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Perry's Index to the Aesopica

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


Mercury was once the guest of two women who treated him in a cheap and tawdry manner. One of these women was the mother of an infant still in his cradle, while the other woman was a prostitute. In order to return the women's hospitality as they deserved, Mercury paused on the threshold of their door as he was leaving and said, 'You are gazing upon a god: I am prepared to give you right now whatever it is you want.' The mother beseeched the god to allow her to see her son with a beard as soon as possible, while the prostitute wanted the power to attract anything she touched. Mercury flew away and the women went back inside, where they found the baby with a beard, wailing and screaming. This made the prostitute laugh so hard that her nose filled with snot (as sometimes happens), but when she touched her hand to her nose, the nose followed her hand until it reached all the way down to the floor. In this way the woman who had laughed at someone else ended up being laughed at herself.

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 534: Gibbs (Oxford) 462 [English]
Perry 534: Phaedrus 6.4 [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.