The Wisdom of Silence

One of Aesop’s fables concerned a turtle who envied the ducks who swam in the pond where he lived. As he listened to them describe the wonders of the world they had seen, he was filled with a great desire to travel. But being a turtle, he was unable to travel far. Finally two ducks offered to help him. One of the ducks said, “We will each hold an end of a stick in our mouths. You hold the stick in the middle in your mouth, and we will carry you through the air so that you can see what we see when we fly. But be quiet or you will be sorry.”

The turtle loved the idea. He took hold of the stick and away into the sky they went. The ducks flew up above the trees and circled around the meadow. The turtle was amazed and overjoyed at his new perspective on the world. He marveled at the flowers on the hillside. Just then a crow flew past. Astonished at the sight of a turtle flying through the air carried by two ducks he said, “Surely this must be the king of all turtles!”

“Why certainly…” the turtle began—but as he spoke, he lost his grip on the stick and fell to the ground below.

While there are times when we need to speak out and take a stand, more frequently we find ourselves in trouble because we talk too much.

“Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”—Proverbs 17:28

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