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Perry's Index to the Aesopica

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


A wicked man had gone to visit Apollo in Delphi, wanting to test the god. He took a sparrow in one hand, concealing it with his cloak, and then stood by the oracle and inquired of the god, 'Apollo, the thing that I am carrying in my hand: is it living, or is it dead?' The man planned to show the sparrow alive if the god said 'dead,' and if the god said 'living,' he would strangle the sparrow immediately and present the dead bird. But the god recognized the man's evil purpose, and said, 'Listen, do whatever you want: it is entirely up to you whether you will show me something living or dead!'
The fable shows that the divine gods cannot be tricked or deceived.

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 36: Gibbs (Oxford) 472 [English]
Perry 36: L'Estrange 86 [English]
Perry 36: Chambry 50 [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.