Perry's Index to the Aesopica
Fables exist in many versions; here is one version in English:
THE STAG AMONG THE CATTLE
A stag had been hiding in the woods when he was discovered by some hunters.
Hoping to escape certain death at their hands, he ran blindly in terror towards
the nearest farmhouse and concealed himself in a convenient stall where the
oxen were kept. One of the oxen said to the fugitive, 'You wretched creature,
what on earth are you trying to do? You have sealed your own death warrant by
trusting your life to the protection of a human house!' But the stag implored
the oxen, 'Have mercy, I beg you! At the first opportunity, I'll run back out
again.' The passing hours of the day gave way to night. A cowherd brought some
leafy boughs into the stall but saw nothing amiss. The various farm workers
came and went, but no one noticed a thing; the bailiff also passed through but
even he didn't observe anything out of the ordinary. The stag was delighted
and began thanking the oxen who had kept quiet on his behalf and had extended
such welcome hospitality in a moment of need. One of the oxen said to the stag,
'We do indeed wish you all the best, but if the man of a hundred eyes should
come, your life will hang in the balance.' Meanwhile, after dinner, the master
himself came to inspect the manger since he had noticed that the oxen had been
looking rather sickly. 'Why is there so little fodder here?' he shouted. 'And
look, not enough bedding! And how much trouble would it be to get rid of these
spider webs?' As the master examined each and every thing, he also noticed the
stag's tall horns. He called his servants and ordered them to kill the stag
and to carry his carcass away.
The fable shows that the master has better insight than anyone else when
it comes to his own business.
Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura
Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.
Perry 492: Caxton 3.19 [English]
Perry 492: Gibbs (Oxford) 336 [English]
Perry 492: Jacobs 30 [English]
Perry 492: L'Estrange 53 [English]
Perry 492: Townsend 97 [English]
Perry 492: Steinhowel 3.19 [Latin, illustrated] Mannheim
Perry 492: Ademar 48 [Latin]
Perry 492: Phaedrus 2.8 [Latin]
Perry 492: Rom. Anglicus 101 [Latin]
Perry 492: Walter of England 58 [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.