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

Perry 545 (Phaedrus App. 17)

Aesop was once the slave of an ugly woman who wasted entire days adorning herself with make-up, but even with all her fancy clothes and pearls and silver and gold she still could not find anyone who would so much as touch her. 'Might I say a few words?' asked Aesop. 'Go ahead,' she replied. 'I think that you could achieve all your hopes and dreams,' said Aesop, 'if only you would put aside this finery.' 'Do you really find me so much more attractive when I'm just my sweet little old self?' she asked. 'Quite the opposite,' said Aesop, 'but if you stopped giving your jewellery away, you could give your bedsprings a break.' 'I'm going to break every bone in your body!' she answered back, and ordered them to beat the indiscreet slave with whips. Shortly thereafter, a thief stole one of the mistress's silver bracelets. When she was told that the bracelet was nowhere to be found, the mistress was enraged and summoned all the slaves, threatening them with painful punishments if they didn't tell the truth. 'Threaten the others,' said Aesop, 'but you aren't going to fool me, my mistress: it's because I told the truth just now that you had me whipped and beaten!'

Note: For another fable about the dangers of telling the truth, see Fable 108.

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.