At one time the Fox and the Stork were on visiting terms and seemed very good friends. So the Fox invited the Stork to dinner, and for a joke put nothing before her but some soup in a very shallow dish. This the Fox could easily lap up, but the Stork could only wet the end of her long bill in it, and left the meal as hungry as when she began.

“I am sorry,” said the Fox, “the soup is not to your liking.”

“Pray do not apologize,” said the Stork. “I hope you will return this visit, and come and dine with me soon.”

So a day was appointed when the Fox should visit the Stork; but when they were seated at table all that was for their dinner was contained in a very long-necked jar with a narrow mouth, in which the Fox could not insert his snout, so all he could manage to do was to lick the inside of the jar.

“I will not apologize for the dinner,” said the Stork, “One bad turn deserves another.”

I always thought this Aesop’s fable was not one of mockery and vengeance, but of a simple, absolute miscommunication. The fox does not mean to laugh at the stork, and the stork does not want to avenge himself. Each just thinks that what’s best for him will be best for his friend and guest, whom he wants to please.

To me, this is a tragically accurate portrayal of love: a sincere attempt, a profound misunderstanding, and ultimately, a failure to connect.

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