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Featured Fables and Quotes by Aesop
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aristotle

Aesop was a storyteller and philosopher who most scholars believe lived around 620 B.C. Though many fables have been attributed to a Greek slave named Aesop, no one knows for sure how many he actually authored. Some think that the fables were actually common folk tales which were passed down from one generation to the next.

Many of today's commom sayings came from Aesop.

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Aesop's Fable
'The Grasshopper and the Ants'

      One fine day in winter some ants were busy drying their store of corn, which had got rather dump during a long spell of rain. Presently, up came a grasshopper and begged them to spare her a few grains, ‘For’, she said, ‘I’m simply starving.’
      The ants stopped work for a moment, though this was against their principles. ‘May we ask,’ said they, ‘what you were doing with yourself all last summer? Why didn’t you collect a store of food for the winter?’
      ‘The fact is,’ replied the grasshopper, ‘I was so busy singing that I hadn’t the time.’
      ‘If you spent the summer singing,’ replied the ants, ‘you can’t do better than spend the winter dancing.’ And they chuckled and went on with their work.

Many of us remember this Walt Disney cartoon from 1934,
included here for your enjoyment.
PLEASE MAKE SURE YOUR COMPUTER SPEAKERS ARE ON

The Grasshopper and the Ants



Aesop's Fable
'The Two Bags'

      Every man carries two bags about with him - one in front and one behind - and both are packed with faults. The bag in front contains his neighbors’ faults, the one behind, his own. Hence it is that men do not see their own faults, but never fail to see those of others

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Aesop's Fable
'The Crow and the Pitcher'

      A thirsty crow found a pitcher with some water in it, but so little was there, that try as she might, she could not reach it with her beak, and it seemed as though she would die of thirst within sight of the remedy. At last, she hit upon a clever plan. She began dropping pebbles into the pitcher, and with each pebble the water rose a little higher until at last it reached the brim, and the knowing bird was enabled to quench her thirst.

Moral of the story: Necessity is the mother of invention.



Aesop's Fable
'The Frogs and the Well'

      Two frogs lived together in a marsh. But one hot summer the marsh dried up, and they left to look for another place to live, for frogs like damp places if they can get them. By and by they came to a deep well, and one of them looked down into it and said to the other, ‘This looks like a nice cool place. Let us jump in and settle here.’ But the other, who had a wiser head on his shoulders, replied, ‘Not so fast, my friend. Supposing this well dries up like the marsh; how should we get out again?’

Moral of the story: Think twice before you act.



Aesop's Fable
'The Wolf and His Shadow'

      A wolf who was roaming about on the plain when the sun was getting low in the sky was much impressed by the size of his shadow, and said to himself, ‘I had not idea I was so big. Fancy my being afraid of a lion! Why, I, not he, ought to be king of the beasts.’ And, heedless of danger, he strutted about as if there could be no doubt at all about it. Just then a lion sprang upon him and began to devour him. ‘Alas,’ he cried, ‘had I not lost sight of the facts, I shouldn’t have been ruined by my fancies.'



Aesop's Fable
'The Milkmaid and Her Pail'

      A farmer’s daughter had been out to milk the cows and was returning to the dairy carrying her pail of milk upon her head. image milkmaid As she walked along, she fell a-musing after this fashion: 'The milk in this pail will provide me with cream, which I will make into butter and take to market to sell. With the money I will buy a number of eggs, and these, when hatched, will produce chickens, and by and by I shall have quite a large poultry yard. Then I will sell some of my fowls, and with the money which they will bring in I will buy myself a new gown, which I shall wear when I go to the fair. And all the young fellows will admire it, and come and make love to me, but I shall toss my head and have nothing to say to them.'

Forgetting all about the pail, and suiting the action to the word, she tossed her head. Down went the pail, all the milk was spilled, and all her fine castles in the air vanished in a moment!

Moral of the story: Do not count your chickens before they are hatched.



Aesop's Fable
'Father and Sons'

     A certain man had several sons who were always quarreling with one another, and try as he might, he could not get them to live together in harmony. So he determined to convince them of their folly by the following means. Bidding them fetch a bundle of sticks, he invited each in turn to break it across his knee. All tried and failed. And then he undid the bundle and handed them the sticks one by one, when they had no difficulty at all in breaking them.

'There, my boys,' said he, 'united you will be more than a match for your enemies. But if you quarrel and separate, you weakness will put you at the mercy of those who attack you.'

Moral of the story: Union is strength.



Aesop's Fable
'The Stag at the Pool'

     A thirsty stag went down to a pool to drink. As he bent over the surface he saw his own reflection in the water, and was struck with admiration for his fine spreading antlers, but at the same time he felt nothing but disgust for the weakness and slenderness of his legs. While he stood there looking at himself, he was seen and attacked by a lion; but in the chase which ensued, he soon drew away from his pursuer, and kept his head as long as the ground over which he ran was open and free of trees. image stage at the pool But coming presently to a wood, he was caught by his antlers in the branches, and fell a victim to the teeth and claws of his enemy.

'Woe is me!' he cried with is last breath. 'I despised my legs, which might have saved my life. But I gloried in my horns, and they have proved my ruin.'

Moral of the story: What is worth most is often valued least.



Aesop's Fable
'The Farmer and the Fox'

     A farmer was greatly annoyed by a fox, which came prowling about his yard at night and carried off his fowls. So he set a trap for him and caught him; and in order to be revenged upon him, he tied a bunch of tow [fibers of flax, hemp or jute] to his tail and set fire to it and let him go. As ill luck would have it, however, the fox make straight for the fields where the corn was standing ripe and ready for cutting. It quickly caught fire and was all burnt up, and the farmer lost all his harvest.

Moral of the story: Revenge is a two-edged sword.



Aesop's Fable
'The Fox and the Grapes'

A hungry fox saw some fine bunches of grapes hanging from a vine that was trained along a high trellis. He did his best to reach them by jumping as high as he could into the air, but it was all in vain, for they were just out of reach.

So he gave up trying and walked away with an air of dignity and unconcern, remarking, 'I thought those grapes were ripe, but I see now they are quite sour.'

From this tale has the term sour grapes entered our modern vernacular.



Aesop's Fable
'The Lion and the Mouse'

A lion asleep in his lair was awakened by a mouse running over his face. Losing his temper he seized it with his paw and was about to kill it. The terrified mouse piteously entreated him to spare his life.

'Please let me go,' it cried, 'and one day I will repay you for your kindness.' image lion and mouse The idea of so insignificant a creature ever being able to do anything for him amused the lion so much that he laughed aloud, and good-humoredly let it go. But the mouse’s chance came after all.

One day the lion got entangled in a net which had been spread for game by some hunters, and the mouse heard and recognized his roars of anger and ran to the spot. Without more ado, it set to work to gnaw the ropes with its teeth, and succeeded before long in setting the lion free. 'There!' said the mouse, 'you laughed at me when I promised I would repay you. But now you see, even a mouse can help a lion.'

Moral of the story: Size alone does not determine someone's potential.



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