Aesop's Fables
Evil Wishes
Like Chickens
Come Home to Roost

Aesop's Moral:
Evil wishes, like chickens, come home to roost

Other ways of saying it:
You get what you deserve
Be careful what you wish for
Bad intentions tend to come back and bite you

Aesop's Fable:

The Bee and Jupiter

A Bee, the queen of the hive, came to Mount Olympus to present Jupiter some fresh honey. Jupiter, delighted with the offering, promised to give her whatever she wanted in return.

She thought for a second then said, “Please give me a stinger, so that I can hurt whoever might come to take my honey.”

Jupiter didn't like the Bee's desire to hurt people, but he had made a promise and had to keep it. So he answered:

“I hereby give you the stinger you want, but use it at your own risk. For you may only use it once, and it shall break off in the wound you make. Thus you will die from the loss of it.”

The Bee and Jupiter summary: This fable contains such an excellent, timeless lesson that we've come to shorten the message still further. When we speak of "chickens coming home to roost," we don't even bother to mention the evil wishes!

(Probably this is because most of us don't keep actual chickens!)

We've broadened the meaning of it as well to include acts and not just wishes. If you leave a thumbtack on someone's chair, only to sit on it yourself, your chickens have most certainly come home to roost.

As timeless as the moral is, you may find the fable itself needs some reworking. I've already edited it a bit, but you may want to change it some more. Your child probably doesn't know who Jupiter is and certainly doesn't bring him offerings.

Perhaps he's "the god of the mountain" or "the king of the forest."

Take a look at One Good Turn Deserves Another and An Act of Kindness is Never Wasted for two other ways to approach your children with a similar message.

Evil wishes, like chickens, come home to roost.

How to use Aesop's Fables.

More stories with morals.

Storytelling to improve behavior.

The Bee and Jupiter, image from Fables For The Times, Author: H. W. Phillips

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