Friday Fable. Aesop’s “THE ASS IN THE LION'S SKIN”*

Posted by jlubans on May 02, 2014

Caption: The Ass Found-out.

“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 recognised 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 heard your voice.’”

(Moral from the Milo Winter Aesop: “A fool may deceive by his dress and appearance, but his words will soon show what he really is.”)

In 1906, Maurice Switzer offered up a relevant adage in “Mrs. Goose, Her Book”: “It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.”
I have to agree. I never could soap up my speechifying to make it slip and slide across, so when asked to elaborate on some topic, my tendency was to wander and backtrack rather than to zero in with pithy zingers. Some regarded this as ineptitude; a few would listen and ask a question or two to get to the crux. One colleague set himself up to “translate” what I was saying, a kindly gesture that had the unintended effect akin to a parent’s correcting a backward child.

*Source: AESOP'S FABLES A NEW TRANSLATION BY V. S. VERNON JONES WITH AN INTRODUCTION By G. K. CHESTERTON AND ILLUSTRATIONS BY ARTHUR RACKHAM (Publisher: London: W. Heinemann; New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1912). Available at Gutenberg.

Half off SALE: Order your library a copy of Leading from the Middle right here!

@Copyright John Lubans 2014

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