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

Perry 523 (Phaedrus 5.1)

King Demetrius of Phalerum had seized control of Athens unlawfully. As is the general custom, the people all came rushing, vying with one another to salute the victor. The most prominent citizens kissed the hand which had caught them in its clutches, while silently bemoaning this grievous reversal of fortune. Not even the retired gentlemen and men of leisure were absent, although they came creeping in last of all simply in order to have their attendance duly noted. Among them was Menander, famous for his comedies. Demetrius had read his work, and although he did not know Menander personally, he admired the man's poetic genius. Menander made his entrance on dainty, dawdling footsteps, reeking of perfume and dressed in flowing robes. When the king noticed him at the end of the line, he said, 'Who is that faggot, and how dare he strut about like that in my presence!' The men standing next to him replied, 'That is Menander, the poet.' Demetrius abruptly changed his demeanor and said, 'Why, no man could be more handsome!'

Note: Demetrius of Phalerum had been appointed governor of Athens in 317 B.C.E. and was himself a man of letters, no doubt well acquainted with the contemporary playwright Menander. A few years later, in 307 B.C.E., Demetrius Poliorcetes seized power and Demetrius of Phalerum went into exile. Phaedrus seems to have conflated Demetrius of Phalerum with Demetrius Poliorcetes in this story.

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.