Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
243. THE GNAT AND THE LION
Perry 255 (Chambry
A gnat came to the lion and said, 'I am not afraid of you and you are
not more powerful than me. You don't agree? Well, what kind of power do
you have? The fact that you can scratch with your claws and bite with
your teeth? That's the sort of thing even a woman can do when she is arguing
with her husband! I am, in fact, far stronger than you are. If you agree,
let's go and fight it out.' The gnat sounded his trumpet and then attacked,
biting the lion around the nose where his face was not covered with hair.
The lion could only wear himself out with his claws, until he finally
admitted defeat. Having emerged victorious in this battle with the lion,
the gnat sounded his trumpet and sang his victory ode. He then flew away
-- only to get entangled in the web of a spider. As he was being eaten
by the spider, the gnat bitterly lamented the fact that while he had done
battle with the high and mighty, he was about to be killed by such an
Note: There is a version of this story in Achilles Tatius, Leucippe
and Cleitophon 2.22.
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.