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Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)

130. THE WOLF AND THE LAMB
Perry 155 (Babrius 89)

A wolf once saw a lamb who had wandered away from the flock. He did not want to rush upon the lamb and seize him violently. Instead, he sought a reasonable complaint to justify his hatred. 'You insulted me last year, when you were small' said the wolf. The lamb replied, 'How could I have insulted you last year? I'm not even a year old.' The wolf continued, 'Well, are you not cropping the grass of this field which belongs to me?' The lamb said, 'No, I haven't eaten any grass; I have not even begun to graze.' Finally the wolf exclaimed, 'But didn't you drink from the fountain which I drink from?' The lamb answered, 'It is my mother's breast that gives me my drink.' The wolf then seized the lamb and as he chewed he said, 'You are not going to make this wolf go without his dinner, even if you are able to easily refute every one of my charges!'

Note: The similarities between this fable and the Buddhist Dipi-jataka are striking. In the Buddhist fable a goat tries to fend off an aggressive panther: the panther accuses the goat of having stepped on his tail, and the goat replies that the panther is facing the goat, making it impossible to have stepped on his tail, etc.


Source: Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs. Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
NOTE: New cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.