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Perry's Index to the Aesopica

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


The lion often found fault with the way he had been designed by Prometheus. Admittedly, Prometheus had made the lion very large and handsome, supplying him with sharp fangs in his jaw and arming him with claws on his feet; in short he had made the lion more powerful than all the other animals. 'Yet great though I may be,' said the lion, 'I am terribly afraid of roosters!' Prometheus replied, 'Why waste your time blaming me? You have every good quality that I was able to create, and you are afraid of absolutely nothing, except for roosters.' The lion kept on lamenting his condition, criticizing himself for being a coward until finally he just wanted to die. It was when he was in this frame of mind that the lion ran into the elephant. The lion greeted the elephant, and stopped to converse with him. When he saw that the elephant kept on flapping his ears, the lion inquired, 'What's the matter with you? Why do you keep on flapping your ears like that?' As the elephant began to speak, a gnat came whizzing by and the elephant said, 'Do you see this little thing, this little buzzing thing? If it gets inside my ear, I'm doomed.' 'Well then,' the lion concluded, 'why should I die of shame? I am an excellent creature indeed, and in much better shape than this elephant: roosters are more formidable than gnats, after all!'
You see what strength a gnat must have, given that he provokes fear in the elephant.

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 259: Gibbs (Oxford) 247 [English]
Perry 259: Townsend 295 [English]
Perry 259: Chambry 210 [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.