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The Lion and the Gnat

“Go away, contemptible insect!” said a proud Lion one day to a Gnat that was frisking about in the air near his den.

The Gnat, enraged at this unprovoked insult, vowed revenge, and immediately darted into the Lion’s ear.

After having sufficiently teased him in that quarter, she quitted her station and retired under his belly, and from thence made her last and most formidable attack in his nostrils, where stinging him almost to madness, the Lion at length fell down, utterly spent with rage, vexation, and pain.

The Gnat having thus abundantly gratified her resentment, flew off in great exultation; but in the heedless transports of her success, not sufficiently attending to her own security, she found herself unexpectedly entangled in the web of a spider; who, rushing out instantly upon her, put an end to her triumph and her life.

MORAL: Stay vigilant, even when you secure a victory.


Citation: Bewick, Thomas, ed. Bewick’s Select Fables. London: Bickers and Son, 1871. Edited by S.E. Schlosser. This story is in the public domain and is part of the cited work.