Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
276. THE FARMER AND THE SEA
Perry 168 (Babrius
A farmer saw a ship and her crew about to sink into the sea as the ship's
prow disappeared beneath the curl of a wave. The farmer said, 'O sea,
it would have been better if no one had ever set sail on you! You are
a pitiless element of nature and an enemy to mankind.' When she heard
this, the sea took on the shape of a woman and said in reply, 'Do not
spread such evil stories about me! I am not the cause of any of these
things that happen to you; the winds to which I am exposed are the cause
of them all. If you look at me when the winds are gone, and sail upon
me then, you will admit that I am even more gentle than that dry land
Note: An epimythium probably added by a
later editor reads: 'This fable shows that the wrong application
can often turn things which are useful by nature into something worse,
so that they seem to be useless.'
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.