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

Perry 163 (Chambry 234 *)

The bee, who is the mother of the honeycombs, went up to the gods, bearing honeycombs and honey. Delighted by the bee's offering, Zeus ordered that she be given whatever she asked for. The bee said, 'Bestow upon your servant a sting so that I can defend the fruits of my labour and protect myself.' Zeus was at a loss when faced with his request, since he felt affection for the human race. He therefore told the bee, 'I cannot do exactly that: but if some man does come to take your honey and you want to get rid of him, here is your sting! Yet you must keep in mind that if you strike a man, you will die at the moment your sting has gone in.'
The fable shows that in our prayers and requests we should never ask for evil to befall our enemies.

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.