Prometheus and Cunning

The New Fables—attributed to Phædrus
On Truth and Falsehood.
When once Prometheus, the framer of a new race, had formed Truth from fine earth, that she might be able to dispense justice among mankind, being suddenly summoned by the messenger of great Jove, he left his workshop in charge of treacherous Cunning, whom he had lately received in apprenticeship. The latter, inflamed by zeal, with clever hand formed an image of similar appearance, corresponding stature, and like in every limb, so far as the time permitted. When nearly the whole had now been wondrously set up, he found he had no clay to make the feet. His master came back, and Cunning, confused by fear at his quick return, sat down in his own place. Prometheus, admiring so strong a resemblance, wished the merit to appear to belong to his own skill, and therefore placed the two images together in the furnace. When they were thoroughly baked, and life had been breathed into them, hallowed Truth moved on with modest gait; but her imperfect copy remained fixed on the spot. Thence the spurious image, the result of the stealthy work, was called Mendacity, because they say, she has no feet,—an assertion with which I readily agree.

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