Perry's Index to the Aesopica
Fables exist in many versions; here is one version in English:
THE MAN AND THE TREE WITHOUT FRUIT
A farmer had a tree on his land that did not yield any sort of fruit whatsoever.
Instead, it was a home to the sparrows and the cicadas who chirped and sang.
The farmer, however, thought that the tree was useless and decided he would
cut it down. He grabbed an axe and prepared to start chopping, but the cicadas
and the sparrows all began to wail, shouting these words at the man, 'Listen
to us, O master of the tree: we implore you to be more generous. Please do not
cut down this reverend dwelling! If indeed you are resolved to do such a thing,
what benefit can you possibly hope for?' The man felt no pity for the creatures
and showed them no mercy as he struck the tree three times with the axe's blade.
But no sooner had the man made a crack in the tree when he found there a hive
of bees and honey. He took a taste and immediately dropped his axe, vowing to
cherish this tree even more than his fruit-bearing trees.
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.
Perry 299: Gibbs (Oxford) 463 [English]
Perry 299: Townsend 266 [English]
Perry 299: Chambry 85 [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.