<< Home Page | Oxford (Gibbs) Index

Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)

Perry 222 (Chambry 329)

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.

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.