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Perry's Index to the Aesopica

Fables exist in many versions; here is one version in English:


The doctor asked his patient, 'How are you feeling?' The patient said, 'Woe is me! I'm shivering all over, which has me very worried.' The doctor assured the patient that this was actually a good sign. The next time the doctor asked the patient how he was doing, the man replied, 'I feel awful: I'm suffering from a high fever which has me confined to bed.' Again the doctor said that this was a positive symptom. Finally a member of the man's family asked, 'How are you doing, my dear brother? I hope you get well soon!' The man replied, 'I'm dying of positive symptoms!'
The fable shows when people want to console someone who is suffering, they usually encourage him by saying things that are not true.

Source: Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs. Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
NOTE: New cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.


Perry 170: Gibbs (Oxford) 585 [English]
Perry 170: L'Estrange 95 [English]
Perry 170: Chambry 249 [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.