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The Diamond and the Loadstone

Fables

Aesop

A Diamond, of great beauty and lustre, observing, not only many other gems of a lower class ranged together with himself in the same cabinet, but a Loadstone likewise placed not far from him, began to question the latter how he came there, and what pretensions he had to be ranked among the precious stones; he, who appeared to be no better than a mere flint, a sorry, coarse, rusty-looking pebble, without any the least shining quality to advance him to such an honour; and concluded with desiring him to keep his distance, and pay a proper respect to his superiors.

"I find," said the Loadstone, "you judge by external appearances, and condemn without due examination; but I will not act so ungenerously by you. I am willing to allow you your due praise: you are a pretty bauble; I am mightily delighted to see you glitter and sparkle; I look upon you with pleasure and surprise; but I must be convinced you are of some sort of use before I acknowledge that you have any real merit, or treat you with that respect which you seem to demand. With regard to myself, I confess my deficiency in[14] outward beauty; but I may venture to say, that I make amends by my intrinsic qualities. The great improvement of navigation is entirely owing to me. By me the distant parts of the world have been made known and are accessible to each other; the remotest nations are connected together, and all, as it were, united into one common society; by a mutual intercourse they relieve one another's wants, and all enjoy the several blessings peculiar to each. The world is indebted to me for its wealth, its splendour, and its power; and the arts and sciences are, in a great measure, obliged to me for their improvements, and their continual increase. All these blessings I am the origin of; for by my aid it is that man is enable to construct that valuable instrument, the Mariner's Compass."

MORAL.

Let dazzling stones in splendour glare;
Utility's the gem for wear.

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