The Lion, The Fox, and The Ass

A lion hunted with others. When it came time to divide the spoils the lion killed those who attempted to divide thing evenly. The fox learned and lived.

Happy is the man who learns from the misfortunes of others.

Eliot-JacobsEliot/Jacobs Version

The Lion went once a-hunting along with the Fox, the Jackal, and the Wolf. They hunted and they hunted till at last they surprised a Stag, and soon took its life. Then came the question how the spoil should be divided. “Quarter me this Stag,” roared the Lion; so the other animals skinned it and cut it into four parts. Then the Lion took his stand in front of the carcass and pronounced judgment: The first quarter is for me in my capacity as King of Beasts; the second is mine as arbiter; another share comes to me for my part in the chase; and as for the fourth quarter, well, as for that, I should like to see which of you will dare to lay a paw upon it.”

“Humph,” grumbled the Fox as he walked away with his tail between his legs; but he spoke in a low growl “You may share the labours of the great, but you will not share the spoil.”

Aesop For ChildrenAesop For Children

Lion, Fox and Ass

Milo Winter (1919)

A Lion, an Ass, and a Fox were hunting in company, and caught a large quantity of game. The Ass was asked to divide the spoil. This he did very fairly, giving each an equal share.

The Fox was well satisfied, but the Lion flew into a great rage over it, and with one stroke of his huge paw, he added the Ass to the pile of slain.

Then he turned to the Fox.

“You divide it,” he roared angrily.

The Fox wasted no time in talking. He quickly piled all the game into one great heap. From this he took a very small portion for himself, such undesirable bits as the horns and hoofs of a mountain goat, and the end of an ox tail.

The Lion now recovered his good humor entirely.

“Who taught you to divide so fairly?” he asked pleasantly.

“I learned a lesson from the Ass,” replied the Fox, carefully edging away.


Learn from the misfortunes of others.

Townsend VersionTownsend version

The lion, the Fox and the Ass entered into an agreement to assist each other in the chase. Having secured a large booty, the Lion on their return from the forest asked the Ass to allot his due portion to each of the three partners in the treaty. The Ass carefully divided the spoil into three equal shares and modestly requested the two others to make the first choice. The Lion, bursting out into a great rage, devoured the Ass. Then he requested the Fox to do him the favor to make a division. The Fox accumulated all that they had killed into one large heap and left to himself the smallest possible morsel. The Lion said, “Who has taught you, my very excellent fellow, the art of division? You are perfect to a fraction.” He replied, “I learned it from the Ass, by witnessing his fate.”


Happy is the man who learns from the misfortunes of others.

Taylor RhymesJefferys Taylor (The Beasts in Partnership)

Taylor - Beasts in Partnership 0135THIS firm once existed, I’d have you to know,
Messrs. Lion, Wolf, Tiger, Fox, Leopard, and Co.;
These in business were join’d, and of course ’twas implied,
They their stocks should unite, and the profits divide.

Now the fable relates, it so happen’d one day,
That their efforts combined, made a bullock their prey;
But agreed that the Lion should make the division,
And patiently waited the monarch’s decision.

“My friends,” said the Lion, “I’ve parted, you see,
The whole into six, which is right, you’ll agree;
One part I may claim, as my share in the trade;”
“O take it and welcome,” they all of them said.

“I claim too the second; since no one denies
‘Twas my courage and conduct that gain’d you the prize:
And as for the third; that you know is a fine
To the lord of the manor, and therefore is mine.”

“Hey day!” said the fox; “Stop a bit,” said the lion;
“I have not quite done” said he, fixing his eye on
The other three parts; “you are fully aware,
That, as tribute, one other part comes to my share.”

“And, I think, ‘twould be prudent, the next to put by
Somewhere safe in my den for a future supply;
And the other, you know, will but barely suffice,
To pay those expences which always arise.”

“If this be the case,” said the fox, “I discern
That the business to us is a losing concern;
If so, to withdraw, I should think would be best;”
“O yes! let us break up the firm,” said the rest;
And so,—for you may not have heard of it yet,—
It was quickly dissolved, though not in the gazette.

Some folks in their dealings, like him in the fable,
Will take others’ shares, if they think they are able;
But let them not wonder who act in this way,
If they find none will join them in business or play.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

The Lion, the Ass, and the Fox went hunting together, and it was agreed that whatever was taken should be shared between them. They caught a large fat Stag, which the Lion ordered the Ass to divide. The Ass took a deal of pains to divide the Stag into three pieces, which should be as nearly equal as possible. The Lion, enraged with him for what he considered a want of proper respect to his quality, flew upon him and tore him to pieces. He then called on the Fox to divide. The Fox, nibbling off a small portion for himself, left the rest for the Lion’s share. The Lion, highly pleased with this mark of respect, asked the Fox where he had learned such politeness and good-breeding. “To tell the truth, Sire,” replied the Fox, “I was taught it by the Ass that lies dead there.”

Samuel CroxallSamuel Croxall

Croxall - Lion Fox and AssTHE Lion, the Ass, and the Fox, went a hunting together in the forest; and it was agreed, that whatever was taken should be divided amongst them. They happened to have very good sport, and caught a large fat Stag, which the Lion ordered the Ass to divide. The Ass, according to the best of his capacity, did so, and made three pretty equal shares. But such levelling doings not suiting at all the craving temper of the greedy Lion, without farther delay, he flew upon the Ass, and tore him in pieces; and then bid the Fox divide it in two parts. Reynard, who seldom wanted a prompter, however, had his cue given him sufficiently upon this occasion; and so, nibbling off one little bit for himself, he laid forth all the rest for the Lion’s portion. The royal brute was so delighted at this dutiful and handsome proof of his respect, that he could not forbear expressing the satisfaction it gave him; and asked him withal, where he could possibly have learnt so proper and so courtly a behaviour? Why, replies Reynard, to tell your majesty the truth, I was taught it by the Ass that lies dead there.


Whittingham - Lion, Ass, Fox

C. Whittingham (1814)

We may learn a great deal of useful experience from, the examples of other people, if we will but take the pains to observe them. And, besides the profit of the instructions, there is no small pleasure in being taught any proper science, at the expence of somebody else. To this purpose, the history of former times, as well as the transactions of the present, are very well adapted; and so copious as to be able to furnish us with precedents upon almost every occasion. The rock upon which another has split, is a kind of light-house or beacon, to warn us from the like Calamity; and by taking such an advantage, how easily may we steer a safe course! He that, in any negociation with his betters, does not well and wisely consider how to behave himself, so as not to give offence, may very likely come off as the Ass did: but a cool thinking man, though he should despair of ever making friends of the people in power, will be cautious and prudent enough to do nothing which may provoke them, to be his enemies.


1001Leo, Vulpes, et Asinus Venantes

Vulpes, asinus, et leo venatum iverant. Praedam asinum partiri leo iussit. Asinus singulis singulas partes ponebat aequales, sed leo eum dilaniavit. Tum vulpeculae negotium partiendi dedit. Haec, sapientior quam asinus, partem maximam leoni apposuit et sibi vix minimam particulam reservavit. Leo subridebat et eius prudentiam laudabat. Tandem rogavit, “Unde didicisti talem prudentiam?” Respondit vulpes, “Calamitas asini me docuit quid minores potentioribus debeant.”

Perry #149