Aesop's Fables (Joseph Jacobs)
Jacobs 9. The Sick Lion (Perry 481)
A Lion had come to the end of his days and lay sick unto death at the
mouth of his cave, gasping for breath. The animals, his subjects, came
round him and drew nearer as he grew more and more helpless. When they
saw him on the point of death they thought to themselves: "Now is
the time to pay off old grudges." So the Boar came up and drove at
him with his tusks; then a Bull gored him with his horns; still the Lion
lay helpless before them: so the Ass, feeling quite safe from danger,
came up, and turning his tail to the Lion kicked up his heels into his
face. "This is a double death," growled the Lion.
Only cowards insult dying majesty.
Fables of Aesop, by Joseph Jacobs with illustrations by
Richard Heighway (1894). The page images come from Google
Books. The digitized text comes from Project
Gutenberg. You can purchase this inexpensive Dover edition, The
Fables of Aesop by Joseph Jacobs from amazon.com.