Posts filed under ‘.fable’
- The Boys and the Frogs
one mans fun may be another’s pain.
- Frog and Toad
perception of beauty is subjective
- The Boiled Frog
a parable about adaptation
- The Scorpion and the Frog
a parable about a destructive nature
- The Quack Frog
a frog proclaims to be a doctor.
- The Ass and the Frogs
Men often bear little grievances with less courage than they do large misfortunes.
- The Hares and the Frogs
There is always someone worse off than yourself.
- The Mouse, the Frog, and the Hawk
Choose your allies carefully
- The Frogs Desiring a King
Better no rule than cruel rule.
- The Frogs and the Well
Look before you leap.
- Frog in a Milk-Pail
Never Give Up!
- The Ox and the Frog
Self-conceit may lead to self-destruction.
- The Two Frogs
A willful man will have his way to his own hurt.
- The Frog in the Shallow Well
a Chinese fable about one’s place in the universe
- The Frog and the Crocodile
beware of your enemies!
- The Frogs’ Complaint Against the Sun
too much of a good thing?
There was a knight who devoted much of his time to hunting. It happened one day, as he was pursuing this diversion, that he was met by a lame lion, who showed him his foot. The knight dismounted, and drew from it a sharp thorn; and then applied an unguent to the wound, which speedily healed it.
A while after this, the king of the country hunted in the same wood, and caught that lion, and held him captive for many years.
Now, the knight, having offended the king, fled from his anger to the very forest in which he had been accustomed to hunt. There he betook himself to plunder, and spoiled and slew a multitude of travelers. But the king’s sufferance was exhausted; he sent out an army, captured, and condemned him to be delivered to a fasting lion. The knight was accordingly thrown into a pit, and remained in terrified expectation of the hour when he should be devoured. But the lion, considering him attentively, and remembering his former friend, fawned upon him; and remained seven days with him destitute of food.
When this reached the ears of the king, he was struck with wonder, and directed the knight to be taken from the pit. “Friend,” said he, “by what means have you been able to render the lion harmless?”
“As I once rode along the forest, my lord, that lion met me lame. I extracted from his foot a large thorn, and afterward healed the wound, and therefore he has spared me.”
“Well,” returned the king, “since the lion has spared you, I will for this time ratify your pardon. Study to amend your life.”
The knight gave thanks to the king, and ever afterwards conducted himself with all propriety. He lived to a good old age, and ended his days in peace.
- Source: Gesta Romanorum, translated by Charles Swan (London: George Bell and Sons, 1877), no. 104, pp. 180-181.
- The Gesta Romanorum or “Deeds of the Romans” is a collection of some 283 legends and fables. Created as a collection ca. 1330 in England, it served as a source of stories and plots for many of Europe’s greatest writers.
It happened in the old days at Rome that a slave named Androcles escaped from his master and fled into the forest, and he wandered there for a long time until he was weary and well nigh spent with hunger and despair. Just then he heard a lion near him moaning and groaning and at times roaring terribly. Tired as he was Androcles rose up and rushed away, as he thought, from the lion; but as he made his way through the bushes he stumbled over the root of a tree and fell down lamed, and when he tried to get up there he saw the lion coming towards him, limping on three feet and holding his forepaw in front of him.
Poor Androcles was in despair; he had not strength to rise and run away, and there was the lion coming upon him. But when the great beast came up to him instead of attacking him it kept on moaning and groaning and looking at Androcles, who saw that the lion was holding out his right paw, which was covered with blood and much swollen. Looking more closely at it Androcles saw a great big thorn pressed into the paw, which was the cause of all the lion’s trouble. Plucking up courage he seized hold of the thorn and drew it out of the lion’s paw, who roared with pain when the thorn came out, but soon after found such relief from it that he fawned upon Androcles and showed, in every way that he knew, to whom he owed the relief. Instead of eating him up he brought him a young deer that he had slain, and Androcles managed to make a meal from it. For some time the lion continued to bring the game he had killed to Androcles, who became quite fond of the huge beast.
But one day a number of soldiers came marching through the forest and found Androcles, and as he could not explain what he was doing they took him prisoner and brought him back to the town from which he had fled. Here his master soon found him and brought him before the authorities, and he was condemned to death because he had fled from his master. Now it used to be the custom to throw murderers and other criminals to the lions in a huge circus, so that while the criminals were punished the public could enjoy the spectacle of a combat between them and the wild beasts.
So Androcles was condemned to be thrown to the lions, and on the appointed day he was led forth into the Arena and left there alone with only a spear to protect him from the lion. The Emperor was in the royal box that day and gave the signal for the lion to come out and attack Androcles. But when it came out of its cage and got near Androcles, what do you think it did? Instead of jumping upon him it fawned upon him and stroked him with its paw and made no attempt to do him any harm.
It was of course the lion which Androcles had met in the forest. The Emperor, surprised at seeing such a strange behavior in so cruel a beast, summoned Androcles to him and asked him how it happened that this particular lion had lost all its cruelty of disposition. So Androcles told the Emperor all that had happened to him and how the lion was showing its gratitude for his having relieved it of the thorn. Thereupon the Emperor pardoned Androcles and ordered his master to set him free, while the lion was taken back into the forest and let loose to enjoy liberty once more.
- Source: Joseph Jacobs, European Folk and Fairy Tales (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, © 1916), pp. 107-109.
- Jacobs’ story is a reconstruction from various historical sources.
- In 1913 George Bernard Shaw created a delightful play from this tale, delightful — that is — if you are not offended by Shaw’s irreverent wit.