ἰδού, σήμερον ἔχω Αἰσώπειον μῦθον ὑμῖν·
ΚΑΜΗΛΟΣ, ΕΛΕΦΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΠΙΘΗΚΟΣ
τῶν ἀλόγων ζῴων βουλομένων βασιλέα ἑαυτῶν ἑλέσθαι κάμηλος καὶ ἐλέφας καταστάντες ἐφιλονείκουν καὶ διὰ τὸ μέγεθος τοῦ σώματος καὶ διὰ τὴν ἰσχὺν ἐλπίζοντες πάντων προκρίνεσθαι. πίθηκος δὲ ἀμφοτέρους ἀνεπιτηδείους εἶναι ἔφη, τὴν μὲν κάμηλον, διότι χολὴν οὐκ ἔχει κατὰ τῶν ἀδικούντων, τὸν δὲ ἐλέφαντα, ὅτι δέος ἐστί, μὴ αὐτοῦ βασιλεύοντος χοιρίδιον ἡμῖν ἐπιθῆται. ὁ λόγος δηλοῖ, ὅτι πολλάκις καὶ τὰ μέγιστα τῶν πραγμάτων διὰ μικρὰν αἰτίαν κωλύονται.
Today I have an Aesopic myth for you:
„Camel, Elephant, and Monkey
The dumb beasts wanted to elect a king from amongst their ranks. The camel and the elephant were the two leading candidates because of their size and their strength. The monkey, however, argued that they were both unqualified. ‘The camel cannot rule us because she doesn’t have the guts to fight against those who step out of line,’ said the monkey, ‘and there is also a potential danger if the elephant is king: how will he defend us from the little pigs?’
The fable shows that great achievements are often blocked by some small thing which prevents their realization.”
Note: The monkey complains that the camel is literally lacking in ‘gall’ (for the camel’s lack of a gall bladder, see Aristotle, Parts of Animals 4.2). Elephants were proverbially afraid of pigs, as discussed in Aelian, Characteristics of Animals 1.38.
The ranslation and note are taken from Laura Gibbs’ great website on the Aesopic myths: http://www.mythfolklore.net/aesopica/oxford/23.htm