Gateway to the Classics: Indian Fables by Ramaswami Raju
Indian Fables by  Ramaswami Raju

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 to you."

"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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