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The Lion and the Gnat

The Lion and the Gnat

As a Gnat was buzzing around a Lion, the Lion said to him: "How dare you approach so near? Be off, or I will kill you with the least stroke of my paw." The Gnat, knowing the advantage of his small size, and his alertness, immediately challenged the boaster to combat, and alighting first upon his nose and then upon his tail, made the Lion so furious that he injured himself grievously with his paws. As the Gnat flew away he boasted of his own prowess in thus defeating the King of Beasts without the slightest injury to himself. But, in his carelessness, he flew directly into a spider's web, and the spider instantly seized and killed him.

The Lion and the Gnat


"Away with you, vile insect!" said a Lion angrily to a Gnat that was buzzing around his head. But the Gnat was not in the least disturbed.

"Do you think," he said spitefully to the Lion, "that I am afraid of you because they call you king?"

The next instant he flew at the Lion and stung him sharply on the nose. Mad with rage, the Lion struck fiercely at the Gnat, but only succeeded in tearing himself with his claws. Again and again the Gnat stung the Lion, who now was roaring terribly. At last, worn out with rage and covered with wounds that his own teeth and claws had made, the Lion gave up the fight.

The Gnat buzzed away to tell the whole world about his victory, but instead he flew straight into a spider's web. And there, he who had defeated the King of beasts came to a miserable end, the prey of a little spider.

The least of our enemies is often the most to be feared.

Pride over a success should not throw us off our guard.