There had been a lettuce salad served at dinner with a
French dressing. This salad dressing brought so much praise
from the guests that, after they had left the table, the Vinegar
Cruet began to talk in a loud voice.
   "I tell you it is a very agreeable thing to be appreciated,"
he cried.  "I never felt myself so fully valued as to-day
when everybody praised the French dressing so highly.  Of
course, it was my flavor which made it so excellent."
   "Why, how absurd!" retorted the Oil Bottle.  "It is the
oil, not the vinegar, which lends flavor to French dressing!
Now, I will leave it to the company, if this is not so."
   Thereupon began a very exciting argument.  The Water
Pitcher, who was a mortal enemy of the Oil Bottle, took
sides with the Vinegar Cruet.  "A nice sort of dressing you
would make without the vinegar," he said sarcastically.
"While the vinegar aided by a sprinkling of fine sugar,
makes an excellent dressing for lettuce.  That shows who is
entitled to the most credit, I am sure."
   The Milk Jug who was at swords points with the Vinegar,
declared that the whole credit of an excellent French dressing
lay with the Oil Bottle.
   The Pepper Box too coincided with this idea, though he
added, "the Oil Bottle could not accomplish his aim without
me.  I give that keen relish to the dressing that is so much
talked about.  The credit lies with the oil and me."
   The Mustard Pot long a secret rival of the Vinegar
Cruet, spoke in favor of the Oil Bottle, while the Pickle Jar, own
cousin to the vinegar railed violently--at the Oil Bottle calling
it an impostor and braggart.
   "You pretend to be olive oil," cried the Pickle Jar, "and
there is not one drop of the olive's oil in you.  You belong to
the plebeian cotton seed family, and you pass yourself off for
what you are not."
   "Well I do not see as your cousin, the Vinegar Cruet, is
much more honest than I in that respect," replied the oil.  "It
claims to be cider vinegar but it never even saw an apple
orchard.  It is made of cheap chemicals and might poison
people if I did not act as an antidote."
   The discussion waxed hotter and hotter until the good
motherly castor interfered in a reproving voice.
   "Fie upon you all," she said, "for such self-laudation and
bickering.  Each one of you acts his own part, and each is
useful in his way.  The French dressing would not be French
dressing were either oil or vinegar left out.  You need to
pattern after the most useful member of this company.
What is so indispensable as salt?  Even the French dressing
would be tasteless without it, and yet the Salt-Cellar has been
silent in all this discussion.  True worth never lauds itself,
nor attempts to detract from the worth of others."

The Beautiful Land of Nod by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: Morrill, Higgins & Co. [1892].

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