A fable from Aesop that questions how important we are in the grand scheme of things.
The bones of the story:
A gnat buzzed around the ear of a huge bull as it stood grazing in the field. Finally, it settled on one of the bull’s horns, and stayed in place, resting, for a long while. When it was ready to move on, the gnat, spoke to the bull. “Excuse me, Mr Bull, but I am conscious that I have been disturbing your grazing with the weight of my body. Shall I move on? I don’t want you to think that I am being inconsiderate.” To which the bull replied, “Little gnat, thank you for being so aware of my needs, but to be honest, I didn’t notice when you came, and I shan’t notice when you go.”
- Fables of Aesop translated by Stanley Alexander (1954)
- Phaedrus, The Fables of Phaedrus, translated by Christopher Smart