A goose who was plucking grass upon a common thought herself affronted by a horse who fed near her; and in hissing accents, thus addressed him: “I am certainly a more noble and perfect animal than you, for the whole range and extent of your faculties is confined to one element.”
“I can walk upon the ground as well as you; I have, besides, wings, with which I can raise myself in the air; and when I please, I can sport on ponds and lakes, and refresh myself in the cool waters. I enjoy the different powers of a bird, a fish and a quadruped.”
The horse, snorting somewhat disdainfully, replied: “It is true you inhabit three elements, but you make no very distinguished figure in any one of them. You fly, indeed; but your flight is so heavy and clumsy, that you have no right to put yourself on a level with the lark or the swallow.”
“You can swim on the surface of the waters, but you cannot live in them as fishes do; you cannot find your food in that element, nor glide smoothly along the bottom of the waves.”
“And when you walk, or rather waddle, upon the ground, with your broad feet and long neck stretched out, hissing at everyone who passes by, you bring upon yourself the derision of the beholders.”
“I confess that I am formed only to move upon the ground; but how graceful is my make! How well turned my limbs! How highly finished my whole body! How great my strength! how astonishing my speed! I had much rather be confined to one element, and be admired in that, than be a goose in all!”
Fables from Boccaccio and Chaucer, Dr. John Aikin (1747-1822)
Lesson: You gain more by finding a rich mine and mining it deeper, than by flitting from one shallow mine to another. Intensity defeats extensity every time.