Perry's Index to the Aesopica
Fables exist in many versions; here is one version in English:
THE WOMAN AND HER DRUNKEN HUSBAND
There was a woman whose husband was always drunk, so she came up with a plan
to cure him of his drinking problem. After he had passed out one night and was
sleeping the sleep of the dead, she picked him up and carried him on her shoulders
to the common cemetery. Then she put him down on the ground and left him there.
She waited until he had time to sober up, then she went and knocked at the entrance
to the cemetery. Her husband shouted, 'Who's there?' She answered, 'I am the
one who brings food to the dead.' Her husband shouted back, 'I don't want anything
to eat, but bring me something to drink, my good man! It pains me to hear you
speaking of food but saying nothing about a drink!' The woman then beat her
breast and exclaimed, 'Woe is me! My ingenuity has not accomplished anything!
O my husband, you have not simply failed to learn your lesson: you are actually
even worse than before. Your problem has turned out to be permanent!'
This fable shows that people should not regularly engage in bad behaviour
because at a certain point the habit will impose itself permanently, even if
they do not want that to happen.
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 246: Gibbs (Oxford) 558 [English]
Perry 246: L'Estrange 157 [English]
Perry 246: Chambry 88 [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.