Young Lobster put on a cast-off shell with delight not realizing the prior owner was boiled and eaten. Mother Lobster quickly made that clear. Ooops!
Be humble, content, obscure and safe.
It chanced on a time that the shell of a boiled Lobster was thrown on the sea-shore, where it was quickly espied by one of the same tribe, who, young, ignorant, and vain, viewed it with admiration and delight. “See,” said she, addressing her mother, who was at her side; “behold the beauty and splendour of hue in one of our family, thus decked out in noble scarlet, so rich in colour that no coral can surpass it in brilliancy! I shall have no rest till I am become possessed of an appearance equally magnificent; nor can I bear to see myself the dingy object I am at present, and obliged to mingle undistinguished with our swarthy race.” “Proud and heed less idiot!” replied the mother; “know that this same tawd1y finery which you so earnestly covet once belonged to some unfortunate wretch. and was acquired by her destruction. Hence learn from this terrible example to be humble and content, obscure and safe.”
[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.]
Vanity, or the silly ambition to vie with our superiors in regard to outward show rather than inward accomplishments, is often the cause of our utter ruin, and has proved the destruction of thousands; for the suggestions of vanity are as delusive as those of superstition, nor are we sufficiently apprehensive that were our ill-judged prayers to be always granted, how many would be victims to their own request.
It is never safe to trust to outward appearances, as the object of our pride is often the source of our misfortune; the young and artless should make caution supply the place of years and experience, as schemes of ambition without proper talents always terminate in disgrace. In this point of view the superior safety of an obscure and humble station is a balance for the honours of high and envied life, and an immoderate pursuit of pleasure is generally fatal to its object.