It's not fair!

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Community: Humanism


Return to stories about fairness.


This tale is an adaptation of two of Aesops fables. Aesop was a slave in ancient Greece who liked to tell stories. He was a keen observer of both animals and humans, and he wrote for entertainment but also to teach us about morality. You may know his famous story "The Boy Who Cried Wolf".

Most of the characters in his stories are animals, some of which take on human characteristics in the things they say and the way they behave. Each fable has an accompanying moral to be learned from the tale.

Follow up questions:

  1. How many different things in the stories don’t seem fair?

  2. Humans, like the lion and his friends, have similar rivalries and differences and many moments where they exclaim “it’s not fair”. Why do you think this is?

  3. Why do you think the fox, the wolf and the jackal gave up so quickly?

  4. How would you advise the fox, wolf and jackal to behave if they wanted to eat?

  5. If you were the lion, would you act in a different way?

The Lion and the Stag

This is a story about a lion. The lion is sometimes called the king of beasts, and certainly the other animals have many reasons to fear him. Our lion was carrying a large and juicy joint of meat in his mouth, to eat at his leisure on top of his favourite rock.

To reach his home the lion had to cross a small stream over a fallen tree. But as he stepped onto the bridge, the lion chanced to look down into the river. He was shocked to see another lion staring up at him. Even more surprisingly, the lion beneath the water was also carrying a large and juicy joint of meat!

The lion quickly decided that a mighty roar would surely scare away the underwater lion, leaving a second tasty treat to add to his own mouthful. As he opened his mouth to begin a roar, his dinner fell down into the water and was swept away! When he looked into the river again he was astonished to see that the lion below was sad and meatless too.

The next day the lion was feeling awfully hungry. So he headed out in search of a new piece of meat, but this time along with his friends the fox, the jackal, and the wolf. They hunted and they hunted until at last they surprised a stag, and soon took its life. Then came the question of how the food should be divided.

The lion quickly bellowed “half of this stag belongs to me.” Too afraid to object the other animals obediently gave the lion half. The wolf then asked, “but who gets the other half?”

The Lion responded “well, as for that, I should like to see which of you will dare lay a paw upon it”.

"Humph," grumbled the fox, the wolf and the jackal as they walked away with their tails between their legs, leaving the lion to eat all of the stag. “That’s not fair!" they thought.

(This story was adapted from Aesops fables)