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Group Four

31 The brash gnat

32 The enemy's trumpeter

33 A tortoise dies

34 A doomed man

35 The scorpion stings

36 A wolf finds reasons

37 The stork chooses

38 The tricky wolf

39 A donkey thinks

40 A patient dies

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31. A Brash Gnat Loses His Life

There once was a gnat as brash could be
Who challenged a lion far larger than he
        To fight him and test
        Which of them was best --
Then blew on his horn and attacked like a bee.

He flew in his nostrils and buzzed in his ears,
He stung both his eyelids which brought him to tears,
        Poor lion would claw
        His own face with his paw!
But the gnat flew away without trouble or fears.

A victory for me! sang the gnat feeling proud
While he blew on his bugle & challenged the crowd
        But before any fought him
        A spider's web caught him,
And no one could help -- though he cried very loud:
        
         How foolish it was for a gnat to be tryin'
        To gain a dumb victory over a lion!
One minute, I'm winner,
Then next, spider's dinner!
        Believe me, there's nothin' quite so mortifin'!

MORAL: Often size is not decisive in conflict.


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

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