story 2009

The Ass Has No Brains

Once upon a time, there lived an old lion who was, of course, the king of the jungle. However, he was old and he could not hunt for food. With each passing day he grew weaker and weaker. He realized that he needed an assistant to bring him his food, else he would surely die.

He thought that a fox would be the best person to hire in this situation. He summoned the fox and offered him the post of Minister because he was so clever. The fox did not trust the lion, but he could not refuse the king. He agreed and the lion was pleased.

The old lion told the fox that as he was the king of the jungle, he should not have to hunt for his food. Therefore, the fox’s first duty as Minister was to bring him an animal to eat every day.

The fox went out to find an animal and came across a fat ass. He told the ass that the king of the jungle had invited the ass to act as his Chief Minister and had been searching for him for days. But the ass was scared of the lion and told the fox that he was not fit to be Chief Minister. The fox flattered the ass, praising the fact that he was so wise and hardworking. And so he convinced the ass to go along with him.

When they reached the lion’s den, the poor ass’s nerve failed him again and he refused to move forward. The fox informed the lion that his new Chief Minister was feeling shy. So the lion himself came forward. The poor ass ran for his life. The lion was very angry. The fox told him to be patient and leave it to him. The fox went back to the ass and told him that if the lion had wanted to kill him, he could easily have done so before. He said that the lion had approached him to share some secret that he did not want the fox to hear. He tempted the ass telling him that he would be very powerful as the lion’s second in command. In this way, the fox managed to entice the ass to go back to the lion.

The lion welcomed them graciously. As the ass drew nearer, the lion pounced on him and killed him. He then thanked the fox. As the lion sat down to eat, the fox suggested that the lion take a bath before his meal. The lion thought it was a good idea and went off to have a bath. He instructed the fox to watch over the carcass of the ass.

The fox obediently sat down to keep watch. But the fox was hungry and his mouth watered as he looked at the ass just waiting to be eaten. He thought to himself that since he had taken all the trouble to bring the ass to the lion, he was entitled to the best portion of the meal. So he ate the ass’s brain.

When the lion returned, he felt that there was something amiss. The fox reminded him that he had given the ass a powerful blow on his head. Satisfied with this explanation, the lion settled down to his meal. He soon realized that the ass had no brain. He questioned the fox about this. The fox replied that if the ass had had a brain, he would never have returned with the fox to meet the lion.