Commentary 26 Jul 2007 05:17 am

Aesop misremembered

I had occasion this week to remember — or misremember, as it turns out — one of Aesop’s fables.

Early Tuesday morning, one of our cats knocked a drinking glass off the cupboard, shattering it. I thought I had cleaned up all the shards, but guess what? I stepped on one with my bare foot later that day. Ouch.

After attempting to remove the piece myself and having no luck, soliciting my wife to do the same (with the same result), and spending a miserable 12 hours alternately walking on the outside of my left foot and soaking it in warm water, I surrendered and went to the doctor. He removed the offending sliver in about three minutes; it felt like he was digging the foundation for a skyscraper on the bottom of my foot, but the damn glass was out.

This led me to recall Aesop’s fable about a lion with a thorn in its paw. I could have sworn the story involved a mouse, whom the lion had earlier spared, happening upon the suffering beast and removing the thorn, proving that even the small could be of service to the mighty.

But when I looked up the story in a collection of fables, the thorn became a net, the lion was trapped by hunters, and the little mouse chewed away the restraints. An online search revealed a story with a lion and a thorn, but the mouse became a shepherd, who pulled out the splinter and was later thrown to the lions as punishment for a crime he didn’t commit. His friend in the animal kingdom spared him.

The moral was the same, but did I misremember the lion, mouse and thorn being in the same story, or am I thinking of a cartoon version, or what’s the deal?

5 Responses to “Aesop misremembered”

  1. on 01 Nov 2007 at 1.magicite said …

    I misremembered it too… though the one I found which is also an Aesop’s fable is about a slave and the lion… the slave escapes, helps the lion, and then is caught and thrown to the lions for escaping. The lion lays down at the feet of the slave and the audience gathered demands his release. I needed the reference for a college theatre paper and was bedeviled because I rememberd it as a mouse too! Glad I wasn’t the only one!

  2. on 27 Feb 2008 at 2.similar problem said …

    The two stories were combined into a “Little Golden Book” about a mouse who removes the thorn from the lion’s paw.

  3. on 18 May 2009 at 3.jcgarner said …

    Wonder why so many of us misremembered this…

  4. on 22 Jun 2009 at 4.JUANY PRICE said …

    i thot it was a mouse who took the thorn out of the lion’s paw, also……

  5. on 30 Oct 2013 at 5.Natascia said …

    Ahh, Yet another classic case of somebody rewriting the great fables of our childhood and pushing it as hard as they can until it becomes popular, and maybe even mainstream. I mean, the lion and the mouse was one of my favorites ever. I’m really upset that this one was changed. I mean, it’s almost as bad as taking Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and turning it into an animated kids’ show called Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. That hurts, too.

Trackback This Post | Subscribe to the comments through RSS Feed

Leave a Reply