Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
106. THE LION, THE BULL AND HIS HORNS
Perry 469 (Nikephoros
Basilakis, in Walz, Rhetores Graeci)
A lion once saw a bull and, although he was extremely hungry, he feared
being gored by the bull's horns. The lion had found the remedy for his
disease, but could not administer the cure. Hunger eventually won out,
and prompted him to grapple with the bull. Still, the size of the bull's
horns deterred him. Finally he heeded his hunger, pretended to be friends,
and prepared to trick the bull (when trouble is at hand, even valour quails;
if it sees a risk in attempting to prevail by force, subterfuge is used).
'I commend your strength,' said the lion, 'and how I admire your beauty
- your head, your whole physique! And what wonderful feet and hooves!
But what a heavy burden you carry on your head! Take that useless contraption
off! Your head will look better without it, and you will be free of the
weight - the change will be altogether an improvement. Why do you need
horns when you live at peace with the lion?' The bull was convinced. But
as soon as he put aside the strength of his armour, he was easy prey for
the lion dined without fear.
Believing your enemies makes you fall victim to their tricks and gets
you into trouble.
Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura
Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.