Perry's Index to the Aesopica
Fables exist in many versions; here is one version in English:
Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura
Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
THE COBBLER AND THE KING
An untalented cobbler had gone completely broke, so he set up shop as a doctor
in a town where no one knew him. By marketing an 'antidote' with a fictitious
name and making all sorts of extravagant claims, the cobbler gained a wide reputation.
When the king of the city had grave need of a doctor, he decided to put this
man to the test: he called for a goblet, filled it with water and pretended
to mix the doctor's antidote together with a fatal poison. The king then ordered
the doctor to drink the mixture, offering him a reward if he would do so. The
prospect of death scared the cobbler into confessing that he had no knowledge
of medicine whatsoever and that he had in fact acquired his fame only thanks
to universal gullibility. The king then assembled the people and said to them,
'Are you completely out of your minds? You willingly trusted this man in matters
of life and death when he could not even be trusted in matters of boots and
I would say this story is well suited to situations in which swindlers take
advantage of other people's foolishness.
cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.
Perry 475: Gibbs (Oxford) 588 [English]
Perry 475: Townsend 227 [English]
Perry 475: Phaedrus 1.14 [Latin]
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.