Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
7. AESOP AND THE RUNAWAY SLAVE
Perry 548 (Phaedrus
A slave who was running away from his cruel master happened to meet Aesop,
who knew him as a neighbour. 'What's got you so excited?' asked Aesop.
'Father Aesop -- a name you well deserve since you are like a father to
me -- I'm going to be perfectly frank, since you can be safely trusted
with my troubles. There's plenty of whipping and not enough food. I'm
constantly sent on errands out to the farm without any provisions for
the journey. If the master dines at home, I have to wait on him all night
long; if he is invited somewhere else, I have to lie outside in the gutter
until dawn. I should have earned my freedom by now, but my hairs have
gone gray and I'm still slaving away. If I had done anything to deserve
this, I would stop complaining and suffer my fate in silence. But the
fact is that I never get enough to eat and my cruel master is always after
me. For these reasons, along with others that it would take too long to
tell you, I've decided to go wherever my feet will lead me.' 'Well,' said
Aesop, 'listen to what I say: if you must endure such hardship without
having done anything wrong, as you say, then what is going to happen to
you now that you really are guilty of something?' With these words of
advice, Aesop scared the slave into giving up his plans of escape.
Note: There is a promythium appended to the fable in Perotti's
Appendix: 'The fable shows that you should not add one problem to
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.