AESOP’S FABLES have been long thought and taught to be didactic allegories with a moral. Well that is the NURSERY STUFF. But each animal is understood by us to have certain qualities and this is deeply embedded in the human consciousness. These stories actually appeal to those “qualities” which are most often surprisingly discovered in us during poignant situations.
The LION is the King of the forest and therefore FEARLESS and expects subordination from other animals and mostly obtains it. Further he is ably assisted by other animals in his venture and sometimes taken advantage of because of his “SUPERIOR FEELINGS” of himself.
The FOX represents the OPPORTUNISTIC FORAGER, CUNNING ADVISER and NEVER EVER LOYAL except to his OBJECTIVE.
The ASS stands for DOCILE, HELPLESS STUPIDITY.
The LION, the FOX and the ASS thus consistently being portrayed by Aesop with these traits, reveals to us, that we are LIONS or FOXES or ASSES, depending on the situation. Here are some samples which might keep us amused as well as edify:-
THE ASS, THE FOX, AND THE LION
An Ass and a Fox went into partnership and sallied out to forage for food together. They hadn’t gone far before they saw a Lion coming their way, at which they were both dreadfully frightened. But the Fox thought he saw a way of saving his own skin, and went boldly up to the Lion and whispered in his ear, “I’ll manage that you shall get hold of the Ass without the trouble of stalking him, if you’ll promise to let me go free.” The Lion agreed to this, and the Fox then rejoined his companion and contrived before long to lead him by a hidden pit, which some hunter had dug as a trap for wild animals, and into which he fell. When the Lion saw that the Ass was safely caught and couldn’t get away, it was to the Fox that he first turned his attention, and he soon finished him off, and then at his leisure proceeded to feast upon the Ass.
THE ASS IN THE LION’S SKIN
An Ass found a Lion’s Skin, and dressed himself up in it. Then he went about frightening every one he met, for they all took him to be a lion, men and beasts alike, and took to their heels when they saw him coming. Elated by the success of his trick, he loudly brayed in triumph. The Fox heard him, and recognized him at once for the Ass he was, and said to him, “Oho, my friend, it’s you, is it? I, too, should have been afraid if I hadn’t recognized your voice.”
THE FOX WHO SERVED A LION
A Lion had a Fox to attend on him, and whenever they went hunting the Fox found the prey and the Lion fell upon it and killed it, and then they divided it between them in certain proportions. But the Lion always got a very large share, and the Fox a very small one, which didn’t please the latter at all; so he determined to set up on his own account. He began by trying to steal a lamb from a flock of sheep: but the shepherd saw him and set his dogs on him. The hunter was now the hunted, and was very soon caught and dispatched by the dogs.
THE LION, THE FOX, AND THE STAG
A Lion lay sick in his den, unable to provide himself with food. So he said to his friend the Fox, who came to ask how he did, “My good friend, I wish you would go to yonder wood and beguile the big Stag, who lives there, to come to my den: I have a fancy to make my dinner off a stag’s heart and brains.” The Fox went to the wood and found the Stag and said to him, “My dear sir, you’re in luck. You know the Lion, our King: well, he’s at the point of death, and has appointed you his successor to rule over the beasts. I hope you won’t forget that I was the first to bring you the good news. And now I must be going back to him; and, if you take my advice, you’ll come too and be with him at the last.” The Stag was highly flattered, and followed the Fox to the Lion’s den, suspecting nothing. No sooner had he got inside than the Lion sprang upon him, but he misjudged his spring, and the Stag got away with only his ears torn, and returned as fast as he could to the shelter of the wood. The Fox was much mortified, and the Lion, too, was dreadfully disappointed, for he was getting very hungry in spite of his illness. So he begged the Fox to have another try at coaxing the Stag to his den. “It’ll be almost impossible this time,” said the Fox, “but I’ll try”; and off he went to the wood a second time, and found the Stag resting and trying to recover from his fright. As soon as he saw the Fox he cried, “You scoundrel, what do you mean by trying to lure me to my death like that? Take yourself off, or I’ll do you to death with my horns.” But the Fox was entirely shameless. “What a coward you were,” said he; “surely you didn’t think the Lion meant any harm? Why, he was only going to whisper some royal secrets into your ear when you went off like a scared rabbit. You have rather disgusted him, and I’m not sure he won’t make the wolf King instead, unless you come back at once and show you’ve got some spirit. I promise you he won’t hurt you, and I will be your faithful servant.” The Stag was foolish enough to be persuaded to return, and this time the Lion made no mistake, but overpowered him, and feasted right royally upon his carcass. The Fox, meanwhile, watched his chance and, when the Lion wasn’t looking, filched away the brains to reward him for his trouble. Presently the Lion began searching for them, of course without success: and the Fox, who was watching him, said, “I don’t think it’s much use your looking for the brains: a creature who twice walked into a Lion’s den can’t have got any.”
The last one takes the cake when the fox gives an explanation regarding the missing BRAIN!!