Aesop’s Fables: βάτραχοι αἰτοῦντες βασιλέα


βάτραχοι λυπούμενοι ἐπὶ τῇ ἑαυτῶν ἀναρχίᾳ πρέσβεις ἔπεμψαν πρὸς τὸν Δία δεόμενοι βασιλέα αὐτοῖς παρασχεῖν. ὁ δὲ συνιδὼν αὐτῶν τὴν εὐήθειαν ξύλον εἰς τὴν λίμνην καθῆκε. καὶ οἱ βάτραχοι τὸ μὲν πρῶτον καταπλαγέντες τὸν ψόφον εἰς τὰ βάθη τῆς λίμνης ἐνέδυσαν, ὕστερον δέ, ὡς ἀκίνητον ἦν τὸ ξύλον, ἀναδύντες εἰς τοσοῦτο καταφρονήσεως ἦλθον ὡς καὶ ἐπιβαίνοντες αὐτῷ ἐπικαθέζεσθαι.
ἀναξιοπαθοῦντες δὲ τοιοῦτον ἔχειν βασιλέα ἧκον ἐκ δευτέρου πρὸς τὸν Δία καὶ τοῦτον παρεκάλουν ἀλλάξαι αὐτοῖς τὸν ἄρχοντα. τὸν γὰρ πρῶτον λίαν εἶναι νωχελῆ. καὶ ὁ Ζεὺς ἀγανακτήσας κατ’ αὐτῶν ὕδραν αὐτοῖς ἔπεμψεν, ὑφ’ ἧς συλλαμβανόμενοι κατησθίοντο.

ὁ λόγος δηλοῖ, ὅτι ἄμεινόν ἐστι νωθεῖς ἔχειν ἄρχοντας ἢ ταρακτικούς.

The Frogs Asking for a King

The frogs, being displeased with their own anarchy, sent ambassadors to Zeus asking (him) to give them a king. Zeus, seeing their stupidity, threw a piece of wood into the lake. So at first the frogs, startled by the loud noise, dove into the depths of the lake. But later, when the piece of wood was motionless, they emerged again and developed such contempt for it that they even climbed and sat on it.
Deeming it unworthy of them to have such a king, they came again to Zeus and asked him to change their ruler for them: For the first one (they said) was too dull. And Zeus, getting angry with them, sent a water snake to them by which they were caught and devoured.

The myth makes clear that it is better to have dull rulers than disturbing ones.

(Translation: Jenny Teichmann)

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