Multilingual Folk Tale Database


Author: Phaedrus - 41 AD

Translated into English
  by C. Smart - 1887

Source: The Fables of Phaedrus

Original title (Latin):
Asinus et Leo Venantes

Country of origin: Italy


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The Ass and the Lion Hunting

Phaedrus / C. Smart

A coward, full of pompous speech,
The ignorant may overreach;
But is the laughing-stock of those
Who know how far his valor goes.
Once on a time it came to pass,
The Lion hunted with the Ass,
Whom hiding in the thickest shade
He there proposed should lend him aid,
By trumpeting so strange a bray,
That all the beasts he should dismay,
And drive them o'er the desert heath
Into the lurking Lion's teeth.
Proud of the task, the long-ear'd loon
Struck up such an outrageous tune,
That 'twas a miracle to hear-
The beasts forsake their haunts with fear,
And in the Lion's fangs expired:
Who, being now with slaughter tired,
Call'd out the Ass, whose noise he stops.
The Ass, parading from the copse,
Cried out with most conceited scoff,
"How did my music-piece go off?
So well-were not thy courage known,
Their terror had been all my own!"