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Short Stories (Stories for the Youth), book by Father Tadros Yacoub Malaty

463- A Wolf Slandering a Fox before the Lion(1)


On one of the anniversary celebrations of the ordination of H.H. Pope Kyrillos [Cyril] VI, a newly ordained priest from Alexandria decided to travel to Cairo one day before the celebration. He met with His Holiness, as he wanted to congratulate him before any of his other fellow clergy. However, the wise Pope did not want anyone to seek to raise himself above his brethren. He met him cheerfully, and eventually the conversation took this turn:

Have you come especially to congratulate me?

Yes, your holiness.

Why didnt you bring your fellow brothers with you?

Ill also come along with them. Image: His Holiness Pope Cyril VI no, 116, modern Coptic icon. صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: قداسة البابا كيرلس السادس 116، أيقونة قبطية حديثة. Image: His Holiness Pope Cyril VI no, 116, modern Coptic icon.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: قداسة البابا كيرلس السادس 116، أيقونة قبطية حديثة.

Why do you distinguish yourself from them? Next time you should attend with them.

The father Patriarch thus gave the priest a lesson. He wanted him to love his brothers and not to seek to be better than them. In this way there would be no chance of one person slandering his brother.

This incident reminds me of the story of the wolf who sought to slander his friend, the fox, before the lion.

The wolf heard that his friend the lion, king of the forest, was very sick. He also learned that all the animals had gone to look after him.

As the wolf wanted to show the lion how much he loved and cared for him, he went to the fox and said, Havent you heard that the lion is sick? Lets go together and care for him.

The fox, however, knew that the wolf was not a sincere friend of the lion. He also knew that he was a hypocrite and just needed to win his favor. So he said to the wolf, I dont want to go.

The wolf said, How wont you go when the lion is very sick?

The fox answered angrily, May you both die. I dont care for any of you.

The wolf went on his way to the lion. He entered into the den, and seeing how sick the lion was, he tenderly inquired about his health. Then, in the presence of all the other animals, the wolf said, How is your highness today?

The lion answered, Bad! Everyday I seem to be getting worse.

The wolf appeared greatly moved, and said, Were all at your service, O great king. Today, I passed by the fox and invited him to come with me to inquire about your health and offer our services. But the fox showed indifference and even said to me, May the lion king die, for this matter is of no interest to me.

The lion king was greatly angered by these words. His whole family was very upset too.

Now, all the lions decided to kill the fox.

Two days went by before the fox learned about this incident. He rushed to the kings den. He ran so quickly that by the time he reached the place he was breathing heavily. In a voice that revealed great stress, he said, Good morning to your Highness. How are you today? Ive heard from the wolf that you were sick. Since then Ive been running around trying to find doctors and asking them for a medicine that would cure you. Ive not rested for two days and Ive neither eaten nor slept. I couldnt close my eyes until I could find a way to ensure your safety.

The lion forgot all his anger. He warmly asked the fox, Have you found a medicine?

The fox answered, Yes, I couldnt come until I found a medicine that would definitely heal you. Your medicine is to wear a living wolfs skin.

The wolf got agitated and said, My skin isnt good for Im eight years old and that is really old!

The fox immediately said, That is exactly what is required. The best hides are those that are eight years old.

Before the wolf could say another word, the lions attacked him and skinned him. They then offered the skin to the sick king.

As the animals left, they said, Truly, he who digs a pit for his brother ends up falling into it.

The wolf had slandered the fox in order to have him devoured by the lions. Now, he had fallen and become a prey to them.

→ English translation of the story here at ذئب يشي بثعلب لدى الأسد. Divider

Grant me to love everyone that I may slander no one whatever the reason may be.

May I not dig a hole for others that I may not fall in it.

You are love itself.

Grant me Yourself, O Source of Love. Divider

Just as a flame cannot be prevented from rising towards the sky

So a loving mans prayers cannot be stopped from rising towards heavens

(St Isaac, the Syrian).


Footnotes and references for this page here at

(1) Liewelyn, Robert. The Joy of the Saints, Spiritual Readings throughout the Year. Springfield: Illinois, 1989 (128).

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