Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
31. THE WOLVES, THE SHEEP AND THE RAM
Perry 153 (Babrius
The wolves sent messengers to the sheep, offering to swear a sacred oath
of everlasting peace if the sheep would just agree to hand over the dogs
for punishment. It was all because of the dogs, said the wolves, that
the sheep and the wolves were at war with one another. The flock of sheep,
those foolish creatures who bleat at everything, were ready to send the
dogs away but there was an old ram among them whose deep fleece shivered
and stood on end. 'What kind of negotiation is this!' he exclaimed. 'How
can I hope to survive in your company unless we have guards? Even now,
with the dogs keeping watch, I cannot graze in safety.'
Note: Demosthenes (see Fable 2) was said to have
used this fable in an attempt to persuade the Athenians not to send
their defenders into the hands of Alexander the Great (Plutarch,
Life of Demosthenes) and Aesop tells the same story in Life of Aesop
in an attempt to persuade the Samians not to turn him over to King Croesus.
For a version of this story minus the wise ram, see Fable
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.