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Perry's Index to the Aesopica

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


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 from danger.

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 576: Caxton 4.7 [English]
Perry 576: Gibbs (Oxford) 297 [English]
Perry 576: Steinhowel 4.7 [Latin, illustrated] Mannheim University Library
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 [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.