<< Home Page | Perry Index

Perry's Index to the Aesopica

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


An old woman suffering from an eye ailment summoned a doctor who charged a certain fee. She told him that if he cured her, she would pay him the specified fee, but if he didn't cure her, she wouldn't pay him anything. The doctor began the cure, visiting the woman every day. He would smear an ointment on her eyes, and while the ointment prevented her from seeing, he would take some object from her house and carry it away. He did the same thing day after day. The woman saw that her property was being diminished with each passing day and by the time she was cured, all her household goods were gone. The doctor asked her for the agreed upon fee, since she was now able to see clearly, and he summoned witnesses to their agreement. The woman protested, 'I can't see a thing! Even when my eyes were ailing, I was able to see the many things which I had in my home. Now, when you claim I am cured, I can't see any of them!'
The fable shows that by their own actions, wicked people can unwittingly serve as witnesses against themselves in a court of law.

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.

Perry 57: Gibbs (Oxford) 589 [English]
Perry 57: L'Estrange 113 [English]
Perry 57: Townsend 65 [English]
Perry 57: Chambry 87 [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.