The Beetle in the Bathtub

Fable for a Monday Morning


One night a big black beetle fell into a bathtub, trying to reach water. The people who lived in the house watched the beetle attempt the impossible climb up the slick sides of the bathtub. But it was only a beetle, so they watched for a while and went to bed, leaving the beetle to continue its insurmountable task. Even the cat left the beetle alone, for it had learned months earlier that beetles taste nothing like spiders.

In the middle of the night, one of the sleepless people noticed the beetle again. It was still there in the bathtub, still making a valiant attempt to climb out of its prison. It hadn’t given up, wasn’t sitting in the bottom of the bathtub waiting for rescue. Having attained a magnificent height of an inch and a half, the beetle clung to the bathtub wall, waving one foot in an attempt to find the next secure foothold.

Admiring the beetle’s patience, the person finally moved the shower curtain inside the bathtub, thinking the beetle might be able to climb out that way. Then the person went to bed, leaving the beetle to figure things out on its own.

In the morning, the person went back in the bathroom, only to discover the beetle had climbed all the way up the shower curtain and was clinging to the very top. Not wanting to share the shower with a strange beetle, the person flicked the beetle off the shower curtain, and it fell down, down, down, into the very same tub from which it had recently escaped.

As the beetle paused to recover from the long fall, the person felt sorry for it and scooped the beetle up into a red plastic cup. Then the person took the cup outside and turned it upside down, dropping the beetle into the soft dirt of a garden bed. The beetle crawled away and found itself a new home in the garden, before anyone else tried to kill it.

Moral: Never, ever give up. Even if persistence doesn’t get you where you want to be, someone might feel sorry for you and give you a hand…especially if helping you is easier than disposing of your dead body.


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