The original parable was written in the 1940s by George H. Reavis. He was Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Cincinnati, Ohio. Over the years, variations of Animal School have surfaced. However, the message is the same.
“The animals had a school. The curriculum consisted of running, climbing, flying and swimming. All the animals took all the subjects. The duck was good at swimming and fair in flying, but he was terrible in running. So he was made to drop the swimming class and stay after school to practise running. He kept this up until he was only average at swimming, but average was acceptable. The others, including the teacher, were no longer threatened by the duck’s swimming abilities so everyone felt more comfortable, except the duck.
The eagle was considered to be a problem student. For instance, in climbing class, he could beat all the others to the top of the tree but he insisted on using his own method of getting there. He had to be severely disciplined and finally, because of his non-cooperation in swimming, he was expelled for insubordination.
The rabbit started at the top of the class in running, but obviously he was inadequate in other areas. Because he had to do so much work in swimming, he had a nervous breakdown and had to drop out of school.
The turtle was a failure in almost every course offered. His shell was considered to be the leading cause of his failure so it was removed. This did help his running a bit but sadly he became the first casualty when he was stepped on by the horse.
The faculty was disappointed but, all in all, it was a good school in humility. There were no real successes. None seemed to measure up to the others, but they did concentrate on their weak points and some progress was made.”
Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear!