2018-01-12

Aesop: The Wolf and the Crane

As promised, here is the Aesop's fable about the wolf with the bone stuck in his throat that is very similar to the jataka story about the lion with the bone stuck in his throat. A big different, as you will see, is that Aesop's bird is not as smart as the Buddha-bird!

In some versions of the Aesop's fable the bird is a stork, while in other versions the bird is a crane, and in other versions a heron. Any long-beaked bird will do! I've collected different English versions and illustrations here, and the one I've chosen to include is the version by Thomas James:

THE WOLF AND THE CRANE

A Wolf had got a bone stuck in his throat, and in the greatest agony ran up and down, beseeching every animal he met to relieve him, at the same time hinting at a very handsome reward to the successful operator.

A Crane, moved by his entreaties and promises, ventured her long neck down the Wolf’s throat, and drew out the bone. She then modestly asked for the promised reward.

To which, the Wolf, grinning and showing his teeth, replied with seeming indignation, "Ungrateful Creature! To ask for any other reward than that you have put your head into a Wolf’s jaws, and brought it safe out again!"

Those who are charitable only in the hope of a return, must not be surprised if, in their dealings with evil men, they meet with more jeers than thanks. 

Here is an illustration by Grandville:

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