Friday 31 October 2014

'The Lion and the Hare'

'The Lion and the Hare', an illustration by John Vernon Lord 
in Aesop's Fables, Jonathan Cape, 1989, page 83.

The Text:

The Lion and the Hare
A LION came across a Hare, who was fast asleep on her form.  He was just in the act of seizing her, when a fine young Hart trotted by, and he left the Hare to follow him.  The Hare, scared by the noise, awoke and scudded away.  The Lion was not able after a long chase to catch the Hart, and returned to feed upon the Hare.  On finding that the Hare also had run off, he said, “I am rightly served, for having let go the food that I had in my hand for the chance of obtaining more.”

Moral:  Attempting to gain a greater profit elsewhere may cause the loss of what you already have in the bag.

Text: George Fyler Townsend (p111, 1868).

Selected parallels: Chambry 204. Perry 148. Daly 148. TMI J321.3.

Thursday 30 October 2014

'The Frog and the Fox' (or 'The Quack Frog')

'The Frog and the Fox' (or 'The Quack Frog'), an illustration by John Vernon Lord in Aesop's Fables, Jonathan Cape, 1989, page 81.

The text:

The Frog, who Claimed he was a Physician, and the Fox
A FROG made proclamation to all the beasts of the forest that he was a skilful physician, and could cure all manner of diseases. This discourse uttered in a learned jargon of hard and cramped words, which nobody understood, made the beasts admire his learning, and give credit to his vauntings. At last the Fox asked him, with much indignation, how he, with his thin lantern jaws, speckled skin and disfigured body, could set up for one able to cure the infirmities of others.

Moral: We should not attempt to correct in others the faults peculiar to ourselves.

Text: Samuel Croxall (43, 1722) adapted by G. F. Townsend (3, 1866)

Selected parallels: Babrius 120. Avianus 6. L’Estrange 1/225. Chambry 69. Perry 289. TMI J1062.1.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

'The Vicious Dog'

'The Vicious Dog', an illustration by John Vernon Lord 
in Aesop's Fables, Jonathan Cape, 1989, page 75
The Text:

The Vicious Dog with a Bell hung round his Neck
A CERTAIN man had a Dog, who was so fierce and full of mischief, that he was forced to put a heavy bell round his neck, to keep him running after people, and biting them as they passed by the yard. The sulky cur took this for a badge of honour; and as he was as proud as he was spiteful, he would not take the least civil notice of any other dog that came his way. 

But one day an honest old Mastiff, who knew how the whole affair stood, went up to him boldly, and told him that which he did not like to hear. “Bow, wow, wow!” said he, “Mr Ball: what, you are grown so proud, since you have had that bell dangling about. Poor dog as I am I may scarcely speak to you: but you need not be so vain I can tell you; for this clumsy bell was tied to your neck, not to do you any honour, but only to put a stop to your spiteful tricks, and teach you better manners.”

Moral: It is not easy to tame the habits of those who are naturally vain and pompous.

Text: adapted from Mrs Trimmer (2/30, 15th edition, 1837).

Selected Parallels: Babrius 104. Avianus 7. Caxton, Avianus 6. L’Estrange 226. Chambry 186. Perry 332.. TMI J953.1.

Sunday 26 October 2014

'Two Bald Men with a Comb'

'Two Bald Men with a Comb', an illustration by John Vernon Lord 
in Aesop's Fables, Joimntahan Cape, 1989, page 73.

The Text:

The Two Bald Men
As on his way a Bald-pate went,
He found a comb by accident;
Another, with a head as bare,
Pursued, and hollow’d for a share.
The first produced the prize, and cried,
“Good Providence was on our side;
But by the same caprice of Fate,
We’re to no purpose fortunate;
And, as the proverb says, have found
A hobnail, for a hundred pound.”

They by this tale may be relieved
Whose sanguine hopes have been deceived.

Moral: We may be fooled by hope when we come across chance discoveries.

Text: Christopher Smart (Phaedrus 5/6, 1761).

Selected Parallels: Perry 528. TMI K1061.2.

"The Falklands thing was a fight between two bald men over a comb," 
said the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges after the South Atlantic conflict was over.