Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
60. THE DOGS AND THEIR COMMANDER
Perry 343 (Babrius
During the war of the dogs and the wolves, the dog-assembly chose an
Achaean to be their commander. Although he was an expert in the art of
war, the commander waited and delayed. With fierce threats, the dogs urged
him to advance and to engage in battle but the commander explained, 'Here
is the reason why I delay and act with caution! One must always make plans
with an eye to the future. All of the enemy whom I have seen are wolves,
members of the same breed, whereas some of us are dogs from Crete, some
are Molossian hounds, some are Acarnanians, others are Dolopians, while
others boast of being from Cyprus or Thrace. Still others come from other
places -- what need is there to go on at length? We are not even the same
colour, as the wolves are: some of us are black, some are grey, some are
red with white-spotted chests, and some of us are white all over. How
can I lead troops who are so lacking in unity to fight against an enemy
who all resemble each other in every possible way?'
Note: An epimythium probably added by a later editor reads: 'Unity
is mankind's greatest good, while dissension is a weak and slavish thing.'
Molossians and the other dogs listed here were breeds who took their
name from their place of origin (like German shepherds, Rhodesian ridgebacks,
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.