Saturday, 7 September 2013

Ends and means

Ambrose Bierce - from Wikipedia

While a man was trying with all his might to cross a fence, a bull ran to his assistance, and taking him upon his horns, tossed him over. Seeing the man walking away without making any remark, the bull said: “You are quite welcome, I am sure. I did no more than my duty.”

“I take a different view of it, very naturally,” replied the man, “and you may keep your polite acknowledgments of my gratitude until you receive it. I did not require your services.”

“You don’t mean to say,” answered the bull, “that you did not wish to cross that fence!”

“I mean to say,” was the rejoinder, “that I wished to cross it by my method, solely to avoid crossing it by yours.”

Fabula docet that while the end is everything, the means is something.

Ambrose Bierce - Cobwebs from an Empty Skull (1874)


Sackerson said...

I have never forgotten being told the plot of "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" - -

But yet the pity of it, Iago! O Iago, the pity of it, Iago!

A K Haart said...

Sackers - I haven't read "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge", but I've just looked up the plot. I'll give it a go.