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

Perry 168 (Babrius 71)

A farmer saw a ship and her crew about to sink into the sea as the ship's prow disappeared beneath the curl of a wave. The farmer said, 'O sea, it would have been better if no one had ever set sail on you! You are a pitiless element of nature and an enemy to mankind.' When she heard this, the sea took on the shape of a woman and said in reply, 'Do not spread such evil stories about me! I am not the cause of any of these things that happen to you; the winds to which I am exposed are the cause of them all. If you look at me when the winds are gone, and sail upon me then, you will admit that I am even more gentle than that dry land of yours.'

Note: An epimythium probably added by a later editor reads: 'This fable shows that the wrong application can often turn things which are useful by nature into something worse, so that they seem to be useless.'

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.