Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
573. VENUS AND THE HEN
Perry 539 (Phaedrus
When Juno boasted of her chastity, Venus didn't want to quarrel with
her so she did not dispute what Juno said, but in order to show that no
other woman was as chaste as Juno she reportedly asked some questions
of a hen. 'So,' Venus said to the hen, 'could you please tell me how much
food it would take to satisfy you?' The hen answered, 'Whatever you give
me will be enough, as long as you let me use my feet to scratch for something
more.' 'What about a peck of wheat: would that be enough to keep you from
scratching?' 'Oh my, that is more than enough food, of course, but please
let me go on scratching.' Venus asked, 'Then what do you want to completely
give up scratching?' At that point the hen finally confessed her natural-born
weakness and said, 'Even if I had access to a whole barn full of grain,
I would still just keep on scratching.' Juno is said to have laughed at
Venus's joke, because by means of that hen the goddess had made an indictment
of women in general.
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.