Aesop’s Fables




Little is known about the life of Aesop. According to historical facts he was a slave, who lived in the sixth century BC in ancient Greece. Some legends suggest Aesop was an ugly hunchbacked slave, although his real appearance is a mystery. One thing is known for sure – Aesop was a very smart, resourceful and inventive man. And thanks to these qualities he was able to acquire his freedom.

One of the most famous legends tells that during a feast, the lord of Aesop too boldly stated that he would drink the sea. If he couldn’t he would lose all his wealth. The next morning, realizing his claim was impossible to complete, he called Aesop. The slave quickly realized the trouble his master was in and promised that he would help save his dignity and honor. Both men went to the seashore to face a noisy crowd, gathered to see how the stupid man would “drink the sea”. Aesop explained to the people that his master could “drink” the sea, but for the rules to be met all the water from the rivers and lakes, flowing into the sea, should be removed. Needless to say, nobody was able to separate the sea, and the master saved his wealth and honor. As a reward Aesop received his freedom.

In every story, whose character is Aesop, he was always smarter than his master, and wiser than the wisest. That is why the Delphic priests of the temple of the Greek god Apollo did not forgive the wisdom of the slave. Legend has it Aesop was thrown into the sea from a cliff, accused in stealing a golden cup from a temple. The immoral actions of the priests was punished by Apollo, who sends plague to sicken his unworthy servants in his Delphic shrine.

We can only speculate whether this is the truth about the death of Aesop. We do know, however, that his name is associated with the emergence of fables as a genre in Greek literature. Aesop takes themes and ideas from the folklore heritage to create his works. Aesop’s fables were not written in his lifetime, but passed on from mouth to mouth. Over time, other fables were credited to Aesop. Finally, a collection of 352 interesting and original works, simply called called “Aesop’s fables”, were created.

The Fox and the Mosquitoes

A Fox after crossing a river got its tail entangled in a bush, and could not move. A number of Mosquitoes seeing its plight settled upon it and enjoyed a good meal undisturbed by its tail. A hedgehog strolling by took pity upon the Fox and went up to him: “You are in a bad way, neighbor,” said the hedgehog; “shall I relieve you

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The Horse, Hunter, and Stag

A quarrel had arisen between the Horse and the Stag, so the Horse came to a Hunter to ask his help to take revenge on the Stag. The Hunter agreed, but said: “If you desire to conquer the Stag, you must permit me to place this piece of iron between your jaws, so that I may guide you with these reins, and allow this

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The Lion in Love

A Lion once fell in love with a beautiful maiden and proposed marriage to her parents. The old people did not know what to say. They did not like to give their daughter to the Lion, yet they did not wish to enrage the King of Beasts. At last the father said: “We feel highly honored by your Majesty’s proposal, but you see our

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The Two Fellows and the Bear

Two Fellows were travelling together through a wood, when a Bear rushed out upon them. One of the travellers happened to be in front, and he seized hold of the branch of a tree, and hid himself among the leaves. The other, seeing no help for it, threw himself flat down upon the ground, with his face in the dust. The Bear, coming up

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The Hares and the Frogs

The Hares, persecuted by the other beasts and afraid even of their own shadows, had a council to decide what to do. The conclusion they came to was to die rather than live on with this shame. So, they went to a pond, determined to drown themselves. But when they were just about to jump, some Frogs who had been sitting on a water

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The Miser

A miser sold all that he had and bought a lump of gold, which he buried in a hole in the ground by the side of an old wall and went to look at daily. One of his workmen observed his frequent visits to the spot and decided to watch his movements. He soon discovered the secret of the hidden treasure, and digging down,

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The Wind and the Sun

The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin.” So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to

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The Dog in the Manger

A Dog looking out for its afternoon nap jumped into the Manger of an Ox and lay there cozily upon the straw. But soon the Ox, returning from its afternoon work, came up to the Manger and wanted to eat some of the straw. The Dog in a rage, being awakened from its slumber, stood up and barked at the Ox, and whenever it

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The Crow and the Pitcher

A Crow, half-dead with thirst, came upon a Pitcher which had once been full of water; but when the Crow put its beak into the mouth of the Pitcher he found that only very little water was left in it, and that he could not reach far enough down to get at it. He tried, and he tried, but at last had to give

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The Lion’s Share

The Lion went once a-hunting along with the Fox, the Jackal, and the Wolf. They hunted and they hunted till at last they surprised a Stag, and soon took its life. Then came the question how the spoil should be divided. “Quarter me this Stag,” roared the Lion; so the other animals skinned it and cut it into four parts. Then the Lion took

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