Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
579. THE BALD HORSEMAN
Perry 375 (Avianus
There was a bald horseman who used to attach a wig to his head, wearing
other people's hair on his own bald pate. One day he came to Mars Field,
making a great show of himself in his splendid armour. He then began to
turn his horse in manoeuvres, easily guiding him with the bridle. At that
very moment, the blasts of the North Wind blew against him and made his
head a source of laughter for all of the on-lookers: the wig was torn
aside, revealing the gleam of his bald head, which was an entirely different
colour from the hair that had been there before. But the fellow was quick-witted,
and when he saw that he was being laughed at by thousands of people, he
ingeniously deflected this public derision by making a joke. 'It's no
surprise that the wig that was put there ran away,' he said, 'since my
natural born hair already deserted me once before!'
Note: Military training and exercises took place in 'Mars Field' in
Rome, where there was an ancient temple dedicated to Mars,
the god of war.
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.