Just as I'm certain there'll be slim pickin's when I go hunting for Aesop works that begin with "Q" or "Z", there seems to be a plethora of those in the "L" column so why the heck not explore more of them.
You know, Aesop used animals in his stories for 2 reasons I believe. On one hand, it saved him from setting up characters and back stories and the whys of the way characters act. Every animal has a distinct personae in our way of seeing them and so their personality and motivations are set from the get go. Mice are small and meek. Kid's (young goats) are naive and unthinking. Sheep are gullible and believing of any lie they are told (you know, like Republican voters). Dogs are loyal and true. Foxes are sly and sneaky and have to use brains over brawn because of their relatively small size.
And lions...? Lions are prideful and boastful, fearsome with their great manes and mighty roars but - and that's a big but there - fallible and cocksure and egotistical i the way they expect all other creatures to respect them as king of the forest/jungle. In reality (and folks of Aesop's day were much closer to the wild world of nature and would know this better than the average first world person of today would) they're scavengers as much as hunters. It's the cheetah and the panther that chase down able bodied prey, they lions find the weakest zebra or antelope in the heard and bring them down. More importantly, the Lion that we think of characteristically is the male. Majestic, head of the pride, regal with his mane and mighty roar as I said before...but it's actually the female that is the real force. She takes care of the young and does about 95% of the hunting. The male sleeps from 18-20 hours a day and after a big meal, 24 hours is not an uncommon nap. See? They're just like peoples.
So there are LOT's of Lion Fables. Prideful and shiftless at times.
The second reason is the same as why classic animated cartoons were usually animals. Humans find it harder to face the fact that people could be as vain and envious as Daffy Duck or as gluttonous and slovenly as Sylvester if they're represented as people, but recognize all of their foibles and weaknesses if there is the distance of the character on display is a lowly animal.
Enough of my thesis though, this is a gol dern SKETCH blog, not a yammering one.
"The Lion, the Fox and the Beasts"
One day the Lion "King of the Beasts" took ill and lay in his cave suffering. He put forth word to the other aimals that they should come to his bedside and hear his last words and his last will and testament. Soon a Goat came and went inside the hear the King's dying words. Later still a Sheep came to hear and went inside and later still came a Calf to hear the kings final words. Before long the Lion was feeling much more healthy and felt that he wouldn't die after all and stepped from his cave out into the sunshine of the day. When he did he saw that there was a Fox sitting outside just watching the entrance of the cave but not entering. King Lion admonished him and scolded, "Why have you not come to pay your last respects to me?". The Fox answered, "I beg Your Majesty's pardon. But I noticed the tracks of all of the animals going into your den, but failed to count and tracks of those coming back out. Until I see the Goat and Sheep and Calf return from your cave, I prefer to stay in the open air."
"It is easier to get into the enemies toils than out again."
Here's one where the Lion is not the jerk of the story, but the other character is the rare human. Who unsurprisingly is the chuckle head in question.
"The Lion and the Statue"
A Man and a Lion are in a debate, more a heated argument, over who is greater, stronger, more formidable. When there argument reached an impasse, the Man led the Lion to where there was a statue of Hercules wrestling with, defeating and slaying a lion. "See?", said the Man. "This proves that Man can best Lion in any conflict.". "That's pretty good," replied the Lion, "but proves not a thing. After all, it was a Man that sculpted that statue"
"We can easily represent things as we wish them to be."
See? Just like Republican.
Talk to you soon.