Among the oldest stories of human civilization, Aesop's fables are a collection of extended proverbs with moral messages attributed to the Greek slave Aesop, who lived in the fifth century B.C. Children will delight in these basic human truths represented by talking animals and plants, and adults will marvel at the plainspoken language of these ancient tales. This translation by Vernon Jones includes an introduction by G.K. Chesterton and stories such as The Hare and the Tortoise, The Fox and the Grapes, and The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse.
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About the Author
Aesop is thought to have lived from 620 to 560 B.C. Legend depicts him as a slave with a gift for talking his way out of trouble or punishment, often reciting his fables to illustrate an injustice or human folly. Mentioned by other classical writers such as Herodotus and Aristotle, he is believed to have died after being thrown off a cliff in punishment for stealing a precious goblet.
Paul Ansdell has been an actor and voice actor for over twenty years and can be heard narrating numerous audiobooks including The Woman in Black and I'm the King of the Castle, both by Susan Hill, and Deadly Focus by RC Bridgestock.
Read an Excerpt
Aesop, according to legend, was born either in Sardis, on the Greek island of Samos, or in Cotiaeum, the chief city in a province of Phrygia, and lived from about 620 to 560 B.C. Little is known about his life, but Aristotle mentioned his acting as a public defender, and Plutarch numbered him as one of the “Seven Wise Men.” It is generally believed he was a slave, freed by his master because of his wit and wisdom. As a free man, he went to Athens, ruled at that time by the tyrant Peisistratus, an enemy of free speech. As Aesop became famous for his fables, which used animals as a code to tell the truth about political injustice, he incurred the wrath of Peisistratus. Eventually, Aesop was condemned to death for sacrilege and thrown over a cliff. Later, the Athenians erected a statue in his honor. In about 300 B.C., Demetrius Phalereus of Athens made the first known collection of Aesop’s fables, which then spread far beyond the Greek world.
Jack Zipes is a professor of German at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of several books of fairy tales, including Breaking the Magic Spell and Don’t Bet on the Prince. He is also the editor of several volumes of fairy tales, including Beauties, Beasts and Enchantment: Classic French Fairy Tales, The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, The Fairy Tales of Frank Stockton, and Arabian Nights.
Sam Pickering teaches English at the University of Connecticut. He has written seventeen books, fourteen of which are collections of essays. His most recent books are Waltzing the Magpies, an account of a year he and his family spent in Western Australia, and The Best of Pickering, both published by the University of Michigan Press.
A Note on the
Text and Illustrations
This edition of Aesop’s Fables is based on the Reverend Thomas James’s Aesop’s Fables: A New Version, Chiefly from Original Sources (New York: Robert B. Collins, 1848). While adapting this version of the fables, I consulted numerous other nineteenth-century translations and made various changes in keeping with the traditional plots. As has been the custom with translators and adapters of Aesop’s fables, I have taken a good deal of poetic license at times. Since Mr. James’s style is somewhat archaic, I have used a more modern American idiom in adapting them and have occasionally conceived new morals so that the fables might ring more “true” to the situation of the contemporary reader.
The illustrations are from Fables de La Fontaine illustrated by J.J. Grandville (Paris: H. Fournier, 1838). Grandville was a pseudonym for Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard (1803–1847). Born in Nancy, he arrived in Paris during the 1820s and soon made a name for himself as a lithographer and political caricaturist. He was especially interested the theater and animals and was known for incorporating political satire into his complex and fastidious drawings. During the 1830s he turned to book illustration and composed 120 woodcuts for La Fontaine’s fables, which were largely based on Aesop’s work; he caused quite a stir by turning many of the animals into types of human beings. In doing this, Grandville’s figures often appear grotesque and have a surreal quality to them. The distinction between beast and human is blurred, or rather, Grandville’s keen eye captures stunning similarities between humans and animals that often make humans appear in a ridiculous light. In addition, Grandville takes pains to give a clear indication of the social status of the figures through their clothing and behavior to comment on the French mores of his time. There are many emblematic references to urban life in Paris, and in this respect Grandville was one of the first artists to address modern problems of the city and industrialization. Grandville also illustrated the Fables de S. Lavalette (1841) and theFables de Florian (1842), two minor French fabulists, in the same unique manner and is considered one of the greatest interpreters of Aesop’s fables (through La Fontaine) for the modern age.
Little is known about Aesop, except that he lived in Greece, probably between 600 and 500 B.C. Happily for readers, scribblers can rarely resist adorning empty biographies with tales—appropriate in Aesop’s case, since generations have celebrated him as the archetypal storyteller. “What Aesop was by birth,” Nathaniel Crouch wrote in 1737, “authors don’t agree, but that he was of a mean condition, and his person deformed to the highest degree, is what all affirm: he was flat-nos’d, hunch-back’d, bloober-lip’d, jolt-headed: his body crooked all over, big-belly’d, badger-legg’d, and of a swarthy complexion. But the excellency and beauty of his mind made a sufficient atonement for the outward appearance of his person.” Add that he stuttered terribly, quite a handicap for a philosophic raconteur, and Aesop becomes a man delightful to discover on the page, no matter the quality of his mind.
Fictional accounts of Aesop’s life usually relate that he was sold as a slave in Ephesus. Later, in Samos, he behaved like Solomon, his wisdom reconciling the irreconcilable. After accusing magistrates at Delos of tomfoolery and corruption, however, he met a stony end. A gold cup pilfered from the shrine to the Oracle having been planted in his baggage, he was convicted of sacrilege and tossed “head-long from a high rock.” The moral being, I suppose, the wages of tale-telling will out.
In the literary underworld, lie and truth twine fruitfully together through generations, spawning page after page. Crouch lifted his life from the introduction of Roger L’Estrange’s famous collection of some five hundred fables published in 1692. In his collection published in 1722, Samuel Croxall took L’Estrange to task, declaring, “There were never so many blunders and childish dreams mixt up together, as are to be met with in the short compass of that piece.” Knowing “the little trifling circumstances” of Aesop’s life, Croxall said, was insignificant, “whether he was a slave or a freeman, whether handsome or ugly. He has left us a legacy in his writings that will preserve his memory clean and perpetual among us.”
Croxall also got matters wrong. Aesop told but did not write down fables. Much as The Thousand and One Nightsis a miscellany of stories drawn from diverse cultures stretching from Egypt to China, so the origins of Aesop’s fables are various, all editions being mongrel blends of tales taken from countries around the Mediterranean and to the east.
Excerpted from "Aesop's Fables"
Copyright © 2004 Sam Aesop.
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Table of Contents
Aesop's FablesA Note on the Text and Illustrations
I. The Fox and the Grapes
II. The Wolf and the Crane
III. The Archer and the Lion
IV. The Woman and the Fat Hen
V. The Kid and the Wolf
VI. The Hawk and the Pigeons
VII. The Eagle and the Fox
VIII. The Boy and the Scorpion
IX. The Fox and the Goat
X. The Old Hound
XI. The Ants and the Grasshopper
XII. The Fawn and Her Mother
XIII. The Horse and the Groom
XIV. The Mountain in Labor
XV. The Flies and the Honey Jar
XVI. The Two Bags
XVII. The Vain Crow
XVIII. The Wolf and the Lamb
XIX. The Bear and the Fox
XX. The Dog, the Cock and the Fox
XXI. The Cock and the Jewel
XXII. The Sea Gull and the Hawk
XXIII. The Fox and the Lion
XXIV. The Creaking Wheels
XXV. The Frog and the Ox
XXVI. The Farmer and the Snake
XXVII. The Lion and the Fox
XXVIII. The Fisherman and His Music
XXIX. The Domesticated Dog and the Wolf
XXX. The Country Mouse and the Town Mouse
XXXI. The Dog and the Shadow
XXXII. The Moon and Her Mother
XXXIII. The Fighting Cocks and the Eagle
XXXIV. The Man and the Satyr
XXXV. The Tortoise and the Eagle
XXXVI. The Mule
XXXVII. The Hen and the Cat
XXXVIII. The Old Woman and the Wine Bottle
XXXIX. The Hare and the Tortoise
XL. The Ass and the Grasshopper
XLI. The Lamb and the Camel
XLII. The Crab and Its Mother
XLIII. Jupiter and the Camel
XLIV. The Mouse and the Frog
XLV. The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf
XLVI. The Peach, the Apple, and the Blackberry
XLVII. The Hare and the Hound
XLVIII. The Stag in the Ox Stall
XLIX. The Crow and the Pitcher
L. The Lion and the Mouse
LI. The One-Eyed Doe
LII. The Trees and the Ax
LIII. The Lion, the Ass, and the Fox Who Went Hunting
LIV. The Travelers and the Bear
LV. The Belly and the Members
LVI. The Dolphins and the Sprat
LVII. The Blind Man and the Whelp
LVIII. The Sick Stag
LIX. Hercules and the Wagoner
LX. The Fox and the Woodcutter
LXI. The Monkey and the Camel
LXII. The Dove and the Crow
LXIII. The Ass and the Lap Dog
LXIV. The Hares and the Frogs
LXV. The Fisherman and the Little Fish
LXVI. The Wind and the Sun
LXVII. The Farmer and the Stork
LXVIII. The Lioness
LXIX. The Brash Candlelight
LXX. The Old Woman and the Physician
LXXI. The Charcoal-Burner and the Cloth-Fuller
LXXII. The Wolf and the Sheep
LXXIII. The Farmer and His Sons
LXXIV. The Wolves and the Sheep
LXXV. The Mole and Her Mother
LXXVI. The Swallow and the Crow
LXXVII. The Man Bitten by a Dog
LXXVIII. The Man and the Lion
LXXIX. The Monkey and the Dolphin
LXXXI. The Viper and the File
LXXXII. The Bundle of Sticks
LXXXIII. Jupiter, Neptune, Minerva, and Momus
LXXXIV. The Lion in Love
LXXXV. The Nurse and the Wolf
LXXXVI. The Birdcatcher and the Lark
LXXXVII. Jupiter and the Bee
LXXXVIII. The Travelers and the Plane Tree
LXXXIX. The Fox Without a Tail
XC. The Horse and the Stag
XCI. The Mischievous Dog
XCII. The Geese and the Cranes
XCIII. The Quack Frog
XCIV. Mercury and the Woodcutter
XCV. The Oxen and the Butchers
XCVI. The Goatherd and the Goats
XCVII. The Widow and the Sheep
XCVIII. The Marriage of the Sun
XCIX. The Theif and His Mother
C. The Gnat and the Bull
CI. The Lion, the Bear, and the Fox
CII. The Oak and the Reed
CIII. The Dog in the Manger
CIV. The Goose with the Golden Eggs
CV. The Lion and the Dolphin
CVI. The Comedian and the Farmer
CVII. The Dog Invited to Supper
CVIII. The Ass Loaded with Salt
CIX. The Theif and the Dog
CX. The Trumpeter Taken Prisoner
CXI. The Hunter and the Fisherman
CXII. The Fir Tree and the Bramble
CXIII. The Eagle and the Arrow
CXIV. The Two Pets
CXV. The Fisherman and Troubled Water
CXVI. The Lark and Her Young Ones
CXVII. The Arab and the Camel
CXVIII. The Travelers and the Hatchet
CXIX. The Doctor and His Patient
CXX. The Maid and the Pail of Milk
CXXI. The Ass, the Fox, and the Lion
CXXII. The Ass and His Driver
CXXIII. The Travelers and the Hatchet
CXXIV. The Hedge and the Vineyard
CXXV. The Frogs Who Desired a King
CXXVI. The Lion and the Goat
CXXVII. The Mice in Council
CXXVIII. The Fox and the Mask
CXXIX. The Thirsty Pigeon
CXXX. The Farmer and the Cranes
CXXXI. The Falconer and the Partridge
CXXXII. The Cat and the Mice
CXXXIII. The Father and His Two Daughters
CXXXIV. The Heifer and the Ox
CXXXV. The Fox and the Hedgehog
CXXXVI. The Lion and the Ass
CXXXVII. The Bald Knight
CXXXVIII. The Ass and His Masters
CXXXIX. The Farmer and the Sea
CXL. The Hart and the Vine
CXLI. The Pig and the Sheep
CXLII. The Bull and the Goat
CXLIII. The Old Man and Death
CXLIV. The Dog and the Hare
CXLV. The Boy and the Hazel Nuts
CXLVI. The Wolf and the Shepherd
CXLVII. The Jackass and the Statue
CXLVIII. The Blacksmith and His Dog
CXLIX. The Herdsman and the Lost Calf
CL. The Lion and the Other Beasts Who Went Out Hunting
CLI. The Bees, the Drones, and the Wasp
CLII. The Kid and the Piping Ass
CLIII. The Stallion and the Ass
CLIV. The Mice and the Weasels
CLV. The Stubborn Goat and the Goatherd
CLVI. The Boys and the Frogs
CLVII. The Mouse and the Weasel
CLVIII. The Farmer and the Lion
CLIX. The Horse and the Loaded Ass
CLX. The Wolf and the Lion
CLXI. The Farmer and the Dogs
CLXII. The Eagle and the Crow
CLXIII. The Lion and His Three Councillors
CLXIV. The Great and Little Fish
CLXV. The Ass, the Cock, and the Lion
CLXVI. The Wolf and the Goat
CLXVII. The Fox and the Stork
CLXVIII. The Leopard and the Fox
CLXIX. The Vine and the Goat
CLXX. The Sick Lion
CLXXI. The Rivers and the Sea
CLXXII. The Blackamoor
CLXXIII. The Boy and the Nettle
CLXXIV. The Seaside Travelers
CLXXV. The Boy Who Went Swimming
CLXXVI. The Sick Hawk
CLXXVII. The Monkey and the Fisherman
CLXXVIII. Venus and the Cat
CLXXIX. The Three Tradesmen
CLXXX. The Ass's Shadow
CLXXXI. The Eagle and the Beetle
CLXXXII. The Lion and the Three Bulls
CLXXXIII. The Old Woman and Her Maids
CLXXXIV. The Dogs and the Hides
CLXXXV. The Dove and the Ant
CLXXXVI. The Old Lion
CLXXXVII. The Wolf and the Shepherds
CLXXXVIII. The Ass in the Lion's Skin
CLXXXIX. The Swallow in Chancery
CXC. The Raven and the Swan
CXCI. The Wild Boar and the Fox
CXCII. The Stag at the Pool
CXCIII. The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
CXCIV. The Boasting Traveler
CXCV. The Man and his Two Wives
CXCVI. The Shepherd and the Sea
CXCVII. The Miser
CXCVIII. Mercury and the Sculptor
CXCIX. The Miller, His Son, and Their Ass
CC. The Wolf and the Horse
CCI. The Astronomer
CCII. The Hunter and the Woodcutter
CCIII. The Fox and the Crow
What People are Saying About This
"Jonathan Kent's reading revives the original oral tradition, and his voices for the animal characters make the little stories entertaining as well as enlightening." -AudioFile
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
What can one say about all the wonderful tells of this book. You can entertain yourself for days!
Google 'gutenburg free ebooks'. This book of stories is great and no longer under copyright law so it's ( along with a lot if other classics) actually free to download instantly thru your nook or pc to nook via the mentioned website.
Love him he is a wonderful writer my youngest child in middle school is learning about him so i wanted to read her/him his fables yaayaaaayayyyayay they are so happy with the fable they love them i would recomend them to middle schoolers to learn!!!!!!!!!! :) :)
Every story in this book has a moral. 'Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child.' It means instead of hitting the child let them get in trouble and realize what they did wrong. Also i thought it would have a good impact on children and parents.
The is an excellent book!!
My childhood memories are few and far betwen but I specifically remember Aesop's Fables. A wonderful tale ever child should have a chance to read at an early age.
For kids undr ten. Good to read in bed or snuggled up with a blanket on a rainy day! Your reader Abby
It teaches us some very good morals,"honesty is very important", is just one of the many morals Aesop wrote. I LOVE THE BOOK!
I think it had a lot of good details & I like it.
It's ok but they said a bad word for the donkeys in one of te stories not my 100% favorites but ...... well ..... it's ok
Asops fables are very sweet because my favorite is the lion and the mouse
I found this edition for Nook pretty good, but I think that the publisher needed to put more effort into the esthetic appeal of the book. The titles of the Fables were in exactly the same print and font as the Fables themselves, so it was difficult to tell at first where the titles were; there was no boldness or underline or anything to tell them apart. I still liked this one though, and do recommend it.
Aesop's Fables include such famous children's works as The Hare and the Turtle, The Ant and The Grasshopper, The Fox and the Grapes and the Goose who Layed Golden Eggs. There's also several more obscure stories whose morals may not apply as much to modern times.It's a wonderful quick read, most readers will find that they have heard several of the stories as children. It's always nice to get a little refresher course in fables too.
short stories with wonderful teachings.
I read to Evie when she was too small to understand, I anticipate picking up again when she is around 9 or so! Good lessons that never expire!
Gorgeous illustrations to go along with timeless stories.
The illustrations in this book are a collection of a few talented artists, all of whom seem to take the morals and culture in the stories very seriously in their drawings. They all remained quite true to these stories and as culturally accurate as we can assume.
This books is a compilation of some of Aesop's classic fables. The selections include "The Tortoise and the Hare", "The Crow and the Pitcher", "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse", and others. Each fable is short, told in kid-friendly language, includes the moral of the story, and is accompanied by a beautiful illustration that compliments the text.What I liked about this particular collection of fables was the simplicity of the moral statements. The morals where clear, concise, and matched the story well. Children will be able to easily understand the moral, both in context of the story and in life.Appropriate as a read-aloud for ages three and up.
The Tortoise and the Hare, the Grasshopper and the Ant, and dozens more of the delightful creatures that have been entertaining and instructing people for thousands of years. The storyteller Aesop lived in Ancient Greece, far away from us in time and distance. But his clever little stories have as much meaning for us today as they did when he first told them so long ago...
Quick and short are the ancient greek moralistic tales. This is a beautifully illustrated collection of a few of them. I read "The Wolf and The Crane". The story of a greedy wolf who overeats and starts choking on a bone. He then begs the animals to help him saying he'll do anything for it. A crane does, sticking her long beak down and drawing out the bone. She then asks for her reward and he states that she should be grateful for him not biting her head off when she stuck it down his throat. The moral: he who live on expectations are sure to be disappointed.
I like Aesop's fables because of the simple stories that relate back to a moral. I don¿t like some of the stories' because of the cruelness of some of them. These stories have been retold many times but still possess the same stories with the morals being connected.
This is a lovely version of the fables. There are 187 fables, black and white illustrations and eight colored ones. The forward is informative. A nice book.
I read this book while taking a course on animal satire with a focus on the Aesopic tradition. The fables are very entertaining and make for good conversation with friends. The translator, Laura Gibbs, has posted many of the fables on her website. However, the book is organized by situations, and there is nothing more satisfying than quoting one of Aesop's fables to remedy a particular situation.
I love to read this book over and over again there are so many good stories like The Farmer and te Stork and The Milk Maid and her Pail
Hello I am new to this whole talking on nook thing. If anyone can help you can reach me at Kitty.