Perry's Index to the Aesopica
Fables exist in many versions; here is one version in English:
THE FOXES AND THEIR TAILS
A fox got caught in a trap and part of her tail was cut off as she escaped.
She was so ashamed that she didn't think life was worth living. Then she realized
that if she could persuade the other foxes to do the same thing her own shame
would be hidden, as it would be shared by all the foxes. Accordingly, she summoned
the other foxes and asked them to cut off their tails, maintaining that this
was the one part of their body that was unseemly, nothing but an extra appendage
which they had to carry around. One of the other foxes scoffed in reply, 'If
it weren't for the fact that it is in your interest to do this thing, you never
would have proposed it!'
The story shows that wicked people do not give advice to their neighbours
about what to do because of good-will, but because of their own self-interest.
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.
Perry 17: Gibbs (Oxford) 398 [English]
Perry 17: Jacobs 65 [English]
Perry 17: L'Estrange 103 [English]
Perry 17: Townsend 60 [English]
Perry 17: Chambry 41 [Greek]
You can find a compilation of Perry's index to the Aesopica in the gigantic appendix to his
edition of Babrius and Phaedrus for the Loeb Classical Library
(Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1965). This book is an absolute must for anyone interested
in the Aesopic fable tradition. Invaluable.