Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
205. THE GODS AND THEIR TREES
Perry 508 (Phaedrus
Once upon a time, the gods selected the trees which they wished to adopt
as their own. Jupiter chose the oak tree, while Venus preferred the myrtle
tree, Apollo the laurel, and Cybebe the pine, while Hercules chose the
lofty poplar. Minerva was surprised and asked them why they had chosen
trees which bore no fruit. Jupiter explained, 'We do not want to appear
to bestow these honours on the trees as if in exchange for their fruit.'
'For Heaven's sake,' said Minerva, 'you can say whatever you want, but
the olive tree appeals to me precisely because of the fruit that it yields!'
Then the father of gods and begetter of mortals said, 'O my daughter,
you are rightly called the goddess of wisdom by one and all: public acclaim
is sheer foolishness, unless we are able to produce something that is
This fable warns us not to do anything that doesn't have some purpose.
is the Roman equivalent of Aphrodite, the goddess of love; Minerva
is the Roman equivalent of Athena, goddess of wisdom; Hercules
is the Roman equivalent of Heracles. For Cybebe,
the 'Great Mother' goddess, see Fable 6 and its
Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura
Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.