Giving and Taking Advice

There were once two men who had different ways of treating their horses when they went around them in the barn. One always spoke to his horses as he passed so that they might know he was there and not kick. The other never spoke to them. He said it was their business to look before they kicked. This last man often spoke of his way as being much the best. One day he advised the other to change his way of doing because someday he would forget to speak and get kicked. Not long after, this actually happened and the man was seriously injured. His wife said to me, “If he had spoken to the horse when he went into the barn as he used to do he would not have been hurt, but lately he had stopped doing that and the horse kicked before it saw him.” I always have thought that the accident happened because of his friend’s advice and I have seen so often where what was best for me might not be just the thing for the other fellow that I have decided to keep my advice until asked for and then administer it in small doses.

From “Giving and Taking Advice”  by Laura Ingalls Wilder, published in The Missouri Ruralist, January 20, 1917

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