Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
578. THE PLOWMAN AND THE WIDOW
Perry 388 (Life
of Aesop 129)
A woman had buried her husband and was sitting beside his tomb, weeping
in uncontrollable grief. A man who was plowing nearby saw the woman and
wanted to make love to her. He left his oxen yoked to the plow and approached
the woman, pretending to weep. She stopped crying and asked him, 'Why
are you weeping?' The man answered, 'I have buried my wife, a wise and
good woman. When I weep, I lighten my grief.' The woman said, 'I too have
lost my husband, and he also was a very good man. When I weep, I lighten
the burden of my grief, just as you do.' The man then said to her, 'If
we have both suffered the same fate and misfortune, why don't we get to
know each other better? I will love you as I loved her, and you will love
me as you loved your husband.' By talking in this manner, he managed to
win the woman over. When they were busy making love, someone unyoked the
man's oxen and drove them away. When the man realized what had happened
and could not find his oxen anywhere, he began to wail as if his very
heart were breaking. The woman asked, 'Why are you crying?' The man said,
'Woman, now I really have a reason to weep!'
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.