Fables of Aesop, The | Annotated Tale

COMPLETE! Entered into SurLaLune Database in September 2018 with all known ATU Classifications. Aesop Fables have Perry classification numbers which have been included in the End Notes to each of the tales. They were also used in the ATU field when no ATU classification was available for a fable. Note that Aesop as an author and Greece as the geographic location for these fables are loose categorizations due to the murky nature of Aesop's Fables in general. Read the Introductory materials to this collection to learn more. For convenience, Aesop and Greece have been used in the classifications for convenience despite the inaccuracies involved.

Cat-Maiden, The

THE gods were once disputing whether it was possible for a living being to change its nature. Jupiter said “Yes,” but Venus said “No.” So, to try the question, Jupiter turned a Cat into a Maiden, and gave her to a young man for a wife. The wedding was duly performed and the young couple sat down to the wedding-feast. “See,” said Jupiter, to Venus, “how becomingly she behaves. Who could tell that yesterday she was but a Cat? Surely her nature is changed?”

“Wait a minute,” replied Venus, and let loose a mouse into the room. No sooner did the bride see this than she jumped up from her seat and tried to pounce upon the mouse. “Ah, you see,” said Venus,

“Nature will out.”


From Phædrus, though not in the ordinary editions, the whole of the poem, however, can be restored from the prose version in the medieval Esopus ad Rufum. (See my History, p. 12.) The fable is told of a weasel by the dramatist Strattis, c. 400 B.C., and by Alexis, 375 B.C.Probably Indian, as a similar story occurs in the Panchatantra. A Brahmin saves a Mouse and turns it into a Maiden whom he determines to marry to the most powerful being in the world. The Mouse-Maiden objects to the Sun as a husband, as being too hot: to the Clouds, which can obscure the Sun, as being too cold: to the Wind, which can drive the Clouds, as too unsteady: to the Mountain, which can withstand the Wind, as being inferior to Mice which can bore into its entrails. So the Brahmin goes with her to the Mouse-King. Her body became beautified by her hair standing on end for joy, and she said "Papa, make me into a Mouse, and give me to him as a wife." The Indian fable has exactly the same moral as the Greek one, Naturam expellas. We can trace the incident of strong, stronger, more strong still, and strongest, in the Talmud, while there is a foreign air about the metempsychosis in the Phædrine fable. As this fable is one of the earliest known in Greece before Alexander's march to India, it is an important piece of evidence for the transmission of fables from the East. (Cf. La Fontaine, ii. 18; ix. 7.)

SurLaLune Note

Perry 50

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Cat-Maiden, The
Tale Author/Editor: Aesop
Book Title: Fables of Aesop, The
Book Author/Editor: Aesop & Jacobs, Joseph
Publisher: Macmillan & Co.
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1902
Country of Origin: Greece
Classification: Perry 50

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