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Aesop's Fables: Sir Roger L'Estrange (1692)

100. AN OLD MAN AND A LION (Perry 136)

A Person of Quality dream’d one Night that he saw a Lion kill his only Son, who was, it seems, a generous Cavalier, and a great Lover of the Chace. This Fancy ran in the Father’s Head to that degree, that he built his Son a House of Pleasure, on purpose to keep him out of harm’s way; and spar’d neither Art nor Cost to make a delicious Retreat. This House, in short, was to be the young Man’s Prison, and the Father made himself his Keeper. There was a world of Paintings every where up and down, and among the rest, there was the Picture of a Lion, which stirred the Blood of the young Man for the Dream sake, and to think that he should now be a Slave for the Fancy of such a Beast. In this Indignation he made a blow at the Picture; but striking his Fist upon the Point of a Nail in the Wall, his Hand cancerated, he fell into a Fever, and soon after died on’t: So that all the Father’s Precaution could not secure the Son from the Fatality of dying by a Lion.
THE MORAL. A body may as well lay too little as too much stress upon a Dream; for some Dreams are monitory, as others are only complexional; but upon the Main, the less we heed them better; for when that Freak has once taken possession of a fantastical Head, the Distemper is incurable.

L'Estrange originally published his version of the fables in 1692. There is a very nice illustrated edition in the Children's Classics series by Knopf: Sir Roger L'Estrange. Aesop - Fables which is available at amazon.com.