Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
559. THE MAN, THE PIG AND THE MIRACLE
Perry 5 (Chambry
In Athens, there was a man who had taken out a loan and was now being
asked by the creditor to pay back the money. At first he asked the creditor
to give him an extension, since he said he couldn't manage to find the
cash. But he could not get the creditor to agree, so he brought the only
pig that he had, a sow, and put it up for sale as the creditor was looking
on. A buyer approached and asked if the sow was a good breeder. The man
replied that she was indeed; in fact, her litters were miraculous: for
the Mysteries she gave birth only to female piglets, while for the Panathenaea
Festival she gave birth only to males. When the buyer was dumbfounded
by this story, the creditor added, 'That's nothing! For the Festival of
Dionysus, she gives birth to baby goats.'
This story shows that when it serves their purposes, people commonly
do not hesitate to swear to the most incredible fabrications.
Note: At the annual Eleusinian
Mysteries celebrated in honour of Demeter, only female piglets were
acceptable for sacrifice, while male piglets were sacrificed at the
Panathenaea, the great Athenian festival that was celebrated once every
four years. The god Dionysus
did not accept pigs in sacrifice, but preferred goats. The goddess Aphrodite
also disdained pigs; see Fable 197.
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.