Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
108. THE MONKEYS AND THE TWO MEN
Perry 569 (Ademar
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.
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.