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Perry's Index to the Aesopica

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


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.

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 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.