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Perry's Index to the Aesopica

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


There was a woman whose husband was always drunk, so she came up with a plan to cure him of his drinking problem. After he had passed out one night and was sleeping the sleep of the dead, she picked him up and carried him on her shoulders to the common cemetery. Then she put him down on the ground and left him there. She waited until he had time to sober up, then she went and knocked at the entrance to the cemetery. Her husband shouted, 'Who's there?' She answered, 'I am the one who brings food to the dead.' Her husband shouted back, 'I don't want anything to eat, but bring me something to drink, my good man! It pains me to hear you speaking of food but saying nothing about a drink!' The woman then beat her breast and exclaimed, 'Woe is me! My ingenuity has not accomplished anything! O my husband, you have not simply failed to learn your lesson: you are actually even worse than before. Your problem has turned out to be permanent!'
This fable shows that people should not regularly engage in bad behaviour because at a certain point the habit will impose itself permanently, even if they do not want that to happen.

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 246: Gibbs (Oxford) 558 [English]
Perry 246: L'Estrange 157 [English]
Perry 246: Chambry 88 [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.