Perry's Index to the Aesopica
Fables exist in many versions; here is one version in English:
THE TWO DUNG BEETLES
There was a bull who was pastured on a little island. Two dung beetles lived
there too, feeding on the bull's manure. Winter was approaching, so one of the
dung beetles said to the other, 'I want to go to the mainland and I will live
there by myself during the winter. If I happen to find a good feeding ground
over there, I bring back something for you too.' The beetle then moved to the
mainland and found a lot of manure that was all moist and fresh. He settled
in and had plenty to eat. When winter was over, he flew back to the little island
where he had left the first beetle. When the first beetle saw that the second
beetle was coming back looking so plump and fat, he asked him why he had not
done what he had promised. The second beetle replied, 'Don't blame me! It's
the nature of the place: there is plenty to eat there, but the food cannot be
This story fits those people who make displays of friendship at the height
of the party, but who are otherwise useless to their friends.
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 84: Gibbs (Oxford) 115 [English]
Perry 84: Chambry 149 [Greek]
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.