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

Perry 36 (Chambry 50 *)

A wicked man had gone to visit Apollo in Delphi, wanting to test the god. He took a sparrow in one hand, concealing it with his cloak, and then stood by the oracle and inquired of the god, 'Apollo, the thing that I am carrying in my hand: is it living, or is it dead?' The man planned to show the sparrow alive if the god said 'dead,' and if the god said 'living,' he would strangle the sparrow immediately and present the dead bird. But the god recognized the man's evil purpose, and said, 'Listen, do whatever you want: it is entirely up to you whether you will show me something living or dead!'
The fable shows that the divine gods cannot be tricked or deceived.

Note: Delphi was the site of Apollo's main oracle in Greece.

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.