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

Perry 65 (Avianus 9)

A man was travelling together with his friend along a narrow road through unknown mountains and winding valleys. He felt safe because he and his friend could combine forces to fight whatever danger Fortune might put in their way. As they were travelling along discussing various subjects, a bear suddenly confronted them in the middle of the road. One of the men ran straight for a tree and grabbed at a branch in order to suspend his trembling body in the foliage. The other man stood stock still and then fell to the ground on purpose, pretending to be dead. The wild beast immediately ran up to him, eager to seize her victim. With her curved bear claws, she lifted the wretched man up off the ground, but since his limbs had grown stiff and frozen with fear (for the usual warmth of life had left his body), the bear concluded that he was nothing but a rotting corpse. Thus, despite her hunger, the bear abandoned the man and went away to her den. The men gradually began to relax and started up their conversation again. The man who had only just now fled in fear was feeling far too sure of himself and he said to his companion, 'Tell me, my friend, what did that bear say to you while you were lying there shaking? She must have told you many things in that lengthy private conversation.' The other man replied, 'Indeed, she gave me some quite important advice including, alas, one particular command that I cannot afford to forget: Do not be too quick to resume your fellowship with that other man, in case you fall once again into the clutches of another wild beast.'

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.