Perry's Index to the Aesopica
Fables exist in many versions; here is one version in English:
THE OATH'S PUNISHMENT
A certain man took a deposit from a friend but intended to keep it for himself.
When the depositor then summoned him to swear an oath regarding the deposit,
he realized the danger he was in and prepared to leave the city and go to his
farm. When he reached the city gates, he saw a lame man who was also on his
way out of town. He asked the man who he was and where he was going. The man
said that he was the god named Oath and that he was on his way to track down
wicked people. The man then asked Oath how often he revisited each city. Oath
replied, 'I come back after forty years, or sometimes thirty.' Accordingly,
on the very next day the man did not hesitate to swear an oath that he had never
received the deposit. But then the man ran into Oath, who dragged him off to
the edge of a cliff. The man asked Oath how he could have said that he wasn't
coming back for another thirty years when in fact he didn't even grant him a
single day's reprieve. Oath explained, 'You also need to know that if somebody
intends to provoke me, I am accustomed to come back again the very same day.'
The fable shows that there is no fixed day on which wicked people are punished
by the god.
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 239: Gibbs (Oxford) 170 [English]
Perry 239: Chambry 298 [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.