Aesop's Fables

by Aesop
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"Nature Will Out"

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Last Updated on May 25, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 184

Context: The original tale is called "The Cat and Aphrodite": the cat falls in love with a handsome young man, and the goddess of love changes her into a beautiful woman out of pity. When the young man falls in love with her, the goddess tests the marriage by letting a mouse loose in the room. The cat-woman jumps out of bed and tries to catch and eat the mouse, at which point Aphrodite restores her to her feline condition. The moral attached is: "So it is with men who are fundamentally evil. Even though they may change their condition, they do not change their character." In the popular version of the fable, Zeus or Jupiter argues that nature can be changed, whereas Aphrodite or Venus says no. Again a wedding is arranged, but at the nuptial feast a startling thing occurs:

"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."

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