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Perry's Index to the Aesopica

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


A farmer had lost his mattock while digging in the vineyard. He checked to see if any of the bystanders had taken it, but each of them denied it. Not knowing what to do, he brought everyone to the city, intending to make them swear a solemn oath (country folk being convinced that only simple-minded gods live in the countryside, unlike the real gods who live inside the city walls, observing everything that happens). They entered through the city gates and put down their packs in order to wash their feet at a well. Then they heard a herald shouting that a thousand drachmas was being offered as a reward for information about property which had been stolen from the god. When the farmer heard this, he said, 'I have come on a fool's errand! How can this god know anything about other thieves, when he can't even find the crooks who stole his own stuff. A god -- but he has to offer a reward to find out if any human being knows what happened!'

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 295: Gibbs (Oxford) 473 [English]
Perry 295: Babrius 2 [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.