Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
524. ZEUS AND THE POTSHERDS
Perry 313 (Babrius
Zeus ordered Hermes to write down people's sins and wicked deeds on potsherds
and to pile them in a designated box, so that Zeus could then peruse them
and exact a penalty from each person as appropriate. Given that the potsherds
are all piled up one on top of the other until the moment that Zeus examines
them, he gets to some of them quite soon while others have to wait. It
is therefore no surprise that there are wicked people who commit a crime
in haste but who are not punished until much later.
Note: Potsherds, or broken bits of pottery, were used as writing material
in ancient Greece, most notably for recording votes. Thus the Greek
word for potsherds, ostraca, gave rise to the English word 'ostracism',
from votes being cast in favour of someone's banishment.
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.