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Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)

Perry 255 (Chambry 188)

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 insignificant creature.

Note: There is a version of this story in Achilles Tatius, Leucippe and Cleitophon 2.22.

Source: Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs. Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
NOTE: New cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.