A Traveller stepped away from and walked around some snakes in the road but, when he came upon some worms paid them no attention and crushed them.
Compassion is often only given to those who can hurt you.
A Man travelling on foot chanced to see lying in the road before him several Adders who were basking in the sun. He started back, having nearly trod on them, and, with much respect and compassion, walked out of the path to avoid hurting them. Continuing his journey, it was not long before he came to some Earthworms who had issued out of the ground after a shower, and unluckily for themselves were in the midst of the road; for the Traveller, paying no attention to them, carelessly crushed them to death under his feet.
[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.]
We may perceive in the above example how little mankind are inclined to pay homage, respect, or even the common rights of humanity, to those who are without the power to inspire them with either hope or fear: but it may be observed on the contrary, with what humility and caution we approach and condescend even to flatter those we perhaps in our hearts despise, if they are but in exalted stations or potent by their wealth, while the weak or the inoffensive are so very little the objects of our attention or regard, that we are liable to insult or injure them, often more from want of thought than from any premeditated design. And we find also, that we are able to controul our passions most amazingly when in the presence of our superiors, or when it is for our interest so to do,—those passions which seem to be above our management or subjection when we are with those who are beneath us, and unable to resent our affronts. J. N.