Perry's Index to the Aesopica
Fables exist in many versions; here is one version in English:
THE MERCHANT, THE DONKEY AND THE SALT
A merchant who owned a donkey heard that salt was cheaper by the seashore, so
he decided to go into the salt business. He went and loaded his donkey with
salt and then headed back home. At a certain moment, the donkey accidentally
lost his footing and fell straight into a stream. This caused the salt to dissolve,
making his load lighter. The donkey was thus able to rise easily to his feet
and enjoy a less taxing journey home. The merchant sold what was left of the
salt and led the donkey back again to load him with an even greater cargo than
before. As the donkey made his way with difficulty back to the stream where
he had fallen before, he sank to his knees on purpose this time. Then, after
his cargo had dissolved in the water, he leaped nimbly to his feet, delighted
to have turned the situation to his advantage, or so he thought. The merchant
realized what was happening and decided that the next time he would bring back
home a big load of porous sponges. On their way back across the stream, the
wicked donkey fell down on purpose as before. This time the sponges grew heavy
with water and the cargo expanded. As a result, the donkey had to carry a burden
that was twice as heavy as it had been to begin with.
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.
Perry 180: Gibbs (Oxford) 152 [English]
Perry 180: Townsend 54 [English]
Perry 180: Babrius 111 [Greek]
Perry 180: Chambry 265 [Greek]
You can find a compilation of Perry's index to the Aesopica in the gigantic appendix to his
edition of Babrius and Phaedrus for the Loeb Classical Library
(Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1965). This book is an absolute must for anyone interested
in the Aesopic fable tradition. Invaluable.