A butterfly, a fox, and a wood thrush met at the edge of a great forest and began to argue over which of them was most valuable to the world.
The butterfly said, “I can’t see what you two have to offer that compares to my glittering wings. They are the most beautiful sight on Earth. I am art in motion and this is greater than anything else in creation”
The fox smirked and said, “I don’t see great beauty in the butterfly and who knows what the wood thrush could possess. I am the most clever animal of all. My intelligence eclipses all others and my opinions and knowledge are valued by all.”
The wood thrush chirped, “I don’t see the use of butterfly’s beauty and I couldn’t care less about fox’s cleverness. My song is the most sublime sound in the universe. My dulcet tones wake the sun and usher the moon. I clearly am the most important of creatures."
The three continued to argue over the greatness of their capabilities, all insisting that they could not detect what the others claimed. They nearly came to blows and only just happened to notice a slug crawling by.
“You there,” they called. “Settle this argument. Who among us is the most illustrious?”
The slug, eager to help, spoke up at once.
“Thrush, I really enjoy your whistle. It is truly the most beautiful of sounds and is a divine lullaby that cradles me from morning to night. Thank you for elevating my existence with your song.
“And you, Fox, I admire your great intelligence and the many clever thoughts you express. I have learned much from you. Thank you for giving me understanding of the world.
“Butterfly, you have the most enchanting shimmering, fluttering colors. You are a work of art and performance. You entertain me at the end of my night. Thank you for giving me energy and calming my demeanor.”
The butterfly, fox, and thrush each turned from the slug with pride and argued with vigor. They each maintained that the slug had given them the advantage. As the slug turned to continue on her way, the fox demanded, “And you, slug, what perfection might you claim?”
The others looked on, expectant.
“Oh, me? I’m nothing special. I only recognize the greatness in others.”
They stared at the slug as she crept away.