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The Lion with Bad Breath

Retold from Aesop by Rohini Chowdhury


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From the Panchatantram:

The Three Fishes
The Indigo Jackal
The Monkey and the
Crocodile

The Talkative Turtle




From Aesop:

The Ant and the Grasshopper
The Lion and the Mouse
The Ass and the Lapdog
The Cat and the Fox
The Lion with Bad Breath





From Uncle Remus:

How Brer Rabbit Met Brer Tar Baby




Find out more:

The Panchatantram
Aesop
Phaedrus
Writers of fables



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The Lion was in a bad mood. That morning his wife, the Lioness, had told him that his breath smelled, and that perhaps he needed to do something about it. The Lion had pretended not to care, and had roared loudly and angrily just to show the Lioness who was king. Secretly though, he was worried.

So as soon as the Lioness left the den to go about her day's work, the Lion called his three counsellors - the Sheep, the Wolf and the Fox.

First he called the Sheep. 'Tell me, Sheep,' growled the Lion, 'do you think my breath smells?'

The Sheep thought the Lion wanted to know the truth. So she bowed low before the Lion and said, 'Your Majesty, your breath smells terrible. In fact, it smells so bad that it is making me feel quite ill.'

This was not what the Lion had wanted to hear. Roaring angrily, and calling the Sheep a fool, he pounced on her and bit her head off.

Then he called the Wolf. 'Tell me, Wolf,' growled the Lion sharpening his claws, 'do you think my breath smells?'

The Wolf had seen the dead Sheep on the way, and he had no plans to end up the same way. He bowed low before the Lion and said, 'Your Majesty! How can you ask me that? Your breath smells as sweet as the flowers in spring, as fresh as the...'

He could not finish what he was going to say. 'Liar!' roared the Lion, and ripped him to pieces.

At last the Lion called the Fox. The Fox came warily; she had seen the dead Sheep and the dead Wolf on the way.

'Tell me, Fox,' growled the Lion, sharpening his claws and yawning widely so that the Fox could see his long sharp teeth, 'do you think my breath smells?'

The Fox coughed and sneezed and blew her nose, and then clearing her throat noisily, said in a hoarse whisper, 'Your Majesty, forgive me. I have such a nasty cold that I cannot smell a thing!'


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Last updated: April 2010. Copyright © Rohini Chowdhury 2002. All rights reserved.

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