Helping the Chronically Overworked Find Life Balance

What Can the Parable of the Fox and the Wolf Can Teach Us About Betrayal At Work?

Chapter 4: Who To Trust At Work Part 13

So far, in this chapter, I’ve described two types of untrustworthy people:  The Scorpion who will “steamroller people” in pursuit of his personal vision, and The Fox, who manipulates others to get ahead.  One of the prime targets of the fox is the wolf, as illustrated in the parable of the wolf and fox [i]

One day, the fox suggests to the wolf that he should go help a village prepare a festive meal. Yet as soon as the wolf arrived, the villagers drove him off with clubs and stones.  The wolf returned to the fox ready to kill, but he allowed the fox to explain himself.

The fox explained that the wolf’s father betrayed the villagers’ trust by eating everything (and everyone) after they had prepared a meal together some years before.  Imagine the stunned look on the wolf’s furry face. 

The fox continued. “If you are hungry, I will bring you to a place where you can eat your fill.”   The wolf followed the fox to a well, attributing that flutter in his gut to hunger.  A rope with a bucket on each end was suspended from a pulley.  The fox, without hesitation, jumped into one bucket and dropped into the well, saying  “This is where the great feast is hidden.”

The fox pointed to a reflection of the moon in the water.   “Look at that wheel of cheese!” At the fox’s instruction, the wolf climbed into the remaining bucket at the top of the well, which simultaneously lowered the wolf into the well and raised the fox to the surface.  So enthralled was the wolf that he did not immediately recognize his folly.  “Where is the food?  What have you done to me?”  As he departed, the fox left the wolf with this explanation “The righteous is delivered out of his trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.”

The fox in this story presents a chilling combination of cruelty and persuasiveness. Though the wolf was lucky to have survived the encounter with the villagers.  Yet he allows himself to get betrayed again, this time at the cost of his life.  In my opinion, the wolf made a fatal error when he chose to talk to the fox.  The wolf should either have killed the fox outright, or walked away. A wolf’s strength is action, a fox’s strength is talking.

So what would happen if the Wolf were CEO?

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[i] Book of Legends Sefer Ha-Aggadah  Legends from the Talmud and Midrash Edited by Hayim Nahman Bialik and Yehoshua Hana Ravnitzky. 245:194