Illustration by Milo Winter, 1919
Illustration by Milo Winter, 1919

It’s been a while since I featured one of Aesop’s Fables, so today I dipped into the collection and found “The Lion, the Fox, and the Ass.” One thing I like about these fables is their clear morals. This one’s is learn from the mistakes of others, a good lesson for all of us.

The Lion, the Fox and the Ass agreed to help each other out in their hunting. After catching a lot of food, the Lion asked the Ass divide the food up, giving each of the three their portion. The Ass carefully divided the spoils into three equal shares and told the other two to make their selections first.  The Lion became very angry and ate the Ass.  Then he told the Fox to do him the favor and divide the food.  The Fox gathered all that they had killed into one large pile and took for himself only the smallest possible bit to eat.  The Lion asked who had taught him the art of division, that he had divided the meat so perfectly. The Ass responded, “I learned it from the Ass, by witnessing his fate.”

“Happy is the man who learns from the misfortunes of others.”

I’ll grant you it wasn’t fair, but to be honest I’m not sure why the Ass entered into the agreement in the first place. They eat grasses and bark and leaves, not meat. And the fox was smart, willing to take just a bit and keep his life. How many times have I seen someone make a mistake and then do the same thing myself? I probably should avoid making deals with lions.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all.


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