Friday Fable. Aesop’s “The Lion and the Boar”

Posted by jlubans on June 03, 2016

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Caption: Painting by Jan van Kessel, the Elder (1626 -79). Oil on copper.

“ON A SUMMER DAY, when the great heat induced a general thirst among the beasts, a Lion and a Boar came at the same moment to a small well to drink. They fiercely disputed which of them should drink first, and were soon engaged in the agonies of a mortal combat. When they stopped suddenly to catch their breath for a fiercer renewal of the fight, they saw some Vultures waiting in the distance to feast on the one that should fall first. They at once made up their quarrel, saying, ‘It is better for us to make friends, than to become the food of Crows or Vultures.’"

So, one moralist proclaims, “Those who strive are often watched by others who will take advantage of their defeat to benefit themselves.” Sort of like Caesar’s: “That Cassius over there has a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much. Men like him are dangerous.”
Another moralist mangles the flies, honey and vinegar proverb: “You can catch more vultures and flies with carcasses than with vinegar.” I have to ask, “Why would you want to catch vultures, let alone flies?”
Roger L’Estrange says it best of all. From 1692:
“When Fools fall out, it shall go Hard but Knaves will be the better for't.”
Something to dwell on.

*Source: FABLES By Aesop Translated by George Fyler Townsend (probably from this edition): “Three hundred and fifty Aesop’s fables”. Chicago, Belford, Clarke & Co., 1886. Available at the Gutenberg Project.

Copyright © John Lubans 2016

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