AN ASS once found a Lion’s skin which the hunters had left out in the sun to dry. He put it on and went towards his native village. All fled at his approach, both men and animals, and he was a proud Ass that day. In his delight he lifted up his voice and brayed, but then every one knew him, and his owner came up and gave him a sound cudgelling for the fright he had caused. And shortly afterwards a Fox came up to him and said: “Ah, I knew you by your voice.”
Fine clothes may disguise, but silly words will disclose a fool.
Avian, ed. Ellis, 5. Supposed to be referred to by Socrates when he says, Plato, Cratyl. 411 A, "I must not quake now I have donned the lion's skin." But it seems doubtful whether Socrates would have written himself down an ass, and the expression may really refer to the stage representations of Hercules. The fable is certainly Indian as it occurs among the Jātakas in a form which gives a raison d'être for the masquerade. The Ass in the Jataka is dressed every morning by his master in the Lion's skin, so as to obtain free pasturage by frightening away the villagers. (Given in Jacobs, Indian Fairy Tales, number 20.) The story is told of a Hare in South Africa (Bleek, Reineke Fuchs in Africa), Thackeray includes it as before in his Newcomes.
Ass in the Lion’s Skin, The
Fables of Aesop, The
Aesop & Jacobs, Joseph
Macmillan & Co.
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ATU 214B: The Donkey in Lion's Skin