Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
535. PROMETHEUS AND THE TWO ROADS
Perry 383 (Life
of Aesop 94)
Zeus once ordered Prometheus to show mankind the two ways: one the way
of freedom and the other the way of slavery. Prometheus made the way of
freedom rough at the beginning, impassable and steep, with no water anywhere
to drink, full of brambles, and beset with dangers on all sides at first.
Eventually, however, it became a smooth plain, lined with paths and filled
with groves of fruit trees and waterways. Thus the distressing experience
ended in repose for those who breath the air of freedom. The way of slavery,
however, started out as a smooth plain at the beginning, full of flowers,
pleasant to look at and quite luxurious, but in the end it became impassable,
steep and insurmountable on all sides.
Note: In another version of the story (manuscript 'G'), the allegory
is attributed to Tyche, the goddess of fortune or fate, rather than
to Prometheus. There are some obvious similarities between this story
and the famous account of Heracles choosing between two roads (see Xenophon,
Memorabilia 2.1.21; see also the two roads in Hesiod,
Works and Days 285).
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.