Lessons from Aesop Fables
Fables are short narratives that use animal characters with human features to convey folk wisdom and to help us understand human nature and human behavior. This is what actually Aesop did two thousand years ago, he orally passed on his animal fables and from then it has been passed down from generation to generation and has been translated into different languages.
In Aesop's world there are people of all kinds but there are also animals, birds and trees that think, speak and feel like human beings. Some of the animals are good, honest creatures, others are greedy and selfish.Their adventures, fights and arguments make fascinating stories.
Aesop Fables also give a vivid pictures of the way people feel and act in situations that are as real today as they were 2,000 years ago. Today, we can use Aesop Fables to get the children thinking and allow them to start applying the values to their own lives.
What morals do these ancient fables teach and why do they continue to be important? Have a read of some of the fables and share with us what you think.
The Fox and The Stork
The Fox one day thought of a plan to amuse himself at the expense of the Stork, at whose odd appearance he was always laughing. "You must come and dine with me today," he said to the Stork, smiling to himself at the trick he was going to play. The Stork gladly accepted the invitation and arrived in good time and with a very good appetite.
For dinner the Fox served soup. But it was set out in a very shallow dish, and all the Stork could do was to wet the very tip of his bill. Not a drop of soup could he get. But the Fox lapped it up easily and to increase the disappointment of the Stork, made a great show of enjoyment.
The hungry Stork was much displeased at the trick, but he was a calm, even-tempered fellow and saw no good in flying into a rage. Instead, not long afterward, he invited the Fox to dine with him in turn.
The Fox arrived promptly at the time that had been set and the Stork served a fish dinner that had a very appetizing smell. But it was served in a tall jar with a very narrow neck. The Stork could easily get at the food with his long bill, but all the Fox could do was to lick the outside of the jar, and sniff at the delicious odor.
And when the Fox lost his temper, the Stork said calmly:
"Do not play tricks on your neighbors unless you can stand the same treatment yourself."
The Ants and The Grasshopper
One bright day in late autumn a family of Ants were bustling about in the warm sunshine, drying out the grain they had stored up during the summer, when a starving Grasshopper, his fiddle under his arm, came up and humbly begged for a bite to eat.
"What!" cried the Ants in surprise, "haven't you stored anything away for the winter? What in the world were you doing all last summer?"
"I didn't have time to store up any food," whined the Grasshopper; "I was so busy making music that before I knew it the summer was gone."
The Ants shrugged their shoulders in disgust. "Making music, were you?" they cried. "Very well; now dance!"
And they turned their backs on the Grasshopper and went on with their work.
"There's a time for work and a time for play."
The Plane Tree
Two Travellers, walking in the noonday sun, sought the shade of a widespreading tree to rest. As they lay looking up among the pleasant leaves, they saw that it was a Plane Tree.
"How useless is the Plane!" said one of them. "It bears no fruit whatever and only serves to litter the ground with leaves."
"Ungrateful creatures!" said a voice from the Plane Tree. "You lie here in my cooling shade and yet you say I am useless! Thus ungratefully, O Jupiter, do men receive their blessings!"
"Our best blessings are often the least appreciated."
The Hare and the Tortoise
A hare was making fun of the tortoise one day for being so slow.
"Do you ever get anywhere?" he asked with a mocking laugh.
"Yes," replied the Tortoise, "and I get there sooner than you think. I'll run you a race and prove it."
The Hare was much amused at the idea of running a race with the Tortoise, but for the fun of the thing he agreed. So the Fox, who had consented to act as judge, marked the distance and started the runners off.
The Hare was soon far out of sight, and to make the Tortoise feel very deeply how ridiculous it was for him to try a race with a Hare, he lay down beside the course to take a nap until the Tortoise should catch up.
The Tortoise meanwhile kept going slowly but steadily, and, after a time, passed the place where the Hare was sleeping. But the Hare slept on very peacefully; and when at last he did wake up, the Tortoise was near the goal. The Hare now ran his swiftest, but he could not overtake the Tortoise in time.
"The race is not always to the swift."
The Goose and The Golden Egg
There was once a Countryman who possessed the most wonderful Goose you can imagine, for every day when he visited the nest, the Goose had laid a beautiful, glittering, golden egg. The Countryman took the eggs to market and soon began to get rich.
But it was not long before he grew impatient with the Goose because she gave him only a single golden egg a day. He was not getting rich fast enough.
Then one day, after he had finished counting his money, the idea came to him that he could get all the golden eggs at once by killing the Goose and cutting it open. But when the deed was done, not a single golden egg did he find, and his precious Goose was dead.
"Those who have plenty want more and so lose all they have."
The North Wind and the Sun
The North Wind and the Sun had a quarrel about which of them was the stronger. While they were disputing with much heat and bluster, a Traveler passed along the road wrapped in a cloak.
"Let us agree," said the Sun, "that he is the stronger who can strip that Traveler of his cloak."
"Very well," growled the North Wind, and at once sent a cold, howling blast against the Traveler.
With the first gust of wind the ends of the cloak whipped about the Traveler's body. But he immediately wrapped it closely around him, and the harder the Wind blew, the tighter he held it to him. The North Wind tore angrily at the cloak, but all his efforts were in vain.
With the first gust of wind the ends of the cloak whipped about the Traveler's body. But he immediately wrapped it closely around him and the harder the Wind blew, the tighter he held it to him. The North Wind tore angrily at the cloak, but all his efforts were in vain.
Then the Sun began to shine. At first his beams were gentle, and in the pleasant warmth after the bitter cold of the North Wind, the Traveler unfastened his cloak and let it hang loosely from his shoulders. The Sun's rays grew warmer and warmer. The man took off his cap and mopped his brow. At last he became so heated that he pulled off his cloak, and, to escape the blazing sunshine, threw himself down in the welcome shade of a tree by the roadside.
"Gentleness and kind persuasion win where force and bluster fail."
Aesop's Fables - The Wind and the Sun
The Fox and The Monkey
At a great meeting of the Animals, who had gathered to elect a new ruler, the Monkey was asked to dance. This he did so well, with a thousand funny capers and grimaces, that the Animals were carried entirely off their feet with enthusiasm and then and there, elected him their king.
The Fox did not vote for the Monkey and was much disgusted with the Animals for electing so unworthy a ruler.
One day he found a trap with a bit of meat in it. Hurrying to King Monkey, he told him he had found a rich treasure, which he had not touched because it belonged by right to his majesty the Monkey.
The greedy Monkey followed the Fox to the trap. As soon as he saw the meat he grasped eagerly for it, only to find himself held fast in the trap. The Fox stood off and laughed. "You pretend to be our king," he said, "and cannot even take care of yourself!" Shortly after that, another election among the Animals was held.
- Moral Lesson : "The true leader proves himself by his qualities."