hooked a Salmon with light tackle. By carefully playing his prey the Fisherman won. The Salmon was beat by a single hair.
Steady wins over violence.
An Angler on the margin of a river was fishing for the smaller kind of fish, and therefore had furnished himself with such delicate tackle that his hook was fixed to one single hair. Now it chanced that he hooked a large Salmon, which, he concluded, would have proved the destruction of his slender apparatus; however, by judicious management he so gently played with his prey in giving it way, and avoiding any act of violence, that at last he fairly conquered this huge fish, and drew it safely to the shore, exhausted by its own ineffectual efforts to get free. Thus the large Salmon had not strength enough to resist the power of a single hair.
[Note: The Northcote fable is the same fable as in the JBR Collection above. Only the illustration and Application associated with the fable in the Northcote book are displayed here.]
In this Fable we are shown how much may be done by a patient and prudent conduct where violence or strength would have failed. Contradiction should awaken our attention and not raise our passion; otherwise it is little better than yielding the victory. We frequently find in the intercourse of society and in conversation, that ’tis reason yields first; the wisest man is generally unwilling to enter into contest with the more foolish and fantastical; we ought to study their weak side, to accommodate ourselves to their humour and caprices, and take care not to thwart them in any thing, and by such means we shall gain their hearts. Our success consists in foreseeing the intention of our antagonist, and the blow foreseen is easily avoided. There are not so many things impossible in their own nature as we think there are: we want not the means to conquer difficulties, so much as resolution and prudence in the application of them. J. N.