Do You See the Point?
DO YOU SEE THE POINT?
A sea-monster appeared in the harbor of a certain city, and drank up the water so greedily that the ships began to run aground. After the people had purified themselves by fasting, and offering sacrifices to appease the gods, they assembled on the shore; and their wise men began consulting how they should deal with the monster. A philosopher, who was noted for benevolence, said: "The sailors must not be allowed to suffer for want of water. Let us dip some out of the fountain which flows by the altar of Pity, and pour it into the harbor, that there may be enough." But the archon said: "I am afraid that will be too slow. Let us tax ourselves to build a reservoir big enough to keep the monster in. Then will strangers from all ends of
the earth come to see him, and bring much wealth into our city." Then arose a philosopher of the Cynic school, and said: "Deluded people! this is the monster who drank up the waters of Babylon and Tyre, and made these markets of the world a desolation. Kill this monster! Kill him instantly, or he might as well kill you." But the kind philosopher said it would be impious to kill the poor monster; and the archon said that though such monsters were troublesome when they grew Bo large, no city could be governed without at least a small one. So the monster drank the harbor; and the city became a desolation, like Babylon and Tyre.—Translated from the Iapygiann, by C. L. James.
- C. L. James, “Do You See the Point?,” Machinists’ Monthly Journal 14, no. 10 (October 1902): 667.