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

Perry 380 (Life of Aesop 67)

Xanthus, Aesop's master, said to him, 'Can you tell me why we sometimes look at our own shit after we go to the bathroom?' Aesop replied, 'A long time ago the son of a king indulged in all kinds of luxurious foods. As a result, he spent a lot of time in the bathroom. And once he spent such a long time sitting there that he forgot what he was doing and crapped his own guts out. Ever since, anyone taking a crap bends over to make sure he hasn't done the same thing. But you don't have to worry about that, since you don't have any guts to begin with!'

Note: This fable depends on a distinctly Greek understanding of human anatomy: the 'guts' are actually the seat of intelligence (English 'brains') rather than a sign of courage. By saying that his master has no 'guts', Aesop means that his master is an idiot, not that he is a coward.

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.