Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
475. HERMES AND TIRESIAS
Perry 89 (Chambry
Hermes wanted to test Tiresias's prophetic power, so the god stole some
of Tiresias' cattle from the pasture. He then assumed human form and went
to the city in order to pay Tiresias a visit. When Tiresias was told about
the loss of his cattle, he took Hermes with him and they went out together
to seek an auspice regarding the theft. Tiresias asked Hermes to tell
him about any sign from the birds that he happened to see. The first sign
Hermes saw was an eagle flying from the left to the right, and he reported
this to Tiresias. Tiresias said that this didn't have anything to do with
the cattle. Next, Hermes saw a crow sitting on a tree who first looked
up and then looked down towards the ground. Hermes reported this observation
to the soothsayer and at this point Tiresias declared, 'Yes, that crow
is swearing by both Heaven and Earth that I could get my cattle back...
if you were willing to cooperate!'
This fable can be used for a man who is a thief.
was a legendary prophet who was able to interpret the signs of the gods,
such as the flight of birds and other natural portents, but because
he was blind, his interpretation of the signs depended on hearing reports
from sighted persons, as in this 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.