The heifer, the goat, and their sister the sheep,
Compacted their earnings in common to keep,
It’s said, in time past, with a lion, who swayed
Full lordship over neighbours, of whatever grade.
The goat, as it happened, a stag having snared,
Sent off to the rest, that the beast might be shared.
All gathered; the lion first counts on his claws,
And says, “We’ll proceed to divide with our paws
The stag into pieces, as fixed by our laws.”
This done, he announces part first as his own;
“It’s mine,” he says, “truly, as lion alone.”
To such a decision there’s nothing to be said,
As he who has made it is doubtless the head.
“Well, also, the second to me should belong;
It’s mine, be it known, by the right of the strong.
Again, as the bravest, the third must be mine.
To touch but the fourth whoso makes a sign,
I’ll choke him to death
In the space of a breath!”