Reading time: 4 minutes. Word count: 800 words.
Fable #500 THE BAT, THE BOOBY AND THE BRAMBLE BUSH
The bat, the booby and the bramble bush made a corporation
and went into business together. The bat got some gold on credit, the booby
some copper and the bramble bush some clothing. They loaded the goods on a ship
and immediately set sail. All of a sudden the sea began to surge and a squall blew
up, churning the waters into an immense wave which broke the ship into pieces
and sent everything on board down to the bottom of the sea.
Ever since that time, the bat has flapped in headlong flight from her creditors, hiding herself away and venturing out only at night; the booby spends his time on the sea, looking for the copper, and the bramble bush grabs hold of every wayfarer's cloak, hoping to find the missing clothes.
This fable shows that after some risky business has come to an end, everyone must stay attentive so that they don't fall into the same misfortune once again.
Fable #508 ZEUS AND THE TORTOISE
Zeus invited all the animals to his wedding. The tortoise alone
was absent, and Zeus did not know why, so he asked the tortoise her reason for
not having come to the feast. The tortoise said, 'Be it ever so humble, there's
no place like home.'
Zeus got angry at the tortoise and ordered her to carry her house with her wherever she went.
The fable shows that people often prefer to live simply at home than to live lavishly at someone else's house.
Fable #506 THE KITES AND THE SWANS
A story about kites and swans, exhorting us not to imitate
things that are inappropriate to us.
Nature originally supplied the kites with a voice equal to that of the swans. But when the kites heard the sound of horses neighing, they were enchanted and tried to imitate it. In the course of their studies, the kites lost what voice they had: they did not learn how to neigh, and they forgot how to sing.
By imitating something inappropriate, you can lose what you had to begin with.
Fable #568 ZEUS AND THE DONKEYS
The donkeys were tired of being burdened with burdens and labouring
all the days of their lives, so they sent ambassadors to Zeus, asking him to
release them from their toil. Zeus, wanting to show them that they had asked
for something impossible, said that their suffering would come to an end on
the day when they pissed a river. The donkeys took him seriously and to this
day whenever donkeys see where another donkey has pissed, they come to a halt
and piss in the same place.
The fable shows that a person cannot escape his allotted fate.
Fable #502 THE MAN, THE HORSE, THE OX AND THE DOG
A horse, an ox, and a dog were suffering from the cold and
came to the house of a man. The man opened his door to the animals and led them
inside. He warmed them by the hearth which was blazing with fire and placed
before them whatever there was to eat. To the horse he gave barley, to the labouring
ox he gave peas, while the dog took his place beside the man at the table as
his dinner companion.
In exchange for this hospitality, the animals surrendered to the man some of the years of life that had been allotted to them. The horse went first, which is why each of us is inclined to exult in our youth; the ox went next, which is why man toils away during his middle years, devoted to his work and accumulating wealth. It was the dog who bestowed on man his final years, at least according to the story. This is why everyone becomes cranky in his old age, only wagging his tail for the person who feeds him while barking incessantly and snarling at strangers.
Fable #520 HERMES AND THE DOSE OF INTELLIGENCE
After Zeus had fashioned the human race, he ordered Hermes
to give them intelligence. Hermes divided intelligence into equal portions and
then applied it to each person. The result was that short people became wise,
since they were more completely suffused with the standard dose of intelligence,
while the tall people turned out stupid, since the portion that was poured into
their bodies did not even reach as high as their knees.
This fable is suitable for a man who is physically large but whose mind is lacking in reason.
Questions. Make sure you can answer these questions about what you just read:
Source: Laura Gibbs, translator. Aesop's Fables (2003). Weblink.
Languages / Anthropology 3043: Folklore & Mythology.
Laura Gibbs, Ph.D.
This work is licensed under a Creative
You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial
purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute
the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.