Perry's Index to the Aesopica
Fables exist in many versions; here is one version in English:
THE TWO SOLDIERS AND THE ROBBER
Two soldiers happened to fall into the clutches of a robber: one of the soldiers
ran away while the other stood his ground and defended himself with all the
strength he could muster. As soon as the robber had been beaten back, the soldier's
cowardly companion ran up, drawing his sword and even throwing aside his cloak
as he said 'Let me at him; I will make sure he knows who it is he has dared
to attack!' The one who had fought with the robber replied, 'I only wish that
you had been here to help me with your words; even if you did nothing more than
that, I would have believed what you were saying and would have fought with
even greater determination. But please put away your sword and shut your useless
mouth: you might be able to fool people who do not know you, but I have learned
by experience with what prowess you turn tail and run, and how unreliable your
courage really is.'
This tale should be applied to a man who is confident when things are going
well but who proves a coward when the outcome is in doubt.
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 524: Gibbs (Oxford) 92 [English]
Perry 524: Townsend 267 [English]
Perry 524: Phaedrus 5.2 [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.