Jupiter and the Camel


The Camel presented a petition to Jupiter, complaining of the hardship of his case in not having, like bulls and other creatures, horns, or any weapons of defence, to protect himself from the attacks of his enemies, and praying that relief might be given him in such manner as might be thought most expedient. Jupiter could not help smiling at the impertinent address of the great silly beast, but, however, rejected the petition; and told him that, so far from granting his unreasonable request, henceforward he would take care his ears should be shortened, as a punishment for his presumptuous importunity.


The nature of things is so fixed in every particular, that they are very weak superstitious people who dream it is to be altered. But, besides the impossibility of producing a change by addresses of this nature, they who employ much of their time upon such accounts, instead of getting, are sure to lose in the end. When any man is so frivolous and vexatious as to make unreasonable complaints, and to harbour undue repinings in his heart, his peevishness will lessen the real good which he possesses, and the sourness of his temper shorten that allowance of comfort which he already thinks too scanty. Thus, in truth, it is not Providence, but ourselves who punish our own importunity in soliciting for impossibilities, with a sharp corroding care, which abridges us of some part of that little pleasure which Providence has cast into our lot.