The Glow-Worm

A Glow-worm was admired by night. He decided to come out in the day and shine but by day only looked like a normal old grub. Not so bright!

If want to move up in station you must be fully prepared.


JN Fable 051

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

A Glow-worm well knowing that he was admired for his extraordinary splendour, whenever he made his appearance on a dark evening, grew exceedingly proud and conceited upon the notice that was taken of him; and could not rest contented in his humble retreat, in a hedge among the insects his neighbours, but burnt with inward fire to come forward and display himself in bright day-light, to a gazing crowd of admirers more discerning and more numerous than in the gloom of night; and accordingly having placed himself in a most conspicuous situation, he had the mortification of being informed, that his beauties were not of so sterling a quality as to bear a close inspection, for thus exposed in sunshine he appeared to be a mere grub.


There are too many like the Glow-worm in the fable, who appear very excellent when in a humble station of life, but are found very ill qualified to move in a sphere more lofty and splendid. As we become more exalted in our stations, we become more the immediate objects of criticism, and subject to the shafts of envy; as our power is increased and our field of action is enlarged, our task becomes doubly difficult to escape doing wrong, and those follies which would pass unnoticed in an obscure station, when practised by the great, are exposed. to all eyes, and meet with universal condemnation. J. N.

JN Fable 051a

Wood drawing: William Harvey (1828)