Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
91. THE TWO FRIENDS AND THE BEAR
Perry 65 (Avianus
A man was travelling together with his friend along a narrow road through
unknown mountains and winding valleys. He felt safe because he and his
friend could combine forces to fight whatever danger Fortune might put
in their way. As they were travelling along discussing various subjects,
a bear suddenly confronted them in the middle of the road. One of the
men ran straight for a tree and grabbed at a branch in order to suspend
his trembling body in the foliage. The other man stood stock still and
then fell to the ground on purpose, pretending to be dead. The wild beast
immediately ran up to him, eager to seize her victim. With her curved
bear claws, she lifted the wretched man up off the ground, but since his
limbs had grown stiff and frozen with fear (for the usual warmth of life
had left his body), the bear concluded that he was nothing but a rotting
corpse. Thus, despite her hunger, the bear abandoned the man and went
away to her den. The men gradually began to relax and started up their
conversation again. The man who had only just now fled in fear was feeling
far too sure of himself and he said to his companion, 'Tell me, my friend,
what did that bear say to you while you were lying there shaking? She
must have told you many things in that lengthy private conversation.'
The other man replied, 'Indeed, she gave me some quite important advice
including, alas, one particular command that I cannot afford to forget:
Do not be too quick to resume your fellowship with that other man, in
case you fall once again into the clutches of another wild beast.'
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.