The following is in response to Aesop’s “The Eagle and the Arrow” connecting it to the film Kung Fu Panda.
The point of this four-sentence-translation of the famous fable is made at the end when the dying Eagle says “We often give our enemies the means for our own destruction.” In other words, we are often the cause of our own follies.
I admire how quickly Aesop gets to the point—the turn of the story and the creation of its tension is in the very first line of the fable. The Eagle only gets a moment of soaring—and I like to think that he/she was at least enjoying the whir of the wind against its feathers—before it is hit by the arrow of its demise. The fulcrum of this abrupt change is born with the words “…when suddenly…”
After reading this short I was reminded of the animated film “Kung Fu Panda.” In the film, Shifu (the karate master voiced by Dustin Hoffman) has a dream that the criminal Tai Lung is going to break out of prison. Therefore, Shifu sends his steward, a nervous duck, to make sure that he is being adequately held in the prison—Tai Lung gets his hands on a stray feather of the duck and uses it to escape. If Shifu had not sent the duck in the first place Tai Lung would never have gotten out of prison; Shifu, in a true Aesop-esque way, has given his enemy the means of his own destruction. The insight of this piece of flash prose is that not only are we the cause of our own destructions, we should be careful with how we do things because we never know when it will lead to our demise.