I’ve spent the last twenty minutes trying to track down the provenance of the saying:
Be kind, be fair,
Be honest, be true,
And all of these things
Will come back to you.”
Because if there were a saying that is ripe for deconstruction through a series of fairy tale retellings, this is it.
But before one deconstructs–at least, if one wants to quote the thing one is deconstructing–one does like to know to whom one owes those copyright fees…
The earliest evidence I can find on the web of the saying is from Sawdust City back in 2006, where it has been sold on a plaque ever since. Every mention of it I find post-dates this, and if you examine the timeline of the popularity of the saying, it only blows up after the advent of Pinterest, really. Not surprising.
I wonder if Sawdust City’s sign painters are the ones who actually own the copyright on this saying? I’m sure there are variations on it–if anyone knows any version from an earlier time, speak up! Please. There are fairy tales riding on this.