Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
92. THE TWO SOLDIERS AND THE ROBBER
Perry 524 (Phaedrus
Two soldiers happened to fall into the clutches of a robber: one of the
soldiers ran away while the other stood his ground and defended himself
with all the strength he could muster. As soon as the robber had been
beaten back, the soldier's cowardly companion ran up, drawing his sword
and even throwing aside his cloak as he said 'Let me at him; I will make
sure he knows who it is he has dared to attack!' The one who had fought
with the robber replied, 'I only wish that you had been here to help me
with your words; even if you did nothing more than that, I would have
believed what you were saying and would have fought with even greater
determination. But please put away your sword and shut your useless mouth:
you might be able to fool people who do not know you, but I have learned
by experience with what prowess you turn tail and run, and how unreliable
your courage really is.'
This tale should be applied to a man who is confident when things are
going well but who proves a coward when the outcome is in doubt.
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.