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Perry's Index to the Aesopica

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


They say that there was once a lizard who burst into pieces right down the middle when he was trying to equal the length of a snake.
You will hurt yourself and accomplish nothing if you try to imitate someone who is far better than you are.

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 268, the earthworm envies the snake and stretches out to equal the snake in length until it bursts into pieces. In Perry 371, the same story is told about a lizard trying to equal the length of a snake. The most famous fable of this type is the Perry 376 the frog who tried to puff herself up until she would be as large as a bull.

Perry 371: Gibbs (Oxford) 347 [English]
Perry 371: Babrius 41 [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.