Aesop, The Fox and the Grapes (Chambry 32)
One of the shortest of the humorous fables collected under the name of Aesop.
ἀλώπηξ λιμώττουσα, ὡς ἐθεάσατο ἀπό τινος ἀναδενδράδος βότρυας κρεμαμένους, ἠβουλήθη αὐτῶν περιγενέσθαι καὶ οὐκ ἠδύνατο. ἀπαλλαττομένη δὲ πρὸς ἑαυτὴν εἶπεν· “ὄμφακές εἰσιν.”
[οὕτω καὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἔνιοι τῶν πραγμάτων ἐφικέσθαι μὴ δυνάμενοι δι’ ἀσθένειαν τοὺς καιροὺς αἰτιῶνται.]
A starving fox, on seeing some bunches of grapes hanging from a vine that was growing up a tree, wanted to get hold of some of them, but was unable to. As he went away he said to himself ‘They aren’t ripe.’
[In the same way some people, who cannot succeed in their business because they are feeble, put the blame on circumstances.]
Aesop’s fables, loved by generations of children in more or less bowdlerised and moralising versions, have recently appeared in two new translations (Penguin and World’s Classics) which reveal the full range of their delights.
The often feeble ‘morals’ at the end of these fables were evidently added to the text at a rather later date than their composition, which explains the square brackets in my text above.