Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
24. THE MONKEY ELECTED KING OF THE ANIMALS
Perry 81 (Chambry
At an assembly of the dumb beasts, the monkey did a dance. The performance
was a great success and the animals elected the monkey to be their king.
But the fox was jealous of the monkey, so when she saw some meat lying
in a trap, she led the monkey there and told him that she had found a
treasure. The fox explained that she had not taken it for herself because
of the king's prerogative. Instead, she had guarded this royal prize just
for him. She then told the monkey to go ahead and take it. The monkey
recklessly put his hand in the trap and was caught. When he accused the
fox of luring him into an ambush, the fox replied, 'O you monkey! How
can you rule over the dumb beasts when you yourself are such an idiot?'
The story shows that the same is true for people who take up some business
without thinking about it first: they meet with disaster and become laughing-stocks
Note: A story about the fox challenging the monkey was already attested
in a fragment of the Greek poet Archilochus, circa 650 B.C.E., which
is perhaps a version of this same fable (frag. 185-7 West). For a different
story about monkeys dancing, see Fable 352.
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.