Three painters, the crow, the pheasant and the squirrel, gave the lion portraits.
The lion warned them in advance: “You have to paint like me and not like me. If you paint well, you will be rewarded. If the painting is not good, it will eat you up!”
This is a difficult problem. The first one was drawn by the crow, he thought; the lion is proud and ferocious, so he must paint his mighty appearance. So the crow drew the lion’s mane very thick and long, his eyes gleaming fiercely, and more deliberately painted the lion’s shining and sharp teeth.
When the painting was finished, the crow carefully held the portrait in front of the lion and said: “Sir, your appearance is mighty and majestic. The beasts will be scared when they see it. It is a pity that my paintbrush is too bald to reproduce your style!”
“You are not painting a mighty lion, but a cruel monster!” The lion looked at the portrait and said dissatisfied, “You are deliberately slandering me, stand aside, and I will eat you later!”
It was time for the pheasant to paint. He thought that if the lion didn’t want people to paint his ferocious and brutal appearance, then he should paint him as gentle and kind as possible. So the pheasant drew the lion’s mane thin and short, with big eyes, and the sharp teeth were drawn into blunt and flat rows of teeth, just like the teeth of an old sheep.
After finishing the painting, the pheasant carefully showed the portrait to the lion: “Sir, you have a generous and kind appearance. The people in the mountains and forests have accepted your grace, but my paintbrush is so bald that I can’t reproduce your style! ”
“You are not painting a lion, but a cowardly sheep!” The lion looked at the portrait and said angrily, “You are deliberately distorting my image, stand aside, and I will eat you later!”
The next squirrel was about to paint. Seeing that the lion was unreasonable, he had an idea. He first painted the majestic appearance of the lion, and then painted his majestic and kind demeanor. After the painting was finished, the squirrel did not say a word of praise, but stood with the crow and the pheasant, waiting for the lion to fall.
The lion saw the portrait painted by the squirrel and said happily: “This is the portrait of the lion! Squirrel, what do you want, I want to reward you.”
“Sir, I don’t want your reward.” Squirrel said, “I only ask you to release the crow and the pheasant.”
“Why?” the lion asked puzzled.
“Because I don’t have the first two paintings, I can’t draw this third one.” Squirrel said, “I just combined the image of you that they painted together…”
Seeing that the squirrel was right, the lion had to let go of the crow and the pheasant.