Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
352. THE MONKEYS AND THE PYRRHIC DANCE
Perry 463 (Lucian,
They say that the king of Egypt once taught some monkeys how to dance
the Pyrrhic dance. Since monkeys are creatures that readily imitate human
behaviour, they quickly learned their lesson and did the dance, dressed
in purple robes and masks. For a while everyone was impressed by the sight,
until a more discerning member of the audience threw some nuts which he
had in his pocket into the midst of the dancers. When the monkeys saw
the nuts they forgot all their performance; instead of dancing, they started
acting like monkeys again. They crushed their masks and ripped their robes,
fighting one other for the nutmeats. The whole pattern of the dance was
thrown into confusion, much to the audience's amusement.
Note: The Pyrrhic dance was a martial arts dance notorious for 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.