188. THE YOUNG MAN AND THE LION. There was a certain old man, who was lord of a very great estate, and had only one child, a son, of whom we was exceedingly tender and fond; he was likewise one very apt to be influenced by omens, dreams, and prognostics. The young man, his son, was mightily addicted to hunting, and used to be up early every morning to follow the chase: but the father happening to dream one night that his son was killed by a lion, took it so to heart that he would not suffer him to go into the forest any more. He built a fine castle for his reception, in which he kept him close confined, lest he should step out privately a hunting, and meet his fate.
Yet as this was purely the effect of his love and fondness for him, he studied to make his confinement as agreeable to him as possible: and, in order to it, furnished the castle with a variety of fine pictures, in which were all sorts of wild beasts, such as the son used to take delight in hunting, and among the rest, the portrait of a lion. This the young man viewed one day more attentively than ordinary; and being vexed in his mind at the unreasonable confinement which his father's dream had occasioned, he broke out into a violent passion, and looking sternly at the lion, “Thou cruel savage,” says he, “it is to thy grim and terrible form that I owe my imprisonment; if I had a sword in my hand, I thus would run it through thy heart.”
Saying this he struck his fist at the lion's breast, and unfortunately tore his hand with a point of a nail which stuck in the wainscot, and was hid under the canvas. The wound festered, and turned to a gangrene; this threw the young man into a fever, and he died; so that the father's dream was fulfilled by the very caution that he took to prevent it. [more info]