<< Home Page | Perry Index

Perry's Index to the Aesopica

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


A lion once saw a bull and, although he was extremely hungry, he feared being gored by the bull's horns. The lion had found the remedy for his disease, but could not administer the cure. Hunger eventually won out, and prompted him to grapple with the bull. Still, the size of the bull's horns deterred him. Finally he heeded his hunger, pretended to be friends, and prepared to trick the bull (when trouble is at hand, even valour quails; if it sees a risk in attempting to prevail by force, subterfuge is used). 'I commend your strength,' said the lion, 'and how I admire your beauty - your head, your whole physique! And what wonderful feet and hooves! But what a heavy burden you carry on your head! Take that useless contraption off! Your head will look better without it, and you will be free of the weight - the change will be altogether an improvement. Why do you need horns when you live at peace with the lion?' The bull was convinced. But as soon as he put aside the strength of his armour, he was easy prey for the lion dined without fear.
Believing your enemies makes you fall victim to their tricks and gets you into trouble.

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.

Perry 469: Gibbs (Oxford) 106 [English]

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.