Fable of the Animal School
Once upon a time, the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of "a new world," so they organised a school. They adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming, and flying, and to make it easier to administer, all animals took all the subjects.
The duck was excellent in swimming, better in fact than his instructor and made passing grades in flying, but he was very poor in running. Since he was so slow in running, he had to stay after school and also drop swimming to practice running, This was kept up until his web feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in school, so nobody worried about that except the duck.
The rabbit started at the top of the class in running, but had a nervous breakdown because of so much makeup work in swimming.
The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground-up instead of from the tree-top-down. He also developed charlie-horses from overexertion and then got a C in climbing and a D in running.
The eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing class he beat all the others to the top of the tree, but insisted on using his own way to get there.
At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceedingly well, also run, climb, and fly a little had the highest average and was valedictorian.
The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their child to a badger and later joined the groundhogs and gophers to start a successful private school.
Credit: G. H. Reavis, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Cincinnati, Ohio (Appeared in Clearing House, 1937)