Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
23. THE CAMEL AND THE ELEPHANT
Perry 220 (Chambry
The dumb beasts wanted to elect a king from amongst their ranks. The
camel and the elephant were the two leading candidates because of their
size and their strength. The monkey, however, argued that they were both
unqualified. 'The camel cannot rule us because she doesn't have the guts
to fight against those who step out of line,' said the monkey, 'and there
is also a potential danger if the elephant is king: how will he defend
us from the little pigs?'
The fable shows that great achievements are often blocked by some small
thing which prevents their realization.
Note: The monkey complains that the camel is literally lacking in 'gall'
(for the camel's lack of a gall bladder, see Aristotle,
Parts of Animals 4.2). Elephants were proverbially afraid of pigs,
as discussed in Aelian, Characteristics of Animals 1.38.
Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura
Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.