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

Perry 285 (Babrius 119)

There was a craftsman who had a wooden statue of Hermes. Every day he poured libations and made sacrifices to it, but he still wasn't able to earn a living. The man got angry at the god so he grabbed the statue by the leg and threw it down on the ground. The head of the statue shattered and gold coins came pouring out from inside it. As he gathered the gold, the man remarked, 'Hermes, you are an unlucky god, since you take no thought for your friends. You didn't do me any good when I was treating you with devotion, but now that I have wronged you, you give me this immense reward. I do not understand this strange kind of cult!'

Note: An epimythium probably added by a later editor reads: 'Aesop even involves the gods in his stories, urging us to chastise one another: if you honour a wicked man, you will have nothing to show for it, but by shaming him you will make a profit.' Hermes was the god of craftsmen and merchants; for another fable about Hermes as a god who bestows wealth, see Fable 561.

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.