The Lion and the Mosquitoes (ukrainian folk tale)

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The Lion and the Mosquitoes  One day, a Lion who had been lying under a bush, yawned, stretched once or twice and said to himself:

  "Thank God I am so strong that I need fear no one on this earth!

  Not like these wretched mosquitoes who are afraid of everyone because anyone can crush them.”

  The mosquitoes heard him and were very vexed that they should be held in such contempt.

  "Don't think that no one can get the better of you, Lion, just because you're so big and strong," one of them said. "It's true we are small, but we may yet prove to be more than a match for you."

  "Silence, you little wretch!" roared the Lion, enraged. "You, if anyone, had better watch what you say. Why, I can crush the lot of you with one paw!"

  This was more than the mosquitoes could bear, and their elder, for there was one such among them, said:

  "Come, brothers, let's show the lion a thing or two! He'll remember to the end of his days how to make fun of us!"

  At this the mosquitoes flew at the Lion and began to bite him all over! And though he flapped his tail and slapped at them first with one paw and then with another, though he turned over on his back and waved all his four paws together and gnashed his teeth too, nothing helped. He killed quite a few mosquitoes, but their numbers seemed not to lessen and swarms of them kept coming at him as though someone were pouring them out of a sack. The Lion tried taking great leaps into the air and he ran around the bush, but the mosquitoes went on biting him and never stopped.

  At last, seeing that he could not fight them off, the Lion began pleading with them.

  "Do please stop and leave me be,” he said. "I wasn't making fun of you, really I wasn't. Take pity on me for the love of God!”

  The mosquitoes left the Lion, rose into the air in a great cloud and said:

  "Don't boast again, Lion, neither of your strength nor of your wisdom!"

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