She Learned her Folly

September 16, 2012
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Miss Elizabeth Bragley was generally acknowledged to be the most accomplished young woman of the neighborhood. Her wit and her beauty could only be matched by the mastery over the harp and the piano that she had gained at a very young, very surprising age. However, our heroine did not escape the fate of every seemingly-perfect protagonist: she had a fault. Elizabeth’s tragic flaw was simply this: extreme arrogance. Her vanity resided in her achievements, which is to say that she was proud of her situation as a lord’s daughter, as no common girl could possibly gain the attractions that she had gained without a superior education afforded by money. Now, at the time of the story, society had not progressed so far that ideas of equality had become very prolific. Equality was introduced, but it wasn’t extensively applied. These ideas had not broken down or worn down (I do not pretend that society has yet become so utilitarian that these walls have completely broken) the walls that divided the classes. Therefore, a small degree of arrogance was allowed and even encouraged of the upper classes. Some attention must be brought to the adjective small, however.
One fine and sunny day came to pass when she learned the folly of her arrogance. Miss Elizabeth had decided to take a ride in her carriage around the neighborhood. In addition to her other achievements, she was also very talented with horses, and so she decided that it would be perfectly reasonable for her to ride around without a chaperone. The sun was high in the sky, yet the winds were blowing as hard as on any cloudy day. This combination proved to be very unfortunate for Elizabeth. She had been travelling for some time and was just turning back to her house when she came across a bend that she had previously traversed with some, but not much, difficulty. Now, however, she had the misfortune of facing the sun and travelling against the wind. A front wheel hit a rut and popped off very easily, and our poor heroine was stuck. Since the setting of the story, neighborhoods have shrunk and shrunk so that poor Elizabeth would have been most glad to have been in my neighborhood when she found herself in such a predicament; however, she was not, and so it was not feasible that she walk home to get help, because that would have required her walking four miles. Elizabeth was forced to wait on the side for someone to help her. However, she was not willing to receive help from any person who came by; it had to be a person worthy of being acknowledged as someone by her. This was her simple plan. The execution was not so simple, for the road she travelled was so rarely used, that only one person drove by her. Elizabeth had been sitting by the side of the road for a few hours, and was starting to consider walking home, when a person drove by. It seemed that he just might be her savior when she noticed that he was riding a horse cart. It was not hard for her to conclude that this farmer was of low status and therefore could not be worthy of being deemed a someone as it was not possible that he could have had anything beyond a very mean education.
There is no surprise ending to this tale, the farmer did not turn out to be a disguised prince who fell in love with her at first sight but was rejected for his appearance; nor did she die of hunger because she refused to share the seat of a person with such lowly abilities and little intelligence. Instead, the kind farmer stopped and asked her if she required help. She pondered and pondered whether she would accept it, for the long hours she had spent waiting had worn on her obstinate desire to only receive aid from a superior being. Finally, she accepted his help, and the farmer quickly figured out how to set the wheel right, and without a single tool to help him. This could only be a reflection on his intelligence, as he could not possibly have had much experience with carriage wheels. This incident did not bring about a giant epiphany in Elizabeth, however, she did come to have an inkling that perhaps those who did not appear talented in an area actually could be, for despite all of her schooling, she did not have any success in setting the tire. Her arrogance decreased by a notch, and later incidents would continue to improve her in this manner.
I ask that the valuable lesson taught by this story may be applied to your life. Although, we are no longer so divided by class, we are still divided by our sense of inferiority or superiority in other areas, whether that comes from comparing students from private schools and public schools or comparing the sports-playing abilities of African Americans and Asians.





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