Aesop's Fables
Mind Your Own Business

Aesop's Moral:
Mind Your Own Business

Other ways of saying it:

  • MYOB
  • Every man should be content to mind his own business (more typical translation of the fable's moral)
  • Don't be so nosy
  • Don't mess with what you don't know about

A better moral might be:

  • Don't bite off more than you can chew

Aesop's Fable:

The Seagull and the Kite

A Seagull, having greedily swallowed too large a fish, burst its stomach and lay down on the shore to die. A Kite saw him and exclaimed: “You deserve your fate, for a bird of the air has no business to seek its food from the sea.”

Moral: Every person should be content to mind their own business.

The Seagull and the Kite summary: This fable probably won't do what you want it to!

Firstly, to clarify, a kite is a kind of hawk. Seagulls are shore birds that tend to eat crabs and small fish.

While today we tend to use "Mind your own business" to mean something like, "Don't worry about whether your sister is eating; worry about your own food," Aesop meant something more along the lines of:

"Don't engage in activities which you have no expertise or aptitude."

So as modern readers, we read the moral as applying to the kite, who is sticking his nose where it doesn't belong, offering an opinion that isn't wanted. When, in actuality, Aesop was applying the moral to the dying seagull, who Aesop is recommending shouldn't be eating fish.

Which seems a bit bizarre, since he is a seagull. A much more apt moral would be, don't bite off more than you can chew.

Oh well.

Mind your own business.

How to use Aesop's Fables.

More stories with morals.

Storytelling to improve behavior.

Image from Aesop's Fables: A New Revised Version From Original Sources, illustrated by Harrison Weir, John Tenniel and Ernest Griest

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