Babrius, Fables

LCL 436: 6-7

Go To Section
Go To Section


“οὔ με πλανήσεις” φησίν, “οὐδ᾿ ἐνεδρεύσεις· 15ὅπου γὰρ οὕτω πικρὸν ἄγγελον πέμπει, πῶς αὐτὸς ἤδη φοβερός ἐστι γινώσκω.”


Ἀνὴρ γεωργὸς ἀμπελῶνα ταφρεύων καὶ τὴν δίκελλαν ἀπολέσας ἐπεζήτει, μή τις παρόντων τήνδ᾿ ἔκλεψεν ἀγροίκων. ἠρνεῖθ᾿ ἕκαστος. οὐκ ἔχων δ᾿ ὃ ποιήσει, 5εἰς τὴν πόλιν κατῆγε πάντας ὁρκώσων· τῶν γὰρ θεῶν δοκοῦσι τοὺς μὲν εὐήθεις ἀγροὺς κατοικεῖν, τοὺς δ᾿ ἐσωτέρω τείχους εἶναί τ᾿ ἀληθεῖς καὶ τὰ πάντ᾿ ἐποπτεύειν. ὡς δ᾿ εἰσιόντες τὰς πύλας ἐπὶ κρήνης 10τοὺς πόδας ἔνιζον κἀπέθεντο τὰς πήρας, κῆρυξ ἐφώνει χιλίας ἀριθμήσειν μήνυτρα σύλων ὧν ὁ θεὸς ἐσυλήθη. ὁ δὲ τοῦτ᾿ ἀκούσας εἶπεν “ὡς μάτην ἥκω· κλέπτας γὰρ ἄλλους πῶς ὁ θεὸς ἂν εἰδείη, 15ὃς τοὺς ἑαυτοῦ φῶρας οὐχὶ γινώσκει, ζητεῖ δὲ μισθοῦ μή τις οἶδεν ἀνθρώπων;”

  • 15-16πικρὸν (so B)—φοβερός Dübner, φοβερὸν—πικρός A.
  • 2ἐπεζήτει Boissonade, ἐζήτει A.
  • 3τις editors, τῶν A.
  • 14ὁ added by Eberhard.


“You’re not going to fool me, nor catch me in a trap; when he sends me such a stinging messenger as this, I know without waiting any longer how formidable he is in his own person.”

2 The Farmer Who Lost His Mattock

A farmer while digging trenches in his vineyard lost his mattock and thereafter began a search to find out whether some one of the rustics present with him had stolen it. Each one denied having taken it. Not knowing what to do next, he brought all his servants into the city for the purpose of putting them under oath before the gods; for people suppose that those among the gods who are simpletons live in the country, and that those who dwell within the city-walls are unerring and observe everything that goes on. When they had entered the gates of the city and were bathing their feet at a fountain, after laying aside their wallets, a public crier began to call out that a thousand drachmas would be paid for information revealing the whereabouts of property that had been stolen from the god’s temple. When the farmer heard this, he said: “How useless for me to have come! How could this god know about other thieves, when he doesn’t know who those were who stole his own property? Instead, he is offering money in the hope of finding some man who knows about them.”

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.babrius-fables.1965