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Does anyone know of an origin for this expression prior to Aesop's fable? In the fable, the lion's share is defined, quite clearly, by the lion himself, as all four quarters. I am aware that most people who use this term mean it as "the largest part," but assuming that the fable is the origin this expression is from the fable, that usage seems erroneous.
I suggest that the article mention both the common usage, as meaning "the greatest part," or "vast majority," etc., as well as the original meaning, that the lion takes all shares.
The Lion's Share
The Lion went once a-hunting along with the Fox, the Jackal, and the Wolf. They hunted and they hunted till at last they surprised a Stag, and soon took its life. Then came the question how the spoil should be divided. "Quarter me this Stag," roared the Lion; so the other animals skinned it and cut it into four parts. Then the Lion took his stand in front of the carcass and pronounced judgment: The first quarter is for me in my capacity as King of Beasts; the second is mine as arbiter; another share comes to me for my part in the chase; and as for the fourth quarter, well, as for that, I should like to see which of you will dare to lay a paw upon it."
"Humph," grumbled the Fox as he walked away with his tail between his legs; but he spoke in a low growl:
- it seems that the version of this tale as told in the article did not coincide with the actual story. I have corrected this, as well as slightly re-wording the article in spots so that it reads better. Additionally, i see no relevance in the sentence which described the lion as specifically male, and have removed it accordingly. I may have missed something there, but I am fairly confident in its irrelevance. --Isis 19:03, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
Comment written on article
I have found the following unsigned comment on the article:
- The formal historic definition (my adjectives) says the lion's share is all of that of which the lion partakes. The lion can have all he or she wants, and would most often take all.
- I'd like to add: I too have always understood the richer meaning to be more subtle.
- That it should be understood that the lion's share is simply "what ever the Lion wants". This leaves the lion to be even more powerful (controlling) than if he always take the majority (or all).
- —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.127.116.11 (talk) 05:58, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
-  This section had nothing to do with the expression "the lion's share". It instead was about relying on someone else to settle a squabble, they taking most of what you had for themselves. Even today, if two people had a costly lawsuit against each other, most of what they were fighting over could be lost, with the lawyers getting most of it as payment. Totally different than saying I'm bigger, so I get whatever I want. Also the second part of that was simply, while you are busy fighting, someone else, not the lion in this case, can run off with what you have. Dream Focus 16:27, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
I have restored the section. However the article started, it is now about the original fable and compares different versions in other cultures. The comparison with the Jataka is legitimate in this context but also acknowledges that there is an area of ambiguity as well and provides a link to the fable relating to the situation you mention. The theme the fables here have in common is arbitration over the proper share. Where the Jataka differs from "The lion, the bear and the fox" and other fables of that type is that no third party takes advantage of the dispute to steal the prey while the other two are distracted. Mzilikazi1939 (talk) 18:22, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
- Its a different theme. This isn't about fables, its about the expression "Lion's share". Anything unrelated about that belongs somewhere other than this article. The Lion's share is the lion, or someone, getting the best deal because they are stronger. It doesn't include every single story ever written which had a lion in it. Dream Focus 10:18, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
Since you are going to be so pedantic, Dream Focus, I have created a separate article about the fable and have reverted this one to its original state before Annielogue and I changed its focus. It is up to you now to source the article properly if it is not to be deleted. Mzilikazi1939 (talk) 22:15, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
- Since the dictionary says the expression came from Aesop's fable, that should be in there, and a different fable with the same exact theme is fine as well. Just nothing not related to this. I undid that unnecessary removal of things. Dream Focus 22:56, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
You can't have it both ways, Dream Vision. You were the one that chased me off by insisting that this article was only about the idiom and that I had no right to shift its focus. This started, let me remind you, because you insisted on your POV and started an edit war without taking the matter to arbitration. If you are prepared to accept arbitration now, the two articles can easily be brought back together. But as of now you do not have my permission to use the research of others that contributed to the fable article. Mzilikazi1939 (talk) 17:22, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
- You erased information valid to the article, showing the various fables that demonstrate the concept, and perhaps show where the expression comes from. This edit  is rather immature. Everything related to the expression is fine, but there is no possible reason to include things about something totally different just because they happen to have a lion in them. Should we include the story about a mouse pulling a thorn out of a lion's paw as well? Dream Focus 19:53, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
Okay. First, I redirected the coatrack article that Mzilikazi1939 created back to here. This is the main article; having a spinoff article is entirely unnecessary. Without the contents about the fable here, it's essentially a dictionary article, which we don't really do. Next: I don't see the connection to the Jakata. That story is about a jackal and two otters, not a lion. It may have the same moral as the lion's share fable, but it's not really relevant to this article. It's well established that the term "lion's share" refers to the fable, and to add text that it's not is misleading. — HelloAnnyong (say whaaat?!) 21:19, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
- I dispute that this is an objective or well-informed third opinion. It completely ignores the points made about the way in which the Eastern story makes the same kind of point about arbitration and power relationships. Annyong also deleted the discussion of the early Latin reference to Aesop's fable, which is surely relevant, and passed over the more precise reference, giving title and provenance. Finally he shifts the argument, since Dream Focus made his original deletion of the reference to the Jataka on the grounds that the article refers to the idiom, not the fable. Annyong tries to have it both ways, claiming that the article must stick to references to a lion, and strips it of the reference to the Jataka without consideration of the evidence of why it should be there.
- This arbitrary action therefore appears to be an abuse of his status, probably out of biased support for a friend, without any particular care for improving the article or helping Wikipedia fulfil its function. Rather than put in a complaint about this behaviour, I have rewritten the article, restoring the omissions of which I complain and adding an explanation of the ways in which the Jataka story corresponds to the Lion's Share theme. What is not pointed out there, because it is not relevant to the fable as such, is the fact that folk tales with the same central situation, often vary widely in detail and personnel. In fact the four versions featuring a lion each have different animals joining in the hunt, different reasons given for the division of the spoils, and draw different conclusions from the story. The argument that since a lion does not appear in the Jataka, it could have no connection, takes no account of the fact that the central character is frequently different in Eastern and Western versions of more or less the same story. One example which particularly exemplifies this through its various versions from the West, the Near and Far East, is the fable of The Wolf and the Crane. There are many other examples in the fables about which I (and Annielogue) have been writing.
- I am making a plea that you actually consider the reasons given here, rather than blindly deleting out of uninformed POV. I am well aware that there are remedies for that but prefer to avoid seeking them for the moment. Mzilikazi1939 (talk) 16:29, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
- Two editors have already told you that the Jataka part does not belong here. You shouldn't dismiss the opinions of others and making ridiculous accusations to their motives. I see you added that part back in, so I have once again removed it.  Follow consensus. Dream Focus 11:15, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
- Two POVs, one of them yours, does not constitute consensus. Nor have you attempted to address the reasoning above. If you wish, I can call for an expert opinion on the subject under discussion (the relationship between Oriental and Occidental versions of fables), but in the meantime I suggest you have a look at this article from the Jewish Encyclopaedia.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Mzilikazi1939 (talk • contribs)
- Where in that does it say this particular tale came from that specific one? And if there is a Wikiproject to bring this up at, go ahead and do so. Dream Focus 16:23, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
I didn't know this was still rumbling. A while back I suggested here that an Aesop fable article should include "A history of its development going back especially to the earliest sources" and "Examples especially of the fable outside Europe and the English-speaking world (which are harder to come by and so could be neglected)" This has been put into practice in a number of fables. See for instance The Fox and the Cat (fable). Likewise, here there seems to be a strong case for avoiding a purely Eurocentric viewpoint. Admittedly, as we travel further in time and place the differences will increase, but there are also clear links of theme. In a way it's a kind of Lumpers and splitters problem - where do you draw the line? - but as we are at the moment unlikely to have separate articles for all the variant fables, it seems to make sense to me to include them as linked fables in the one article, as we have in a number of other fable articles. I think my addition has prevented my last edit being a simple revert, and I hope I have made the "shading" of variants clearer through the introduction of the Brethren of Purity version. --Annielogue (talk) 21:43, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
- I have now made an official request for mediation but am meanwhile grateful for Annielogue's thoughtful attempt to resolve this dispute. Mzilikazi1939 (talk) 22:26, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
- Annielogue's additions make no sense at all.  Where in the sources provided does it say the stories were related? Those three stories have nothing to do with this theme at all. Dream Focus 22:51, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
What binds these fables together is a very simple structure: 1. Animals with prey; 2. Animals look for a fair way to share; 3. Animals choose, or have imposed, a powerful animal to make the division; 4. The powerful animal takes the largest portion, or indeed all of the prey, because he can.
If you compare these fables to fables that really are different, say The Lion and the Mouse or The Fox and the Sick Lion with their different themes and structures, you'll see how the Eastern ones added share a very similar "template" with Aesop's Lion's Share.
On a broader note, there is a global dimension to these things and we have to look beyond the small details and make space for this dimension. This is why the existence of WP:IMBALANCE has been flagged up. Likewise, it is easy to look at the current version of a tale and ignore historically important instances - in this case it is the problem of WP:RECENTISM.--Annielogue (talk) 17:18, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
- The morals are different. One says respect someone more powerful than you, or they'll kill you. Another says don't look to someone else to settle your dispute or both parties end up getting less as the other party takes a cut. Is there any actual evidence in reliable sources that say these are connected, or is it just original research? Dream Focus 17:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
- Lotus, The Lay Review and Newsletter of the Dhammatalaka Pagoda A free 12 page newsletter isn't really a reliable source. Do you have any actual experts such as notable historians making this claim? Dream Focus 13:51, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
- Who instructed you in that? Do you have any reference for your claim or not? You are not allowed to add in original research. I asked at the proper place for this, at the original research noticeboard.  Dream Focus 01:51, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
If it comes to that, what are your qualifications and how do they give you the right to take this arrogant tone? The matter in now the subject of arbitration and I don't have to answer to you. Mzilikazi1939 (talk) 23:15, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
I want to make a formal complaint against Dream Focus, whose intervention in the editing of this article has been destructive, opinionated and inconsistent over the past year. Up until 8 August 2009 the article dealt mainly with the idiom 'the lion's share', although reference was made to one of the 'Aesop' fables from which it ultimately derives. On that date it was tagged as unsourced and remained so until 27 May 2010, when the the tag was removed after a thorough rewriting. During the course of the next few months the article was further expanded with, in particular, consideration of Eastern analogues in Rumi and the Jataka Tales. Beginning on 7 November 2010, Dream Focus (who had never played any previous part in the article's creation or development) began deleting a section under a number of different pretexts. It is the inconsistent nature of these that demonstrates his incomprehension of the issues involved and stubborn insistence on his own POV, which I would claim is malicious and constitutes harrassment of those trying to improve the standard of WP articles.
To begin with he claimed that the Jataka Tale was on a different theme and did not belong in the article because 'This isn't about fables, its about the expression Lion's share" (16 November). When the article was reverted to its original unsourced state (tag included) and a seperate article dealing with Aesop's fable was created, Dream Focus called in an associate on the grounds that 'You have now made another article The Lion's Share (fable) which includes not just those related to a Lion's Share, but things totally unrelated which just happen to have a lion in them' (21 November). This was untrue, since the Jataka concerns a jackal and otters. What it demonstrates is Dream Focus' incoherence and unwillingness to consider the evidence. On 24 November, HelloAnnyong reverted the article without including any of the new, useful and fully sourced additions. While not disputing the WP:COATRACK guidance, I did appeal that this 'third opinion' did not pay due regard to how tales transform in their journeys from place to place in the field of folklore.
When HelloAnnyong did not chose to answer, the article was further expanded, pointing out among other things that there were four early versions of the 'Aesop' story, involving different animals (apart from the lion), different reasoning for the division of the spoils, and drawing different morals, so that there is no tidy consistency in tellings of a fable supposed to derive from a single author. On 21 November 2011 Dream Focus again deleted the section on the grounds that there was a 'consensus' (two opinions against one) against its retention. When Annielogue intervened to even out the odds, Dream Focus retreated to yet another position, that there has to be a source that claims kinship between the fables cited. One has now been provided, but I do not expect that he will respect it, any more than he has the repeated attempts to accomodate him over the past 12 months. That is the reason I have called for mediation, and am relieved that there are such procedures to guard editors from disruptive behaviour, verging on edit warring, such as this. Mzilikazi1939 (talk) 07:39, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
- What's with all the personal attacks? You keep posting all over the place. I thought the issue had been resolved, a third opinion asked for, and agreeing that had no place in the article. Then weeks later, you went and added it back in. Had I noticed at the time I would've brought it up again then. I do not know the guy. I just posted on the third opinion noticeboard, and he was the first one that showed up. You had a fit, and then when you didn't get your way, tried to vandalize this article and create a separate article which he then turned into a redirect back here.  Kindly stop your ridiculous bad faith attacks. Dream Focus 13:44, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
The message above appears because of the following message left on HelloAnnyong's talk page: 'You participated in a third opinion request last year for the article Lion's share and agreed with me. Mzilikazi1939 is accusing you of being my associate, repeatedly making bad faith accusations against both of us. Since you are being mentioned in this dispute, I thought you should be aware of it. Dream Focus 13:48, 23 November 2011 (UTC)' I rest my case. Mzilikazi1939 (talk) 00:32, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
- Yes, since you keep bringing him up, I thought I'd let him know, as is proper. You made comments about him last year, "This arbitrary action therefore appears to be an abuse of his status, probably out of biased support for a friend, without any particular care for improving the article or helping Wikipedia fulfil its function. Rather than put in a complaint about this behaviour, I have..." Accusing him of abusing his status, whatever that means, etc. And you posted to Annielogue's talk page to get him to agree with you, and later again to bring him over here to talk on this talk page. Now lets kindly focus on the original research problem in the other section of this talk page. Dream Focus 01:34, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
- That reference proves that it is listed in the section that apparently list all stories that have wild animals in them, regardless of the fable being taught. Dream Focus 11:07, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Inclusion of all fables of A-T type 51
0051 The Lion's Share (Wolf divides booty equally and is killed - fox learns his lesson and gives all to lion).
0051*** Fox as umpire to divide cheese (Eats all under pretence of making uneven halves even; remainder is his fee).
In this system 1 - 99 are the animal tales. This tale is 51 (with *** indicating, I believe, a subtype).
As it is hard to find an objective way of deciding to everyone's satisfaction where sameness ends and difference begins, for the present case, where there are not separate articles on the subtypes, I believe we should use this well-established system of typology and include fables of the same type. --Annielogue (talk) 11:13, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
- Back on topic, is there any reliable source that says that any of the tales listed in the Other related Eastern fables have any possible connection to the Lion's share fable? That is what this article is about. If you want to make hundreds of separate articles for each of the types in this system, that doesn't affect this article. Any fable that was on such a list article, would have a link to its own article if it was notable enough to have one, as some fables now do. Dream Focus 11:26, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Ah, you don't see that they are type 51***...
There's not a lot of literature on it, but it seems fairly clear that type 51*** is where there is an arbiter who takes advantage of his position to eat the disputed food. Google Books gives a snatch, but unfortunately not a preview, that might help. --Annielogue (talk) 11:52, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
- I don't think that classification system proves anything at all because of how it groups unrelated things together, and similar things apart.  The classification was criticized by Vladimir Propp of the Formalist school of the 1920s, for ignoring the functions of the motifs by which they are classified. Furthermore, the "macro-level" analysis means that the stories that repeat motifs may not be classified together, while stories with wide divergences may be, because the classification must select some features as salient. Its not sorted by themes, but by some arbitrary nonsense. Dream Focus 12:01, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
When I looked for the Aarne-Thompson type of the fables it was because, despite the near-impossibility of any attempted systematisation of what are in fact many-faceted artefacts, it is the most commonly-used typology in this field. Witness the number of fable articles that include mention of it. This demonstrates that is not original research. There are of course criticisms of the ATU system, as there are of Propp's and any of the other attempted systems. --Annielogue (talk) 14:21, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
- Does it say specifically why these things are grouped together? If it doesn't do it by relevant theme, then its not relevant in this article. Saying they are listed together on a list because the stories all have wild animals, or whatnot, in them makes no sense at all. Dream Focus 16:11, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
This system groups tales according to their overall plot; the animals will vary, as in this tale, from place to place and telling to telling. The animal tales are in fact types 1 - 299, but it is not critical which animal features, but rather the structure of the tale. For instance, with The Tiger, the Brahmin and the Jackal, tale type 155, there are more than 94 variants, with different animals but very similar structure. The folklorist D. L. Ashliman gives a number of these here: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0155.html - and you can see how the animals vary while the story structures have a family resemblance. It would have helped if Ashliman had dealt with this fable, as he has with many! --Annielogue (talk) 17:09, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
- The quote from his critic said that things with the same motif aren't always grouped together, while things that are "wide divergences" from each can be. Where does it list exactly what each type means? It could be animals dealing with one animal of greater power, or something that'd include many unrelated things. Do college level textbooks use this system at all? Dream Focus 18:05, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales on Google Books covers a number of aspects of the Aarne-Thompson system. The intro, p.xxi might help with its status within folklore studies.--Annielogue (talk) 20:58, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
- I see them complaining that it is sexist, that it has inaccuracies, how others have added to or altered it for their own list over time, and whatnot. I don't see anywhere where it explains exactly what each type is, and a full list of what it contains. Dream Focus 15:06, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
I guess you're looking for something by Stith Thomspson or Hans-Jörg Uther. I haven't seen these books on the Web. Ashliman's Folktexts has a lot of variants for all sorts of tales, organised around the A-T numbers, and this is probably the best way to get a sense of the validity and limitations of the system. Best to pick one example. For instance "Air Castles" A-T type 1430. It appears in wikipedia as The milkmaid and her pail, the basic story being that the milkmaid is so busy dreaming about the wealth that she is going to gain from her milk that she smashed the pail. The expression "don't count your chickens before they're hatched comes from another version, this time concerning eggs. The characters are different, the thing they break or spill is different, but there is enough the same about these stories that many have remarked on this "Extraordinary Coincidence of Stories Told in All Times, in All Places", as Idries Shah calls it in his World Tales. Outside the realm of fables, Cinderella, A-T type 510a, is a fascinating example (notice the Template:Infobox folk tale has a line for Aarne-Thompson Grouping), with thousands of variants around the world, including an ancient Greek one. (Incidentally, it is these longer tales that are harder to categorise as they have many more motifs; our group of fables, if I can call it that, is a lot simpler.)
Other than that, Francisco Rodríguez Adrados gives the A-T numbers in his History of the Graeco-Latin Fable - for instance this ("Aa Th 51). But that of course doesn't include fables that are not specifically Greek or Latin.--Annielogue (talk) 17:07, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
The first sentence
The first sentence of this article should summarise what the expression means. This article appears to be more about the origins of the phrase than what the phrase itself actually means.
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- I cannot see anything in the edits up to the start of 2010 that distinguished usage as specifically American. The article until then was almost entirely about the idiom and therefore belonged more properly to Wiktionary. It was besides totally unreferenced. User:Annielogue and I, having at the time a common interest in fable, then shifted the main focus to the varieties of Aesopic fables (and other related fables within the Aarne-Thompson classification) upon which the idiom was based and considerably expanded the article. It was only then that a distinct language usage emerged, and that was 'British' since the UK is our country of origin. I find it puzzling, therefore, that you should be making the claim above.
- I have reverted the last of your recent edits for other reasons as well. In some cases meaning has been mistaken or arbitrarily changed; in others the language being used in the source has not been recognised - de leone venante, for example, is Latin, not French. In the case of the subsection headings, "Babrius's" (etc) reflects spoken rather than written usage. I don't think it's a question of language preference in needing to revert that, but rather of encyclopaedic style. Mzilikazi1939 (talk) 07:31, 9 April 2017 (UTC)
- Thanks for your work, but whether you approved of the article or not it was in American English and you should not have changed that. Accordingly, it's been restored.
- Good catch on the lang code, but the solution is to correct it, not to delete the formatting. For the section headings, there's no wp:TONE problems and the new version is wp:TERSEr and therefore preferrable. — LlywelynII 12:25, 9 April 2017 (UTC)
- If there were any actual errors apart from the lang code, you're welcome to correct them or mention them. — LlywelynII 12:28, 9 April 2017 (UTC)
- I have reverted the article yet again, and also your stipulation of WP:ENGVAR above, having looked closely at the guidelines cited and believing that they have been misunderstood and therefore wrongly applied. The guidelines under MOS:RETAIN are clear. "When an English variety's consistent usage has been established in an article, maintain it in the absence of consensus to the contrary". There has been no attempt by you to obtain that consensus. Certainly there is no evidence of American usage in the 2005 entry to which you appealed nor all the way until January 2010, after which I and Annielogue expanded the article using UK English. This set the national usage and is covered by a later passage in the guidelines suggesting that "When no English variety has been established and discussion does not resolve the issue, use the variety found in the first post-stub revision that introduced an identifiable variety." Your change should not have been made without prior discussion therefore. You might also take a glance at the discussion here about a different kind of priority usage, in which two administrators were involved. That also concluded that a hitherto stable usage should not be changed without valid reason.
- I also looked at WP:TERSE and found that it referred to the style of articles, not to titles. Again the argument seems invalid and, as a former encyclopaedia editor (where, incidentally, we had to use American English), I find your suggestions inelegant and clumsy. Finally, substituting 'violent' for 'cynical' changes the meaning of what is being discussed: the tone of particular versions of the fable. Without valid discussion, that amounts to POV. I hope now that there will be no further arbitrary changes without prior discussion. With your agreement (or without if you persist in such changes), I don't mind asking for an opinion from administrators. After all, they drew up the guidelines in the first place and keep them under scrutiny. I'd therefore trust their judgment on interpretation. Mzilikazi1939 (talk) 15:05, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
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