| Indian Fables|
|by P. V. Ramaswami Raju|
|An appealing collection of more than a hundred Indian fables that are delightful as well as short, pithy, and ingenious. Each fable has its separate moral in prose or rhyme; these are often epigrams of the shrewdest kind, full of wit and subtlety. Most of these fables are likely to be new to the majority of readers. In the characters of animals the same rules are observed as in Western fables. As the symbol of strength, the lion (or, in one or two instances, the tiger) is king, the fox is the symbol of cunning, the bear of inert power, the wolf of ferocity, the owl of assumed wisdom, and so forth. Ages 7-10 |
THE LION AND THE GADFLY
ONCE a lion was sleeping in his den at
the foot of a great mountain. A gadfly
that had been sipping the blood and froth
from his mouth bit him severely. The
lion started up with a roar, and catching
the fly in his huge paws, said, "Villain,
you are at my mercy! How shall I
punish your impudence?"
"Sire," said the fly, "if you would
pardon me now, and let me live, I shall be
 able to show ere long how grateful I am
" Indeed," said the lion?" who ever
heard of a gadfly helping a lion? But
still I admire your presence of mind and
grant your life."
Some time after, the lion, having made
great havoc on the cattle of a neighbouring village, was snoring away in his den
after a heavy meal. The village hunters
approached with the object of surrounding
him and putting an end to his depredations.
The fly saw them, and hurrying into
the den, bit the lion. He started up with
a roar as before, and cried, "Villain, you
will get no pardon this time!"
"Sire," said the fly, "the village hunters
are on their way to your den; you can't
tarry a moment here without being surrounded and killed."
"Saviour of my life!" said the lion as
he ran up the mountain. "Nothing like
forgiving, for it gives the humblest an
opportunity of helping the highest."
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