<< Home Page | Oxford (Gibbs) Index

Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)

Perry 569 (Ademar 51)

There were two men travelling together: one was a liar and the other always told the truth. Their journey led them to the land of the monkeys. There was a whole crowd of monkeys there and one of them noticed the travellers. The monkey who was clearly their leader ordered that the men be detained. Since he wanted to know what the men thought of him, he commanded all rest of the monkeys to stand before him in a long line to his right and to his left, while a seat was prepared for him to sit on (this monkey had once seen the emperor, so he was ordering his monkeys to line up for him in the same way). The men were then told to come forward into the midst of the monkeys. The chief monkey said, 'Who am I?' The liar said, 'You are the emperor!' Then the monkey asked, 'And those whom you see standing before me: who are they?' The man answered, 'They are your noble companions, your chancellors, your officials and the commanders of your armies!' Because these lies flattered the monkey and his troops, he ordered that the man be showered with presents. All the monkeys were fooled by his flattery. Meanwhile, the man who always told the truth thought to himself, 'If that liar received such rewards for telling lies, then surely I will receive an even greater reward for telling the truth.' The chief monkey said to the second man, 'Now you tell me who I am, and who are these whom you see standing before me?' And the man who always loved the truth and never lied said to the monkey, 'You are simply a monkey, and all of these similar simians are monkeys as well!' The chief monkey immediately ordered the monkeys to attack the man with their teeth and claws because he had spoken the truth.
For wicked people who love to tell lies and to make trouble, attacking honesty and truth.

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.