Aesop Fable V – The Athenian Debtor

“In Athens a debtor, when asked by the creditor for repayment of the original debt, entreated for a delay, alleging that he had insufficient funds. Since he did not persuade the creditor, he led forth the one pig which he had and sold it in the creditor’s presence. When a buyer came forth and asked whether the pig was capable of breeding, the debtor responded that she did not just give birth, but did so in an incredible way: it brought forth female offspring during the Mysteries, and male offspring during the Panathenaea. The buyer was astounded by this report, but the creditor said, ‘Don’t be surprised: it will even give birth to goats during the Dionysia.”

This story shows that many people, when it comes to personal gain, will not hesitate to bear false witness even to the powerless.”


     ᾿Αθήνησιν ἀνὴρ χρεωφειλέτης ἀπαιτούμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ δανειστοῦ τὸ χρέος τὸ μὲν πρῶτον παρεκάλει ἀναβολὴν αὐτῷ παρασχέσθαι ἀπορεῖν φάσκων. ὡς δ’ οὐκ ἔπειθε, προσαγαγὼν ἣν μόνην εἶχεν ὗν παρόντος αὐτοῦ ἐπώλει. ὠνητοῦ δὲ προσελθόντος καὶ διερωτῶντος, εἰ τοκὰς ἡ ὗς εἴη,  ἐκεῖνος ἔφη μὴ μόνον αὐτὴν τίκτειν ἀλλὰ καὶ παραδόξως· τοῖς μὲν γὰρ μυστηρίοις θήλεα ἀποκύειν, τοῖς δὲ Παναθηναίοις ἄρσενα. τοῦ δὲ ἐκπλαγέντος πρὸς τὸν λόγον ὁ δανειστὴς εἶπεν· „ἀλλὰ μὴ θαύμαζε· αὕτη γάρ σοι καὶ Διονυσίοις ἐρίφους τέξεται.”

     ὁ λόγος δηλοῖ, ὅτι πολλοὶ διὰ τὸ ἴδιον κέρδος οὐκ ὀκνοῦσιν οὐδὲ τοῖς ἀδυνάτοις ψευδομαρτυρεῖν.

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