Graphic Witness: Hugo Gellert
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Aesop Said So: Lithographs by Hugo Gellert

CAPITAL IS ONLY THE FRUIT OF LABOR* (The Bees, the Drones, and the Wasp)

Some Bees had built their comb in the hollow trunk of an oak. The Drones asserted that it was their work, and belonged to them.

The case was brought into court before Judge Wasp. Knowing something of the parties, he thus addressed them:

"The ends of justice, and the object of the court, will best be furthered by the plan which I propose. Let each party take a hive to itself and build up a new comb, so that from the shape of the cells, and the taste of the honey, the lawful proprietors of the property in dispute may appear."

The Bees readily assented to the Wasp's plan. The Drones declined it. Whereupon the Wasp gave judgement:

"It is clear now who made the comb, and who cannot make it; the court adjudges the honey to the Bees."

* From Abraham Lincoln's message to Congress, December 3, 1861: "Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."