Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
314. THE ASTRONOMER AND THE THRACIAN WOMAN
Perry 40 (Plato,
When Thales the astronomer was gazing up at the sky, he fell into a pit.
A Thracian slave woman, who was both wise and witty, is said to have made
fun of him for being eager to know what was happening over his head while
failing to notice what was right there at his feet.
Note: There are many versions of this anecdote about the philosopher
or astronomer who falls into a ditch (for Roman examples, see Cicero,
The Republic 1.30 and On
Divination 2.13.30). Thales
was one of the legendary 'seven sages' of ancient Greece. Thrace (modern
Balkans) was reportedly the home both of Aesop, at least according to
some sources, and also of the Roman poet Phaedrus, as he himself declares
in the prologue
to Book 3 of his fables.
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.