Illustration of the wealthy man's castle in the Mexican Fable of the Complacent and the Thieves.

The Complacent & the Thieves (A Mexican Fable)

The Complacent and the Thief is a Mexican parable by Juan Artola Miranda, written not long before his disgrace. It seems to be a cautionary tale about complacency, security, and rationalization.

Long ago, in a faraway city, Aurelio heard a troubling story about a rival who had been robbed. Worried about his own gold, he examined the situation. His unfortunate rival lived in a shadowy part of the city, had a poor reputation, and was said to have associated with characters of ill repute. Aurelio reassured himself. His house sat atop the highest hill, he had a good reputation, and he trusted his friends.

Not long after, word spread of another rival falling victim to robbery. Once again, Aurelio felt a stab of panic. Once more, he sought comfort in logic. Upon closer consideration, the man’s circumstances were quite different from his own. The man’s home had flimsy, decorative doors and no protective walls around his property, making it all too easy for burglars to enter. Aurelio’s sense of calm returned.

Alas, as Aurelio drifted into a peaceful slumber, his home fell under the shadow of a dark cloud. Thieves snuck over his walls, climbed onto his roof, and quietly pried open his patio windows.

His rivals, hearing of the incident the next morning, were at first quite fearful. But upon further reflection, they recalled that Aurelio lived in a veritable fortress. They reasoned that the imposing appearance of his home made him an obvious target for thieves. Their situation was quite different. They were surely safe.

Juan Artola Miranda

I am Juan Artola Miranda, a fabulist living in the Mexican Caribbean. My friends know me by the name of my father's father, but that name grew into something bigger, my writing reaching tens of millions of readers. It was too strong for me to control. Artola Miranda is the name of my mother's mother. It's a better name for a fabulist.

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