Aesop Summer Reading 3

PERRY 11: The Fisherman and His Pipe

Readings & Schedule

Many thanks to Paul Fonck who has posted answers to the questions. Links to his answers are under each list of questions.

Cyrus of Persia, 547 B.C.

The fable of the Fisherman and the flute first is recorded by Herodotus in his Histories. Cyrus the Great, had sent overatures to the Ionians asking them to revolt from Croesus. The Ionians rejected the request. When the Ionians realized that Lydia had been subjugated by Cyrus, they sent envoys to Cyrus stating that they had changed their mind, and would now willingly submit to terms. The fable is Cyrus' answer to the Ionian's request.

Herodotus Histories 1.141.1,.3-.4CXLI. As soon as the Lydians had been subjugated by the Persians, the Ionians and Aeolians sent messengers to Cyrus, offering to be his subjects on the same terms as those which they had under Croesus. After hearing what they proposed, Cyrus told them a story.

"Once there was a.......

[3] The reason why Cyrus told the story to the Ionians and Aeolians was that the Ionians, who were ready to obey him when the victory was won, had before refused when he sent a message asking them to revolt from Croesus. [4] So he answered them in anger. But when the message came to the Ionians in their cities, they fortified themselves with walls, and assembled in the Panionion,1 all except the Milesians, with whom alone Cyrus made a treaty on the same terms as that which they had with the Lydians. The rest of the Ionians resolved to send envoys in the name of them all to Sparta, to ask help for the Ionians.

Picture from Aesop's Fables: A New Translation by V.S. Vernon Jones with illustrations by Arthur Rackham (1912). This book is available online at Project Gutenberg.

English (ed. A. D. Godley) taken from


 Versions  Selections  Other Website
Chabry 24 Main version to read/translate Aesopica website
Herodotus Histories 1.141.1-2 (fable only) Second version to read/translate Perseus website
Babrius 9 Optional Aesopica website
Aphthonius 33 Optional Aesopica website
Syntipas 43 Not Present  
Due Saturday, June 16, 2007 18:00 GMT
Email your collations, questions and answers to

Main Selection

Chambry 24  

???e?? a????.

C1  ???e?? a???t???? ?pe????, ??a?a?? a????? ?a? t? d??t?a, pa?e???et? e?? t?? ???assa? ?a? st?? ?p? t???? p????t?? p?t?a?, t? ?? p??t?? ?de, ?????? a?t??t??? p??? t?? ?d?f???a? t??? ????a? ??a?e?s?a? p??? a?t??.

C2  ?? d?, a?t?? ?p? p??? d?ate???????, ??d?? p??a? ???et?, ?p???e??? t??? a????? ??e??et? t? ?f???st??? ?a? a??? ?at? t?? ?dat?? p?????? ????a? ???e?se?.

C3   ??a??? d? a?t??? ?p? t?? d??t??? ?p? t?? ????a, ?? ??e?sat? spa????ta?, ?f? ? ????sta ??a, ?e??, ?te ?? ??????, ??? ???e?s?e, ??? d?, ?te p?pa?a?, t??t? p??ttete."

CE  ???? t??? pa?? ?a???? t? p??tt??ta? ? ????? e??a????.


Chambry Vocabulary
Form Lemma Definition
?????? a???? to play the flute; generally, to play
a???t????, ?, ?? experienced at playing the flute
a???t??, ??, ? a flute player
  ?pe???? tried, tested, experienced (with genitive)
pa?e???et? pa?a?????a? -later pa?a????a? to be beside, come along by
st?? (aor. participle) ?st?? to stand (intrans.); to set, make to stand (trans)
p????t?? p????? jutting out, thrown out before
??e??et? ??a???? v. a???? (has hard breathing in simplex, irregular aorist ) to take up, pick up; kill, destroy, annul;
(cf. esp. Middle Liddell) ??a??? v. a???
      or ?e???
to lift up, raise (has smooth breathing in simplex; regular aorist)
?de ?e?d? to sing
a?t??t??? a?t?at?? acting of one's own will, self-acting; spontaneous, neut. an accident
?d?f???a? ?d?f???a, ?, sweetness of sound > ?d? (sweet) + f???a sound
??a?e?s?a? ??????a? beware of avoid escape, dodge (Epic)
inf ??a?e??a? ????e?f? to plaster, wipe out, destroy
??a?e?s?a? ??????a? to leap up, leap out
inf. a?e?s?a? ???? to grind, bruise (only in simplex)
d?ate??????? d?ate???, to stretch, extend; med. exert oneself
d?a?t??, turn by entreaty
p??a? p????, ?t??, t?, end, limit, bounday
p??a? as Adv., at length, at last
???et? ???? to put an end to, finish; reach, get (hard or soft breathing)
?p???e??? ?p?t????, to put away
  ?f???st???, t? anything thrown around: a casting net, fetter, bond, walls
???e?se? ???e?? to take by hunting or fishing, to cath
????a, ????, ????, ? shore, beach
spa????ta? spa??? gasp, pant, quiver, of dying fish
??a ????, t? a living being, animal
???, ? substance, life, existence
p?pa?a? pa?? to bring to an end, to stop; to hinder; to cease, rest, pause
p??tt??ta?, p??ttete p??ss? to experience, achieve, experience, be busy with, negotiate
?a???? ?a????, ? the exact or critical time, opportunity
e??a???? e??a????, ?? well timed
????? ?????, ? word, story, saying

Chambry 24 Questions

Q1 Parse a???t???? in line C1 . With what other word is it governed, ???e?? or ?pe?????

Q2 (C1) Why are a????? and d??t?a in the plural?

Q3 (C1) Why does the iota become a subscript in the word ?de. Does it ever remain above the line?

Q4 (C1) The simplex -a?e?s?a? can come from three different verbs. Do you know what they are?

Q5 When given the choice of selecting a word only listed as used in Epic literature in LSJ, or another more common word. how do you determine what word to select? Sometimes it seems you either have to claim a 'dialect' or 'epic' word, because you cannot find a proper match in LSJ. Are the lemma of Greek words always obvious, and you are just missing the real lemma? Can you give any good examples of such a dilemna?

Q6 The word p??a? is most likely used adverbally. In general, what cases/number of adjectives are normally used in an adverbal manner? Nominative/Genitive/Dative/Accusative? Singular or Plural? Are there any rules of thumb?

Q7 (C3) What case is ??a? How do you know?

Q8 (C3) What is the lemma of p??ttete? Are words with a double tt always listed in the lexicon with double ss? Where would you look first in a lexicon, under ?a??ss? or ?a??tt??

Q9 (CE) How would you translate the preposition pa?? in the phrase pa?? ?a?????

Q10 (CE) Does the epimythium (last line/moral of the story) have any multiple meanings? How would you translate the epimythium?

Answers to Chambry 24 Questions

Chambry published a multivolume edition of the fables for the Belles Lettres series in 1925/6 (Paris). He later revised this into a single volume, omitting hundreds of the fable variants. In addition, the numeration between these two volumes is not consistent. The textis taken from the 1925/6 edition, but the numeration follows the stanard single volume edition.


Second Selection  

(All of the Greek of Herdotus' account of the fable is included for sake of completeness. The bold text, highlighting the fable, is the only "official' part to read; if you can, try reading it all.)

Herodotus 1.141 (Taken from the Perseus.Tufts website) The fable was told by Cyrus the Great (Cyrus II of Persia) around 547 B.C. Herodotus wrote The Histories in about 440 BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek. The fable part of Herodotus Histories Book 1.141.1-2 is in bold print. You may find the English and Greek versions of this fable on the Perseus website (with its click-on-lexicon-parsing!)

CXLI. ???e? d? ?a? ?????e?, ?? ?? ??d?? t???sta ?atest??fat? ?p? ?e?s???, ?pep?? ???????? ?? S??d?? pa?? ?????, ??????te? ?p? t??s? a?t??s?* e??a? t??s? ?a? ????s? ?sa? ?at?????. ? d? ????sa? a?t?? t? p???s???t? ??e?? sf? ?????,

??d?a f?? a???t?? ?d??ta ????? ?? t? ?a??ss? a???e??, d?????ta sf?a? ??e?e?ses?a? ?? ???: [2] ?? d? ?e?s???a? t?? ??p?d??, ?ae?? ?f???st??? ?a? pe??a?e?? te p????? p????? t?? ?????? ?a? ??e???sa?, ?d??ta d? pa???????? e?pe?? ??a a?t?? p??? t??? ????? pa?es?? ?? ???e?e???, ?pe? ??d' ??? a?????t?? ????ete ??a??e?? ???e?e???.

[3] ????? ?? t??t?? t?? ????? t??s? ??s? ?a? t??s? ????e?s? t??de e??e?a ??e?e, ?t? d? ?? ???e? p??te??? a?t?? ????? de????t?? d?' ??????? ?p?stas?a? sf?a? ?p? ????s?? ??? ?pe????t?, t?te d? ?ate??as???? t?? p????t?? ?sa? ?t???? pe??es?a? ????. [4] ? ?? d? ???? ???e??? ??e?? sf? t?de: ???e? d? ?? ????sa? t??t?? ??e?e?????t?? ?? t?? p???a?, te??e? te pe??e????t? ??ast?? ?a? s??e?????t? ?? ?a??????? ?? ?????, p??? ????s???: p??? ?????? ??? t??t??? ?????? ????? ?p???sat? ?p' ??s? pe? ? ??d??. t??s? d? ???p??s? ??s? ?d??e ????? ???? p?pe?? ???????? ?? Sp??t?? de?s?????? ??s? t????e??.

Questions for Herodotus 1.141.1-2

Q1 What are the indications that Herodotus wrote in Ionic Greek (list examples from the fable portion only)?

Q2 Parse f??. Who is doing the action of that verb (look at the preceding context)?

Q3 Do you know the variations of declension of the word ?????? (note the phrase t??? ????? later in the passage). How was the word declined in Attic? How is it declined in the New Testament and Herodotus in the accusative plural? See Smyth 268 and BADG.

Q4 The third person plural personal pronoun sfe??, sf??,sf?s?(?) and sf??. The uncontracted sf?a? was used by Herodotus and Homer . In Attic prose, what is the third person plural personal pronoun in the nominative? In the oblique cases? In the New Testament, what is the third person personal pronoun? See Smyth 325

Q5 How would you translate ?e?s???a? t?? ??p?d??. Why is the the word ??p?d?? in the genitive?

Q6 Why is the personal pronoun in the dative in the phrase pa?es?? ?? ???e?e???? The word pa?? often takes the accusative of person and genitive of thing. How would you classify the use of ???

Q7 Only the direct quote of the fisherman to the fish is in direct speech. Most of the fable is written with accusative + infinitive (+participle) structure. Why is that? Can you find the section in Smyth's grammar that deals with this type of structure? See Smyth's index on Perseus and hunt the answer down. Perhaps, begin looking at Smyth 2614.

Answers to Herodotus 1.141.1b-2 Questions

Optional Reading 1  

Babrius 9

B1   ???e?? t?? a????? e??e ?a? s?f?? ???e?
B2   ?a? d? p?t' ???? ??p?sa? ?????t??
B3   p??? p??? a???? ?d?f????? ??e??,
B4   t? d??t??? ?e?? ?te??t??e? e???s??.
B5   ?pe? d? f?s?? ??ae ?a? ?t?? ???e?,
B6   a??? sa????? e???e? ?????? p????.
B7   ?p? ??? d' ?d?? spa????ta? ????? ???????,
B8   t??a?t' ??e?t??se t?? ???? p?????
B9   "??a??a ??? ???e?s?e. ??e?ss?? ?? ?a?
B10 p??a? ???e?e??, ????' e?? ?????? ??????."

BE  [??? ?st?? ?p???? ??d' ?????ta ?e?da??e??.
?ta? ?a?? d? t???' ???? ?pe? ???e?,
t? ?e?t?e?? s?? ?a???? ?st? ?a? pa??e??.]

Questions for Babrius

Q1 If you have made it through Herodotus and Chambry's versions, can you list the three words for 'net' that have been used in the fables?

Q2 Babrius seems to use somewhat of a different vocabulary than the other fables. What are your thoughts?

Q3 The word p????? in B8 seems not to fit. p???? has the primary definition of 'to wash'. How would you translate it here?

Q4 The word ???? has the letter '-?-' in the present stem, but not in other tenses. Is this a normal type of formation or an oddity? See Smyth 523a. What other common words show this type of formation?

Q5 The word ??e?ss?? is an irregular adjective of comparison. What root is it from? What positive adjective is it listed under? What is its superlative? See Smyth 319

Q6 What word is ??e?? in line B3. Is it the future infinitive of ???? If so, how would you translate it? Is there a reference in Smyth on the use of a future infinitve used as a purpose clause?

Q7 Line B3 has the phrase p??? a???? ?d?f????? ??e??. How would one translate the phrase, 'to come with the sweet sound of pipes'? Is there a better translation out there?

Answers to Babruis 9 Questions

Babrius Vocabulary
???? ????, t? a fish relish; chopped-up fish
?????t?? ?????t?? , ?? (see ??????) without trying; without a struggle; toilessly
?d?f????? ?d?f???a , ?, a good sound, sweetness of sound
to have come, be present, be here
?e?? (aor. part) t???? to set, put, place
?te??t??e? te?et??? to hum (a tune), accompany; prattle, chat
e???e? ???? to draw, drag, pull
e???s?? e???s?? good to the ear; euphonious, well set to music
  f?? to bring forth, produce, put forth
f?s?? f?s?? to blow
?t?? ?t?? worthlessly; without purpose
sa????? sa???? a net, a large drag-net
p???? p????? full
??????? , a, ??, (?????) ??????? otherwise
???? ????, ? a thrust, a jab
p????? p???? to wash
??a??a ??a????, ?? without the flute
??e?ss?? ??e?ss?? , ??, gen. ???? stronger, mightier; better
p??a? p??a? long ago, once upon a time; efore, opp. the present, sts. of time just past, not long ago
???e?? ???e?e?? to dance
????a when
?????? ?????, ? a dance; a choir; a place for dancing
?p???? ?p???? , ??, without working, without toil; painless; lazy
?????ta ???? , Att. ???? to be excited, distraught; later to wander, roam about
?e?da??? ?e?da??e?? to gain, gain an advantage, profit
??ae, ?a?? ???? to work, to toil, to labor, to struggle
???? a???? to seize with the hand, grasp
?pe? ?spe? , ?pe?, ?pe? the very man which, the very thing which; ?pe? wherefore
?e?t?e??, ??e?t??se ?e?t??? to taunt, to sneer at
pa??? pa??e?? to play, to sport


Optional Reading 2  

Aphthonius 33

AE  ????? ? t?? ?????? ?a? t?? a???t?? pa?a???? ta?? t???a?? p??sf???? ???sas?a?.
A1 ???? ???e?? ??? ?a? a??e?? ?p?st?e???, t??? a????? ?a?? ?a? t? d??t?a pa?? t?? ???assa?, ??d?? e??e ?ae??: ?? d? t??? a????? ?p??e? ?????, t??t??? ?fe?? ?p? t? d??t??? ?e? ?a? ???e??? e??e? ??? a???? ??? ????ase.
AP ???a? a? t???a? t??? p??s????s? p???as? ????s??.

(Aphthonius was a grammarian who wrote in the 4th Century A.D.)

Aphthonius, always includes both a promythium and epimythium in his fables. This version by Aphthonius significantly truncates the story and seems to change the point.

Answers to Aphthonius 33 Questions

Aphthonius Vocabulary
?????? ???e?? a fisherman
a???t?? a???t?? ? a flute, a pipe
pa?a???? pa?a???? to advise, to warn

t????, ?

a craft, art, skill, tricks
p??sf???? p??sf???? what is fitting or suitable; as an adv -??? fitly, suitably
???sas?a?, ???e??? ????a? to consult (an oracle), experience, suffer, treat (someone someway), to use
???? 1 to fall upon, attack, assail
???? 2 to furnish the needful answer, consult, proclaim
??? ??? at the same place, together; at once
to know
?p?st?e??? ?f?st?? to set
?a?? (aor part.) ?a??? to receive, take
d??t?a d??t???, t? a casting net, fishing net, hunting net
e??e (3rd sing imperfect) ??? to have, to hold
?p??e? ?p???? to look away from, have in view;
a????? a???? ? flute, pipe, clarinet; hollow tube
?????, ????ase ????? to hunt
?fe?? ?f??? to send away, discharge, leave alone
?e? e?? to go
e??e? a???? to take with the hand, grasp; take by force; take for oneself, choose; pass. be chosen
???a? p??a? as Adv., at length, at last
t??? p??s????s?
to have at hand, belongs to; is proper, is meet, concerns
????s?? ??? to divide, distribute; possess


The lines are numbered for collation and reference purposes. The line numbering format is comprised of three elements: Author+Version+Line Identifier: Author = B/C1/C2/S/A/H for Babrius, Chambry 1, Chambry 2, Syntipas,  Aphthonius or Herodotus; Line Identifier = T/M/#  where  T=Title, P = Promythium, E = Epimythium or  # = Line number (incremental, but not counting the moral or title); The endomythium, the moral 'inside the story, is simply listed as a line number.

Parts of a fable:
Promythium: A moral that comes before the story, so that the reader / listener can properly decode the meaning
Fable Body: the content of the fable, including the endomythium, but not the promythium or epimythium
Endomythium: the moral inside the story (listed as a line number)
Epimythium: The moral added at the end of the story to make sure the point of the fable is clear.


The Illustrations below were collected by Laura Gibbs on her Aesopica website. Many thanks to her

Aesop for Children (translator not identified), 1919. Illustrations by Milo Winter (1886-1956). Available online at Project Gutenberg.


Vernon Jones (1912)



A Fisherman who could play the flute went down one day to the sea-shore with his nets and his flute; and, taking his stand on a projecting rock, began to play a tune, thinking that the music would bring the fish jumping out of the sea. He went on playing for some time, but not a fish appeared: so at last he threw down his flute and cast his net into the sea, and made a great haul of fish. When they were landed and he saw them leaping about on the shore, he cried, "You rascals! you wouldn't dance when I piped: but now I've stopped, you can do nothing else!"

Aesop's Fables: A New Translation by V.S. Vernon Jones with illustrations by Arthur Rackham (1912). This book is available online at Project Gutenberg.

Aesop's Fables (Joseph Jacobs)

Jacobs 42. The Fisher (Perry 11)

A Fisher once took his bagpipes to the bank of a river, and played upon them with the hope of making the fish rise; but never a one put his nose out of the water. So he cast his net into the river and soon drew it forth filled with fish. Then he took his bagpipes again, and, as he played, the fish leapt up in the net. "Ah, you dance now when I play," said he.

"Yes," said an old Fish:

"When you are in a man's power you must do as he bids you."

The Fables of Aesop, by Joseph Jacobs with illustrations by Richard Heighway (1894). The page images come from Google Books. The digitized text comes from Project Gutenberg. You can purchase this inexpensive Dover edition, The Fables of Aesop by Joseph Jacobs from

Aesop's Fables Griset-Tenniel-Weir (1884)

65. The Fisherman Piping.

A Fisherman skilled in music took his flute and his nets to the sea-shore. Standing on a projecting rock he played several tunes, in the hope that the fish, attracted by his melody, would of their own accord dance into his net, which he had placed below. At last, having long waited in vain, he laid aside his flute, and casting his net into the sea, made an excellent haul.

Aesop's Fables: A New Revised Version From Original Sources (translator not identified), 1884 . Illustrations by Ernest Henry Griset (1844-1907), John Tenniel (1820-1914) and Harrison Weir (1824-1906). Available online at Project Gutenberg.


Phryx Aesopus (Osius, 1574)


NON bene qui pisces capiendi noverat artem,
Huic sonat ad liquidas tibia carmen aquas.
Sic fore sperat iners, ut se de flumine pisces
Eiciant, cantu vox ubi sparsa iuvet.
Hac fallente tamen spe retia mittit in undas,
Et numero pisces uberiore capit.
Expositos quos iam cum lascivire videret,
Cur ait hoc reprobi ludere more iuvat?
Moverit haud inflata suo cum tibia cantu,
Nunc saltare putem pene furoris opus.
Conveniente loco quae non, aut tempore fiunt,
Quae foret bis alias, gratia rebus abest.


Phryx Aesopus Habitu Poetico, by Hieronymus Osius, 1574 (artist not identified). Available online at the University of Mannheim. This book clearly recycles a set of images from another book of Aesop's fables.

Steinhowel's Aesop: Illustrations

(Steinhowel 1479) 106. De piscatore quodam.


(Steinhowel 1501) Click on the image to see the entire page.

(Steinhowel - in Spanish, 1521)

Illustrations from the 1479 edition of Steinhowel come from the online edition at the Library of Congress. This edition is in German, not Latin, so I have reproduced only the images here. The illustrations for the 1501 edition of Steinhowel are online at the University of Mannheim. So that you can see the Latin text on these pages, each 1501 image is linked to a full page view of this edition (although the images are poor quality gif images, unlike the high-quality images at Library of Congress). Finally, I have included a 1521 edition of Steinhowel translated into Spanish, also from the Library of Congress. As you can see, the illustrations continue to follow the same basic pattern but have a decidedly different element of style.