<< Home Page | Perry Index

Perry's Index to the Aesopica

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

THE SNAKE AND HIS TAIL

Once upon a time the tail of the snake decided that she would no longer follow the head which crept along in front. 'It's my turn to be the leader!' said the tail. The other parts of the snake's body said to the tail, 'You wretched creature, why can't you just keep quiet? How are you going to be our leader when you don't have eyes or a nose, the things that guide the limbs of animals when they move?' But the tail did not listen to the other members of the snake's body, and thus the rational was defeated by the irrational. The back now ruled the front and the tail took the lead, blindly trailing the whole body behind her. Finally the tail led the body into a deep stony hole, scraping its spine against the rocks. Then the stubborn thing began to fawn and beg, 'O head, my leader, please save us if you will! I have provoked a harmful quarrel with harmful results. If you will just put me back down where I was before, I will behave myself, so that you won't have to worry about me getting you into trouble ever again.'

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 362: Gibbs (Oxford) 346 [English]
Perry 362: Babrius 134 [Greek]
Perry 362: Chambry 288 [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.