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Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)

Perry 498 (Phaedrus 3.6)

A fly alighted on a wagon pole and began to harass the mule. 'You are moving so slowly!' she said, 'Can't you walk any faster than this? Watch out, or I will pierce your neck with my sting!' The mule replied, 'I don't care what you say: the only thing that scares me is that man who sits up there in front regulating my pace with his pliant whip and keeping my head in check with the foaming bit. I've had enough of you and your silly boasting: I know full well when I am supposed go slowly and when I am supposed to run!'
This fable can be effectively used to ridicule a person who makes empty threats without having the power to back them up.

Source: Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs. Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
NOTE: New cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.