Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
386. THE WIDOW AND HER SHEEP
Perry 212 (Babrius
There was once a widow who kept a sheep at home. Wanting to gather more
wool, she sheared the sheep awkwardly, clipping the wool so close to the
flesh that she made the sheep bleed. Smarting with pain, the sheep said
to the woman, 'Please stop torturing me! Will my blood really add so much
to the weight of the wool? If it is my flesh that you want, mistress,
there is a butcher who will be able to put me to death quickly; but if
it is my wool you want, rather than my flesh, then the shearer can clip
me without killing me.'
Note: Compare a proverb reportedly used by the emperor Tiberius (d.
37 C.E.), as reported by Suetonius,
Life of Tiberius 32: 'Good shepherds shear their flock; they do
not flay them.'
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.