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Group Three

21 The tortoise

22 A thin reed survives

23 The lion and the mouse

24 The goat and the lion

25 The mother lion

26 The donkey's shadow

27 The dove and the ant

28 The greedy boy's hand

29 The greedy woman

30 The tricky donkey

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24. The Goat and the Lion Decide Not to Fight

One day in the jungle with nothing to eat
And the sun burning down with a terrible heat,
A goat and a lion both tried to be first
As they rushed toward a fountain, near dying of thirst.

Now the goat was youthful and callow and bold
But the lion was proud and haughty and old.
I'm first, said the lion, This fountain is mine!
said the goat, While I'm feeling benign,
        Or else I will butt you into Kingdom Come!
        The lion said: Goat, you're foolhardy and dumb!
        One bite with my teeth and your young life is through.
        Said goat: Well, just try it, I'll butt you in two!

Just then they heard feathers, and what did they see?
Three vultures were landing nearby in a tree,
Awaiting the battle where someone would lose,
And they'd get the carcass, they didn't care whose.

So Lion and Goat did a compromise trick:
The one who drinks first will just have to drink quick
They agreed, and in minutes they'd both had enough,
And the frustrated vultures flew off in a HUFF.

MORAL: By insisting on your rights you can forfeit more precious things.

from the book Prayers and Fables and the forthcoming book Aesop's Best: 80 Fables in Verse by William Cleary



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