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Aesop's Fables

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The fables of Aesop have become one of the most enduring traditions of European culture, ever since they were first written down nearly two millennia ago. Aesop was reputedly a tongue-tied slave who miraculously received the power of speech; from his legendary storytelling came the collections of prose and verse fables scattered throughout Greek and Roman literature. First published in English by Caxton in 1484, the fables and their morals continue to charm modern readers: who does not know the story of the tortoise and the hare, or the boy who cried wolf?

352 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 501

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Aesop (/ˈiːsɒp/ ee-sop; Ancient Greek: Αἴσωπος, Aisōpos, c. 620–564 BCE) was an Ancient Greek fabulist or story teller credited with a number of fables now collectively known as Aesop's Fables. Although his existence remains uncertain and (if they ever existed) no writings by him survive, numerous tales credited to him were gathered across the centuries and in many languages in a storytelling tradition that continues to this day. Many of the tales are characterized by animals and inanimate objects that speak, solve problems, and generally have human characteristics.

Scattered details of Aesop's life can be found in ancient sources, including Aristotle, Herodotus, and Plutarch. An ancient literary work called The Aesop Romance tells an episodic, probably highly fictional version of his life, including the traditional description of him as a strikingly ugly slave (δοῦλος) who by his cleverness acquires freedom and becomes an adviser to kings and city-states. Older spellings of his name have included Esop(e) and Isope. A later tradition (dating from the Middle Ages) depicts Aesop as a black Ethiopian. Depictions of Aesop in popular culture over the last 2500 years have included several works of art and his appearance as a character in numerous books, films, plays, and television programs.

Abandoning the perennial image of Aesop as an ugly slave, the movie Night in Paradise (1946) cast Turhan Bey in the role, depicting Aesop as an advisor to King Croesus who falls in love with the king's intended bride, a Persian princess played by Merle Oberon. There was also the 1953 teleplay Aesop and Rhodope by Helene Hanff, broadcast on Hallmark Hall of Fame with Lamont Johnson playing Aesop.

A raposa e as uvas ("The Fox and the Grapes"), a play in three acts about the life of Aesop by Brazilian dramatist Guilherme Figueiredo, was published in 1953 and has been performed in many countries, including a videotaped production in China in 2000 under the title Hu li yu pu tao or 狐狸与葡萄.

Beginning in 1959, animated shorts under the title Aesop and Son appeared as a recurring segment in the TV series Rocky and His Friends and its successor, The Bullwinkle Show. The image of Aesop as ugly slave was abandoned; Aesop (voiced by Charles Ruggles), a Greek citizen, would recount a fable for the edification of his son, Aesop Jr., who would then deliver the moral in the form of an atrocious pun. Aesop's 1998 appearance in the episode "Hercules and the Kids" in the animated TV series Hercules (voiced by Robert Keeshan) amounted to little more than a cameo.

In 1971, Bill Cosby played Aesop in the TV production Aesop's Fables.

The musical Aesop's Fables by British playwright Peter Terson was first produced in 1983. In 2010, the play was staged at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town, South Africa with Mhlekahi Mosiea as Aesop.

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Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
August 8, 2021
(book 1001 from 1001 books) - Aesop’s Fables = The Aesopica, Aesopus

Aesop's Fables, or the Aesopica, is a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and storyteller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 564 BC.

Of diverse origins, the stories associated with his name have descended to modern times through a number of sources and continue to be reinterpreted in different verbal registers and in popular as well as artistic media.

One bright morning as the Fox was following his sharp nose through the wood in search of a bite to eat, he saw a Crow on the limb of a tree overhead.

This was by no means the first Crow the Fox had ever seen. What caught his attention this time and made him stop for a second look, was that the lucky Crow held a bit of cheese in her beak.

"No need to search any farther," thought sly Master Fox. "Here is a dainty bite for my breakfast."

Up he trotted to the foot of the tree in which the Crow was sitting, and looking up admiringly, he cried, "Good-morning, beautiful creature!"

The Crow, her head cocked on one side, watched the Fox suspiciously. But she kept her beak tightly closed on the cheese and did not return his greeting.

"What a charming creature she is!" said the Fox. "How her feathers shine! What a beautiful form and what splendid wings! Such a wonderful Bird should have a very lovely voice, since everything else about her is so perfect. Could she sing just one song, I know I should hail her Queen of Birds."

Listening to these flattering words, the Crow forgot all her suspicion, and also her breakfast. She wanted very much to be called Queen of Birds. So she opened her beak wide to utter her loudest caw, and down fell the cheese straight into the Fox's open mouth.

"Thank you," said Master Fox sweetly, as he walked off. "Though it is cracked, you have a voice sure enough. But where are your wits?"

حکایتهای ازوپ - ازوپ (هرمس، زوار، اساطیر) ادبیات؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز سی ام ماه آگوست سال 1982میلادی

عنوان: افسانه های ازوپ؛ داستانسرای یونانی؛ نویسنده: ازوپ؛ ترجمه و تحشیه: علی اصغر حلبی؛ تهران، اساطیر، 1373؛ در 291ص؛ موضوع افسانه های ازوپ از نویسندگان یونان - سده هفت پیش از میلاد

بنا به گفته ی «هرودوت»: «ازوپ»، برده‌ ای از اهالی «سارد» بوده است؛ افسانه‌ هایی بازگو کرده، که منشأ تعداد بیشماری از امثال و حکم شده اند؛ «ازوپ»، دارای سیصد و چهار افسانه است، او در «یونان»، غلامی زرخرید بوده، که بعدها صاحبش او را آزاد کرده، و «دلفی‌»ها او را به قتل رسانده اند؛ «ازوپ»، در سال‌های سده های ششم و هفتم پیش از میلاد می‌زیسته، و با «کورش هخامنشی» همدوره بوده، و داستان‌هایش به اکثر زبان‌های دنیا ترجمه شده است؛

اینک بازگویی يکی از آن افسانه ها: (روبهی، آتش جوعش، جان او را به لب رسانده، و پرده ی صبرش را از هم گسلانده، خسته و درمانده به تاکی رسید، که انگورهای سیاه و رسیده، از شاخه‌ های آن آویخته، و بیتابی بر دل روباه ریخته؛ خواست تا خوشه‌ ای برچیند، و به تناول بنشیند؛ به هر حیلتی دست یازید، کارگر نیفتاد؛ درخت به غایت بلند بود، و روبه به نهایت کوتاه؛ عاقبت مستأصل گشت؛ پس راه پیش گرفت، و در آن حال استیصال، تسکین خاطر مسکین خود را می‌گفت: «انگورها، چنانکه گمان می‌بردم، شیرین نبودند»)؛

داستان منجم: (منجمی را عادت چنان بود که هر شامگاه، چون قرص خورشید به چاهسار مغرب، فرو می‌شد، به طلب علم، از سرای خویش به صحرای بی‌تشویش، روان می‌شد، و در ظلمت شب، نور معرفت می‌جست؛ در دامن دشت، به تماشای آسمان مشغول می‌شد، و در بحر نجوم مستغرق می‌گشت؛ شبی نیز بنا به عادت مألوف، سر به بیابان نهاد و در خلوت، کار خویش از سر گرفت؛ همچنان که گام برمی‌داشت، چشم بر نیلگونه ی آسمان دوخته بود، و در حریم ملکوت سیر می‌کرد؛ سودای سقف سیاهش، چنان سرمستش کرده بود، که از آنچه زیر بام بلند، و بیکران آسمانِ دشت می‌گذشت، غافل بود؛ از قضا، عنان از دست بداد، و به چاهی ژرف درافتاد، آنچنان که جراحاتی سخت برداشت، و فریادش از زمین، بر آسمان رفت؛ رهگذری صدایش بشنید، او را بشناخت، و نزدیک آمد؛ چون در چاهش دید، و در حال تباه او تأمل کرد، گفت: چون است، که تو را ز اوج افلاک آگهی است، و بر پست خاک ندانی که چیست)؛

داستان زاغ و روباه: (زاغی که پاره‌ ای پنیر، به منقار گرفته بود، بر شاخه ی درختی بنشست؛ روباهی که از آن حوالی می‌گذشت، زاغ را دید، و طمع در طعمه ی او بست؛ پس برای تصاحب پنیر، به نیرنگ متوسل شد، و نزد زاغ رفت؛ او را آواز داد، و گفت: زاغ، به راستی چه پرنده ی خوش خط و خال و زیبایی است؛ خوش‌ اندامی و تناسب پر و بالش، چنان است که سیمرغ نیز، پیش جمال او زشت می‌نماید؛ کاش صدای او نیز، خوش‌آهنگ بود، که اگر چنین می‌شد، او را بحق، ملکه‌ الطیور می‌خواندند؛ زاغ چون این شنید، خواست قارقار کند، و صوت خود آشکار سازد، که طعمه از دهانش فرو افتاد؛ روباه که انتظار همین لحظه را می‌کشید، جستی زد، و پنیر، به چنگال گرفت؛ آنگاه رو به زاغ کرد، و چنین گفت: آه! زاغک ساده و بینوای من! عیب در صدای تو نیست؛ اشکال در شعور توست، که تجلیل از تزویر، باز نمی‌شناسد.)؛

برخی منابع، «ازوپ» را با «لقمان حکیم»، یکی دانسته‌ اند؛ داستان‌های ایشان، به بیشتر زبان���های دنیا برگردان شده، و شاعر توانای ایرانی «ناصرخسرو قبادیانی»، چندی از افسانه‌ های ایشان را، به نظم آورده اند، مانند: (روزی ز سر سنگ عقابی به هوا خاست...)؛ «مولانا جلال‌الدین رومی» نیز، برخی از داستان‌های پندآموز «ازوپ» را، در مثنوی به شعر سروده اند: «داستان به شکار رفتن شیر و گرگ» و...؛ «کلاغی که با پر طاووس...»؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 08/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for هدى يحيى.
Author 8 books16k followers
January 7, 2019

يقال إن هذه الحكايات حكايات شعبية يونانية
جمعت ووضعت تحت إسم مؤلف متخيل أسموه أيسوب

ربما بنفس الطريق التي راح بها الأخوين جريم يجمعان الفولكلور الألماني
ووضعوه في قصصهم الخرافيةالأشهر

ولكن هناك فريق آخر يرى أن أيسوب شخصية حقيقية وأن هذه القصص فعلا من تأليفه

وبغض النظر عن الحقيقة
فالحكايات هنا مثلها مثل كليلة ودمنة تميل إلى كونها مواعظ وحكم ذلات دلالات أخلاقية
كما أنها تدور على ألسنة الحيوانات
وهي أيضا قصيرة نسبيا

جزء آخر من تراث الإنسانية الذي علينا جميعا التعرف عليه
أحب هذه القصة كثيرا
فهي خالدة ما دام للدنيا وجود
ذات يوم وجدت الدجاجه بيض أفعى فاحتظنته
ورقدت عليه ليظل في جو دافيء
وكان السنونو يراقبها فقال لها:
ماذا تفعلين يا حمقاء؟؟.....
لماذا تربين مخلوقات سوف تكونين أنت نفسك عندما تكبر أول ضحاياها..؟..

--آه والنبي ياشيخة لمااااااذا--
Profile Image for James.
Author 19 books3,575 followers
July 8, 2017
How often in life these little fables come up and we forget their original (or semi-original) source. Thousands of years old... parables told over and over again, then written down. What do they really mean, you can ask yourself these questions over and over again and have a different answer each time.

Take the "Tortoise and the Hare" as an example: Is it always true that slow and steady wins the race. Is that really what the story says? Could it be a broad theory that is subject to individual opinion based on the depth of the incident being cited? Is steady better than quick? Which is truly smarter?

If nothing else, it serves as an educational baseline of sorts... a place to start... with morals and the question of "what if" with children's thirsty minds.

But how many of us really know anything about Aesop? :)

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
Profile Image for Jan-Maat.
1,548 reviews1,821 followers
February 22, 2022
Once upon a time, long ago and far away, all things and beings were not only conscious, but also able to communicate in the same language, an earthenware pot could talk to a bronze kettle, the fresh rivers to the salty sea, animals on two or four legs, hairy or feathered nattered and prattled together.

This is the world of Aesop. Key to it is that mutual understanding does not arise from the fact that all things can understand each other, no, that point is just where the fun begins. And above all these stories are fun - although they are not always nice, indeed some are distinctly nasty.

Legend or fable has it that Aesop was a slave, his fables a way of subtly showing his opinion in such a way that he might be able to avoid a beating. Or as one of the stories has it; once the North Wind and the Sun were discussing which of them could make a traveller take off his coat the fastest. The North wind blew fiercely so the garment flapped about the man but he hugged it even tighter about him, Then the sun shone down upon him and in the warmth the man very quickly took off his coat. However, the legend goes on, such stories were not obscure enough as he ended up being put to death by the enraged people of Delphi.

Two men went on a journey to the land of the monkeys, one always told the truth, and one always told lies, the moral of this story is that in the land of the monkeys don't tell the truth if you value your life (and this story is good for all people who work in organisations)...one man returns. Having got back he loads up his camel with containers full of grapes. 'Now', he said to the camel, 'do you want to take the difficult uphill route or the steep and dangerous downhill route to the market?' 'So what happened to the easy, comfortable level route?' asked the camel. As they were walking along, a fox saw the grapes and ran alongside the camel pausing to jump up to try to grab a mouth full of grapes, after falling on its back a few times the fox got up, shook itself and said 'bah, those grapes are probably sour anyway'. The fox ran back to the lion. The lion was dying and he asked the fox to bring him the deer, because he would dearly love to eat the deer before dying. The fox ran off to the deer, the fox said 'thank goodness I have found you in time, the Lion is dying and has decided that you will be the next king of the beasts, and he wishes to invest you with the kingship as quickly as possible.' They hurry to the lion who leaps at the deer swiping its ear with his paw - the deer instantly speeds off. 'I still want to eat that deer' said the lion. 'hmm, this might be tough' said the fox who went off in search of the deer. 'Don't you come near me you rotten scoundrel' said the deer ' oh dear, why did yo run off like that? The lion was just getting up to acknowledge you as his son with that paternal cuff to the ear and then you ran off! you would not believe how long I it took me to persuade the lion that you running off must have been some misunderstanding, and that you are still the only one suitable to become the next king of the beasts!' The fox and the deer walk back to the lion, this time the lion restrains him self until he kills the deer with a single blow and begins to feast on it. The lions eats and eats until the hungry fox gets up and very quietly takes the deer's brains and eats them up. Once the lion has eaten everything else he pick about the bones and shouts 'where are the brains! I want to eat the brains!' 'oh lion', says the fox, 'what makes you think that a deer who came twice into your lair had any brains?'
The goose walked with the fox. 'I hear you are very clever fox, I wish you would show me one of your tricks' 'certainly goose, come home for lunch with with me and I will show you a trick. So they went to the fox's house. Inside the fox ate the goose for lunch.
The cat walked with the fox. 'I hear you are very clever fox, I only have one trick and that is to climb up a tree when I hear dogs, I wish you would show me some of your tricks'. 'Why certainly cat, I have seventeen tricks in my bag....' just then a pack of dogs charged upon them. The cat climbed a tree, while the dogs ripped the fox into pieces.
A hungry Lion invited a bull to join him in sacrificing to the gods, when he got there, he snorted and backed away, 'Why are you going Bull?' 'Because I can see you have everything ready apart from someone to sacrifice!'

I read the Oxford 'world's classics' edition, translated by Laura Gibbs. This contains 600 fables in 283 pages of, ahem, fabulous text each one is given it's Perry number and the number it has in the compilation that the fable comes from. As Madame Gibbs explains in the introduction there are various collections of 'Aesopian' fables, some Greek, others Roman, some in medieval Latin, one collection is in Greek but was a translation from Syriac. Some were written in verse, others in prose, all are associated with the name of Aesop, Gibbs seems to think that most of these, even the medieval ones are genuinely ancient, one fable is also found in Hesiod (and two others in this collection are similar to fables that he tells) while a couple of others are the same as Buddhist Jatakas (with three others from this collection similar). So some at least of the fables gathered here are extremely old , the others may or may not be.

As such the collection here is not complete, but 600 fables is quite a lot. Gibbs' arranges them thematically, traditionally they were ordered alphabetically by title or first line.

In addition to links to Indian story telling , there are also some overlaps with proverbs and ideas from the Hebrew bible. And it would be surprising if there were not - stories acknowledge no borders or boundaries, leap or ooze from one language to another, and generally spread themselves around the world.

Some of the stories are vicious, particularly early on it as striking how many ended in death, many are humorous - though still involving death, although traditionally many of the stories do come complete with a moral, the moral did not always seem to be appropriate to the story. Still the stories are wonderfully varied and hugely flexible, they can be religious, philosophical, scatological, political, or simply jokes.

I was finally prompted into reading this by reading Kaas because of the plain and obvious link between a cheeseepic and stories about garrulous animals from the ancient world. Well I can only say that it would have a gouda idea if I had read either or both many years ago, I have been depriving myself.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
April 22, 2017
Aesop wrote many intelligent fables in here, and some are real life lessons. One of the most famous, and also the one I take the most from, is The Hare and the Tortoise.

We all know the story and the maxim: slow and steady wins the race. Being arrogant and fast isn’t all that. I remember reading this at school for the first time when I was around five to six years old, and somehow, it stuck with me. I always take the tortoise approach in life whether it be writing essays or training for marathons. I take things at my own pace, and do things in my own time. It's the best way.


In terms of general readability though, I did find some of these very repetitive. It’s not the sort of thing you read a lot of at once, as it all blurs into one. It’s best to take your time and read a few a day or perhaps just pick out a handful that you think will appeal to you. For every decent one I read, I read two that were a bit pointless. It’s very hit and miss.
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 29 books13.6k followers
December 24, 2010
I was looking for a Christmas present for my nephew the other day when I noticed an edition of Aesop's Fables in Blackwells. I had a copy myself when I was a kid, and it was one of my favourite books. I can't guess how many times I read it.

Thinking about it now, it surprises me to realise how fresh and up-to-date it still feels. Most of the stuff from that period is starting to slip away; most people don't read the Bible any more, or Homer, or Euripides, or Seneca. Obviously, they're still acknowledged as timeless classics, but an effort is required. Our culture has moved on, not necessarily in a good way. But Aesop's Fables doesn't require effort. It could have been composed yesterday. I can easily see him as a Goodreads contributor, posting a story every now and then and picking up plenty of votes. He'd fit right in and be one of the most popular people on the site.

At age eight, I got nearly all the stories, but there were a couple that puzzled me. If you happen to be a precocious kid, I'd be curious to know what you make of the following, which I only figured out much later:
The Woman and the Wine-Jar

A woman is walking along one day when she finds an empty wine-jar. She picks it up and sniffs it appreciatively.

"Ah!" she sighs. "What you must have been in your prime, when the very dregs of you are so lovely!"
Profile Image for Riku Sayuj.
653 reviews7,020 followers
February 23, 2014


It is amazing how so many popular references and common senses are found here. Aesop finds his echoes throughout the high flying philosophers and through the earthy grandmothers, not only engrafted into the literature of the civilized world, but familiar as household words in daily conversation of peoples, across borders. It is all pervading. And to top it off, such great pleasure too.

Wisdom, and simplicity, and entertainment - through unforgettable stories - what more could be asked?

Aesop: The Origins

The most famous of Greek poets, Aesop was born about the year 620 B.C., by birth a slave. He was owned by two masters in succession, and won his freedom from the latter, as a reward for his learning and wit.

As a freedman in the ancient republics of Greece, Aesop now had the privilege and the permission to take an active interest in public affairs; and Aesop, raised himself to a position of high renown - a political ambassador of sorts. In his desire alike to instruct and to be instructed, he travelled through many countries. And in his discharge of his commissions, is said to have, by the narration of some of his wise fables, reconciled the inhabitants of those cities to the administration of their times.

Here we can detect and understand some of the common themes that run through these fables - those of keeping to one’s appointed place/station, the utility of inherent strengths which might not be easily visible and of the perils of overreaching.

These, and other, but still few, simple strands of wisdom is reinforced again and again in different situations - which is the essence of the craft of a fabulist.

Aesop: The Fabulous Fabulist

The Fable, like any Tale, will contain a short but real narrative; it will seek, like any Parable, to convey a hidden meaning, but by the skillful introduction of fictitious characters; and it will always keep in view, as its high prerogative, and inseparable attribute, the great purpose of instruction, and will necessarily seek to inculcate some moral maxim, social duty, or political truth.

And yet, even when trying to realize profound human truths through itself, it so conceals its design under the disguise of fictitious characters, by clothing with speech the animals of the field, the birds of the air, the trees of the wood, or the beasts of the forest, that the reader shall receive advice without perceiving the presence of the adviser.

Thus the superiority of the counsellor, which often renders counsel unpalatable, is kept out of view, and the lesson comes with the greater acceptance when the reader is led, unconsciously to himself, to have his sympathies enlisted in behalf of what is pure, honorable, and praiseworthy, and to have his indignation excited against what is low, ignoble, and unworthy. 

This format also required the fabulist to keep a unity of character throughout - The introduction of the animals as characters should be marked with an unexceptionable care and attention to their natural attributes, and to the qualities attributed to them by universal popular consent. The Fox should be always cunning, the Hare timid, the Lion bold, the Wolf cruel, the Bull strong, the Horse proud, and the Ass patient, even as they are made to depict the motives and passions of men.

Aesop’s fables achieve this unity and consistency so throughly that now they have passed into popular consciousness. Indeed, we can even assert that these animals, as we know them today, were created in these Fables!

Aesop: The Companion

Aesop's Fables are valuable companions. These stories pack much distilled wisdom in them and can be employed with great effect. It is said that a few good stories are better moral equipment than the best tracts of philosophers.

Even Socrates is mentioned by Plato as having employed his time while in prison, awaiting the return of the sacred ship from Delphos which was to be the signal of his death, in turning some of these fables into verse from what he had committed to memory over his long lifetime.

Socrates, like Aesop, understood that we are all moralists, seeking the human judgements that inform ours, and other’s actions. But morality forced down by edict can be very forbidding. This forbidding notion of morality was what inspired the philosopher Bertrand Russell to remark that the Ten Commandments ought to come with the sort of rubric which is sometimes to be found on examination papers of ten questions: ‘Only six need be attempted’.

It is noteworthy that Socrates tried to emulate in his own teaching method the technique of the great fabulist - of letting the listener arrive at his own conclusions, or at any rate, avoiding the biggest pitfall any teacher can fall into - of being perceived as a moral superior.

In how Socrates shaped up as a teacher, we can very well see why the most earthy and yet the loftiest of philosophers considered Aesop’s fables to be masterpieces, a constant source of companionship and teaching - and also a manual on teaching well.

We would be well served to do the same.
Profile Image for Fabian.
947 reviews1,562 followers
January 8, 2022
I must admit that at this time some of these tales fell flat & are as antiquarian as... Carriages? Shepherds?

But still, some of them are cynical enough to strike my fancy, and most of them end with a little innocent critter dying and learning a mistake way too late--all so that we can benefit. There is misogyny, racism, classism... the works. Its deletion of this from the "1001 Books" List doesn't affect me (or you), really.

My favorites include the one about the bat who denies his classification of "rat" when captured by a hound and of "bird" when caught by a cat-- escaping twice with his life (Hey--I must admit that travelling in Europe as a Mexican has many more perks (like others' attitude and treatment of you) than travelling as an American. Like Also, the stupid girl who dreams while a pail of water atop her head tumbles, ruining those aforementioned fantasies (silly, stupid girl!) is likewise a winner. However, it is not but the story of rabid rage & ire, about the bee stinging the cobra's hood who then crushes both the bee & its own head under the wheel of a wagon to get her revenge no matter the price that really made me grin. That one's absolutely Shakespearean!
Profile Image for Jason Koivu.
Author 7 books1,226 followers
September 21, 2016
These moral lessons were my bible.

...when I wasn't made to learn my bible as a kid.

The other day I realized I didn't know all of Aesop's Fables. Certainly I've read a few and heard many more, but I'd never sat down and read the whole thing. So I rectified that.

Now I can see why some of the lesser known fables are lesser known. Not every one of these often-anthropomorphic tales of animals wise and woeful is a winner. None are terrible, but every once in a while one of them doesn't quite resinate.

A Cock is walking around the farm and sees a pearl. He excitedly picks it up. The other cocks laugh. "You may have a treasure," one says, "but I'd rather have corn any day."

Moral: The ignorant despise what is precious only because they cannot understand it.

However, most of them knock the moral lesson right out of the park and make for a solid basis of wisdom with which to live a decent life by.

The Tortoise and the Hare - Slow and steady wins the race.
The Crow and the Pitcher - Use your wits.
Belling the Cat - Saying you'll do something is one thing, doing it is quite another.
The Ants and the Grasshopper - Work before play.
The Young Crab and His Mother - Lead by example.

There's others about humility and being a good person to your fellow man, but I'm not awake right now and can't seem to find them online. Trust me, they're there.
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,538 followers
November 21, 2016
The world of fables for the west really originated with the slave Aesop and this marvellous collection of stories. In France, La Fontaine would probably never have existed had Aesop not existed. The fairy tales of Grimm and Andersson similarly drew inspiration from Aesop. The most famous of course is the eternal Tortoise and the Hare, but don't stop there as there are amazing tales here with philosophical and moral messages that transcend the ages.
Profile Image for Fernando.
680 reviews1,091 followers
October 19, 2021
La fábula ("composición literaria narrativa breve, generalmente en prosa o verso, en la que los personajes principales son animales o cosas inanimadas que presentan características humanas") es considerada por algunos como un género literario menor, más allá de que existe en la literatura desde la época de los grandes exponentes griegos y que fue adoptada por nuevos autores con el correr del tiempo.
Usualmente, funciona como contrapunto del mito y la intención que se le quiso dar desde la antigüedad sufrió pocas modificaciones, aunque si mejoras a nivel narrativo durante el siglo XVII.
Según los retóricos de la antigüedad, es un relato fingido que da una imagen de la verdad y en general está narrada a partir del encuentro de dos personajes, con la inclusión de un tercero o cuarto en cuestión, siendo entre dos la forma más clásica de ser contada.
La resultante de este "enfrentamiento" es la puesta de acción de una moraleja o enseñanza, una instrucción moral que le permita al lector reflexionar sobre lo que acaba de leer. También es un contrapunto entre la noción del bien y el mal, de las buenas o malas acciones que realiza el individuo.
Esopo es reconocido como el padre de la fábula, aunque mucho estudiosos indican que estas son tan antiguas las de origen griego y se remontan a China y la India.
Digamos que las de Esopo son las más clásicas y por ende las que más han perdurado. Ya a partir del el siglo XVII aparecerían otros autores como Jean de la Fontaine, y en el XVIII Tomás de Iriarte o Feliz Samaniego quienes recuperaron este género para traerlo de nuevo a las nuevas generaciones de lectores.
Esta edición de Gredos incluye también las fábulas de Babrio, de origen asirio que en los siglos I y II escribió, influenciado por Esopo, una buena cantidad de ellas en idioma griego.
Como todo género literario, la fábula esopiana tuvo detractores, tal es el caso de Jean Jacques Rousseau, quien afirmaba que "los niños no entienden bien las fábulas, y en segundo lugar -pero lo más importante-, la moral de las fábulas corrompe a la juventud, al mostrar que los más fuertes y astutos son los que vencen en la vida."
En cierto modo puedo estar de acuerdo con Rousseau, ya que en ellas puede leerse entre líneas mensajes de injusticia, envidia, inhumanidad, soberbia o rencor y aunque no lo parezca, puede derivar en interpretaciones capciosas o equivocadas.
En mi caso, lo que pude apreciar fue una constante repetición de situaciones con moralejas similares que para nada pueden significar que quien las lea deba comportarse de mejor manera en la vida. Estas fábulas seguramente causaban cierta impresión en su época pero hoy por hoy tienen una connotación bastante ingenua.
El hecho de que los personajes sean animales le cambia el tenor a la fábula, pero no debemos olvidar que, como ellos hablan tanto entre ellos como con los seres humanos, son humanas sus actitudes y actos, por ende, es de nosotros mismo de quienes Esopo trata de reflejarse cuando los animales intervienen en ellas.
De todas maneras, es importante rescatar que también Esopo también incluye fábulas cuyos personajes son hombres, mujeres y dioses.
El libro, me ha parecido correcto y en ningún momento, salvo cuatro o cinco fábulas ha logrado entusiasmarme o sentir que leía algo realmente contundente (si lo comparo con otros géneros como la épica de la Ilíada o la Odisea).
La fábula que más me sorprendió fue esta que transcribo a continuación y cuyo contenido me parece demasiado arriesgado para que Esopo lo contara en el año 560 D.C.
Zeus y el Pudor: Cuando Zeus moldeó a los hombres, les infundió enseguida las diferentes facultades, pero se olvidó del Pudor. Como no encontraba por dónde introducirlo, le mandó que entrara por el recto. Al principio, el Pudor se negó e indigno, después que Zeus le insistió mucho, dijo el Pudor: "Pero entro con esta condición, que si entra otro detrás de mí, me marcho inmediatamente." De esto viene que todos los maricones sean gente sin pudor. Podría aplicarse esta fábula al lascivo."
Esta fábula, comparada con otras un tanto inocentes protagonizadas por conejos, perros, zorras y ranas parece sacada de contexto e increíblemente, choca contra el contenido que uno viene leyendo.
En la actualidad (al menos para mí) tiene un contenido misógino y discriminatorio más allá del humor que algunos puedan darle).
No creo que vuelva a leer libros de fábulas, aunque no descarto en un futuro intentarlo con Jean de la Fontaine. Probablemente las disfrute más.
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 29 books13.6k followers
November 29, 2016
My colleague S, with whom I'm currently doing a project involving Italian, lent me this book so that I could improve my shaky grasp of her language. I was pleased to find that I could understand quite a lot of it! The high point was discovering an Aesop's Fable that I hadn't previously come across:

The Frogs and the Well

Some frogs lived happily in a puddle. Then summer arrived; as one hot day succeeded another, the puddle shrank until it disappeared altogether. The frogs had no choice but to seek a new home. They hopped painfully along, but everywhere they went they found dried-up ponds and empty river beds. Finally they came to a well. Looking down the deep shaft, they saw water at the bottom.

"We're saved!" croaked one frog. "Let's jump in now!"

"Wait a moment," said his less impulsive friend. "What will we do if this one also dries up?"
Profile Image for Francisca.
184 reviews82 followers
February 18, 2019
This is a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and storyteller believed to have lived in ancient Greece. These stories, while at times naive at times strange, filled many of my summers, I as read them out loud for my grandmother while she was sewing or painting or doing one of the many things she loved to do with her hands.

Originally belonging to the oral tradition, the fables were collected only three centuries after Aesop's death. The stories are focused on teaching moral lessons about love, and respect, and greed, and all those many internal demons pestering us. The allegories are great and rich. Animals are always the protagonists, perhaps because showing human behavior and actions --specially the despicable ones-- in the mirror of our beastly world-companions makes it easy for us to see the root of the evil in display.

This is a good read for young children, but it's a surprisingly entertaining read for adults as well. One that requires little commitment for you can read one fable and forget the book forever, or you can read many and make an afternoon out of it.
Profile Image for Marquise.
1,709 reviews397 followers
December 14, 2015
This was the only book quite appropriate for my young age that I read as a child, a precious edition with lots of drawings by one of the best book illustrators, Arthur Rackham, which to date is still much loved by me. I have that old copy with me even now, relatively well preserved.
Profile Image for Parmida R. A. .
98 reviews77 followers
March 9, 2022
Aesop's Fables is the collection of short yet didactic tales that reveal the non-obvious side of human logic: the battle of folly and wisdom, prudence and imprudence. Prudence is the virtue whereby the best judgment is made based on considering circumstances and not just ideal principles.
However, most of the time, the moral lessons attached to the fables are not relatable. The meaning of the story is within the story itself. As Flannery O'Conner once said, "a good story is the one that resists paraphrase."

Fables are necessary to be read for children because they are ruthless yet frank depictions of reality that in them, things happen as they actually do, not in an ideal form. Fables are about the wisdom of the serpent more than the innocence of the dove. They show the world to the children the way it is: complicated and dangerous, but also full of wry and ironic events that reveal us and the nature of things to ourselves and correct our many failings, sometimes not so gently.
So these didactic, compressed, and often wryly humorous fables perfectly capture the fascinating facet of the reality we often tend to ignore.
Profile Image for Ahmed  Ejaz.
549 reviews325 followers
December 2, 2016
I think this is the book I can call a REAL masterpiece.

This book contains Fables. Each fable is different from the other and contains different moral. Author uses animals to convey his message. There are very few Fables in which he uses humans. But I didn't mind that fact. I just wanted a lesson.
And I must praise author for such a great comparison between humans and animals. He has used an appropriate animal for a particular human characteristic.
Overall this book contains almost every moral which we have or may face in the world.
Or most important thing this book is purely for children. It would be an excellent book for them. Because almost teenagers are aware of the morals which are given in this book.

After reading these Fables I don't think I am in the mood to read any more animals for a week or two.

I liked almost every moral in this book but the following are little special for me.

♡A change of habits will not alter nature

♡There is a time for work and time for play

♡The laws of nature are unchangeable

♡A fool may deceive by his dress and appearance, but his words will soon show what he really is

♡Set your sails with the wind

♡Ability proves itself by deeds

♡Always stop to think whether your fun may not be the cause of another's unhappiness

♡As long as you live, never judge the people by their looks

♡Don't stop to argue with temptation

♡You are judged by the company you keep

♡The true leader proves himself by his qualities

♡However unfortunate we may think we are there is always someone worse off than ourselves

♡Greatness has its penalties

♡Do not listen to the advice of him who seeks to lower you to his own level

♡It is unwise to treat old friends badly for the sake of new ones

♡Those who have plenty want more and so lose all they have

♡Learn from the misfortunes of others

♡Boast of one thing and you will be found lacking in that and a few other things as well

♡If you try to please all, you please none

♡Do not count your chickens before they are hatched

♡There is nothing worth so much as liberty

♡Do not let anything turn you from your purpose

♡Once a wolf, always a wolf

♡Do not tell others how to act unless you can set a good example

♡Misfortune is the test of true friendship

♡It is easy to be brave when there is no danger

Thanks for your attention! ^__^
1 December, 2016
Profile Image for W.
1,185 reviews4 followers
December 24, 2020
Aesop was a slave in ancient Greece.He may not have created all these fables,but such was his fame as a story teller that any good fable was likely to be ascribed to him.

When I was at school,there was an entire text book full of these stories.It was good fun to read and many of them stay in memory.

Revisited this classic and enjoyed them again.There is plenty of wit and wisdom here.Such phrases as "to cry wolf" and "sour grapes" originated from these fables.

Animals are used in most of the stories to depict the follies,cruelty,vanity,greed
and other characteristics of mankind.

A quick and enjoyable read.
Profile Image for M.rmt.
126 reviews229 followers
November 26, 2016
مسافری از خستگی سفر تلو تلو میخورد چشمش ندید و به داخل چاه عمیقی افتاد و همان جا خوابش برد.الهه سرنوشت به سراغش آمد و او را تکان داد تا بیدار شود و گفت:《بیدار شو و خودت را از این چاه بیرون بکش که بعدها هر که این ماجرا را بشنود،آن را به پای حماقت تو نمینویسد و به گردن من میاندازد که طفلک سرنوشتش این بود》
Profile Image for Karina.
819 reviews
March 27, 2018
Love all the stories. Reading them to my kids and then asking them the morals as they see it. I know they don't understand it all but I hope it plants a seed in them to be kinder, empathetic people and not letting others abuse this kindness. Lots of witty and self evaluation stories told in animal form. Short and sweet with lots of wisdom and mental strength.
Profile Image for Dagio_maya .
912 reviews256 followers
August 9, 2019

Esopo è il nome dell’autore a cui si fa risalire la nascita della favolistica greca.
L'autore stesso è già di per sé avvolto nel mito per le numerose leggende che sono circolate sulla sua biografia e, ancora oggi, non si hanno notizie certe ed affidabili sul luogo di nascita e le origini di Esopo.

E' curioso scoprire come Esopo ed Omero condividano un anonimato mitologico ma anche una fisicità a cui è stato sottratto qualcosa:
il padre dell’Iliade è privato della vista, Esopo della bellezza; pare, infatti, fosse gobbo e deforme.

Qualunque sia stata la sua storia, la tradizione gli ha comunque attribuito una raccolta di 358 favole che costituiscono l’origine del genere stesso.

Leggendo queste favole si è da subito colpiti dalla rapidità.
Sono infatti una catena di fermo immagini che, invece di sviluppare una storia (compito che si assumerà la fiaba) colgono un comportamento e/o una risposta e la eleggono emblema di una lezione morale.
Gli uomini presenti sono relegati al loro ruolo sociale (pescatore/contadino…) e gli dei rappresentano il ruolo mitologico della tradizione ma i veri protagonisti sono gli animali che non hanno nome proprio ma sono umanizzati.

Queste istantanee fotografano un paradosso ed hanno palesemente un fine pedagogico laddove istruiscono su vizi e virtù e sulle conseguenze di comportamenti sconsiderati.
Gli insegnamenti morali che chiudono ogni quadretto hanno un carattere universale nel tempo e nello spazio essendo paradigmi di comportamenti umani che accompagnano l’uomo da sempre e dovunque.
Così – chiunque sia stato l’autore- queste favole sono giunte come patrimonio comune e accanto alle molte dove basta menzionarne il titolo per quanto sono note (Ad esempio: Il topo di campagna e il topo di città/la cicala e le formiche/la volpe e l’uva…) ce ne sono altre degne di nota come quella che riporto qua sotto.

Consiglio di non fare come me e leggere, invece, una favola ogni tanto cosicché il tutto non risulti stucchevole.


Serenamente accucciate all'ombra di una fresca pianta situata nel cuore della foresta, una tranquilla leonessa e una placida volpe, chiacchieravano tra loro come due vecchie amiche, discutendo del più e del meno.
Per un ascoltatore attento non era difficile però, scoprire che, nascoste nelle loro parole, vi era racchiuso un pizzico d'invidia. In effetti, la volpe, desiderava possedere lo stesso coraggio e l'identica sicurezza che alimentavano il comportamento dell'amica la leonessa, mentre a questa sarebbe piaciuto conquistare la celebre furbizia dell'altra. Nonostante le piccole gelosie racchiuse nei loro cuori, entrambe mantenevano un rapporto forzatamente cortese, scambiandosi sorrisi ed esagerati complimenti.
Finché, un giorno, passeggiando insieme nel bosco con i rispettivi cuccioli che trotterellavano amabilmente intorno a loro, giocando e rincorrendosi fra gli alberi, la volpe non riuscì più a trattenere una frase alimentata unicamente dall'invidia. "Mia cara " disse atteggiandosi a gran dama e indicando con lo sguardo i suoi piccoli, "tu avrai anche un portamento da regina, possiedi grande forza e vigore, ma, in quanto a madre, devi ammettere che io sono più portata. Guarda i miei cinque volpacchiotti come giocano felici tra loro. Invece tu hai messo al mondo un solo figliolo e, poveretto, sembra tanto triste senza fratelli!"
Evitando di scomporsi, la leonessa rispose: "Certo amica mia, io ho partorito un solo cucciolo. Ma questo piccolo vale più d'ogni altro animale. Egli è un leone e, una volta cresciuto, sarà un Re!" Non potendo ribattere niente la volpe si limitò ad ingoiare la propria gelosia accettando ciò che la natura aveva dispensato.
E' inutile invidiare ciò che non si possiede perché ognuno dispone di quello che la natura gli ha attribuito.
Profile Image for Caroline.
1,225 reviews72 followers
November 11, 2016
Ok, so how many people have heard about these stories, but have actually read them? Not many, I think. But we all know stories like the boy who cried wolf, the hare and the turtoise and so on. Short fairytales about talking animals that teach us a lesson from an early age.

I thought this would be a nice addition to my library, so I bought it. The book is about 450 pages long, but the stories are really short, from a few sentences to a couple of pages, so reading this doesn't take long. Even as an adult I don't think you should stop reading fairytales. Especially these which have important life lessons, plus fairytales can be very.. brutal. There are many deaths in these stories, so this may not be suitable for young children.

The book has a lot of illustrations, and under each story you find the moral of it. It is a nice book, and absolutely worth the price if you're fond of fairytales.
Profile Image for Bettie.
9,989 reviews14 followers
July 23, 2018
Description: The fables of Aesop have become one of the most enduring traditions of European culture, ever since they were first written down nearly two millennia ago. Aesop was reputedly a tongue-tied slave who miraculously received the power of speech; From his legendary storytelling came the collections of prose and verse fables scattered throughout Greek and Roman literature. First published in English by Caxton in 1484, the fables and their morals continue to charm modern readers: Who does not know the story of the tortoise and the hare, or the boy who cried wolf? They are two of the many fables from Aesop, made legendary by time.

Trumpism is a collection of behaviours that can be summed up in their crassness with these fables - every day an exhibition of sour grapes, no?!
Profile Image for Isa..
121 reviews82 followers
June 19, 2020
Increíble como al pasar los años las fábulas una vez escritas por Esopo pueden seguir teniendo un impacto inimaginable.
Profile Image for Rodrigo.
1,052 reviews407 followers
February 18, 2023
Conjunto de fábulas con una enseñanza, algunas de ellas muy conocidas como la de la lechera, el cascabel y el gato, la liebre y la tortuga ,la zorra y el racimo de uvas....
Vamos, que ha sido muy educativo con algunas enseñanzas, tales como las siguientes:
"Pon tu esfuerzo y dedicación en lo que realmente estés preparado, no en lo que no te corresponde"
"Nunca desprecies lo que parece insignificante, pues no hay ser tan débil que no pueda alcanzarte"
"Nunca traiciones la amistad sincera, pues si lo hicieras, tarde o temprano del cielo llegará el castigo"
"A quien hace alarde de sus propios éxitos, no tarda en aparecerle quien se los arrebate"
"Con paciencia se resuelven muchas dificultades"
"Quien mucho habla, poco es lo que dice"
"Nunca traslades la culpa a los demás de lo que no eres capaz de alcanzar"
"No niegues con tus actos, lo que pregonas con tus palabras"
"Más vale estar solo que mal acompañado"
"No vendas la piel del oso antes de cazarlo"
"En la vida encontrarás a muchos que se fingen cansados de ver trabajar"
"Con seguridad, constancia y paciencia, aunque a veces parezcamos lentos, obtendremos siempre el éxito"
Y muchas mas, si es cierto que algunas se repetían.
Valoración: 6/10
# 36- Un libro que creas que le gustará a tu mejor amigo/a. Reto Popsugar 2023.
Profile Image for Ιωάννα Μπαμπέτα.
251 reviews32 followers
February 1, 2021
Τον τελευταίο καιρό μελετώ τους Μύθους του Αισώπου κι έχω διαβάσει διάφορες διασκευές.
Η συγκεκριμένη έκδοση είναι εξαιρετική. Η απόδοση έχει γίνει από τον Στρατή Τσίρκα. Ευσύνοπτα δοσμένοι οι μύθοι παρέα με πολύ όμορφες εικόνες!. Πολύ καλή δουλειά!
Profile Image for LIsa Noell "Rocking the Chutzpah!.
579 reviews157 followers
April 20, 2022
Aesop's was one of my favorites as a child. I read them to my kiddos also.
As a 58 year old, I have always and will always be reminded "often" of different fables.
Whomever Aesop was, he was very astute. To put so much knowledge into what would seem to be a simple children's tale! Genius!
Profile Image for ZaRi.
2,322 reviews764 followers
April 15, 2016
قورباغه‌هایی که می‌خواستند شاه داشته باشند.

این حکایت به زمانی باز می‌گردد که قورباغه‌ها شاهی نداشتند و از این بابت ناراحت بودند. آن‌ها نماینده‌ای به خدمتِ ژوپیتر، خدای خدایان، فرستادند تا او شاهی برایشان تعیین کند. ژوپیتر از اینکه قورباغه‌ها کسی را می‌خواهند که بر آنها حکومت کند، دلخور شد و تکه کنده‌ای در دریاچهٔ قورباغه‌ها انداخت و گفت: «این هم شاهتان!» قورباغه‌ها ابتدا از آن کندهٔ درخت ترسیدند و زیر آب رفتند. کمی که ترسشان ریخت، روی آب آمدند و دیدند که انگار آن کندهٔ درخت کاری به آنها ندارد. آهسته جلوتر آمدند و بالاخره سوار کنده شدند، ولی دیدند باز هم آن شاه کاری به آنها ندارد. ناراحت شدند و احساس کردند که با وجودِ آن شاهِ آرام و بی خیال، غرورشان جریحه دار شده است. دوباره نماینده‌ای به سراغ ژوپیتر فرستادند و گفتند که این شاه نه حرفی می زند، نه کاری به آنها دارد و به درد نمی‌خورد. ژوپیتر دلسردتر از بارِ اول، لک لکی را به پادشاهیِ آن دریاچه برگزید. از آن پس لک لک دور دریاچه راه می‌رفت و دائماً سر قورباغه‌ها جیغ می‌کشید و حرف می‌زد و تا جایی که شکمش اجازه می‌داد، از آن‌ها می‌خورد و وظیفه‌اش را به نحو احسن انجام می‌داد.
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