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

Perry 363 (Babrius 136)

There was a timid old man who had an only child, a son, who was generally high-spirited and who wanted to go hunting. In a dream the father saw his son lying dead, killed by a lion. Afraid that this might really happen and that the dream might actually come true, he built a house for the men of the family, and it was an extremely beautiful house, with high ceilings and sturdy walls and full of sunlight. He then enclosed his son inside this house, locked away under guard. To keep his son from becoming sad, he had the walls decorated with pictures of various animals, and among all these animals there was a painted lion. Staring at the lion, the boy felt even more sad, and he eventually approached the lion and said, 'O you wicked animal, because you showed that lying dream to my father's eyes you are able to keep me prisoner here, watched by guards as if I were a woman. But why do I attack you only with words, and not with an act of violence as well?' The boy then dashed his hands against the lion, intending to scratch its eyes out, but instead a sliver of wood came off and stabbed him under his fingernail. This soon brought about a burning inflammation of the flesh, and although the desperate father did everything he could, it was all to no avail. The infection spread until it reached the boy's groin, and thus brought his life to an end. The old man was unable to save his child, who had been destined to die because of a lion who was not even alive.
You must bravely endure the things that are prepared for you, not trying to outwit what lies ahead. You will not be able to escape that which must be.

Note: For a fable which explains the difference between true and false dreams, see Fable 529.

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.