THE VIPER AND THE FROGS
There was a viper who used to go to a certain spring in order to drink but he
was driven away by a water-snake who was furious that the viper would not just
stay on his own turf instead of encroaching on the water-snake's territory.
Their dispute grew more and more fierce and finally the two of them decided
to fight it out, agreeing that both the water and the land would be awarded
to the winner. When the day for the fight had been decided, the frogs came to
the viper and, since they hated the water-snake, they offered to be his allies
and come to his aid during the battle. But when the battle began and the viper
grappled with the water-snake, the frogs just sat there croaking, since they
were not able to do anything else. In the end, the viper was victorious but
he was furious with the frogs since they had failed to come to his aid as they
had promised and, what was worse, they had sat there singing songs while he
was doing battle. The frogs then said to the viper, 'But you should have known
that we had nothing to offer you except the sound of our voices!'
The fable shows that when you need someone to lend a hand, mere words are
no help at all.