A selection of stories invented by this famous Ancient Greek fabulist.
It is more than likely that throughout our lives we have heard or have been told a fable on occasion.
These types of stories are narratives similar to stories generally starring animals, gods or inanimate objects but that in the narrative have characteristics of the human being, and that are characterized by containing a final teaching or moral.
One of the best known authors of this type of narration is Aesop, an ancient Greek slave from Ancient Greece to whom a large part of the most popular and common fables in our culture are attributed, which have sometimes been reinterpreted or versioned by other great fabulists. Aesop has hundreds of stories to his credit, of which throughout this article we will see several: a selection of Aesop’s fables, with explanation.
The best known Aesop fables
Next we will review several fables of Aesop, as well as the morals and lessons that are extracted from them. Among them we are going to see both some of the most common and others less known, but equally relevant.
Although Aesop also has several fables centered on gods, we will only see one as an example and most of them will be carried out by animals.
1. The hare and the tortoise
“One day a proud and swift hare saw how a tortoise was walking along the road and approached him. The hare began to mock the other animal’s slowness and the length of its legs. However, the tortoise replied that she was sure that despite the hare’s great speed, it was capable of winning it in a race.
The hare, sure of his victory and considering the challenge impossible to lose, accepted. Both asked the fox to mark the goal, to which she accepted, as well as the crow to act as judge.
When the day of the competition arrived, at the beginning of the race the hare and the tortoise left at the same time. The tortoise advanced without stopping, but slowly.
The hare was very fast, and seeing that it had a great advantage over the tortoise, it decided to stop and rest from time to time. But on one occasion the hare fell asleep. The turtle, little by little, continued to advance.
When the hare woke up, he found that the tortoise was about to cross the finish line. Even though he ran, it was too late and the tortoise finally won the race. “
This fable teaches us that hard work, perseverance, perseverance, and effort will lead us to our goals, even little by little, if we don’t give up. It also allows us to see how arrogance, lack of perseverance and excess self-confidence can lead us to miss opportunities and not achieve our goals.
2. The cicada and the ant
“It was a hot summer. A cicada, protected from the sun by the shade of a tree and enjoying the moment without any intention of going to work, sang and sang continuously. While she saw how her neighbor, a worker ant, was working hard to bring food home.
The cicada offered to sing and rest, to which the ant indicated that she should stop being idle and start gathering food. The cicada ignored her advice.
Months later a cold winter arrived, which surprised the cicada with nothing to eat and nowhere to go. Desperate, the ant came to her neighbor asking for help. However, the ant answered by asking what he had done during the summer. The cicada told him to sing, to which the ant replied to dance now because when he could, he did nothing to avoid that situation, and closed the door leaving the cicada out. “
Although it would later be reformulated by La Fontaine, this well-known fable is also considered or attributed to Aesop. The moral is clear: we must strive and work hard to survive and achieve a dignified life that allows us to survive, while laziness and lack of action can cost us. We must be constant, persevering and forward-looking.
3. The wolf and the lamb
“Once upon a time there was a wolf who saw a lamb on the bank of a river and wanted to eat it, offering a simple but plausible pretext. Despite being upriver, he accused him of not letting him drink by stirring the water. The lamb replied that since the wolf was upstream and downstream, it was not possible that this was the case.
Seeing the failure, the wolf accused the lamb of having insulted his parents the previous year, to which the lamb replied that a year ago he had not yet been born. The wolf then said that although the lamb justified itself very well, it would not let it go and it would not stop eating it. “
This fable teaches us that often those who want to cause us harm are not going to stop regardless of our arguments or whether or not it is fair.
4. The dove and the ant
“Once upon a time there was an ant that, thirsty, went to a river to drink. However, once there she was carried away by the current. She was drowning when a dove, which was perched on a branch of a nearby tree, observed the scene and rushed to save her.
After putting her to safety, the grateful ant promised that one day he would return the favor if he could despite her diminutive size.
Time passed and one day a hunter came to the area. Seeing the perched pigeon, he readied his weapon and prepared to hunt it down.
However, the ant, who was nearby, saw the scene and rushed to fulfill its promise. The ant stung the hunter on the heel, who in pain dropped his weapon. The pigeon took the opportunity to fly away, saving his life. “
This fable is a sample of the importance of generosity and as every good deed has its reward in the end.
5. The bat and the weasels
“A bat fell to the ground and was caught by a weasel. Seeing himself near death, the bat implored for his life. The weasel told him that he could not let go of him because from birth he was an enemy of birds. The bat replied that it was not a bird but a mouse, thus escaping with great cunning.
Some time later he fell into the hands of a second weasel, which he begged not to devour. The weasel ñe said that he hated mice, so she couldn’t let him go. The bat, however, replied that he was not a mouse but a bird, so he managed to free himself again. “
This little fable by Aesop has as a moral that we must be able to adapt to situations quickly and flexibly, something that is undoubtedly what will allow us to thrive and survive.
6. The donkey and the fox find the lion
“The donkey and the fox, having joined together for their mutual protection, went out hunting one day. They didn’t go long when they found a lion. The fox, sure of immediate danger, approached the lion and promised to capture the donkey if he gave her his word not to harm her.
Then, affirming to the donkey that he would not be mistreated, he took it to a deep pit, telling it to take refuge there. The lion, seeing that the donkey was already secured, immediately grabbed the fox, and then attacked the donkey at will ”.
This fable teaches us as a moral that we should never betray friends for fear of enemies, since in the end you will also be betrayed.
7. The one-eyed deer
“A doe that was missing an eye grazed on the seashore, turning its intact eye towards the land to observe the arrival of hunters and giving the sea the side that lacked the eye, since it did not expect any danger from there.
But it turns out that some people were sailing through this place, and when they saw the deer they shot it down with their darts. And the dying doe said to herself: – Poor me! I watched over the land, which I thought was full of dangers, and the sea that I considered a refuge has been much more dire “.
This fable teaches us that we should never undervalue or overvalue things or take them for granted, but that we must analyze all options and their positive and negative aspects in a realistic way, without being biased by subjectivity.
8. The dog and its reflection in the river
“A dog was wading through a river carrying a piece of meat in its snout. He saw his own reflection in the river water and believed that that reflection was actually another dog carrying a larger piece of meat than his own. And wanting to take possession of someone else’s piece, she let go of her to snatch the piece from her compadre.
But the result was that he was left without his own and without someone else’s: this one because it did not exist, it was only a reflection, and the other, the true one, because the current carried it away “.
This fable of Aesop teaches us the importance of not coveting or focusing on obtaining or usurping the goods or achievements of others, since this can make us lose what we have achieved for ourselves.
9. The fox and the grapes
“A fox was very hungry, and when she saw some delicious bunches of grapes hanging from a vine she wanted to catch them with her mouth. But not being able to reach them, he walked away, saying: “I don’t even really like them, they are very green …”.
This little story lets us see how often when we give up on something we want we blame it on said something or others. The moral is precisely that we should not pass the blame for not achieving what we want to others.
10. The wolf in sheep’s clothing
“One day a wolf thought to change its appearance to make it easier to hunt for food. He got into a sheepskin and then went to graze with the flock, so he misled the shepherd. At dusk he was taken with the rest of the herd to a fence, staying inside with his desired prey.
However, at night the shepherd came in looking for meat for the next day. He took the wolf, believing it a lamb, and sacrificed it. “
The moral that is extracted from this fable tells us that deceiving others does not generate benefits for us but will end up causing us damage, the greater the greater the deception.
11. Boreas and Helios
“Boreas and Helios disputed who was stronger, deciding that the victory would be given to whoever managed to remove the clothes of a walker in the area. Boreas blew and blew with great force to remove it. However, in the face of the strong wind, the man grabbed his clothes with increasing force, and even got to put on a thicker garment due to the cold.
Tired, Boreas left the turn to Helios. This at first shone moderately, in such a way that the man stopped being cold and began to take off the thick garment. Little by little Helios increased the heat, until finally the man decided to take off his clothes to bathe. “
This is one of Aesop’s fables that are led by gods and humans, and its moral is that it is easier and more useful to convince someone of something (as Helios did by allowing the temperature to rise little by little) than to try to achieve it. with force (as Boreas tried with his wind).
- Latin American Institute of Educational Communication ILCE (sf.) Classic works of always. Fables, Aesop (620-564 BC). [On-line]. Available at: http://bibliotecadigital.ilce.edu.mx/Colecciones/CuentosMas/Esopo.pdf.
- Pinkney, J. (2004). Aesop’s Fables. Vicens Vives.