Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
165. THE LION AND THE TWO MEN
Perry 487 (Phaedrus
A lion was standing over a young bull whom he had killed when a robber
showed up and demanded a part of the spoils. 'I would agree,' the lion
said, 'if you were not already in the habit of taking whatever you want!'
Thus, the lion thus refused the villain's request. Meanwhile, an innocent
wayfarer also happened upon the very same spot, although he backed away
as soon as he saw the ferocious lion. 'There is nothing to be afraid of,'
the lion said to him in kindly tones. 'Please, take without hesitation
the portion of this prize that your modesty has earned for you.' He then
divided the bull into pieces and went away into the woods, so that the
man would come forward freely.
This is an altogether outstanding and admirable model of behaviour;
in the real world, however, greed grows wealthy while honesty goes unrewarded.
Note: For the traditional version of 'the lion's share,' see Fable
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.