<< Home Page | Oxford (Gibbs) Index

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

Perry 580 (Avianus 22)

To become better acquainted with the baffling logic of mortal men, Jupiter sent Phoebus Apollo from the heavenly citadel to visit the earth. At that moment two men happened to be asking the gods to fulfill their opposite prayers: one of the men was greedy, and the other was a jealous man. The mighty god examined each of them and offered himself as a mediator. When they made their requests, Apollo told them, 'The gods agree to grant your prayers, but the thing that one of you requests will immediately be given two-fold to the other.' The greedy man whose limitless desire could never satisfy his longing allowed the other man to choose first, expecting to augment his prospects by that man's prayer, thus carrying off two prizes for himself. Instead, he met with an unexpected loss, since the jealous man realized that the other man was trying to take his own reward. Thus, he voluntarily requested that a punishment be inflicted on his body: by asking to be blinded in one eye, he thus condemned the other man to a life of total darkness, with two blind eyes. The wise Apollo laughed at the human condition and told Jupiter about the wickedness spawned by such jealous feelings: because it rejoices in the unhappy things that happen to other people, wretched jealousy gladly works to its own disadvantage.

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.