The Lion, Jupiter, and The Elephant

A Lion bemoaned his state to Jupiter who refused to help. The Lion then saw an Elephant who was bothered by a Gnat. The Lion thought better of his state.

There is always someone else worse off than you.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection (The Lion and The Elephant)

Lion and ElephantThe Lion complained most sadly that a beast with such claws, teeth, and strength as he possessed, should yet be moved to a state of abject terror at the crowing of a Cock. “Can life be worth having ,” said he, “when so vile a creature has the power to rob it of its charms?” Just then, a huge Elephant came along, flapping his ears quickly to and fro, with an air of great concern. “What troubles you so?” said the Lion to the Elephant. “Can any mortal thing have power to harm a beast of your tremendous bulk and strength?” “Do you see this little buzzing Gnat?” replied the Elephant; “let him but sting the inmost recesses of my ear, and I shall go mad with pain.” The Lion thereupon took heart again, and determined not to let troubles, which he shared in common with all created things, blind him to what was pleasant in life.

Townsend VersionTownsend version

The lion wearied Jupiter with his frequent complaints. “It is true, O Jupiter!” he said, “that I am gigantic in strength, handsome in shape, and powerful in attack. I have jaws well provided with teeth, and feet furnished with claws, and I lord it over all the beasts of the forest, and what a disgrace it is, that being such as I am, I should be frightened by the crowing of a cock.” Jupiter replied, “Why do you blame me without a cause? I have given you all the attributes which I possess myself, and your courage never fails you except in this one instance.” On hearing this the Lion groaned and lamented very much and, reproaching himself with his cowardice, wished that he might die. As these thoughts passed through his mind, he met an Elephant and came close to hold a conversation with him. After a time he observed that the Elephant shook his ears very often, and he inquired what was the matter and why his ears moved with such a tremor every now and then. Just at that moment a Gnat settled on the head of the Elephant, and he replied, “Do you see that little buzzing insect? If it enters my ear, my fate is sealed. I should die presently.” The Lion said, “Well, since so huge a beast is afraid of a tiny gnat, I will no more complain, nor wish myself dead. I find myself, even as I am, better off than the Elephant.”

1001Prometheus, Leo, et Elephantus

Leo cum Prometheo saepe querebatur quod se magnum atque pulcherrimum cum fecisset, gallum tamen ipse timeret. Sed Prometheus “Quid,” ait, “me temere accusas? Quae facere poteram, ex me omnia prorsus habes, sed tuus est animus qui ad hoc solum debilitatur.” Leo itaque se miserum aiebat ac demum omnino mori desiderabat. Qua in sententia cum esset, forte in elephantum obvius incidit, eumque compellans, secum sermones serere coepit. Sed eum continuo aures moventem cum vidisset, quid hoc rei esset interrogavit. Cui elephantus, cum forte culex prope ipsum volitasset, “Vides,” inquit, “hoc tam parvulum susurrans animal? Si in meam aurem irrepserit, ego repente morior.” Tum leo, “Quid igitur mihi mortem expetam, talis qui sum, ac tanto elephanto beatior, quanto gallus culice maior est?”

Perry #259