<< Home Page | Oxford (Gibbs) Index

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

Perry 40 (Plato, Theaetetus 174a)

When Thales the astronomer was gazing up at the sky, he fell into a pit. A Thracian slave woman, who was both wise and witty, is said to have made fun of him for being eager to know what was happening over his head while failing to notice what was right there at his feet.

Note: There are many versions of this anecdote about the philosopher or astronomer who falls into a ditch (for Roman examples, see Cicero, On The Republic 1.30 and On Divination 2.13.30). Thales was one of the legendary 'seven sages' of ancient Greece. Thrace (modern Balkans) was reportedly the home both of Aesop, at least according to some sources, and also of the Roman poet Phaedrus, as he himself declares in the prologue to Book 3 of his fables.

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.