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Perry's Index to the Aesopica

Fables exist in many versions; here is one version in English:


A lion had found a hare as he was sleeping. But just as he was about to devour the creature, the lion happened to catch sight of a passing deer whereupon he abruptly abandoned the hare and ran off chasing after the deer. Awakened by the noise, the hare leaped up and bounded away. Meanwhile, the lion spent a long time chasing the deer but in the end he didn't catch her. He came back to where he had left the hare and discovered that the hare had also slipped away. At this point, the lion exclaimed, 'It serves me right! Since I preferred the possibility of something more, I lost the food that was already within my grasp.'
This is how some people behave: not satisfied with their moderate profits, they instead chase after the chance of something better and as a result they unwittingly lose what they previously had in their possession.

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.

Perry 148: Gibbs (Oxford) 286 [English]
Perry 148: Townsend 147 [English]
Perry 148: Chambry 204 [Greek]

You can find a compilation of Perry's index to the Aesopica in the gigantic appendix to his edition of Babrius and Phaedrus for the Loeb Classical Library (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1965). This book is an absolute must for anyone interested in the Aesopic fable tradition. Invaluable.