Aesop's Fables - Aesop - ebook

Aesop's Fables or the Aesopica is a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and story-teller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BCE. Of diverse origins, the stories associated with Aesop's name have descended to modern times through a number of sources. They continue to be reinterpreted in different verbal registers and in popular as well as artistic mediums. The Greek historian Herodotus mentioned in passing that "Aesop the fable writer" was a slave who lived in Ancient Greece during the 5th century BCE. List of some fables by Aesop: • The Ant and the Grasshopper • The Ape and the Fox • The Ass and his Masters • The Mischievous Dog • The Miser and his Gold • The Mountain in Labour • The Wolf and the Lamb • The Woodcutter and the Trees • The Young Man and the Swallow • The Frogs Who Desired a King • The Goat and the Vine • The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs • Hercules and the Wagoner • The Honest Woodcutter • The Horse and the Donkey • The Old Woman and the Doctor • The Rose and the Amaranth • The Satyr and the Traveller • The Sick Kite • The Snake and the Crab

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Table of Contents

The Wolf and the Lamb

The Bat and the Weasels

The Ass and the Grasshopper

The Lion and the Mouse

The Charcoal Burner and the Fuller

The Father and His Sons

The Boy Hunting Locusts

The Cock and the Jewel

The Kingdom of the Lion

The Wolf and the Crane

The Fisherman Piping

Hercules and the Wagoner

The Ants and the Grasshopper

The Traveler and His Dog

The Dog and the Shadow

The Mole and His Mother

The Herdsman and the Lost Bull

The Hare and the Tortoise

The Pomegranate, Apple-Tree, and Bramble

The Farmer and the Stork

The Farmer and the Snake

The Fawn and His Mother

The Bear and the Fox

The Swallow and the Crow

The Mountain in Labor

The Ass, the Fox, and the Lion

The Tortoise and the Eagle

The Files and the Honey-Pot

The Man and the Lion

The Farmer and the Cranes

The Dog in the Manger

The Fox and the Goat

The Bear and the Two Travelers

The Oxen and the Axle Trees

The Thirsty Pigeon

The Raven and the Swan

The Goat and the Goatherd

The Miser

The Sick Lion

The Horse and Groom

The Ass and the Lapdog

The Lioness

The Boasting Traveler

The Cat and the Cock

The Piglet, the Sheep, and the Goat

The Boy and the Filberts

The Lion in Love

Laborer and the Snake

The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

The Ass and the Mule

The Frogs Asking for a King

The Boys and the Frogs

The Sick Stag

The Salt Merchant and His Ass

The Oxen and the Butchers

The Lion, the Mouse, and the Fox

The Vain Jackdaw

The Goatherd and the Wild Goats

The Mischievous Dog

The Fox who Had Lost His Tail

The Boy and the Nettles

The Man and His Two Sweethearts

The Astronomer

The Wolves and the Sheep

The Old Woman and the Physician

The Fighting Cocks and the Eagle

The Charger and the Miller

The Fox and the Monkey

The Horse and His Rider

The Belly and the Members

The Vine and the Goat

Jupiter and the Monkey

The Widow and Her Little Maidens

The Shepherd's Boy and the Wolf

The Cat and the Birds

The Kid and the Wolf

The Ox and the Frog

The Shepherd and the Wolf

The Father and His Two Daughters

The Farmer and His Sons

The Crab and Its Mother

The Heifer and the Ox

The Swallow, the Serpent, and the Court of Justice

The Thief and His Mother

The Old Man and Death

The Fir-Tree and the Bramble

The Mouse, the Frog, and the Hawk

The Man Bitten by a Dog

The Two Pots

The Wolf and the Sheep

The Aethiop

The Fisherman and His Nets

The Huntsman and the Fisherman

The Old Woman and the Wine-Jar

The Fox and the Crow

The Two Dogs

The Stag in the Ox-Stall

The Hawk, the Kite, and the Pigeons

The Widow and the Sheep

The Wild Ass and the Lion

The Eagle and the Arrow

The Sick Kite

The Lion and the Dolphin

The Lion and the Boar

The One-Eyed Doe

The Shepherd and the Sea

The Ass, the Cock, and the Lion

The Mice and the Weasels

The Mice in Council

The Wolf and the Housedog

The Rivers and the Sea

The Playful Ass

The Three Tradesmen

The Master and His Dogs

The Wolf and the Shepherds

The Dolphins, the Whales, and the Sprat

The Ass Carrying the Image

The Two Travelers and the Axe

The Old Lion

The Old Hound

The Bee and Jupiter

The Milk-Woman and Her Pail

The Seaside Travelers

The Brazier and His Dog

The Ass and His Shadow

The Ass and His Masters

The Oak and the Reeds

The Fisherman and the Little Fish

The Hunter adn the Woodman

The Wild Boar and the Fox

The Lion in a Farmyard

Mercury and the Sculptor

The Swan and the Goose

The Swollen Fox

The Fox and the Woodcutter

The Birdcatcher the Partridge, and the Cock

The Monkey and the Fishermen

The Flea and the Wrestler

The Two Frogs

The Cat and the Mice

The Lion, the Bear, and the Fox

The Doe and the Lion

The Farmer and the Fox

The Seagull and the Kite

The Philosopher, the Ants, and Mercury

The Mouse and the Bull

The Lion and the Hare

The Peasant and the Eagle

The Image of Mercury and the Carpenter

The Bull and the Goat

The Dancing Monkeys

The Fox and the Leopard

The Monkeys and their Mother

The Oaks and Jupiter

The Hare and the Hound

The Traveler and Fortune

The Bald Knight

The Shepherd and the Dog

The Lamp

The Lion, the Fox, and the Ass

The Bull, the Lioness, and the Wild Boar Hunter

The Oak and the Woodcutters

The Hen and the Golden Eggs

The Ass and the Frogs

The Crow and the Raven

The Trees and the Axe

The Crab and the Fox

The Woman and Her Hen

The Ass and the Old Shepherd

The Kites and the Swans

The Wolves and the Sheepdogs

The Hares and the Foxes

The Bowman and Lion

The Camel

The Wasp and the Snake

The Dog and the Hare

The Bull and the Calf

The Stag, the Wolf, and the Sheep

The Peacock and the Crane

The Fox and the Hedgehog

The Eagle, the Cat, adn the Wild Sow

The Thief and the Innkeeper

The Mule

The Hart and the Vine

The Serpent and the Eagle

The Crow and the Pitcher

The Two Frogs

The Wolf and the Fox

The Walnut Tree

The Gnat and the Lion

The Monkey and the Dolphin

The Jackdaw and the Doves

The Horse and the Stag

The Kid and the Wolf

The Prophet

The Fox and the Monkey

The Thief and the Housedog

The Man, the Horse, the Ox, and the Dog

The Apes and the Two Travelers

The Wolf and the Shepherd

The Hares and the Lions

The Lark and Her Young Ones

The Fox and the Lion

The Weasel and the Mice

The Boy Bathing

The Ass and the Wolf

The Seller of Images

The Fox and the Grapes

The Man and His Wife

The Peacock and Juno

The Hawk and the Nightingale

The Dog, the Cock, and the Fox

The Wolf and the Goat

The Lion and the Bull

The Goat and the Ass

The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

The Wolf, the Fox and the Ape

The Fly and the Draught Mule

The Fishermen

The Lion and the Three Bulls

The Fowler and the Viper

The Horse and the Ass

The Fox and the Mask

The Geese and the Cranes

The Blind Man and the Whelp

The Dogs and the Fox

The Cobbler Turned Doctor

The Wolf and the Horse

The Brother and the Sister

The Wasps, the Partridges, and the Farmer

The Crow and Mercury

The North Wind and the Sun

The Two Men Who Were Enemies

The Gamecocks and the Partridge

The Quack Frog

The Lion, the Wolf, and the Fox

The Dog's House

The Wolf and the Lion

The Birds, the Beasts, and the Bat

The Spendthrift and the Swallow

The Fox and the Lion

The Owl and the Birds

Thee Trumpeter Taken Prisoner

The Ass in the Lion's Skin

The Sparrow and the Hare

The Flea and the Ox

The Goods and the Ills

The Dove and the Crow

Mercury and the Workmen

The Eagle and the Jakdaw

The Fox and the Crane

Jupiter, Neptune, Minerva, and Momus

The Eagle and the Fox

The Man and the Satyr

The Ass and His Purchaser

The Two Bags

The Stag at the Pool

The Jackdaw and the Fox

The Lark Burying Her Father

The Gnat and the Bull

The Bitch and Her Whelps

The Dogs and the Hides

The Shepherd and the Sheep

The Grasshopper and the Owl

The Monkey and the Camel

The Peasant and the Apple-Tree

The Two Soldiers and the Robber

The Trees Under the Protection of the Gods

The Mother and the Wolf

The Ass and the Horse

Truth and the Traveler

The Manslayer

The Lion and the Fox

The Lion and the Eagle

The Hen and the Swallow

The Buffoon and the Countryman

The Crow and the Serpent

The Hunter and the Horseman

The King's Son and the Painted Lion

The Cat and Venus

The She Goats and Their Beards

The Miller, His Son, and Their Ass

The Crow and the Sheep

The Fox and the Bramble

The Wolf and the Lion

The Dog and the Oyster

The Ant and the Dove

The Partridge and the Fowler

The Flea and the Man

The Thieves and the Cock

The Dog and the Cook

The Travelers and the Plane-Tree

The Hares and the Frogs

The Lion, Jupiter, and the Elephant

The Lamb and the Wolf

The Rick Man and the Tanner

The Shipwrecked Man and the Sea

The Mules and the Robbers

The Viper and the File

The Lion and the Shepherd

The Camel and Jupiter

The Panther and the Shepherds

The Ass and the Charger

The Eagle and His Captor

The Bald Man and the Fly

The Olive-Tree and the Fig-Tree

The Eagle and the Kite

The Ass and His Driver

The Thrush and the Fowler

The Rose and the Amaranth

The Frogs' Complaint Against the Sun

The Wolf and the Lamb

WOLF, meeting with a Lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea to justify to the Lamb the Wolf’s right to eat him. He thus addressed him: “Sirrah, last year you grossly insulted me.” “Indeed,” bleated the Lamb in a mournful tone of voice, “I was not then born.” Then said the Wolf, “You feed in my pasture.” “No, good sir,” replied the Lamb, “I have not yet tasted grass.” Again said the Wolf, “You drink of my well.” “No,” exclaimed the Lamb, “I never yet drank water, for as yet my mother’s milk is both food and drink to me.” Upon which the Wolf seized him and ate him up, saying, “Well! I won’t remain supperless, even though you refute every one of my imputations.” The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny.

The Bat and the Weasels

A BAT who fell upon the ground and was caught by a Weasel pleaded to be spared his life. The Weasel refused, saying that he was by nature the enemy of all birds. The Bat assured him that he was not a bird, but a mouse, and thus was set free. Shortly afterwards the Bat again fell to the ground and was caught by another Weasel, whom he likewise entreated not to eat him. The Weasel said that he had a special hostility to mice. The Bat assured him that he was not a mouse, but a bat, and thus a second time escaped.

It is wise to turn circumstances to good account.

The Ass and the Grasshopper

AN ASS having heard some Grasshoppers chirping, was highly enchanted; and, desiring to possess the same charms of melody, demanded what sort of food they lived on to give them such beautiful voices. They replied, “The dew.” The Ass resolved that he would live only upon dew, and in a short time died of hunger.

The Lion and the Mouse

A LION was awakened from sleep by a Mouse running over his face. Rising up angrily, he caught him and was about to kill him, when the Mouse piteously entreated, saying: “If you would only spare my life, I would be sure to repay your kindness.” The Lion laughed and let him go. It happened shortly after this that the Lion was caught by some hunters, who bound him by strong ropes to the ground. The Mouse, recognizing his roar, came and gnawed the rope with his teeth, and set him free, exclaiming:

“You ridiculed the idea of my ever being able to help you, not expecting to receive from me any repayment of your favor; now you know that it is possible for even a Mouse to confer benefits on a Lion.”

The Charcoal Burner and the Fuller

A CHARCOAL-BURNER carried on his trade in his own house. One day he met a friend, a Fuller, and entreated him to come and live with him, saying that they should be far better neighbors and that their housekeeping expenses would be lessened. The Fuller replied, “The arrangement is impossible as far as I am concerned, for whatever I should whiten, you would immediately blacken again with your charcoal.”

Like will draw like.

The Father and His Sons

A FATHER had a family of sons who were perpetually quarreling among themselves. When he failed to heal their disputes by his exhortations, he determined to give them a practical illustration of the evils of disunion; and for this purpose he one day told them to bring him a bundle of sticks. When they had done so, he placed the faggot into the hands of each of them in succession, and ordered them to break it in pieces. They tried with all their strength, and were not able to do it. He next opened the faggot, took the sticks separately, one by one, and again put them into his sons’ hands, upon which they broke them easily. He then addressed them in these words: “My sons, if you are of one mind, and unite to assist each other, you will be as this faggot, uninjured by all the attempts of your enemies; but if you are divided among yourselves, you will be broken as easily as these sticks.”

The Boy Hunting Locusts

A BOY was hunting for locusts. He had caught a goodly number, when he saw a Scorpion, and mistaking him for a locust, reached out his hand to take him. The Scorpion, showing his sting, said: “If you had but touched me, my friend, you would have lost me, and all your locusts too!”

The Cock and the Jewel

A COCK, scratching for food for himself and his hens, found a precious stone and exclaimed: “If your owner had found thee, and not I, he would have taken thee up, and have set thee in thy first estate; but I have found thee for no purpose. I would rather have one barleycorn than all the jewels in the world.”

The Kingdom of the Lion

THE BEASTS of the field and forest had a Lion as their king. He was neither wrathful, cruel, nor tyrannical, but just and gentle as a king could be. During his reign he made a royal proclamation for a general assembly of all the birds and beasts, and drew up conditions for a universal league, in which the Wolf and the Lamb, the Panther and the Kid, the Tiger and the Stag, the Dog and the Hare, should live together in perfect peace and amity. The Hare said, “Oh, how I have longed to see this day, in which the weak shall take their place with impunity by the side of the strong.” And after the Hare said this, he ran for his life.

The Wolf and the Crane

A WOLF who had a bone stuck in his throat hired a Crane, for a large sum, to put her head into his mouth and draw out the bone. When the Crane had extracted the bone and demanded the promised payment, the Wolf, grinning and grinding his teeth, exclaimed: “Why, you have surely already had a sufficient recompense, in having been permitted to draw out your head in safety from the mouth and jaws of a wolf.”

In serving the wicked, expect no reward, and be thankful if you escape injury for your pains.

The Fisherman Piping

A FISHERMAN skilled in music took his flute and his nets to the seashore. Standing on a projecting rock, he played several tunes in the hope that the fish, attracted by his melody, would of their own accord dance into his net, which he had placed below. At last, having long waited in vain, he laid aside his flute, and casting his net into the sea, made an excellent haul of fish. When he saw them leaping about in the net upon the rock he said: “O you most perverse creatures, when I piped you would not dance, but now that I have ceased you do so merrily.”

Hercules and the Wagoner

A CARTER was driving a wagon along a country lane, when the wheels sank down deep into a rut. The rustic driver, stupefied and aghast, stood looking at the wagon, and did nothing but utter loud cries to Hercules to come and help him. Hercules, it is said, appeared and thus addressed him: “Put your shoulders to the wheels, my man. Goad on your bullocks, and never more pray to me for help, until you have done your best to help yourself, or depend upon it you will henceforth pray in vain.”

Self-help is the best help.

The Ants and the Grasshopper

THE ANTS were spending a fine winter’s day drying grain collected in the summertime. A Grasshopper, perishing with famine, passed by and earnestly begged for a little food. The Ants inquired of him, “Why did you not treasure up food during the summer?” He replied, “I had not leisure enough. I passed the days in singing.” They then said in derision: “If you were foolish enough to sing all the summer, you must dance supperless to bed in the winter.”

The Traveler and His Dog

A TRAVELER about to set out on a journey saw his Dog stand at the door stretching himself. He asked him sharply: “Why do you stand there gaping? Everything is ready but you, so come with me instantly.” The Dog, wagging his tail, replied: “O, master! I am quite ready; it is you for whom I am waiting.”

The loiterer often blames delay on his more active friend.

The Dog and the Shadow

A DOG, crossing a bridge over a stream with a piece of flesh in his mouth, saw his own shadow in the water and took it for that of another Dog, with a piece of meat double his own in size. He immediately let go of his own, and fiercely attacked the other Dog to get his larger piece from him. He thus lost both: that which he grasped at in the water, because it was a shadow; and his own, because the stream swept it away.

The Mole and His Mother

A MOLE, a creature blind from birth, once said to his Mother: “I am sure than I can see, Mother!” In the desire to prove to him his mistake, his Mother placed before him a few grains of frankincense, and asked, “What is it?” The young Mole said, “It is a pebble.” His Mother exclaimed: “My son, I am afraid that you are not only blind, but that you have lost your sense of smell.”

The Herdsman and the Lost Bull

A HERDSMAN tending his flock in a forest lost a Bull-calf from the fold. After a long and fruitless search, he made a vow that, if he could only discover the thief who had stolen the Calf, he would offer a lamb in sacrifice to Hermes, Pan, and the Guardian Deities of the forest. Not long afterwards, as he ascended a small hillock, he saw at its foot a Lion feeding on the Calf. Terrified at the sight, he lifted his eyes and his hands to heaven, and said: “Just now I vowed to offer a lamb to the Guardian Deities of the forest if I could only find out who had robbed me; but now that I have discovered the thief, I would willingly add a full-grown Bull to the Calf I have lost, if I may only secure my own escape from him in safety.”

The Hare and the Tortoise

A HARE one day ridiculed the short feet and slow pace of the Tortoise, who replied, laughing: “Though you be swift as the wind, I will beat you in a race.” The Hare, believing her assertion to be simply impossible, assented to the proposal; and they agreed that the Fox should choose the course and fix the goal. On the day appointed for the race the two started together. The Tortoise never for a moment stopped, but went on with a slow but steady pace straight to the end of the course. The Hare, lying down by the wayside, fell fast asleep. At last waking up, and moving as fast as he could, he saw the Tortoise had reached the goal, and was comfortably dozing after her fatigue.

Slow but steady wins the race.

The Pomegranate, Apple-Tree, and Bramble

THE POMEGRANATE and Apple-Tree disputed as to which was the most beautiful. When their strife was at its height, a Bramble from the neighboring hedge lifted up its voice, and said in a boastful tone: “Pray, my dear friends, in my presence at least cease from such vain disputings.”

The Farmer and the Stork

A FARMER placed nets on his newly-sown plowlands and caught a number of Cranes, which came to pick up his seed. With them he trapped a Stork that had fractured his leg in the net and was earnestly beseeching the Farmer to spare his life. “Pray save me, Master,” he said, “and let me go free this once. My broken limb should excite your pity. Besides, I am no Crane, I am a Stork, a bird of excellent character; and see how I love and slave for my father and mother. Look too, at my feathers—they are not the least like those of a Crane.” The Farmer laughed aloud and said, “It may be all as you say, I only know this: I have taken you with these robbers, the Cranes, and you must die in their company.”

Birds of a feather flock together.

The Farmer and the Snake