A small herd was gathered into one corner of their great pastures to congratulate themselves on their prosperity.  “For indeed,” said one old cow, “our pastures are lusher and the grass is higher than ever.”

This speech excited the curiousity of a passing fox, who made it his business to remark on the causes.  “Why,” said the fox, “it is small wonder that the pasture grows ungrazed when your numbers are so few.  Where are the calves?  I see only one or two.  Such is the reason why your herd is diminished and why your grass grows ungrazed.  It is rather cause for lamentation than rejoicing.”

“Nay,” replied the old cow, to the acclaim of the herd, “I never argued that all was perfect.  There are remaining problems to address, to be sure.  Our advance in prosperity has created, perhaps, certain unexpected structural deficits.  But the main thing to keep in mind is that we are more prosperous than ever.  Look at all that grass.”

The fox barked with laughter.  “Your tall grass is dry and stiff,” he said.  “I felt its roughness as I pushed my way through it.  Only the grazed grass grows green and tender.  But stay, why am I counseling such animals as yourselves?  The lesser folly in letting your pasture become overgrown is nothing compared to the greater folly of letting your herd become so small that it will be prey to the roving wolves.”

“Ah!” cried the cow, ” I have just hit on it.  These so-called problems of yours have an easy solution.  There are many sheep in barren pastures.  Our tall grass will help us entice them; some of them will surely join us to help us keep the grass grazed and our herd large enough to fend off predators.”

The fox was on the point of saying that sheep grazed the ground closer than cattle could, but reflected that he doubtless would receive the same answer he had received to his other arguments, that the grass was lush and higher than ever.  So  he went on his way.

Moral: Once a people has embraced the supreme folly of childlessness, what other follies will they not embrace?

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