Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The ideal remedy against discouragement
(Part 4 of 4)


It was the story of a farmer who lost half of his herd every winter due to the extreme cold. In his poem, Hesiod noted the scarcity of sheep in the winter, their over-abundance in the summer, and how sheep prices oscillated with the change of seasons.

"I asked the oracle for an answer," recited Hesiod, "but he told me to look for it myself." At that point, part of the audience murmured their disapproval. Undaunted, the young poet questioned the public. "How should one react to winter scarcity? Should a man suffer passively the caprice of the Gods?"

Hesiod's poem was called "Work and Days." His conclusion was unmistakable. A wise man should buy sheep in the summer at a low price and wait for the winter's cold weather to bring back high prices and the opportunity of a profitable sale.

When Hesiod finished his performance, the audience remained silent. Half of the jury members were in favour of Homer, but Amiphidamas' preference allowed the young shepherd to carry the day. Hesiod's rhyme had been awkward and his presence on stage unexciting, but the judges had found his poem "highly instructive for ourselves and future generations."

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Rob Lee under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

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