Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
82. THE TRAVELLERS AND THE PLANE TREE
Perry 175 (Chambry
Around noon on a summer's day, some travellers who were exhausted by
the heat caught sight of a plane tree. They went and lay down in the shade
of the tree in order to rest. Looking up at the tree, they remarked to
one another that the plane tree produced no fruit and was therefore useless
to mankind. The plane tree interrupted them and said, 'What ungrateful
people you are! You denounce my uselessness and lack of fruit at the very
moment in which you are enjoying my kindness!'
Likewise, even when a person treats his neighbours well, his goodness
can unfortunately be called into question.
Note: In order to express the lack of gratitude shown to him by the
Athenians, the great general Themistocles (d. 460 B.C.E.) compared himself
to a plane tree whose good services were not appreciated (Plutarch,
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.