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Perry's Index to the Aesopica

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


A donkey and a horse belonged to the same man, and each of them did his duty. But the horse was granted many special privileges: he had plenty of food to eat, his flowing mane was braided and decorated, and his grooms washed him down with water each and every day. The donkey, on the other hand, was always bent down under the weight of the burdens he had to carry. Then one day the horse's owner mounted him and rode off into battle. In the clash of opposing forces, the horse was wounded on more than one occasion. When the donkey saw how the horse had been degraded, he congratulated himself on his hard-working life of labour.
The fable shows that an impoverished life free from fear is much to be preferred to wealth and all its dangers.

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.

In Perry 357, the donkey envies the horse, but after the horse is taken away to war where he is badly wounded, the donkey realizes that it is not so bad to be a donkey. In Perry 565, the elegant race horse makes fun of the hard-working donkey, but later on, when the horse's racing career is over, he is made to haul manure, and the donkey makes fun of the horse.

Perry 357: Gibbs (Oxford) 410 [English]
Perry 357: Jacobs 78 [English]
Perry 357: Townsend 304 [English]
Perry 357: Chambry 268 [Greek]
Perry 357: Syntipas 29 [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.