The Wild Ass and The Lion

The lion allied with other animals to hunt so that more prey could be caught. When it came time to divide the spoils the lion made it clear all was his.

Might makes right.

Aesop For ChildrenAesop For Children (The Lion’s Share)

Lion's Share

Milo Winter (1919)

A long time ago, the Lion, the Fox, the Jackal, and the Wolf agreed to go hunting together, sharing with each other whatever they found.

One day the Wolf ran down a Stag and immediately called his comrades to divide the spoil.

Without being asked, the Lion placed himself at the head of the feast to do the carving, and, with a great show of fairness, began to count the guests.

“One,” he said, counting on his claws, “that is myself the Lion. Two, that’s the Wolf, three, is the Jackal, and the Fox makes four.”

He then very carefully divided the Stag into four equal parts.

“I am King Lion,” he said, when he had finished, “so of course I get the first part. This next part falls to me because I am the strongest; and this is mine because I am the bravest.”

He now began to glare at the others very savagely. “If any of you have any claim to the part that is left,” he growled, stretching his claws meaningly, “now is the time to speak up.”


Might makes right.

Samuel CroxallSamuel Croxall (The Lion and other Beasts)

Croxall - Lion and other beastsTHE Lion, and several other beasts, entered into an alliance, offensive and defensive, and were to lie very sociably together in the forest; one day having made a sort of an excursion, by way of hunting, they took a very fine, large, fat Deer, which was divided into four parts; there happening to be then present his Majesty the Lion, and only three others. After the division was made, and the parts were set out, his Majesty advancing forward some steps, and pointing to one of the shares, was pleased to declare himself after the following manner: This I seize and take possession of as my right, which devolves to me, as I am descended by a true, lineal, hereditary succession, from the royal family of Lion: that (pointing to the second) I claim by, I think, no unreasonable demand; considering that all the engagements you have with the enemy turn chiefly upon my courage and conduct; and you very well know, that wars are too expensive to be carried on without proper supplies. Then (nodding his head towards the third) that I shall take by virtue of my prerogative; to which, I make no question but so dutiful and loyal a people will pay all the deference and regard that I can desire. Now, as for the remaining part, the necessity of our present affairs is so very urgent, our stock so low, and our credit so impaired and weakened, that 1 must insist upon your granting that without any hesitation or demur; and hereof fail not at your peril.


No alliance is safe which is made with those that are superior to us in power. Though they lay themselves under the most strict and solemn ties at the opening of the congress, yet the first advantageous opportunity will tempt them to break the treaty; and they will never want specious pretences to furnish out their declarations of war. It is not easy to determine, whether it is more stupid and ridiculous for a community, to trust itself first in the hands of those that are more powerful than themselves, or to wonder afterwards that their confidence and credulity are abused, and their properties invaded.

Whittingham - Lion and Other Beasts

C. Whittingham (1814)

Townsend VersionTownsend version

A wild ass and a Lion entered into an alliance so that they might capture the beasts of the forest with greater ease. The Lion agreed to assist the Wild Ass with his strength, while the Wild Ass gave the Lion the benefit of his greater speed. When they had taken as many beasts as their necessities required, the Lion undertook to distribute the prey, and for this purpose divided it into three shares. “I will take the first share,” he said, “because I am King: and the second share, as a partner with you in the chase: and the third share (believe me) will be a source of great evil to you, unless you willingly resign it to me, and set off as fast as you can.”


Might makes right.

CaldecottCaldecott (The Lion and Other Beasts)

Lion and Beasts C1

Design: Randolph Caldecott, Engraving: J.D. Cooper, 1883

Lion and Beasts C2

Design: Randolph Caldecott, Engraving: J.D. Cooper, 1883

The Lion one day went out hunting along with three other Beasts, and they caught a Stag. With the consent of the others the Lion divided it, and he cut it into four equal portions; but when the others were going to take hold of their shares, “Gently, my friends,” said the Lion; “the first of these portions is mine, as one of the party; the second also is mine, because of my rank among beasts; the third you will yield me as a tribute to my courage and nobleness of character; while, as to the fourth,—why, if any one wishes to dispute with me for it, let him begin, and we shall soon see whose it will be.”

Lion and Beasts C3

Design: Randolph Caldecott, Engraving: J.D. Cooper, 1883

 Lion and Beasts C4

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

A Lion, a Heifer, a Goat, and a Sheep once agreed to share whatever each might catch in hunting. A fine fat stag fell into a snare set by the Goat, who thereupon called the rest together. The Lion divided the stag into four parts. Taking the best piece for himself, he said, “This is mine of course, as I am the Lion; ” taking another portion, he added, “This too is mine by right–the right, if you must know, of the strongest.” Further, putting aside the third piece, “That’s for the most valiant,” said he; “and as for the remaining part, touch it if you dare.”

L'Estrange VersionL’Estrange version (A Lion, An Ass, &c., a Hunting)

A lion, an ass, and some other of their fellow-forresters, went a hunting one day; and every one to go share and share-like in what they took. They pluck’d down a stag, and cut him up into so many parts; but as they were entering upon the dividend, Hands-off says the lion: this part is mine by the privilege of my quality: this, because I’ll have it in spite of your teeth: this again, because I took most pains for’t; and if you dispute the fourth, we must e’en pluck a crow about it. So the confederates mouths were all stopt, and they went away as mute as fishes.


There’s no entring into leagues or partnerships, with those that are either too powerful, or too crafty for us. He that has the staff in his hand will be his own carver. Bought wit is best.

1001Leo, Vacca, Capra, et Ovis

Societatem aliquando iunxerant leo, vacca, capra, et ovis. Cervum permagnum cum cepissent, leo praedam divisit in quattuor partes aequales. Tum ita locutus est, “Prima pars mea est, quia sum leo; secundum mihi tribuetis, quia sum fortissimus; tertiam mihi sumo propter egregium laborem meum; quartam qui tetigerit, iram meam excitabit.” Sic totam praedam solus retinuit.

Perry #339