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

Perry 153 (Babrius 93)

The wolves sent messengers to the sheep, offering to swear a sacred oath of everlasting peace if the sheep would just agree to hand over the dogs for punishment. It was all because of the dogs, said the wolves, that the sheep and the wolves were at war with one another. The flock of sheep, those foolish creatures who bleat at everything, were ready to send the dogs away but there was an old ram among them whose deep fleece shivered and stood on end. 'What kind of negotiation is this!' he exclaimed. 'How can I hope to survive in your company unless we have guards? Even now, with the dogs keeping watch, I cannot graze in safety.'

Note: Demosthenes (see Fable 2) was said to have used this fable in an attempt to persuade the Athenians not to send their defenders into the hands of Alexander the Great (Plutarch, Life of Demosthenes) and Aesop tells the same story in Life of Aesop in an attempt to persuade the Samians not to turn him over to King Croesus. For a version of this story minus the wise ram, see Fable 32 (following).

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.