Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
422. THE OLD LION AND THE DONKEY
Perry 481 (Phaedrus
When someone no longer commands the same respect he once did, his
abject condition exposes him to the ridicule of even the most contemptible
A lion, enfeebled by old age and having lost his former strength, was
stretched out on the ground, about to take his last breath. A boar then
approached him, foaming with rage. With his flashing tusks, the boar stabbed
and wounded the lion, avenging a previous injury. Next came a bull, who
likewise gored the lion's hated body with his deadly horns. When a donkey
saw that the savage beast could be attacked with impunity, he struck the
lion in the head with his hooves. Gasping his last breath, the lion exclaimed,
'I was loathe to suffer the attacks of those brave creatures but when
I am compelled to suffer you as well -- you disgrace to the natural world!
-- I seem to die a second death.'
Note: Compare the proverb 'to tug at the dead lion's beard' (e.g.,
Epigrams 10.90) or 'even a hare will bite a dead lion' (Antologia
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.