The fox knows many tricks, the hedgehog only one. One good one.
–Archilochus, Iambi et Elgi Graeci
This will always and forever be one of my favorite ancient Greek quotes of all time. Of course, I knew bugger all about hedgehogs when I first heard it. Now I know what he was referring to:
Much later, thanks to Terry Pratchett, I also learned that the hedgehog can never be buggered at all.
You may remember Archilochus from one of his more famous poems on battlefield valor:
- Some barbarian is waving my shield,
- since I was obliged to
- leave that perfectly good piece of equipment behind
- under a bush.
- But I got away, so what does it matter?
- Life seemed somehow more precious.
- Let the shield go; I can buy another one equally good.
An eminently practical man, rather like the hedgehog he admired.