Perry's Index to the Aesopica
Fables exist in many versions; here is one version in English:
THE BIRDS, THE BIRD CATCHER AND HIS TEARS
Our author warns us with the following fable that we should
never fail to heed a wise man's advice.
It was springtime and various species of birds were sitting happily in their
nests, hidden among the branches. They happened to notice a bird catcher who
was assembling his reeds, coating the long rod with birdlime. When they saw that
the man had tears in his eyes, those ignorant and foolish birds began to say
to one another, 'We can see that this man must be extremely kind, since his great
sensitivity makes him burst into tears whenever he looks at us.' One of the birds
who was wiser than the rest, being experienced in all the bird catcher's tricks,
is supposed to have said, 'Oh no! Run away, you foolish and innocent birds! Save
yourselves from this trap! I beg you to fly as fast as you can up high in the
sky, making good use of your wings. If you want to know the truth, look carefully
at what he is doing: you will see that he is planning to catch some of us in
his snare, and once we are caught he will kill us or strangle us and carry us
off in that basket.'
This fable informs us that one person's advice can easily save many others
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 576: Caxton 4.7 [English]
Perry 576: Gibbs (Oxford) 297 [English]
Perry 576: Steinhowel 4.7 [Latin, illustrated] Mannheim
Perry 576: Odo 8 [Latin]
Perry 576: Rom. Anglicus 81 [Latin]
Perry 576: Rom. Nil. (metrica) 38 [Latin]
Perry 576: Rom. Nil. (rhythmica) 2.24
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.