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Perry's Index to the Aesopica

Fables exist in many versions; here is one version in English:


An alliance made with the high and mighty can never be trusted. This little fable proves my point.
A cow and a she-goat and a long-suffering sheep decided to become the lion's companions. They went into the forest together and there they caught an extremely large stag which they divided into four portions. Then the lion said, 'I claim the first portion by right of my title, since I am called the king; the second portion you will give me as your partner; then, because I am strongest, the third portion is mine ... and woe betide anyone who dares to touch the fourth!' In this way the wicked lion carried off all the spoils for himself.

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.

There are many fables about the "lion's share." In Perry 149, a lion, a fox, and donkey go hunting. When the donkey divides the spoils equally, the lion kills him. The fox then gives the lion almost everything and when questioned by the lion, the fox explains: "I learned to do this from the donkey." (Odo tells this story about a lion and a fox and a wolf.) In Perry 339, there are two quite different story types represented. In the Greek versions (Babrius and Chambry), the lion and the onager go hunting together, but when it comes to divide their spoils, the lion takes everything for himself. In other versions (Phaedrus and texts derived from Phaedrus), the lion goes hunting with the cow and the goat, but when they divide the spoils up into portions, the lion claims all the portions for himself.

Perry 149: Gibbs (Oxford) 15 [English]
Perry 149: Townsend 160 [English]
Perry 149: Chambry 209 [Greek]
Perry 149: Odo 20 [Latin]

Perry 339: Caxton 1.6 [English]
Perry 339: Gibbs (Oxford) 14 [English]
Perry 339: Jacobs 4 [English]
Perry 339: Townsend 100 [English]
Perry 339: L'Estrange 7 [English]
Perry 339: Steinhowel 1.6 [Latin, illustrated] Mannheim University Library
Perry 339: Babrius 67 [Greek]
Perry 339: Chambry 207 [Greek]
Perry 339: Ademar 9 [Latin]
Perry 339: Phaedrus 1.5 [Latin]
Perry 339: Rom. Anglicus 6 [Latin]
Perry 339: Rom. Anglicus 7 [Latin]
Perry 339: Rom. Nil. (metrica) 6 [Latin]
Perry 339: Rom. Nil. (rhythmica) 1.6 [Latin]
Perry 339: Rom. Nil. (rhythmica) 1.7 [Latin]
Perry 339: Walter of England 6 [Latin]

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.