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Aesop: In His 3rd Millenium
XI. The Lion, The Fox, and the Ass

About Wisdom...


A Guide to this Site | Did Aesop Exist? | I. The Lion and The Mouse | II. The Scorpion and The Ladybug | III. The Dog in the Manger | IV. The Ants and The Grasshopper | V. The Frog and the Chrysalis | VI. Hercules and The Carter | VII. The Fox and his Tale | VIII. An Elephant, A Bear, and a Katydid | IX. The Spider, the Cockerel, the Sheep, and the Ram | X. The Farmer and the Snake | XI. The Lion, The Fox, and the Ass | XII. The Dog, the Cat, and the Bear | XIII. The Ship and the Whale | XIV. The Duckling, the Hawk, and the Mallard

"Intelligence is learning
from one's own mistakes;
Wisdom is learning from another's."

A Lion, a Fox and an Ass agreed to assist each other in the chase.

They secured a large booty, and the Lion asked the Ass to allot a due portion to each of the three partners. The Ass carefully divided the spoils into three equal shares and modestly requested the two others to make the first choice. (sigh... This was NOT a smart ass.)


The Lion growled fiercely at the Ass and devoured him. Then he demanded the Fox make a division. The Fox accumulated all that they had killed into a large heap and submitted it to the Lion as the beast's rightful share.

The Lion said benignly, "Who has taught you, my excellent fellow, the art of division? Your choice is perfect to a fraction." And the Fox replied,

"Why, Lord of All Beasts, I merely found that... 'those who can, do; those who cannot, teach.' The Ass was an excellent... if unfortunate... teacher."


Today we often use the phrase, "He took the Lions's share," to mean that one has obtained the largest portion of some benefit. The origin of that idea is this fable, which in the past has been incorrectly translated from what scholars have now determined was the original Aesop version, retold here. (The Fox actually took nothing for himself.)

"The Lion's Share" is not the largest portion; it is the whole ball of wax!