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Perry's Index to the Aesopica

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


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 taken away.'
This story fits those people who make displays of friendship at the height of the party, but who are otherwise useless to their friends.

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 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.