Cover

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Title page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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Introduction

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p. xi

Life and Works Almost all our information about Phaedrus, the Roman fabulist of the period of Augustus and Tiberius, is derived from his work itself, some of it directly, some of it by deduction. Outside that there is only one contribution, but it is an important one, It comes from the only surviving manuscript of Phaedrus...

Book 1

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Prologue

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pp. 3-4

Aesop is the author, the original inventor Of the fables that follow, which I have refined In the form of verse.* This modest volume Has a twofold attraction: it entertains And gives careful counsel for the conduct of life. If anyone chooses to carp and complain...

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1. The Wolf and the Lamb

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pp. 5-5

To the selfsame stream, to slake their thirst, Came a wolf and a lamb. The wolf was standing Upstream, and the lamb a long way lower. The ruthless predator, provoked by the prompting Of his greedy gullet, invented grounds For an altercation...

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2. The Frogs Ask for a King

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pp. 6-7

To the selfsame stream, to slake their thirst, Came a wolf and a lamb. The wolf was standing Upstream, and the lamb a long way lower. The ruthless predator, provoked by the prompting Of his greedy gullet, invented grounds For an altercation...

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3. The Presumptuous Jackdaw and the Peacock

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pp. 8-8

To aspire to accomplishments allotted to others Instead of being satisfied with your solid endowments In the normal manner that Nature intended Is foolish—as is found in the following...

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4. The Dog Carrying a Piece of Meat across a River

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pp. 9-9

A person who pursues the property of another Is likely to lose what belonged to himself, And deservedly so. A marauding dog With a stolen morsel of meat in his mouth Was carrying it across,,,,

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5. The Cow, the She-goat, the Sheep, and the Lion

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pp. 10-10

Partnership with the powerful is always precarious, As the fable that follows poignantly displays. A cow, a she-goat, and a long-suffering sheep Were co-partners with a lion in a copse in the country. One day, when they'd captured a colossal stag, The lion divided it...

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6. The Frogs Complain about the Sun

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pp. 11-11

For the nuptials of his next-door neighbor, a thief, Aesop invented the following anecdote: When the sun once decided to select a wife, The frogs filled the firmament with a fearful uproar. Jupiter, disturbed by the....

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7. The Fox and the Tragic Actor’s Mask

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pp. 12-12

A fox-philosopher came across The majestic mask of a tragic actor. "What a splendid faqade," he said to himself, "And never a bit of brains....

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8. The Wolf and the Crane

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pp. 13-13

If you reckon on a reward for services rendered From scoundrels, you're a dupe and doubly deluded: You're aiding dastards who don't deserve it; And you've little likelihood of escaping unscathed. There was once a wolf...

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9. The Sparrow Gives Advice to the Hare

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pp. 14-14

If you reckon on a reward for services rendered From scoundrels, you're a dupe and doubly deluded: You're aiding dastards who don't deserve it; And you've little likelihood of escaping unscathed. There was once a wolf...

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10. The Wolf and the Fox Receive Judgment from the Ape

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pp. 15-15

People with a reputation for persistent deceit Aren't trusted even when they're telling the truth: As is found exemplified by this fable of Aesop's. A wolf was lodging a charge of larceny Against a fox, who...

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11. The Lion and the Ass Go Hunting

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pp. 16-16

The man of mean spirit who bullies and brags, Proclaiming his courage, may convince newcomers, But is only a figure of fun to his familiars. A lion enlisted as colleague for the hunt An ass, whom he hid in a thicket, with instructions To alarm the animals with his bugle-like bray (All the more horrible because they hadn't heard it), While he would catch...

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12. The Stag at the Fountain

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pp. 17-17

The assets you disparage will do duty sometimes Better than more prized blessings. As below. A stag, after drinking at a spring, stood still, Amazed at his image mirrored in the water. He admired extravagantly his branching antlers, But the thinness of his legs he thought pathetic. Then, suddenly startled...

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13. The Fox and the Crow

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pp. 18-18

To respond with pleasure to flattering approaches Leads to retribution, ridicule, and regret. A crow was ensconced in a tall tree, Holding in his beak a bit of cheese Which he'd pertly purloined from an open window, When a fox spied him and schemed how to steal it, And proceeded to speak....

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14. From Cobbler to Physician

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pp. 19-19

An incompetent cobbler, completely penniless, Set up as a doctor in a different district. By peddling some pills that he passed off as an "antidote" He had built up a business, with brazen advertising. This character was called in by the king of the city When one of his ministers...

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15. What the Ass Said to the Old Shepherd

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pp. 20-20

Revolutions, reversals of regimes and rulers, For the moneyless masses mean a change of masters, No more. Ill tell you a tale in illustration. An old shepherd, nervous by nature, Watched his ass feeding in a flowery field. All of a sudden the shouts of soldiers Broke in on the,,,

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16. The Sheep, the Stag, and the Wolf

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pp. 21-21

When a swindler gets scoundrels to support a contract, He's not bringing you business, but building up trouble. A stag asked a sheep for the loan of a sack Of wheat, for which the wolf would be summoned To stand as surety. But the sheep was mistrustful: "The wolf's policy is to plunder...

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17. The Sheep, the Dog, and the Wolf

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pp. 22-22

Liars are liable to lose in the end. One day a dog was demanding recompense For a loaf of bread, which he lyingly alleged He'd entrusted to a sheep to take care of for a time. He summoned as witness a wolf, who swore That the items taken...

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18. A Woman in Childbirth

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pp. 23-23

One is wary of a place that was productive of pain. A woman, having passed through her pregnancy, on the point Of giving birth, lay groaning on the ground. When her husband begged her to bear the baby More decently...

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19. The Dog and Her Litter of Puppies

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pp. 24-24

The reasonable-sounding requests of rogues Are smooth on the surface but conceal a trap, As the following verses vividly evince. A dog, on the point of producing some puppies, Asked permission from a friend to deposit her litter In the other's kennel....

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20. The Hungry Dogs

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pp. 25-25

An impractical project is doubly dangerous: It is ineffective, and it draws men to destruction. Some dogs spotted something on the surface of a river- A hide, half-sunk. To haul it ashore More easily and eat it, they evolved a scheme: To drain the river...

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21. The Old Lion, the Boar, the Bull, and the Ass

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pp. 26-26

A person deprived of his dignity, and reduced From fame to affliction, can find himself exposed To insults and ignominy from the lowest of the low. A lion, old, enervated, and exhausted, Lying listless in his last extremity, Was beset by a boar, who with terrible tusks Viciously avenged

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22. The Weasel and the Man

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pp. 27-27

A weasel, manoeuvred by a man into a trap, Eager at all costs to avoid death, Pleaded pitifully, "Spare me, please. Thanks to me, not a murmur of mice, Those horrible creatures, is heard in your house." The man answered, "If in fact you were acting In my interests, you'd...

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23. The Faithful Dog

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pp. 28-28

A sudden access of unexpected kindness May catch the fancy of fools but is futile When it tries to entrap intelligent subjects. A thief in the night threw down some bread, Designed to deceive a dog on the watch. "Aha! Trying to stop my tongue/' Said the dog, "and...

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24. The Frog Who Burst Himself and the Bull

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pp. 29-29

When the poor presume to copy the powerful In rancorous rivalry, the result is ruin. There once was a frog frolicking in a field Where a bull nearby was bulkily browsing. Seized with jealousy of its sensational size, He sat himself down and..

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25. The Dogs and the Crocodiles

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pp. 30-30

Those who give crooked counsel to the cautious Are wasting their breath, and besides that They receive in response only ridicule and rejection. When dogs in the Delta want to drink from the Nile, They do it, so rumor reports, on the run— A precaution against being caught by crocodiles.* Well, when one of...

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26. The Fox and the Stork

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pp. 31-31

Be unkind to no man: and never forget That mean behavior is liable to rebound, As the following fable graphically forewarns. A fox once summoned a stork to supper And served her some soup in a shallow dish, Which of course the bird...

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27. The Dog, the Treasure, and the Vulture

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pp. 32-32

This story has a moral for misers and for men Base born, but bent on being reckoned rich. A dog, while digging up the buried bones Of a human skeleton, hit on a treasure, And, since he had desecrated the spirits of the dead, He was cursed with a maniacal...

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28. The Fox and the Eagle

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pp. 33-33

It is good policy for the great and grand To treat their lessers with respect. Revenge Is available to all, regardless of rank, And you never know who may prove to be clever. An eagle carried off the cubs of a fox And set them in her nest as food for her fledglings. The mother fox frantically followed...

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29. The Ass Insults the Boar

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pp. 34-34

Idiots angling for an easy laugh Often inflict insults on others And thereby threaten themselves with danger. An ass met a boar and brayed out, "Brother, Good morning." The boar was aggrieved at the greeting And asked the ass to account for his insult. The ass protruded his pizzle and persisted, 'If you contend we have...

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30. The Frogs Afraid of the Battle of the Bulls

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pp. 35-35

When high-ups quarrel, the humble get hurt. A battle was in progress between two bulls, When a frog, emerging from the mire of his marsh Some way away, watched them and warned his fellows: 'Oh, dear, we're threatened with a dreadful disaster." When asked by the others to explain his anxiety, Since the bulls were battling...

31. The Kite and the Doves

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pp. 36-36

Book 2

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Author’s Prologue

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pp. 39-40

The art of Aesop is essentially moral. The primary point and purpose of his fables Is to make manifest and amend the mistakes of mortals And so to sharpen their self-awareness. When I elaborate the incidents...

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1. The Bullock, the Lion, and the Bandit

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pp. 41-41

A lion was standing astride a bullock He had just bagged, when a bandit came by And, seeing it, requested a share of the spoil. "I'd let you have it," said the lion, "unless I'd heard of your...

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2. Two Women, One Old, One Young, in Love with the Same Man

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pp. 42-42

A lion was standing astride a bullock He had just bagged, when a bandit came by And, seeing it, requested a share of the spoil. "I'd let you have it," said the lion, "unless I'd heard of your...

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3. Aesop’s Words to a Man about the Success of Wrongdoers

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pp. 43-43

A citizen bitten by a vicious dog Dipped a bit of bread in his own blood And hurled it at the culprit, having heard That that was the cure for this category of wound. Then Aesop pleaded, "Please, I implore you, Don't be seen doing...

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4. The Eagle, the Cat, and the Wild Boar

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pp. 44-44

An eagle had its eyrie high in an oak; A cat found a hollow half-way up To bear its kittens in; and at the base a wild boar Had laid its litter. Soon this chance community Was totally overturned and destroyed By the blackguardly...

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5. Tiberius’ Words to an Attendant

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pp. 45-45

Social climbers and self-servers, Full of fawning and officious fussiness, Always on the go—we know them in Rome: Bustling about and busy with nothings, Not even profiting from their own exertions, A plague on the...

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6. The Eagle and the Crow

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pp. 46-46

No one is properly protected against the powerful, And if they are aided by evil advisers, The effect of force and ferocity combined Is to overcome all opposition whatever. An eagle hoisted high in the heavens A tortoise, which instantly retracted its extremities And hid in the refuge of its horny home, Stowed away safely and immune...

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7. The Two Mules and the Robbers

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pp. 47-47

A pair of mules were pursuing their path, One of them burdened with bags of money, The other with sacks bulging with barley. The one with the wealth was prancing proudly, Which set the bell that swung from his neck Tinkling tunefully...

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8. The Stag and the Oxen

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pp. 48-48

A stag, startled from its sylvan retreat, In danger of death at the hands of hunters And frantic with fear, took refuge in a farm Close by and cowered in a convenient cattle stall. An ox observed him and asked, amazed, "What on earth are...

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9.THE AUTHOR SPEAKS

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pp. 49-50

The Athenians set up a statue to Aesop, Thereby placing a slave on a permanent pedestal To the end that all should openly acknowledge That glory is granted to greatness, not to birth. Forestalled by another from being first in the field, I have labored long...

Book 3

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Prologue: Phaedrus to Eutychus

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pp. 53-56

If you really relish the prospect of reading My modest volumes, Eutychus, you must take A break from business and so make your mind Free to feel their full force. You protest that my poems are not so precious As to offset the loss...

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1. What the Old Woman Said to the Wine Jar

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pp. 57-57

An old woman once caught sight of a wine jar Which the drinkers had drunk and left empty. A fine Falernian this flask had held, And its dregs still diffused a delicious aroma. As she eagerly sniffed ...

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2. The Panther and the Shepherds

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pp. 58-58

Underdogs are apt to avenge themselves By turning on the people who have plagued or despised them. When a prowling panther had fallen into a pit, A group of countrymen gathered to gape, And some of them pelted her with sticks and stones, But some felt sorry for the splendid creature, Destined to die even if...

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3. Aesop and the Farmer

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pp. 59-59

A person who has learned his lesson from life Is generally regarded as a safer guide Than a seer or a soothsayer. The sense of this I'm the first to explain, with the following fable. A certain farmer had a flock of sheep Whose ewes one day gave birth to a brood With human heads...

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4. The Butcher and the Monkey

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pp. 60-60

A man saw a monkey among the meat Hanging from a hook in the butcher's booth, And asked about its flavor. The fellow said frivolously, "About as beautiful as the beast itself/' The reply, I...

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5. Aesop and the Impudent Fellow

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pp. 61-61

Success dooms many men to their downfall. An impudent ass threw a stone at Aesop. 'Good shot!" he shouted, and slipped him a cent, And added, "I'm afraid it's all I have on me, But I'll demonstrate how you can make some more. See that person passing...

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6. The Fly and the Mule

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pp. 62-62

A fly alighted beside a mule On the wagon pole and rudely rebuked him: "Come on, get going, for goodness' sake! What a dawdler! You deserve a deep dig From my sting, to move you." The mule muttered, "I couldn't care less about your silly sting. The fellow sitting...

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7. The Wolf and the Sleek Dog

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pp. 63-63

This fable affirms the sweetness of freedom. A wolf, half-famished and emaciated, met A well-fed dog, fat and affluent looking. They exchanged courtesies and came to a stop. "What a glossy coat," growled the wolf. "My goodness, What food has put...

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8. Brother and Sister

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pp. 64-64

Here's a lesson in self-awareness. A man had a daughter unusually unattractive, And a son, by contrast, exceptionally handsome. One day they were playing in their mother's bedroom And caught sight of themselves in the looking glass. The boy began boasting...The word "friendship" is used frequently enough, But the real thing is rarely found. When Socrates had selected a site for his house, A modest place, and had laid the foundations (rd happily accept the same fate As his, if I gained the same fame, And Td willingly submit

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9. Socrates to His Friends

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pp. 65-65

The word "friendship" is used frequently enough, But the real thing is rarely found. When Socrates had selected a site for his house, A modest place, and had laid the foundations (rd happily accept the same fate As his, if I gained the same fame, And Td willingly submit....

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10. The Poet, on Believing and Not Believing

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pp. 66-68

To believe and not to believe, both are dangerous: Here's a brief example of each extreme. Hippolytus met his death because his stepmother Was believed by Theseus;* and because Cassandra's Warning was scorned, Troy was destroyed.1" So no stone should be left unturned To find out the truth, before....\

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11. The Eunuch’s Reply to His Insulting Adversary

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pp. 69-69

A eunuch was engaged in a legal feud With a nasty type, who, on top of gratuitous Insults and obscenities, abused the man For his defective physical faculties. "True," said the eunuch, "there I'm weaker than you: I've no testicular evidence...A cock was digging desultorily on a dunghill, Foraging for food, when he found a pearl. 'How splendid/' he said, "in such sordid surroundings! If anyone interested in your intrinsic value Had come across you

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12. The Cock and the Pearl

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pp. 70-70

A cock was digging desultorily on a dunghill, Foraging for food, when he found a pearl. 'How splendid/' he said, "in such sordid surroundings! If anyone interested in your intrinsic value Had come across you...

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13. The Wasp Adjudicating between the Bees and the Drones

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pp. 71-71

The bees had built their honeycombs high up In the bole of an oak, and the idle drones Dared to declare that now they were theirs. The case was consequently brought to court. The judge, a wasp, who was well aware Of the characteristics...

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14. On Play and Seriousness

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pp. 72-72

An Athenian citizen once spotted Aesop Playing marbles * in the middle of some boisterous boys And laughed aloud—had he taken leave Of his senses? As soon as Aesop perceived it (Himself, the master of mockery, being mocked!), He brought out a bow, unbent and unstrung, And set it down in the...

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15. The Dog and the Lamb

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pp. 73-73

A dog came across a lost lamb Floundering about among a flock of goats. 'You're miles from your mother, silly/' he said, 'She's there, with those sheep: surely you see them?" 'I'm not looking for her or her kind, who conceive At their pleasure, carry...If you flout the feelings of your fellow men, You'll probably find yourself punished for your presumption. A cicada was kicking up a colossal racket, Which greatly annoyed and upset the owl, Whose habit was to hunt for sustenance in the darkness And doze in the daytime in the hollow of a tree. She asked the cicada to keep quiet, But the insect only intensified...

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16. The Cicada and the Owl

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pp. 74-74

A long time ago the gods were given The choice of trees to use as their emblems. Jove chose to be patron of the oak, Venus and Apollo of the myrtle and laurel, Cybele and Hercules of the pine and poplar. Minerva was amazed that they took trees That produced no fruit. She pursued her enquiries, Until Jove, as spokesman...

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17. The Trees under the Patronage of the Gods

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pp. 75-75

.The peacock plaintively approached Juno, Feeling sad and slighted that the nightingale Had been vouchsafed the virtue of a ravishing voice That amazed all men when they heard her music, While he, the moment that he opened his mouth, Was embarrassed by mockery and merriment. The goddess spoke soothing...

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18. The Peacock Complains to Juno about His Voice

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pp. 76-76

When Aesop was the sole slave of a master, Being directed one day to cook the dinner At an unusually early hour, he went round House after house to find fire, And reached one at last where he could light his lamp. On his tour out, the...

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19. Aesop’s Reply to the Joker

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pp. 77-77

There's a mass of material remaining to write about, But I'm consciously and carefully keeping away from it. First, I'm afraid you might find it a nuisance, Distracted as you are by your divers duties; Second, someone...

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Epilogue

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pp. 78-80

There's a mass of material remaining to write about, But I'm consciously and carefully keeping away from it. First, I'm afraid you might find it a nuisance, Distracted as you are by your divers duties; Second, someone might want to succeed me In this field of fable, and I felt I should....

Book 4

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Prologue: The Poet to Particulo

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pp. 83-84

After I'd decided to do no more, In order to ensure enough ore for others To mine, I privately changed my mind. For if anyone aspired to rank as my rival, How could he guess...

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1. The Ass and the Priests of Cybele

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pp. 85-85

A man marked out for misfortune from birth Not only lives a luckless life, But is still dogged after the doom of death By the same miserable and persistent destiny. When the Galli (Cybele's priests) used to go On their begging rounds...

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2. The Weasel and the Mice

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pp. 86-86

You say I don't seem to be serious, It's true, I do have my fun fooling around When nothing momentous is maturing in my mind, But even then I'd like you to look Closely and carefully at these light-weight confections: They conceal a lot...

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3. The Fox and the Grapes

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pp. 87-87

A famished fox was frantically jumping To get at some grapes that grew thickly, Heavy and ripe on a high vine. In the end he grew weary and gave up, thwarted, And muttered morosely...

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4. The Horse and the Wild Boar

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pp. 88-88

A wild boar, wallowing weightily around, One day muddied and made murky A stretch of shallow and secluded water Where a horse was in the habit of having his drink. So a quarrel started between the two. Clatter-hooves, convulsed...

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5. Aesop and the Enigmatic Will

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pp. 89-90

One man can be worth more than a multitude: This short story will show you how. A man at his death left three daughters. One was a beauty, who beguiled and bewitched With alluring looks; the second loved Spinning and a simple...

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6. The Battle of the Mice and Weasels

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pp. 91-91

Beaten in battle by a band of weasels (Plenty of our taverns have pictures portraying it), The mice in a rout were milling madly Round the entrances to their holes in their eagerness to escape. A hard time they...

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7. Phaedrus and the Critic

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pp. 92-92

Supercilious critic, who turn up your nose At the things I write and think it beneath you To read my ribald and trivial productions, Persevere patiently, please, with this book, While I try to...

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8. The Viper and the File

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pp. 93-93

Anyone who bares his teeth and bites A person who turns out to bite harder Will see himself in the story that follows: A viper invaded a blacksmith's shop In search of food and fastened its fangs On an iron file, which disdainfully...

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9. The Fox and the Goat

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pp. 94-94

When a crafty character comes into danger, He engineers his escape at another's expense. A fox had fallen fortuitously in a well And was held there helpless under the high rim, When along came liberation in the guise of a goat To the same place, hoping to slake his thirst. He asked the fox, "...

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10. On the Faults of Men

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pp. 95-95

Two bags full of faults have been fitted onto us By Jupiter, one weighed down by our own, Hanging behind us, the other heavy With other people's, plainly pendant In front of us, easy for...

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11. The Thief and His Lamp

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pp. 96-96

A thief lit his lamp from the flame that burned On Jupiter's altar, and then robbed the god Of the priceless treasures stored in the temple, Using for the purpose the purloined light, Jove's own. He was leaving, laden with loot, The proceeds of his...

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12. The Evils of Wealth

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pp. 97-97

Riches are hated by heroes—and rightly: They deflect praise from its proper objects. When Hercules was received into the heights of heaven, The reward for his acts of valor and virtue, And the gods had greeted him with congratulations, He replied with pleasure; but when Plutus appeared (The child of the fickle goddess...

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13. The Reign of the Lion

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pp. 98-98

Riches are hated by heroes—and rightly: They deflect praise from its proper objects. When Hercules was received into the heights of heaven, The reward for his acts of valor and virtue, And the gods had greeted him with congratulations, He replied with pleasure; but when Plutus appeared (The child of the fickle goddess...

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13A. The Reign of the Lion

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pp. 99-99

There are times when the penalties for speaking out And for keeping quiet are equally awful. When the lion had made himself lord of the animals And desired a reputation for straight dealing, He entirely abandoned his habitual behavior And with unfailing fidelity honorably upheld The letter of the law...

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13B. The King of the Apes

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pp. 100-100

"Nothing benefits more than to tell the truth." Of course, we should all commend this moral: But sincerity sometimes has disastrous results. Two men, one truthful and the other a trickster, Were traveling together. In the course of time They came into a country...

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14. Prometheus

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pp. 101-101

Then, having produced her private parts, From the same material he immediately made The woman...

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15. Prometheus Again

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pp. 102-102

Then somebody asked old Aesop What paradoxical process had produced Men-women and vice versa. "This same Prometheus/' he explained, "who made Our folk, fashioned from such fragile clay That it shatters as...

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16. The Bearded She-goats

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pp. 103-103

When the female goats had been graciously granted The favor of wearing beards by Jove, The males were incensed and expressed their indignation That the women had won equality with themselves. 'Let them revel,"...When the female goats had been graciously granted The favor of wearing beards by Jove, The males were incensed and expressed their indignation That the women had won equality with themselves. 'Let them revel,"...

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17. On the Fortunes of Men

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pp. 104-104

\When a man was moaning about the meanness of Fortune, Aesop invented this allegory to console him. A boat had been badly battered by a storm, And the passengers were in a panic at the prospect of death, When the danger suddenly died down, The skies cleared,...

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18. The Dogs Send Envoys to Jupiter

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pp. 105-106

The dogs sent a delegation to Jupiter To plead for a lighter lot in their lives And deliverance from the drudgery and degradation Meted out by men, who made a mixture Of bread and bran to abate their appetite, And other much worse...

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19. The Snake Fatal to the Compassionate Man

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pp. 107-107

A man saw a snake stiff from the cold And picked it up and put it, out of pity, Against his body to restore its warmth. He was kind and compassionate to his own cost, For the snake was no...

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19A. The Snake Fatal to the Compassionate Man

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pp. 108-108

A man saw a snake stiff from the cold And picked it up and put it, out of pity, Against his body to restore its warmth. He was kind and compassionate to his own cost, For the snake was no sooner...

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20. The Fox and the Dragon

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pp. 109-109

A fox was hollowing a hole for his house. As he dug deeper and deeper into the ground, He suddenly came upon the concealed cave Of a dragon, who was guarding a hidden hoard. As soon as he saw him, he started to speak: "Please excuse...

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21. Phaedrus

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pp. 110-110

What meanness is maturing in the mind of Malice? He may try to hide it, but I'm well aware Of what it will be. All the parts of my work That are worth preserving and passing to posterity He will say are Aesop's; all the less satisfactory Sections he will...

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22. About Simonides

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pp. 111-112

A man with a mind, wherever he moves, Constantly carries his wealth with him. Simonides, singer of such famous songs, Hoping to improve his impoverished condition, Went off on a visit to the brilliant cities Of Asia Minor, to make money From odes in honor of victorious...

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23. The Mountain in Labor

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pp. 113-113

A mountain was in labor and moaning monstrously, And the earth was expecting an amazing outcome; But all that it bore was a minuscule mouse. Which fable is fashioned...

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24. The Ant and the Fly

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pp. 114-114

An ant and a fly were furiously disputing As to which one of them was the more important. The fly spoke first: "I fail to understand you. How can you compare your qualities with mine? I idle all day among the altars, I traverse the temples...

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25. Simonides Saved by the Gods

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pp. 115-116

have shown how highly poetry is prized Among mortal men. I mean to show now How greatly it is also honored by the gods. That same Simonides of whom I have spoken Was commissioned by a boxer for a stipulated sum To compose an ode in honor of his Olympic Success. He settled...

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Epilogue

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pp. 117-118

There are plenty of topics left that I could treat— The amount and variety available are abundant— But pleasantries which, when controlled, are welcome, When carried beyond due bounds are boring. Therefore, Particulo, whom I honor so highly, Whom these pages of mine...

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Book 5

I've already acknowledged what I owed Aesop. And if anywhere I insert his name again, I'm doing it purely to profit from his prestige. That's the way things are: there are artists today Who get much more money for their modern works If they sign their statues "Praxiteles...

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Prologue: The Poet Again

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pp. 121-122

King Demetrius, who was called Phalereus,* Occupied Athens by an unlawful act. The crowd swarmed round, competing as usual In abject flattery and felicitations. The foremost Citizens kissed the hand..

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1. King Demetrius and the Poet Menander

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pp. 123-123

Two soldiers traveling together Were waylaid by a robber. One of them vanished, The other stood firm and fought fiercely. When he'd routed the robber, his cowardly companion Came bustling back, full of bluster and bravado, Cast off his cloak...

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2. The Two Soldiers and the Robber

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pp. 124-124

A bald man was bitten on his bared head By a fly. In trying to consign it to its death He hit himself so hard that it hurt him badly. The fly made fun of him: "You fancied you'd avenge The sting of a little...

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3. The Bald Man and the Fly

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pp. 125-125

A certain person had sacrificed a pig To the hero Hercules, to whom he owed Fulfillment of a prayer for the preservation of his life. He arranged for the residue of the pig's barley To be served to the ass, who refused it, saying: "I'd be quite keen to accept...

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4. The Ass and the Pig’s Barley

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pp. 126-126

It often happens that people, through prejudice, Make mistakes and, maintaining stubbornly Their false positions, are forced by the facts To recant in the end and admit their errors. A rich man was planning to give a grand Entertainment and invited anyone interested, With the promise of a prize, to perform in public, Introducing an original...

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5. The Buffoon and the Countryman

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pp. 127-128

A bald man came by chance on a comb Lying in the street. A stranger, similarly Hairless, who happened to be passing, cried, "Hey! Fair shares of fortunate finds!" The other displayed what he had, and added, "The gracious gods...

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6. The Two Bald Men

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pp. 129-129

When a frivolous mind is made complacent By the wayward winds of popular applause And assumes an attitude of arrogant assurance, Its pretensions are easily pricked by ridicule. King, the flautist, was accustomed to accompanying The dancer Bathyllus * in his stage shows And consequently became...

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7. King, the Flute Player

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pp. 130-131

He's as fleet of foot as a flying bird, Perfectly poised on a precise edge, Completely bald at the back of his head * But wearing a flourishing forelock on his forehead— If you grasp him from...

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8. Time

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pp. 132-132

A bull was badly hampered by his horns While trying to return through a narrow passage To his stall in the stables, and kept getting stuck. When a callow calf tried to come to his rescue With useful tips about twisting and turning, The bull bellowed, "Before..

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9. The Bull and the Calf

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pp. 133-133

A bull was badly hampered by his horns While trying to return through a narrow passage To his stall in the stables, and kept getting stuck. When a callow calf tried to come to his rescue With useful tips about...

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10. THE OLD DOG AND THE HUNTER

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pp. 134-134

A dog who had once been dauntless and dashing Against all wild game, and had given his master Constant service and satisfaction, Began to grow feeble from the burden of the years. One day, doing battle...

Perotti’s Appendix

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pp. 135-170