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

Perry 182 (Chambry 266 *)

A man had placed a carved image on his donkey and was leading him along. Many people bowed down when they met them along the way. The donkey grew arrogant, thinking that the country folk were bowing down before him, so he began to leap and prance. As he did so, the donkey almost threw the image of the god from his back. The donkey's master beat him with a stick and said, 'You are a donkey carrying a god on your back, but that does not mean you deserve to be worshipped as a god!'
This fable can be used for vulgar people who attribute to themselves the honour that is paid to others.

Note: This image was proverbial (e.g., Aristophanes, Frogs 160: 'I am the donkey bearing the divine mysteries') and provides a comic scene in Apuleius, The Golden Ass 8.24, when the donkey Lucius is travelling with the priests of Cybele, bearing the goddess's image on his back. For another donkey in the service of these priests, see Fable 6.

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.