Story@BFBV: The Swallow and Other Birds Story

It happened that a Countryman was sowing some hemp seeds in a field where a Swallow and some other birds were hopping about picking up their food. “Beware of that man,” quoth the Swallow. “Why, what is he doing?” said the others. “That is hemp seed he is sowing; be careful to pick up every one of the seeds, or else you will repent it.” The birds paid no heed to the Swallow’s words, and by and by the hemp grew up and was made into cord, and of the cords nets were made, and many a bird that had despised the Swallow’s advice was caught in nets made out of that very hemp. “What did I tell you?” said the Swallow.

Destroy the seed of evil, or it will grow up to your ruin.

Aesop’s story, which you possibly read as a child, is wise. There is a very wise man by the name of Lee Kuan Yew – the founder of Singapore. Mr Charlie Munger is a big fan of Mr. Lee. He encourages you to read his story in “From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000” Mr Lee followed the wise advice of the Swallow in this story. According to Mr. Munger, “Lee didn’t want people dying of Malaria so he drained all the swamps and didn’t care if a little fish went extinct. He didn’t like the drug problem and he looked around the world to solve the drug problem. He found the solution in US by copying the US Military’s policy. Any time you can be tested and if you fail you go to jail. If something was going to grow like cancer he would check it hard with the wrath of God. He turned a country with no resources or agriculture into a prosperous country.”

It’s very important to think about virtue and vice effects. Once something evil begins it spreads due to a combination of several psychological tendencies we have been talking about in BFBV. And then it gets rationalized. Its easy to be evil when everyone around you is also doing evil things. Which is why once evil is spotted, it must be nipped in the bud. Great leaders like Lee know and follow the advice of Swallow. It does not matter if some people are inconvenienced or treated unfairly. Great leaders think of the problem from the viewpoint of not individuals, but from the viewpoint of their civilization.

Read this book:


3 thoughts on “Story@BFBV: The Swallow and Other Birds Story

  1. Sunil says:


    I know this is not related to the topic above. but something i had read a few day back. it was something like if a man is spending 10 rupees and if he get the samething at rupees 8 a few yards away, he will walk that distance and save that 2 rupess but that is not the same when is sending 1000 rupees and if he get the same thing at rs 998. he will not try to say the same even though the saving is the same, i dont know maybe u have already thought about this but when this kind of thing the person sending the money will thinkin how many % is he saving… so if the % of saving is less he will not travel that distance. so they are both not equal. they are saving in different %

  2. […] used the story of the swallow and other birds to teach me how evil spreads and its terribly important to stop it early before it’s too […]

  3. Excellent sir,

    I think our politicians need to read this. They need to understand that when ever you do anything which is in general benefit public at large, will definitely cause inconvenience to select few. Whether its nuclear plant or coal mine or helmet rule.

Comments are closed.