Aesop Fables

The father of fable

The life and History of Aesop is involved, like that of Homer, the most famous of Greek poets, in much obscurity. Sardis, the capital of Lydia; Samos, a Greek island; Mesembria, an ancient colony in Thrace; and Cotiaeum, the chief city of a province of Phrygia, contend for the distinction of being the birthplace of Aesop. Although the honor thus claimed cannot be definitely assigned to any one of these places, yet there are a few incidents now generally accepted by scholars as established facts, relating to the birth, life, and death of Aesop. He is, by an almost universal consent, allowed to have been born about the year 620 B.C., and to have been by birth a slave. He was owned by two masters in succession, both inhabitants of Samos, Xanthus and Jadmon, the latter of whom gave him his liberty as a reward for his learning and wit. One of the privileges of a freedman in the ancient republics of Greece, was the permission to take an active interest in public affairs; and Aesop, like the philosophers Phaedo, Menippus, and Epictetus, in later times, raised himself from the indignity of a servile condition to a position of high renown. In his desire alike to instruct and to be instructed, he travelled through many countries, and among others came to Sardis, the capital of the famous king of Lydia, the great patron, in that day, of learning and of learned men. He met at the court of Croesus with Solon, Thales, and other sages, and is related so to have pleased his royal master, by the part he took in the conversations held with these philosophers, that he applied to him an expression which has since passed into a proverb, "The Phrygian has spoken better than all."

On the invitation of Croesus he fixed his residence at Sardis, and was employed by that monarch in various difficult and delicate affairs of State. In his discharge of these commissions he visited the different petty republics of Greece. At one time he is found in Corinth, and at another in Athens, endeavouring, by the narration of some of his wise fables, to reconcile the inhabitants of those cities to the administration of their respective rulers Periander and Pisistratus. One of these ambassadorial missions, undertaken at the command of Croesus, was the occasion of his death. Having been sent to Delphi with a large sum of gold for distribution among the citizens, he was so provoked at their covetousness that he refused to divide the money, and sent it back to his master. The Delphians, enraged at this treatment, accused him of impiety, and, in spite of his sacred character as ambassador, executed him as a public criminal. This cruel death of Aesop was not unavenged. The citizens of Delphi were visited with a series of calamities, until they made a public reparation of their crime; and, "The blood of Aesop" became a well-known adage, bearing witness to the truth that deeds of wrong would not pass unpunished.

Here are the famous fables of Aesop:

  A Raven And A Swan   Belling The Cat   Hercules And The Wagoner   Jupiter And The Monkey   Mercury And The Woodman   The Animals And The Plague   The Ant And The Dove   The Ants And The Grasshopper   The Ass And His Driver   The Ass And Its Shadow   The Ass And The Grasshoppers   The Ass And The Lap Dog   The Ass And The Load Of Salt   The Ass Carrying The Image   The Ass In The Lion's Skin   The Ass, The Fox, And The Lion   The Astrologer   The Bat And The Weasels   The Bear And The Bees   The Bees And Wasps, And The Hornet   The Birds, The Beasts, And The Bat   The Boy And The Filberts   The Boy And The Nettle   The Boys And The Frogs   The Bull And The Goat   The Bundle Of Sticks   The Cat And The Birds   The Cat And The Fox   The Cat And The Old Rat   The Cat, The Cock, And The Young Mouse   The Cock And The Fox Version 1   The Cock And The Fox Version 2   The Cock And The Jewel   The Crow And The Pitcher   The Dog And His Master's Dinner   The Dog And His Reflection   The Dog And The Oyster   The Dog In The Manger   The Dog, The Cock, And The Fox   The Dogs And The Fox   The Dogs And The Hides   The Eagle And The Beetle   The Eagle And The Jackdaw   The Eagle And The Kite   The Farmer And His Sons   The Farmer And The Cranes   The Farmer And The Snake   The Farmer And The Stork   The Fighting Bulls And The Frog   The Fighting Cocks And The Eagle   The Fisherman And The Little Fish   The Flies And The Honey   The Fox And The Crab   The Fox And The Crow   The Fox And The Goat   The Fox And The Grapes   The Fox And The Hedgehog   The Fox And The Leopard   The Fox And The Lion   The Fox And The Monkey   The Fox And The Pheasants   The Fox And The Stork   The Fox Without A Tail   The Frog And The Mouse   The Frogs And The Ox   The Frogs Who Wished For A King   The Gnat And The Bull   The Goatherd And The Goat   The Goatherd And The Wild Goats   The Goose And The Golden Egg   The Hare And His Ears   The Hare And The Tortoise   The Hares And The Frogs   The Heron   The Kid And The Wolf   The Lark And Her Young Ones   The Leap At Rhodes   The Lion And The Ass Version 1   The Lion And The Ass Version 2   The Lion And The Gnat   The Lion And The Mouse   The Lion, The Ass, And The Fox   The Lion, The Bear, And The Fox   The Lion's Share   The Man And The Lion   The Man And The Satyr   The Mice And The Weasels   The Milkmaid And Her Pail   The Miller, His Son, And The Ass   The Mischievous Dog   The Miser   The Mole And His Mother   The Monkey And The Camel   The Monkey And The Cat   The Monkey And The Dolphin   The Mother And The Wolf   The Mouse And The Weasel   The Mule   The North Wind And The Sun   The Oak And The Reeds   The Old Lion And The Fox   The Old Lion   The Owl And The Grasshopper   The Oxen And The Wheels   The Peacock And The Crane   The Peacock   The Plane Tree   The Porcupine And The Snakes   The Quack Toad   The Rabbit, The Weasel, And The Cat   The Rat And The Elephant   The Rose And The Butterfly   The Serpent And The Eagle   The Sheep And The Pig   The Shepherd And The Lion   The Shepherd Boy And The Wolf   The Sick Stag   The Spendthrift And The Swallow   The Stag And His Reflection   The Stag, The Sheep, And The Wolf   The Swallow And The Crow   The Tortoise And The Ducks   The Town Mouse And The Country Mouse   The Travelers And The Purse   The Travelers And The Sea   The Two Goats   The Two Pots   The Vain Jackdaw And His Borrowed Feathers   The Wild Boar And The Fox   The Wolf And His Shadow   The Wolf And The Ass   The Wolf And The Crane   The Wolf And The Goat   The Wolf And The House Dog   The Wolf And The Kid   The Wolf And The Lamb   The Wolf And The Lean Dog   The Wolf And The Lion   The Wolf And The Sheep   The Wolf And The Shepherd Version 1   The Wolf And The Shepherd Version 2   The Wolf In Sheep's Clothing   The Wolf, The Kid, And The Goat   The Wolves And The Sheep   The Young Crab And His Mother   Three Bullocks And A Lion   Two Travelers And A Bear