Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
286. THE LION, THE HARE AND THE DEER
Perry 148 (Chambry
A lion had found a hare as he was sleeping. But just as he was about
to devour the creature, the lion happened to catch sight of a passing
deer whereupon he abruptly abandoned the hare and ran off chasing after
the deer. Awakened by the noise, the hare leaped up and bounded away.
Meanwhile, the lion spent a long time chasing the deer but in the end
he didn't catch her. He came back to where he had left the hare and discovered
that the hare had also slipped away. At this point, the lion exclaimed,
'It serves me right! Since I preferred the possibility of something more,
I lost the food that was already within my grasp.'
This is how some people behave: not satisfied with their moderate profits,
they instead chase after the chance of something better and as a result
they unwittingly lose what they previously had in their possession.
Note: The 'sleeping hare' was proverbial (see Erasmus, Adages 1.10.57).
For another sleeping hare, see Fable 237, the
story of the tortoise and the hare.
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.