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

Perry 8 (Chambry 19)

Aesop the storyteller had nothing in particular to do, so he strolled into the workshop of some shipbuilders. The workers began to taunt Aesop, provoking him to speak, so Aesop replied with this old story. 'Once upon a time,' said Aesop, 'there was only Chaos and Water. God then wanted to make a new element emerge, Gaia, the Earth. So he ordered the Earth to swallow the sea in three gulps. Earth did as she was ordered: the first gulp caused the mountains to appear, and the second gulp caused the plains to be revealed. And if she decides to take a third gulp,' said Aesop, 'that will be the end of all you shipbuilders and your entire profession!'
This story shows that people are asking for trouble if they make fun of someone who is better than they are.

Note: This fable is also found in Aristotle, Meteorologica 2.3, with two notable differences: in Aristotle, Aesop tells the story in anger to a ferryman, not shipbuilders, and it is not Earth but Charybdis, the monstrous whirlpool of Greek mythology, who drinks the waters.

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.