Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
197. THE DOG, THE SOW AND APHRODITE
Perry 222 (Chambry
A sow and a dog were viciously arguing with one another. The sow, for
her part, swore by Aphrodite that she would tear the dog to pieces with
her teeth. The dog replied ironically, 'Yes indeed, you do well to swear
by Aphrodite! It's clear just how much she loves you, since she absolutely
forbids anyone who has tasted your filthy flesh to enter her temple.'
The sow retorted, 'This is even more evidence of the goddess's love for
me, since she turns away anyone who has slain or mistreated me in any
way. As for you, you just smell bad, dead or alive!'
This story shows how a discerning speaker can deftly turn the insults
of his enemies into compliments.
Note: Aphrodite supposedly hated pigs because her lover, Adonis
had been killed by a wild boar. The Greek proverb 'he sacrificed a pig
to Aphrodite' (Erasmus, Adages 3.1.30) was used to refer to someone
who gave an inappropriate or unwanted gift.
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.