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

Perry 149 (Odo 20)

The lion, the wolf, and the fox agreed to go hunting together. The fox caught a goose, the wolf caught a fat ram, and the lion caught a scrawny cow. Then it was time to eat. The lion told the wolf to divide their catch. The wolf said, 'Let each one take what he has caught: the lion will take the cow, I'll take the ram, and the fox will take the goose.' The lion was enraged and, raising his paw, he used his claws to strip the wolf's head of all its fur and skin. The lion then ordered the fox to divide the spoils. The fox said, 'My lord, you should eat as much of the fat ram as you want, since its meat is tender, then you should eat as much of the goose as you want, but you should eat the cow's flesh only in moderation, since it is so tough. Whatever is left over you can give to us, your servants.' 'Well done,' said the lion. 'Who taught you how to do such a good job of dividing the spoils?' The fox said, 'My lord, I have learned from my associate's red cap: his excoriated skull provides a very vivid lesson.'

Note: This allusion to the red cardinal's cap is typical of Odo's medieval fables, which are clearly situated in Christian monastic culture. This same fable is also used by the great Islamic poet, Rumi (Mathnawi 1.3013 ff.), minus the reference to the cardinal's red cap.

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.