The Pack Of Ragamuffins.
The brothers Grimm’s tales include this, about two eponymous chickens of the title. The tale is in three parts, with this reflection being mainly about part 3: how Partlet Died and was Burried, and How Chanticleer Died of Grief.
The original story, was called The Pack of Ragamuffins and was translated into English with the title above, and also Riffraff, The Vulgar Crew, and other titles.
The two chickens go to the mountains to feast on Nuts. Partlet finds a big nut but does not share it with his friend, chokes on it and, despite the efforts of Chanticleer and their friends to save him, dies. Later Chanticleer after burying his friend also dies. You can read the full story here.
Our ‘heroes” are a couple of nere-do-well, fly-by-night con artists and are actually quite unsavoury characters. The cliche’ about honour among thieves appears, at the end of this tale, not to apply to these two partners in crime. This is essentially a story about greed and its potential consequences.
For the second time in the tale, the partners go into the mountains to find nuts to eat. They had agreed to share all they found equally but Partlet found a nut larger than all the others and keeps it to himself. This act of greed and deception makes Partlet into the architecht of his own demise. Because he did not share the big nut with his partner, chanticleer, and attempts to consume it on his own, he finds out too late that it was too big for him to swallow when he chokes on it.
There is a parallel to this story and Jesus’ Parable Of The Rich Fool (Luke 12: 16-21) when a greedy man through his own action does not benefit from his greed. In both cases the protagonist lost his life as a result of his own greed, without surviving long enough to enjoy his spoils (pun intended).
Unfortunately, in Partlet’s case, the consequences of his selfish action go beyond far beyond himself, eventually causing the death of more than ten other poor souls, including his friend chanticleer.
If this was made into a film today, It might be re-imagined as a couple of despicable, and probably dislikable, crooks getting their comeuppance asa result of their own stupidity.
A greedy man brings trouble to his family,
but he who hates bribes will live.
– Proverbs 15: 27.
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