Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
509. ZEUS AND THE BEE
Perry 163 (Chambry
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.
Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura
Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.