<< Home Page | Perry Index

Perry's Index to the Aesopica

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


A poor man perishes when he tries to imitate rich and powerful people.
There was once a frog who noticed an ox standing in the meadow. The frog was seized by a jealous desire to equal the ox in size so she puffed herself up, inflating her wrinkled skin. She then asked her children if she was now bigger than the ox. They said that she was not. Once again she filled herself full of air, straining even harder than before, and asked her children which of the two of them was bigger. 'The ox is bigger,' said her children. The frog was finally so indignant that she tried even harder to puff herself up, but her body exploded and she fell down dead.

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.

In Perry 268, the earthworm envies the snake and stretches out to equal the snake in length until it bursts into pieces. In Perry 371, the same story is told about a lizard trying to equal the length of a snake. The most famous fable of this type is the Perry 376 the frog who tried to puff herself up until she would be as large as a bull.

Perry 376: Caxton 2.20 [English]
Perry 376: Gibbs (Oxford) 349 [English]
Perry 376: Jacobs 22 [English]
Perry 376: L'Estrange 35 [English]
Perry 376: Townsend 77 [English]
Perry 376: Steinhowel 2.20 [Latin, illustrated] Mannheim University Library
Perry 376: Babrius 28 [Greek]
Perry 376: Ademar 33 [Latin]
Perry 376: Odo 62 [Latin]
Perry 376: Phaedrus 1.24 [Latin]
Perry 376: Rom. Anglicus 96 [Latin]
Perry 376: Walter of England 40 [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.