Perry's Index to the Aesopica
Fables exist in many versions; here is one version in English:
THE BEES, THE DRONES AND
The bees had built their honeycombs up high in an oak tree but the lazy drones
insisted that the honeycombs were theirs. The case went to court, with the wasp
presiding. Given that the judge was well acquainted with both the bees and the
drones, she made the following proposal to the two parties: 'Your bodies are
not dissimilar and your colouring is the same, which makes this an undeniably
difficult decision. Of course, I want to be absolutely scrupulous, avoiding
any hasty judgments. So, please take these hives and fill them full of waxen
cells. The taste of the honey and the shape of the combs will reveal which party
is actually responsible for the honeycombs in question.' While the drones refused
to comply with this request, the proposal greatly pleased the bees. Thereupon
the judge pronounced the following sentence: 'It's clear who was incapable of
making those honeycombs, and who it was that made them. Accordingly, I return
to the bees the fruit of their labours.'
I would not have included this fable except for the fact that the drones
refused the chance to prove their credibility.
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 504: Gibbs (Oxford) 178 [English]
Perry 504: Phaedrus 3.13 [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.