The Envious Glow-worm

A Glow-worm was envious of a chandelier in a distant palace. Its mate knew better and cautioned to just wait. Soon the chandelier was dark and all was well.

Don’t be envious.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

A humble Glow-worm, lying in a garden, was moved with envy on seeing the effect of lights from a brilliant chandelier in a neighbouring palace, and, in a melancholy mood, complained of the comparative feebleness of his own splendour; when his companion, who was more sagacious than himself, checked his murmurs by saying, “Wait a little; have patience, and observe the event.” After a short time the light was seen no more, and the palace was left in total darkness. “Now,” resumed his mate, “you see we have out-lustrcd those many glaring lights, which, though brighter for a time, yet hasten the more quickly to nothing.”


[Note: The Northcote fable is the same fable as in the JBR Collection above. Only the illustrations and Application associated with the fable in the Northcote book are displayed here.]


“I have seen,” says Dr. Johnson, from whom the hint of this fable is taken, “the meteors of Fashion rise and fall.” The idle part of the world crowd round novelty; and give it a notoriety for a time often much above its deserts, but after being tired, leave it to its fate, neglected and forgotten; while they run with eager scent after new game, which in due time is cast off, like the preceding. Probably, this levity in mankind is ordained for a wise and just purpose, that every new adventurer may have his day; as it would be a hard fate indeed to mean capacities to have no advantages, or even notice; which must inevitably be the case, if one alone engrossed the whole attention of the world, by the sole power of superior abilities; and therefore. Nature shews us frequent instances of those to whom she has been niggardly in her gift of talents; but, as a recompence, has very kindly consigned them to the care and patronage of Fortune. And as it would be an extreme degree of partiality to endow one favorite with both wisdom and fortune; we seldom witness that injustice. J. N.

JN Fable 013

Sketch: James Northcote; Wood drawing: William Harvey (1828)

JN Fable 013a

Wood drawing: William Harvey (1828)