A river Fish was washed to the sea. He thought himself to good compared with the sea Fish. But, in the long run sea Fish bring more at market.
Value is what others think of you, not what you think of yourself.
A large overgrown Pike was carried out to sea by a strong current. He gave himself great airs on account of what he considered his superior race and descent, and despised the Sea Fishes among whom he found himself. “You value yourself at a great price,” said a little stranger, “but if ever it is our fate to come to the market, you will find that I am thought a good deal more of there than you.”
THE waters of a river being mightily swelled by a great flood, the stream ran down with a violent current, and by its rapid force carried a huge Barbel along with it into the sea. This fresh water spark was no sooner come into a new climate, but he began to give himself airs, to talk big, and look with contempt upon the inhabitants of the place. He boasted that he was of a better country and family than any among them, for which reason they ought to give place to him, and pay him respect accordingly. A fine large Mullet, that happened to swim near him, and heard his insolent language, bid him hold his silly tongue; for, if they should be taken by fishermen, and carried to market, he would soon be convinced who ought to have the preference: We, says he, should be bought up, at any price, for tables of the first quality, and you sold to the poor for little or nothing.
It proceeds from a want either of sense or breeding, or both, when foreigners speak slightly of the country they happen to be in, and cry up their own. It is indeed natural to have an affection for one’s own native place; nor can we, perhaps, in our mind, help prefering it before any other; but it is certainly both imprudent and unmannerly, to express this in another country, to people whose opinion it must needs contradict, by the same rule that it pleases our own. But, however, granting that there is a certain difference between countries, so as to make one greatly preferable, in the generality of opinions, to another, yet what has this to do with the merit of particular persons? or why should any one value himself upon an advantage over others, which is purely owing to accident? It must be from some useful or agreeable talent in ourselves, that we are to merit the esteem of mankind; and if we shine in a superior degree of virtue or wisdom, whatever our native air happened to be, virtuous and wise men, of every nation under heaven, will pay us the regard and the acknowledgments we deserve.