(This fable was found on an anonymous door in an engineering hallway at the University of Wisconsin. Captured in a photograph, transcribed, then forgotten for 20+ years. If anyone knows the origin or author, please let me know so I can credit them.)
One sunny day a rabbit came out of her hole in the ground to enjoy the fine weather. The day was so nice that she became careless and a fox snuck up behind her and caught her.
“I am going to eat you for lunch!” said the fox.
“Wait!” replied the rabbit, “You should at least wait a few days.”
“Oh yeah? Why should I wait?”
“Well, I am just finishing my thesis on ‘The Superiority of Rabbits over Foxes and Wolves.'”
“Are you crazy? I should eat you right now! Everybody knows that a fox will always win over a rabbit.”
“Not really, not according to my research. If you like, you can come into my hole and read it for yourself. If you are not convinced, you can go ahead and have me for lunch.”
“You really are crazy!” But since the fox was curious and had nothing to lose, it went with the rabbit. The fox never came out. A few days later the rabbit was again taking a break from writing and sure enough, a wolf came out of the bushes and was ready to set upon her.
“Wait!” yelled the rabbit, “you can’t eat me right now.”
“And why might that be, my furry appetizer?”
“I am almost finished writing my thesis on ‘The Superiority of Rabbits over Foxes and Wolves.'”
The wolf laughed so hard that it almost lost its grip on the rabbit.
“Maybe I shouldn’t eat you; you really are sick … in the head. You might have something contagious.”
“Come and read it for yourself; you can eat me afterward if you disagree with my conclusions.”
So the wolf went down into the rabbit’s hole…and never came out. The rabbit finished her thesis and was out celebrating in the local lettuce patch. Another rabbit came along and asked, “What’s up? You seem very happy.”
“Yup, I just finished my thesis.”
“Congratulations. What’s it about?”
“‘The Superiority of Rabbits over Foxes and Wolves.'”
“Are you sure? That doesn’t sound right.”
“Oh yes. Come and read it for yourself.” So together they went down into the rabbit’s hole. As they entered, the friend saw the typical graduate abode, albeit a rather messy one after writing a thesis. The computer with the controversial work was in one corner. And to the right there was a pile of fox bones, on the left a pile of wolf bones. And in the middle was a large, well-fed lion.
The moral of the story:
The title of your thesis doesn’t matter.
The subject doesn’t matter.
The research doesn’t matter.
All that matters is who your advisor is.