A Gnat came and said to a Lion, "I do not in the least fear you,
nor are you stronger than I am. For in what does your strength
consist? You can scratch with your claws and bite with your teeth
as a woman in her quarrels. I repeat that I am altogether more
powerful than you; and if you doubt it, let us fight and see who
The Gnat, having sounded his horn, fastened himself upon the
Lion and stung him on the nostrils and the parts of the face devoid
of hair. While trying to crush him, the Lion tore himself with his claws,
until he punished himself severely. The Gnat thus prevailed over the
Lion, and, buzzing about in a song of triumph, flew away.
But shortly afterwards he became entangled in the meshes of a
cobweb and was eaten by a spider. He greatly lamented his fate,
saying, "Woe is me! that I, who can wage war successfully with the
hugest beasts, should perish myself from this spider, the most
inconsiderable of insects!"
(Translated by George Fyler Townsend, 1814-1900)