“The Education Of The Lion”, Fable by Ivan. A. Krylov

Russian Fable

Krylov and his fables

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryIvan. A. KrylovContents

< < < The Two Peasants
The Brook > > >

The Education Of The Lion

TO the Lion, the king of the forests, Heaven gave a son.

You know how different from ours is the nature of beasts. Among us, a child a year old, if it belong to a royal family, is small and weak and stupid. But, by the time it has lived a twelvemonth, a lion-cub has long ago left off” its baby-linen. So, at the end of a year, the Lion began seriously to consider that he must not allow his son to remain ignorant, not wishing that the royal dignity should be degraded in him, or that, when the son’s turn should come to govern the kingdom, the nation should reproach the father on his account. But whom should he entreat, or compel, or induce by rewards to instruct the Czarevich how to become a Czar ?

Should he hand him over to the Fox ? The Fox is clever, but it is terribly addicted to telling lies ; and a liar is perpetually getting into trouble. ” No,” thought the Lion ; ” the science of falsehood is not one which princes ought to study.”

Should he trust him to the Mole ? Every one who speaks of that animal says that it is an extreme admirer of regularity in everything, and that it never takes a step without examining the ground before it, and that it cleans and shells with its own paws every grain of corn that comes to its table. In fact, the Mole has the reputation of being very great in small affairs. Unfortunately, however, though the Mole’s eyes are keen for whatever is just under its nose, it cannot see anything at a distance. The Mole’s love of order is an excellent thing for animals of its own kind ; but the Lion’s kingdom is considerably more extensive than a mole-run.

Should he choose the Panther ? The Panther is brave and strong, and, besides that, it is a great master of military tactics. But the Panther knows nothing about politics, and is absolutely ignorant of everything else that concerns civil affairs. Pretty lessons indeed it would give in ruling ! A king must be a judge and a minister, as well as a warrior ; but the Panther is good for nothing but fighting, so it, too, is unfit to educate royal children. To be brief, not a single beast, not even the Elephant himself, who was as much respected in the forest as Plato used to be in Greece, seemed wise enough or sufficiently well informed to satisfy the Lion.

By good fortune, or the opposite — we shall find out which before long, — another king, the king of birds, the Eagle, an old acquaintance and friend of the Lion, heard of that monarch’s difficulty, and, wishing to do his friend a great kindness, offered to educate the young Lion himself. The Lion felt as if a weight were taken off his shoulders ; and no wonder. What could be better, as it seemed, than to find a king as a prince’s tutor ? So the Lion-cub was got ready, and sent off to the Eagle’s court, there to learn how to govern.

Two or three years go by; in the meantime, ask whom you will, you hear nothing but unanimous praise of the young Lion, and all the birds scatter through the forests wonderful stories about his merits. At last the appointed time comes, and the Lion sends for his son. The prince arrives, and the king gathers all his people together, summoning great and small alike. He embraces his son before them all, kisses him, and addresses him in these words : ” My beloved son, you are my only heir. I am now looking forward to the grave ; but you are only just entering upon life, so I intend to make over my sceptre to you. Only tell me first, in the presence of this assembly, what you have been taught, how much you know, and in what manner you propose to make your people happy.”

” Papa,” answered the prince, ” I know what no one else here knows. I can tell where each bird, from the Eagle to the Quail, can most readily find water, on what each of them lives, and how many eggs it lays; and I can count up all the wants of every bird, without missing one. Here is the certificate my tutor gave me. It was not for nothing that the birds used to say that I could pick the stars out of the sky. And when you have made up your mind to transfer your power to me, I will immediately begin to teach the beasts how to make nests.”

On this the king and all his beasts howled aloud. The members of the council hung their heads, and the old Lion perceived, too late, that the young Lion had not learned what was wanted — that he was acquainted with birds only, not knowing the nature of beasts, although he was destined by birth to rule over beasts, and that he was utterly ignorant of the knowledge which is most requisite in kings — the knowledge of what are the wants of their own people, and what are the interests of their own country.

< < < The Two Peasants
The Brook > > >

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryIvan. A. KrylovContents

Copyright holders –  Public Domain Book

If you liked this site, subscribe , put likes, write comments!

Share on social networks

Check out Our Latest Posts

© 2023 Akirill.com – All Rights Reserved

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s