The Fisherman Piping

While technology may change, human behavior does not. At least, that’s what reading the collection of Aesop’s Fables suggests. The characters and motivations in the parables, attributed to Aesop after he died in 564 BCE, remain relevant today.

Aesop 2021 projects these well-known (and not-so-known) stories into an age only a stone’s throw from our own. When cynicism and pessimism abound, hope becomes a rebellious act against the tyranny of the default. Each story recasts a fable’s lesson from our upcoming solarpunk future as a software tale.

The Aesop 2021 project is part of the Never Break the Chain March Writing Challenge. The original sources were translated by George Fyler Townsend and provided under the Project Gutenberg license. Addition reference provided by a Library of Congress interactive book adapted from the public domain book “The Aesop for Children: with Pictures by Milo Winter,” published by Rand, McNally & Co in 1919.

Below is the latest installment.

A picture

In the solarpunk 22nd century, software development was vastly abstracted from the rote assembly that had come before. Where once creating executable functions required carefully crafted trains of inscrutable squiggles, future developers “fished” for their solutions, hoping to hook functionality from a vast ocean of probability.

In this world, that a Fisherman, skilled in music, stood at the digital shoreline looking to seed a solution. He played several tunes hoping his latest melodies would attract the components needed onto his net.

Finally, after nearly completing his playlist but receiving nary a nibble, the Fisherman switched tacks. While more comfortable with musical composition than elocution, he gradually found the words necessary to bait his net to fullness.

Original Fable

A FISHERMAN skilled in music took his flute and his nets to the seashore. Standing on a projecting rock, he played several tunes in the hope that the fish, attracted by his melody, would of their own accord dance into his net, which he had placed below. At last, having long waited in vain, he laid aside his flute, and casting his net into the sea, made an excellent haul of fish. When he saw them leaping about in the net upon the rock he said: “O you most perverse creatures, when I piped you would not dance, but now that I have ceased you do so merrily.”

Moral of the Stories

In software, as in life, practical solutions are often more effective than wishful thinking or overly complicated solutions. While creativity and innovation are valuable, they must be grounded in reality and practicality to be effective.