Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
465. THE CYCLOPS AND HIS TREASURE
Perry 405 (Syntipas
There was a man who was prudent in his prosperity, although he was somewhat
too proud of himself. He enjoyed a comfortable life, together with his
children, but after a while he lost all his money. Suffering from spiritual
distress (which is only natural in such circumstances), the man uttered
blasphemies and even felt compelled to commit suicide, because he would
rather die than live in such wretched circumstances. Accordingly, he took
his sword and set out to find a deserted place. On his way, he came across
a deep pit in which he found some gold -- and a great sum of gold it was!
The gold had been left there by a Cyclops, which is a kind of giant. When
this god-fearing man noticed the gold, he was overwhelmed at first by
both terror and delight. He then cast aside his sword, took up the gold,
and went back home to his children, filled with joy. Later, the Cyclops
came back to the pit. When he did not find his gold there, but saw instead
a sword lying in its place, he immediately picked up the sword and killed
The story shows that bad things naturally happen to bad people, while
good things lie in wait for people who are honest and reasonable.
Note: In classical Greek mythology, the Cyclops
is an anti-social giant who lives in caves; this story's representation
of a Cyclops guarding buried treasure appears to be unprecedented, although
it may be connected with legends about their building walls and fortifications,
as well as their associations with the underworld (e.g., Vergil,
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.