Perry's Index to the Aesopica
Fables exist in many versions; here is one version in English:
THE MICE AND THE WEASEL
You might think I am only joking, and it's true that I amuse
myself with a light-hearted stroke of the pen, not having anything
of real importance on my agenda. Yet you should pay careful attention
to these little tales: useful things can come in quite small
packages! Appearances can be deceiving: people are often fooled
by first impressions, and it takes an exceptional mind to detect
something hidden in an unexpected nook or cranny. Still, I've
gone on too long without offering any reward to the reader, so
I will thrown in a fable for good measure: the story of the weasel
and the mice.
A weasel, enfeebled by old age and senility, was no longer able to pursue the
swift-footed mice, so she decided to coat herself with flour and lie down nonchalantly
in a dark corner of the house. One of the mice thought that she must be something
good to eat, but as soon as he pounced, the weasel caught him and consigned him
to oblivion; another mouse did the same, and a third mouse likewise met his doom.
A few mice later, another mouse arrived: his skin was wrinkled with extreme old
age and he had escaped many a time from snares and traps. Already at a distance
he recognized the ambush prepared by their cunning enemy. 'You there, lying in
the corner,' said the mouse, 'I wish you well if -- and only if -- you really
are made of flour!'
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.
|In Perry 79, the cat pretends
to be a sack in order to trap the chickens but a wise rooster sees
through the trick. In Perry 511, a weasel hides
herself by rolling flour in order to catch some mice, but an old mouse
sees through the trick (L'Estrange tells the story both about a cat
and about a weasel).
Perry 511: Caxton 4.2 [English]
Perry 511: Gibbs (Oxford) 298 [English]
Perry 511: L'Estrange 116 [English]
Perry 511: L'Estrange 77 [English]
Perry 511: Townsend 204 [English]
Perry 511: Steinhowel 4.2 [Latin, illustrated] Mannheim
Perry 511: Phaedrus 4.2 [Latin]
Perry 511: Rom. Anglicus 103 [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.