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Perry's Index to the Aesopica

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


The orator Demades was trying to address his Athenian audience. When he failed to get their attention, he asked if he might tell them an Aesop's fable. The audience agreed, so Demades began his story. 'The goddess Demeter, a swallow, and an eel were walking together down the road. When they reached a river, the swallow flew up in the air and the eel jumped into the water.' Demades then fell silent. The audience asked, 'And what about the goddess Demeter?' 'As for Demeter,' Demades replied, 'she is angry at all of you for preferring Aesop's fables to politics!'
So it is that foolish people disregard important business in favour of frivolities.

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 63: Gibbs (Oxford) 1 [English]
Perry 63: Chambry 96 [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.