From Dr. Boli’s Fables for Children Who Are Too Old to Believe in Fables.


A LAZY JAGUAR sat on a branch that hung over a stream. A fish swam in the water below.

“I shall eat you for lunch,” said the jaguar to the fish. “You will make a good, nutritious lunch, with many fine proteins and essential fatty acids.”

The fish, of course, was terrified. “I beg you, please, don’t eat me!” he pleaded. “I have a large family to support!”

“No, I shall certainly eat you for lunch,” the jaguar said. “There’s no point in pleading with me. You might as well help me out by filleting yourself now. It will save you trouble in the end.”

The fish closed his eyes and steeled himself for the inevitable, but the jaguar was still talking. “Yes, I shall certainly eat you for lunch,” he continued. “Perhaps with a bit of lemon and a light Gewurztraminer. Or perhaps with a Pinot Grigio. That would certainly be a good choice for a fish like you. Yes, you might just as well lie down in a pan of olive oil. It will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.”

The jaguar continued in this vein for some time, and gradually the fish’s terror began to dissipate. Eventually, after the jaguar had talked for a good quarter hour about the various wines that go well with fish, and suggested numerous ways in which the fish might prepare himself for consumption, the fish had really had enough.

“I don’t think you’re going to eat me at all,” the fish said. “I think the only reason you have a mouth is because it gives you a place to flap your tongue.”

This was a grave insult to any jaguar of spirit, and the offended cat immediately lunged with a mighty sweep of his paw. But the fish swam just out of reach; the jaguar lost his balance and plunged headfirst into the stream. He had to swim back to the shore, and he was wet, grumpy, and hungry all day.


MORAL: A little initiative is a dangerous thing.