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

Perry 311 (Chambry 57)

They say that in the beginning, when the animals were being formed, they received their endowments from Zeus. To some he gave strength, and to some speed, and to others wings. Man, however, was still naked so he said to Zeus, 'I am the only one that you have left without a gift.' Zeus replied, 'You are unaware of the gift you have obtained, but it is the greatest gift of all: you have received the gift of speech and the ability to reason, which has power both among the gods and among mortals; it is stronger than the strong and swifter than the swift.' Man then recognized the gift he had been given and bowed down before Zeus, offering him thanks.
The fable shows that while we have all been honoured by God with the gift of speech and reason, there are some who are unaware of this great honour and are instead jealous of the animals even though the animals lack both speech and sense.

Note: The gift given to mankind is called logos in Greek, which refers both to speech and to rational thought. The Greeks regularly referred to animals as aloga, or lacking in logos. This Greek phrase thus has a double meaning much like the English expression 'dumb animals,' which is used to indicate animals who are both speechless and (supposedly) stupid. For a different account of the creation, see Plato, Protagoras 320C ff., where the defenceless human race is armed by Prometheus with fire.

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.