Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
323. THE FARMERS, THE DONKEY AND THE LION SKIN
Perry 358 (Aphthonius
A story about a donkey, urging us not to yearn for more than we deserve.
A donkey wanted to appear to be a lion. Since he could not change his
nature, he tried to realize his dreams by a change of costume, and like
a lion he wreaked havoc on the fruits of the farmers' labour. But when
a gust of wind blew up, it stripped the lion bare of his disguise. As
soon as the farmers whose crops he had eaten saw that he was just a donkey,
they came and clubbed him to death.
Adornments that do not belong to you can be dangerous.
Note: In one version of this story, the event was supposed to have
taken place at Cyme, an Aeolian settlement in Asia Minor. The people
of Cyme (who were proverbially stupid) had never seen a lion and were
foolishly convinced by the donkey in the lion's skin, even though the
donkey's ears were clearly visible. This anecdote gave rise to the expression,
'Like the donkey among the people of Cyme' (see Erasmus, Adages 1.7.12
and especially 1.3.66, citing the story from Lucian's Fisherman).
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.