The Lion once said to the Gnat: “You brat,
Clear out just as quick as you can, now–s’cat!
If you meddle with me lt…
If you meddle with me I will not guarantee that you won’t be slammed perfectly flat.
Said the Gnat: “Because you’re called King–you thing!–
You fancy that you will make me take wing.
Why, an ox weighs much more,
Yet I drive him before
When I get good and ready to sting.
Then loudly his trumpet he blew. And–whew!
How fiercely and fast at his foe he flew.
From the tail to the toes
He draws blood as he goes.
Then he starts in to sting and to chew
Sir Lion was mad with the pain. In vain
He roared and he foamed and he shook his mane.
All the beasts that were nigh
Fled in fear from his cry.
But the Gnat only stung him again–
In the eye.
He looked and laughed as he saw–Haw, Haw!–
The Lion self-torn by his tooth and claw,
So His Majesty’s hide
With his own blood was dyed.
Said the Gnat: “Shall I serve you up raw–
It’s finished. The Lion’s loud roar is o’er.
He’s bitten and beaten, he’s sick and sore.
But a spider’s web spread
Trapped the Gnat as he sped
With the news…He will never fight more–
Fables in Rhyme for Little Folks
Adapted from the French of La Fontaine.
Written by, W. T. Larned
Illustrated by, John Rae.
New York, July 1918.