This page was last updated on the 17th June, 2015 by Patrick Carpen.
LIFE OF ÆSOP.
The Life and History of Æsop 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 Cotiæum, the chief city of a province of Phrygia, contend for the distinction of being the birthplace of Æsop. 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 Æsop. 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 Æsop, like the philosophers Phædo, 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 Crœsus 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, “μᾶλλον ὁ Φρύξ“—”The Phrygian has spoken better than all.”
On the invitation of Crœsus 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, endeavoring, by the narration of some of his wise fables, to reconcile the inhabitants of those cities to the administration of their respective rulers, Pariander and Pisistratus. One of these ambassadorial missions, undertaken at the command of Crœsus, 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 Æsop 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 Æsop” became a well-known adage, bearing witness to the truth that deeds of wrong would not pass unpunished. Neither did the great fabulist lack posthumous honors; for a statue was erected to his memory at Athens, the work of Lysippus, one of the most famous of Greek sculptors. Phædrus thus immortalizes the event:—
These few facts are all that can be relied on with any degree of certainty, in reference to the birth, life, and death of Æsop. They were first brought to light, after a patient search and diligent perusal of ancient authors, by a Frenchman, M. Claude Gaspard Bachet de Mezeriac, who declined the honor of being tutor to Louis XIII. of France, from his desire to devote himself exclusively to literature. He published his life of Æsop, Anno Domini 1632. The later investigations of a host of English and German scholars have added very little to the facts given by M. Mezeriac. The substantial truth of his statements has been confirmed by later criticism and inquiry.
It remains to state, that prior to this publication of M. Mezeriac, the life of Æsop was from the pen of Maximus Planudes, a monk of Constantinople, who was sent on an embassy to Venice by the Byzantine Emperor Andronicus the elder, and who wrote in the early part of the fourteenth century. His life was prefixed to all the early editions of these fables, and was republished as late as 1727 by Archdeacon Croxall as the introduction to his edition of Æsop. This life by Planudes contains, however, so small an amount of truth, and is so full of absurd pictures of the grotesque deformity of Æsop, of wondrous apocryphal stories, of lying legends, and gross anachronisms, that it is now universally condemned as false, puerile, and unauthentic. It is given up in the present day, by general consent, as unworthy of the slightest credit.
Aesop was a really intelligent guy who lived about 6 centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ (B.C).
He wrote many fables that attempt to teach us lessons about people, things and life in general. These fables were so well loved that they have passed down throughout history and are still widely read even to this day.
I will be publishing as many of Aesop’s fable as I can find here on this site.
The Wolf Turned Shepherd – Aesop’s Fables
A wolf, finding that the sheep were so afraid of him that he could not get near them, disguised himself in the dress of a shepherd, and thus attired approached the flock. As he came near, he found the shepherd fast asleep. As the sheep did not run away, he resolved to imitate the voice of the shepherd. In trying to do so, he only howled, and awoke the shepherd. As he could not run away, he was soon killed.
Those who attempt to act in disguise are apt to overdo it.
The Stag at the Pool – Aesop’s Fables
What is most truly valuable is often underrated.
The Fox and the Mask – Aesop’s Fables
A fox entered the house of an actor, and, rummaging through all his properties, came upon a Mask, an admirable imitation of a human head. He placed his paws on it, and said: “What a beautiful head! yet it is of no value, as it entirely wants brains.”
The Bear and the Fox – Aesop’s Fables
A bear boasted very much of his philanthropy, saying “that of all animals he was the most tender in his regard for man, for he had such respect for him, that he would not even touch his dead body.” A Fox hearing these words said with a smile to the Bear: “Oh, that you would eat the dead and not the living!”
We should not wait till a person is dead, to give him our respect.
The Wolf and the Lamb – Aesop’s Fables
The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny, and it is useless for the innocent to try by reasoning to get justice, when the oppressor intends to be unjust.
The One-Eyed Doe – Aesop’s Fables
Danger sometimes comes from a source that is least suspected.
The Dog, Cock and Fox – Aesop’s Fables
“If you will admit me,” said he, “I should very much like to spend the day with you.”
The Cock said: “Sir, do me the favor to go round and wake up my porter, that he may open the door, and let you in.” On the Fox approaching the tree, the Dog sprang out and caught him and quickly tore him in pieces.
Those who try to entrap others are often caught by their own schemes.
The Mouse, the Frog, and the Hawk – Aesop’s Fables
Harm hatch, harm catch.
The Dog and the Oyster – Aesop’s Fables
A Dog, used to eating eggs, saw an Oyster, and opening his mouth to its widest extent, swallowed it down with the utmost relish, supposing it to be an egg. Soon afterwards suffering great pain in his stomach, he said: “I deserve all this torment, for my folly in thinking that everything round must be an egg.”
Who acts in haste repents at leisure.
The Wolf and the Shepherds – Aesop’s Fables
A Wolf passing by, saw some shepherds in a hut eating for their dinner a haunch of mutton. Approaching them, he said: “What a clamor you would raise, if I were to do as you are doing!”
Men are too apt to condemn in others the very things they practice themselves.
The Hares and the Frogs – Aesop’s Fables
The Lion and the Boar – Aesop’s Fables
Those who strive are often watched by others who will take advantage of their defeat to benefit themselves.
The Mischievous Dog – Aesop’s Fables
The Dog grew proud of his bell and clog, and went with them all over the market-place. An old hound said to him: “Why do you make such an exhibition of yourself? That bell and clog that you carry are not, believe me, orders of merit, but, on the contrary, marks of disgrace, a public notice to all men to avoid you as an ill-mannered dog.”
Those who achieve notoriety often mistake it for fame.
The Quack Frog – Aesop’s Fables
Those who pretend that they can mend others should first mend themselves, and then they will be more readily believed.
The Ass, the Fox, and the Lion – Aesop’s Fables
Traitors must expect treachery.
The Wolf and the Sheep – Aesop’s Fables
Hypocritical speeches are easily seen through.
The Cock and the Jewel – Aesop’s Fables
The Two Pots – Aesop’s Fables
Equals make the best friends.
The Gnat and the Lion – Aesop’s Fables
A Gnat came and said to a Lion: “I do not the least fear you, nor are you stronger than I am. For in what does your strength consist? You can scratch with your claws, and bite with your teeth—so can a woman in her quarrels. I repeat that I am altogether more powerful than you; and if you doubt it, let us fight and see who will conquer.” The Gnat, having sounded his horn, fastened itself upon the Lion, and stung him on the nostrils. The Lion, trying to crush him, tore himself with his claws, until he punished himself severely. The Gnat thus prevailed over the Lion, and buzzing about in a song of triumph, flew away. But shortly afterwards he became entangled in the meshes of a cobweb, and was eaten by a spider. He greatly lamented his fate, saying: “Woe is me, that I, who can wage war successfully with the hugest beasts, should perish myself from this spider.”
The Widow and her Little Maidens – Aesop’s Fables
A widow woman, fond of cleaning, had two little maidens to wait on her. She was in the habit of waking them early in the morning, at cockcrow. The maidens, being aggrieved by such excessive labor, resolved to kill the cock who roused their mistress so early. When they had done this, they found that they had only prepared for themselves greater troubles, for their mistress, no longer hearing the cock, was unable to tell the time, and so, woke them up to their work in the middle of the night.
Unlawful acts to escape trials only increase our troubles.
The Fox and the Lion – Aesop’s Fables
Acquaintance softens prejudices.
The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse – Aesop’s Fables
The Monkey and the Dolphin – Aesop’s Fables
The Dolphin then inquired if he knew the Piræus (the famous harbor of Athens). The Monkey, supposing that a man was meant, and being obliged to support his previous lie, answered that he knew him very well, and that he was an intimate friend, who would, no doubt, be very glad to see him. The Dolphin, indignant at these falsehoods, dipped the Monkey under the water, and drowned him.
He who once begins to tell falsehoods is obliged to tell others to make them appear true, and, sooner or later, they will get him into trouble.
The Game-cocks and the Partridge – Aesop’s Fables
A Man had two Game-cocks in his poultry yard. One day, by chance, he fell in with a tame Partridge for sale. He purchased it, and brought it home that it might be reared with his Game-cocks. On its being put into the poultry-yard, they struck at it, and followed it about, so that the Partridge was grievously troubled in mind, and supposed that he was thus badly treated because he was a stranger. Not long afterwards he saw the Cocks fighting together, and not separating before one had well beaten the other. He then said to himself: “I shall no longer distress myself at being struck at by these Game-cocks, when I see that they cannot even refrain from quarreling with each other.”
Strangers should avoid those who quarrel among themselves.
The Boy and the Nettle – Aesop’s Fables
A Boy was stung by a Nettle. He ran home and told his mother, saying: “Although it pains me so much, I did but touch it ever so gently.” “That was just it,” said his mother, “which caused it to sting you. The next time you touch a Nettle, grasp it boldly, and it will be soft as silk to your hand, and not in the least hurt you.”
Whatever you do, do with all your might.
The Trumpeter taken Prisoner – Aesop’s Fables
He who incites strife is as guilty as they who strive.
The Fatal Marriage – Aesop’s Fables
The Lion, touched with gratitude by the noble procedure of a Mouse, and resolving not to be outdone in generosity by any wild beast whatsoever, desired his little deliverer to name his own terms, for that he might depend upon his complying with any proposal he should make. The Mouse, fired with ambition at this gracious offer, did not so much consider what was proper for him to ask, as what was in the powers of his prince to grant; and so demanded his princely daughter, the young lioness, in marriage. The Lion consented; but, when he would have given the royal virgin into his possession, she, like a giddy thing as she was, not minding how she walked, by chance set her paw upon her spouse, who was coming to meet her, and crushed him to pieces.
Beware of unequal matches. Alliances prompted by ambition often prove fatal.
The Ass and the Charger – Aesop’s Fables
Be not hasty to envy the condition of others.
The Vain Jackdaw – Aesop’s Fables
Hope not to succeed in borrowed plumes.
The Milkmaid and her Pot of Milk – Aesop’s Fables
Count not your chickens before they are hatched.
The Playful Ass – Aesop’s Fables
An Ass climbed up to the roof of a building, and, frisking about there, broke in the tiling. The owner went up after him, and quickly drove him down, beating him severely with a thick wooden cudgel. The Ass said: “Why, I saw the Monkey do this very thing yesterday, and you all laughed heartily, as if it afforded you very great amusement.”
Those who do not know their right place must be taught it.
The Man and the Satyr – Aesop’s Fables
A man who talks for both sides is not to be trusted by either.
The Oak and the Reeds – Aesop’s Fables
“You fight and contend with the wind, and consequently you are destroyed; while we, on the contrary, bend before the least breath of air, and therefore remain unbroken.”
Stoop to conquer.
The Huntsman and the Fisherman – Aesop’s Fables
A Huntsman, returning with his dogs from the field, fell in by chance with a Fisherman, bringing home a basket laden with fish. The Huntsman wished to have the fish, and their owner experienced an equal longing for the contents of the game-bag. They quickly agreed to exchange the produce of their day’s sport. Each was so well pleased with his bargain, that they made for some time the same exchange day after day. A neighbor said to them: “If you go on in this way, you will soon destroy, by frequent use, the pleasure of your exchange, and each will again wish to retain the fruits of his own sport.”
Pleasures are heightened by abstinence.
The Mother and the Wolf – Aesop’s Fables
Be not in haste to believe what is said in anger or thoughtlessness.
The and the Wolf – Aesop’s Fables
A Shepherd once found a young Wolf, and brought it up, and after a while taught it to steal lambs from the neighboring flocks. The Wolf, having shown himself an apt pupil, said to the Shepherd: “Since you have taught me to steal, you must keep a sharp look-out, or you will lose some of your own flock.”
The vices we teach may be practiced against us.
The Dove and the Crow – Aesop’s Fables
To enjoy our blessings we must have freedom.
The Old Man and the Three Young Men – Aesop’s Fables
We should not think wholly of ourselves, and we should remember that life is uncertain.
The Lion and the Fox – Aesop’s Fables
Keep to your place, if you would succeed.
The Horse and the Stag – Aesop’s Fables
He who seeks to injure others often injures only himself.
The Lion and the Dolphin – Aesop’s Fables
A Lion, roaming by the sea-shore, saw a Dolphin lift up its head out of the waves, and asked him to contract an alliance with him; saying that of all the animals, they ought to be the best friends, since the one was the king of beasts on the earth, and the other was the sovereign ruler of all the inhabitants of the ocean. The Dolphin gladly consented to this request. Not long afterwards the Lion had a combat with a wild bull, and called on the Dolphin to help him. The Dolphin, though quite willing to give him assistance, was unable to do so, as he could not by any means reach the land. The Lion abused him as a traitor. The Dolphin replied: “Nay, my friend, blame not me, but Nature, which, while giving me the sovereignty of the sea, has quite denied me the power of living upon the land.”
Let every one stick to his own element.
The Mice in Council – Aesop’s Fables
Let those who propose be willing to perform.
The Camel and the Arab – Aesop’s Fables
The Fighting Cocks and the Eagle – Aesop’s Fables
Pride goes before destruction.
The Boys and the Frogs – Aesop’s Fables
Some boys, playing near a pond, saw a number of Frogs in the water, and began to pelt them with stones. They killed several of them, when one of the Frogs, lifting his head out of the water, cried out: “Pray stop, my boys; what is sport to you is death to us.”
What we do in sport often makes great trouble for others.
The Crab and its Mother – Aesop’s Fables
A Crab said to her son: “Why do you walk so one-sided, my child? It is far more becoming to go straight forward.” The young Crab replied: “Quite true, dear mother; and if you will show me the straight way, I will promise to walk in it.” The mother tried in vain, and submitted without remonstrance to the reproof of her child.
Example is more powerful than precept.
The Wolf and the Shepherd – Aesop’s Fables
The Man and the Lion – Aesop’s Fables
A Man and a Lion traveled together through the forest. They soon began to boast of their respective superiority to each other in strength and prowess. As they were disputing, they passed a statue, carved in stone, which represented “A Lion strangled by a Man.” The traveler pointed to it and said: “See there! How strong we are, and how we prevail over even the king of beasts.” The Lion replied: “This statue was made by one of you men. If we Lions knew how to erect statues, you would see the man placed under the paw of the Lion.”
One story is good till another is told.
The Ox and the Frog – Aesop’s Fables
Impossible things we cannot hope to attain, and it is of no use to try.
The Birds, the Beasts, and the Bat – Aesop’s Fables
The Birds waged war with the Beasts, and each party were by turns the conquerors. A Bat, fearing the uncertain issues of the fight, always betook himself to that side which was the strongest. When peace was proclaimed, his deceitful conduct was apparent to both the combatants; he was driven forth from the light of day, and henceforth concealed himself in dark hiding-places, flying always alone and at night.
Those who practice deceit must expect to be shunned.
The Charcoal-Burner and the Fuller – Aesop’s Fables
A Charcoal-burner carried on his trade in his own house. One day he met a friend, a Fuller, and entreated him to come and live with him, saying that they should be far better neighbors, and that their housekeeping expenses would be lessened. The Fuller replied: “The arrangement is impossible as far as I am concerned, for whatever I should whiten, you would immediately blacken again with your charcoal.”
Like will draw like.
The Bull and the Goat – Aesop’s Fables
It shows an evil disposition to take advantage of a friend in distress.
The Lion and the Mouse – Aesop’s Fables
No one is too weak to do good.
The Horse and the Ass – Aesop’s Fables
A Horse, proud of his fine trappings, met an Ass on the highway. The Ass being heavily laden moved slowly out of the way. “Hardly,” said the Horse, “can I resist kicking you with my heels.” The Ass held his peace, and made only a silent appeal to the justice of the gods. Not long afterward, the Horse, having become broken-winded, was sent by his owner to the farm. The Ass, seeing him drawing a dung-cart, thus derided him. “Where, O boaster, are now all thy gay trappings, thou who art thyself reduced to the condition you so lately treated with contempt?”
The Old Hound – Aesop’s Fables
No one should be blamed for his infirmities.
The Crow and the Pitcher – Aesop’s Fables
Necessity is the mother of invention.
The Ass Eating Thistles – Aesop’s Fables
An Ass was loaded with good provisions of several sorts, which, in time of harvest, he was carrying into the field for his master and the reapers to dine upon. By the way he met with a fine large Thistle, and, being very hungry, began to mumble it; and while he was doing so he entered into this reflection: “How many greedy epicures would think themselves happy, amidst such a variety of delicate viands as I now carry! But to me this bitter, prickly Thistle is more savory and relishing than the most exquisite and sumptuous banquet. Let others choose what they may for food, but give me, above everything, a fine juicy thistle like this and I will be content.”
Every one to his taste: one man’s meat is another man’s poison, and one man’s poison is another man’s meat; what is rejected by one person may be valued very highly by another.
The Wolf and the Lion – Aesop’s Fables
One thief is no better than another.
The King’s Son and the Painted Lion – Aesop’s Fables
We had better bear our troubles bravely than try to escape them.
The Trees and the Axe – Aesop’s Fables
In yielding the rights of others, we may endanger our own.
The Seaside Travelers – Aesop’s Fables
Some travelers, journeying along the sea-shore, climbed to the summit of a tall cliff, and from thence looking over the sea, saw in the distance what they thought was a large ship, and waited in the hope of seeing it enter the harbor. But as the object on which they looked was driven by the wind nearer to the shore, they found that it could at the most be a small boat, and not a ship. When, however, it reached the beach, they discovered that it was only a large fagot of sticks, and one of them said to his companions: “We have waited for no purpose, for after all there is nothing to see but a fagot.”
Our mere anticipations of life outrun its realities.
The Sea-gull and the Kite – Aesop’s Fables
A Sea-gull, who was more at home swimming on the sea than walking on the land, was in the habit of catching live fish for its food. One day, having bolted down too large a fish, it burst its deep gullet-bag, and lay down on the shore to die. A Kite, seeing him, and thinking him a land bird like itself, exclaimed: “You richly deserve your fate; for a bird of the air has no business to seek its food from the sea.”
Every man should be content to mind his own business.
The Monkey and the Camel – Aesop’s Fables
It is absurd to ape our betters.
The Rat and the Elephant – Aesop’s Fables
Because we are like the great in one respect we must not think we are like them in all.
The Fisherman Piping – Aesop’s Fables
The Wolf and the House-dog – Aesop’s Fables
Nothing can compensate us for the loss of our liberty.
The Eagle and the Kite – Aesop’s Fables
Promises of a suitor must be taken with caution.
The Dogs and the Hides – Aesop’s Fables
Attempt not impossibilities.
The Fisherman and the Little Fish – Aesop’s Fables
The Ass and his Purchaser – Aesop’s Fables
A man wished to purchase an Ass, and agreed with its owner that he should try him before he bought him. He took the Ass home, and put him in the straw-yard with his other Asses, upon which he left all the others, and joined himself at once to the most idle and the greatest eater of them all. The man put a halter on him, and led him back to his owner, saying: “I do not need a trial; I know that he will be just such another as the one whom he chose for his companion.”
A man is known by the company he keeps.
The Shepherd and the Sheep – Aesop’s Fables
A Shepherd, driving his Sheep to a wood, saw an oak of unusual size, full of acorns, and, spreading his cloak under the branches, he climbed up into the tree, and shook down the acorns. The sheep, eating the acorns, frayed and tore the cloak. The Shepherd coming down, and seeing what was done, said: “O you most ungrateful creatures! you provide wool to make garments for all other men, but you destroy the clothes of him who feeds you.”
The basest ingratitude is that which injures those who serve us.
The Fox and the Crow – Aesop’s Fables
He who listens to flattery is not wise, for it has no good purpose.
The Swallow and the Crow – Aesop’s Fables
The Swallow and the Crow had a contention about their plumage. The Crow put an end to the dispute by saying: “Your feathers are all very well in the spring, but mine protect me against the winter.”
Fine weather friends are not worth much.
The Hen and the Golden Eggs – Aesop’s Fables
The Old Man and Death – Aesop’s Fables
An old man was employed in cutting wood in the forest, and, in carrying the fagots into the city for sale. One day, being very wearied with his long journey, he sat down by the wayside, and, throwing down his load, besought “Death” to come. “Death” immediately appeared, in answer to his summons, and asked for what reason he had called him. The old man replied: “That, lifting up the load, you may place it again upon my shoulders.”
We do not always like to be taken at our word.
The Fox and the Leopard – Aesop’s Fables
People are not to be judged by their coats.
The Mountain in Labor – Aesop’s Fables
A Mountain was once greatly agitated. Loud groans and noises were heard; and crowds of people came from all parts to see what was the matter. While they were assembled in anxious expectation of some terrible calamity, out came a Mouse.
Don’t make much ado about nothing.
The Bear and the Two Travelers – Aesop’s Fables
Misfortune tests the sincerity of friends.
The Sick Kite – Aesop’s Fables
A Kite, sick unto death, said to his mother: “O Mother! do not mourn, but at once invoke the gods that my life may be prolonged.” She replied: “Alas! my son, which of the gods do you think will pity you? Is there one whom you have not outraged by filching from their very altars a part of the sacrifice which had been offered up to them?”
We must make friends in prosperity, if we would have their help in adversity.
The Wolf and the Crane – Aesop’s Fables
In serving the wicked, expect no reward, and be thankful if you escape injury for your pains.
The Cat and the Cock – Aesop’s Fables
It does no good to deny those who make false accusations knowingly.
The Wolf and the Horse – Aesop’s Fables
Men of evil reputation, when they perform a good deed, fail to get credit for it.
The Two Soldiers and the Robber – Aesop’s Fables
When a coward is once found out, his pretensions of valor are useless.
The Monkey and the Cat – Aesop’s Fables
A Monkey and a Cat lived in the same family, and it was hard to tell which was the greatest thief. One day, as they were roaming about together, they spied some chestnuts roasting in the ashes. “Come,” said the cunning Monkey, “we shall not go without our dinner to-day. Your claws are better than mine for the purpose; you pull them out of the hot ashes and you shall have half.” Pussy pulled them out one by one, burning her claws very much in doing so. When she had stolen them all, she found that the Monkey had eaten every one.
A thief cannot be trusted, even by another thief.
The Two Frogs – Aesop’s Fables
Do nothing without a regard to the consequences.
The Vine and the Goat – Aesop’s Fables
Retribution is certain.
The Mouse and the Boasting Rat – Aesop’s Fables
Do not rely upon a boaster.
The Dogs and the Fox – Aesop’s Fables
Some Dogs, finding the skin of a lion, began to tear it in pieces with their teeth. A Fox, seeing them, said: “If this lion were alive, you would soon find out that his claws were stronger than your teeth.”
It is easy to kick a man that is down.
The Thief and the House-Dog – Aesop’s Fables
He who offers bribes needs watching, for his intentions are not honest.
The Sick Stag – Aesop’s Fables
Evil companions bring more hurt than profit.
The Fowler and the Ringdove – Aesop’s Fables
A Fowler took his gun, and went into the woods a shooting. He spied a Ringdove among the branches of an oak, and intended to kill it. He clapped the piece to his shoulder, and took his aim accordingly. But, just as he was going to pull the trigger, an adder, which he had trod upon under the grass, stung him so painfully in the leg that he was forced to quit his design, and threw his gun down in a passion. The poison immediately infected his blood, and his whole body began to mortify; which, when he perceived, he could not help owning it to be just. “Fate,” said he, “has brought destruction upon me while I was contriving the death of another.”
Men often fall into the trap which they prepare for others.
The Kid and the Wolf – Aesop’s Fables
Every one should keep his own colors.
The Blind Man and the Whelp – Aesop’s Fables
Evil tendencies are shown early in life.
The Geese and the Cranes – Aesop’s Fables
Those who are caught are not always the most guilty.
The North Wind and the Sun – Aesop’s Fables
Persuasion is better than Force.
The Laborer and the Snake – Aesop’s Fables
It is hard to forget injuries in the presence of him who caused the injury.
The Bull and the Calf – Aesop’s Fables
A Bull was striving with all his might to squeeze himself through a narrow passage which led to his stall. A young Calf came up and offered to go before and show him the way by which he could manage to pass. “Save yourself the trouble,” said the Bull; “I knew that way long before you were born.”
Do not presume to teach your elders.
The Goat and the Ass – Aesop’s Fables
A Man once kept a Goat and an Ass. The Goat, envying the Ass on account of his greater abundance of food, said: “How shamefully you are treated; at one time grinding in the mill, and at another carrying heavy burdens;” and he further advised him that he should pretend to be epileptic, and fall into a deep ditch and so obtain rest. The Ass gave credence to his words, and, falling into a ditch, was very much bruised. His master, sending for a leech, asked his advice. He bade him pour upon the wounds the blood of a Goat. They at once killed the Goat, and so healed the Ass.
In injuring others we are apt to receive a greater injury.
The Boasting Traveler – Aesop’s Fables
A Man who had traveled in foreign lands boasted very much, on returning to his own country, of the many wonderful and heroic things he had done in the different places he had visited. Among other things, he said that when he was at Rhodes he had leaped to such a distance that no man of his day could leap anywhere near him—and as to that there were in Rhodes many persons who saw him do it, and whom he could call as witnesses. One of the bystanders, interrupting him, said: “Now, my good man, if this be all true, there is no need of witnesses. Suppose this to be Rhodes and now for your leap.”
Cure a boaster by putting his words to the test.
The Ass, the Cock, and the Lion – Aesop’s Fables
An Ass and a Cock were together, when a Lion, desperate from hunger, approached. He was about to spring upon the Ass, when the Cock (to the sound of whose voice the Lion, it is said, has a singular aversion) crowed loudly, and the Lion fled away. The Ass, observing his trepidation at the mere crowing of a cock, summoned courage to attack him, and galloped after him for that purpose. He had run no long distance when the Lion, turning about, seized him and tore him to pieces.
False confidence often leads into danger.
The Stag and the Fawn – Aesop’s Fables
A Stag, grown old and mischievous, was, according to custom, stamping with his foot, making offers with his head, and bellowing so terribly that the whole herd quaked for fear of him; when one of the little Fawns, coming up, addressed him thus: “Pray, what is the reason that you, who are so formidable at all other times, if you do but hear the cry of the hounds, are ready to fly out of your skin for fear?” “What you observe is true,” replied the Stag, “though I know not how to account for it. I am indeed vigorous and able, and often resolve that nothing shall ever dismay my courage; but, alas! I no sooner hear the voice of a hound but my spirits fail me, and I cannot help making off as fast as my legs can carry me.”
The greatest braggarts are the greatest cowards.
The Partridge and the Fowler – Aesop’s Fables
Those who would sacrifice their friends to save themselves from harm are not entitled to mercy.
The Farmer and the Stork – Aesop’s Fables
A Farmer placed his nets on his newly sown plough lands, and caught a quantity of Cranes, which came to pick up his seed. With them he trapped a Stork also. The Stork, having his leg fractured by the net, earnestly besought the Farmer to spare his life. “Pray, save me, Master,” he said, “and let me go free this once. My broken limb should excite your pity. Besides, I am no Crane, I am a Stork, a bird of excellent character; and see how I love and slave for my father and mother. Look too at my feathers, they are not the least like to those of a Crane.” The Farmer laughed aloud, and said: “It may be all as you say; I only know this, I have taken you with these robbers, the Cranes, and you must die in their company.”
Birds of a feather flock together.
The Ass and his Driver – Aesop’s Fables
The perverse generally come to harm.
The Hare and the Hound – Aesop’s Fable
Incentive spurs effort.
The Kites and the Swans – Aesop’s Fables
The Kites of old time had, equally with the Swans, the privilege of song. But having heard the neigh of the horse, they were so enchanted with the sound, that they tried to imitate it; and, in trying to neigh, they forgot how to sing.
The desire for imaginary benefits often involves the loss of present blessings.
The Dog in the Manger – Aesop’s Fables
We should not deprive others of blessings because we cannot enjoy them ourselves.
The Crow and the Serpent – Aesop’s Fables
A Crow, in great want of food, saw a Serpent asleep in a sunny nook, and flying down, greedily seized him. The Serpent, turning about, bit the Crow with a mortal wound. The Crow in the agony of death exclaimed: “O unhappy me! who have found in that which I deemed a most happy windfall the source of my certain destruction.”
What seem to be blessings are not always so.
The Cat and the Fox – Aesop’s Fables
A little common sense is often of more value than much cunning.
The Eagle and the Arrow – Aesop’s Fables
The misfortunes arising from a man’s own misconduct are the hardest to bear.
The Dog Invited to Supper – Aesop’s Fables
Those who enter by the back stairs must not complain if they are thrown out by the window.
The Frogs Asking for a King – Aesop’s Fables
When you seek to change your condition, be sure that you can better it.
The Prophet – Aesop’s Fables
A Wizard, sitting in the market-place, told the fortunes of the passers-by. A person ran up in great haste, and announced to him that the doors of his house had been broken open, and that all his goods were being stolen. He sighed heavily, and hastened away as fast as he could run. A neighbor saw him running, and said: “Oh! you follow those? you say you can foretell the fortunes of others; how is it you did not foresee your own?”
The Dog and his Master’s Dinner – Aesop’s Fables
He who stops to parley with temptation, will be very likely to yield.
The Buffoon and the Countryman – Aesop’s Fables
Critics are not always to be depended upon.
The Boar and the Ass – Aesop’s Fables
Dignity cannot afford to quarrel with its inferiors.
The Fox and the Goat – Aesop’s Fables
Look before you leap.
The Oxen and the Butchers – Aesop’s Fables
Do not be in a hurry to change one evil for another.
The Horse and his Rider – Aesop’s Fables
He who slights his friends when they are not needed must not expect them to serve him when he needs them.
The Dog and the Hare – Aesop’s Fables
A Hound, having started a Hare on the hill-side, pursued her for some distance, at one time biting her with his teeth as if he would take her life, and at another time fawning upon her, as if in play with another dog. The Hare said to him: “I wish you would act sincerely by me, and show yourself in your true colors. If you are a friend, why do you bite me so hard? If an enemy, why do you fawn on me?”
They are no friends whom you know not whether to trust or to distrust.
The Fawn and his Mother – Aesop’s Fables
No arguments will give courage to the coward.
The Lark and her Young Ones – Aesop’s Fables
Self-help is the best help.
The Bowman and the Lion – Aesop’s Fables
A man who can strike from a distance is no pleasant neighbor.
The Boy and the Filberts – Aesop’s Fables
A Boy put his hand into a pitcher full of filberts. He grasped as many as he could possibly hold, but when he endeavored to pull out his hand, he was prevented from doing so by the neck of the pitcher, which was much smaller than his closed hand. Unwilling to lose his filberts, and yet unable to withdraw his hand, he burst into tears, and bitterly lamented his disappointment. A bystander said to him: “Be satisfied with half the quantity, and you will readily draw out your hand.”
Do not attempt too much at once.
The Woman and her Hen – Aesop’s Fables
Covetousness overreacheth itself.
The Lamb and the Wolf – Aesop’s Fables
It is safer to be among friends than enemies.
The Bear and the Gardener – Aesop’s Fables
Better have no friend at all than a foolish one.
The Heifer and the Ox – Aesop’s Fables
A Heifer saw an Ox hard at work harnessed to a plough, and tormented him with reflections on his unhappy fate in being compelled to labor. Shortly afterward, at the harvest home, the owner released the Ox from his yoke, but bound the Heifer with cords, and led her away to the altar to be slain in honor of the festival. The Ox saw what was being done, and said to the Heifer: “For this you were allowed to live in idleness, because you were presently to be sacrificed.”
The lives of the idle can best be spared.
The Eagle and the Fox – Aesop’s Fables
The tyrant is never safe from those whom he oppresses.
The Hawk and the Nightingale – Aesop’s Fables
A Nightingale, sitting aloft upon an oak, was seen by a Hawk, who made a swoop down, and seized him. The Nightingale earnestly besought the Hawk to let him go, saying that he was not big enough to satisfy the hunger of a Hawk, who ought to pursue the larger birds. The Hawk said: “I should indeed have lost my senses if I should let go food ready to my hand, for the sake of pursuing birds which are not yet even within sight.”
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
The Hen and the Swallow – Aesop’s Fables
A Hen finding the eggs of a viper, and carefully keeping them warm, nourished them into life. A Swallow observing what she had done, said: “You silly creature! Why have you hatched these vipers, which, when they shall have grown, will surely inflict injury on all of us, beginning with yourself?”
If we nourish evil, it will sooner or later turn upon us.
The Herdsman and the Lost Bull – Aesop’s Fables
That which we are anxious to find, we are sometimes even more anxious to escape from, when we have succeeded in finding it.
The Shepherd’s Boy and Wolf – Aesop’s Fables
A Shepherd-boy, who watched a flock of sheep near a village, brought out the villagers three or four times by crying out, “Wolf! Wolf!” and when his neighbors came to help him, laughed at them for their pains. The Wolf, however, did truly come at last. The Shepherd-boy, now really alarmed, shouted in an agony of terror: “Pray, do come and help me; the Wolf is killing the sheep;” but no one paid any heed to his cries.
There is no believing a liar, even when he speaks the truth.
The Hawk, the Kite, and the Pigeons – Aesop’s Fables
Avoid a remedy that is worse than the disease.
The Farmer and the Cranes – Aesop’s Fables
Some Cranes made their feeding grounds on some plough-lands newly sown with wheat. For a long time the Farmer, brandishing an empty sling, chased them away by the terror he inspired; but when the birds found that the sling was only swung in the air, they ceased to take any notice of it, and would not move. The farmer, on seeing this, charged his sling with stones, and killed a great number. They at once forsook his plough-lands, and cried to each other: “It is time for us to be off, for this man is no longer content to scare us, but begins to show us in earnest what he can do.”
If words suffice not, blows must follow.
The Cat and the Mice – Aesop’s Fables
Avoid even appearances of danger.
The Father and his Sons – Aesop’s Fables
A Father had a family of sons who were perpetually quarreling among themselves. When he failed to heal their disputes by his exhortations, he one day told them to bring him a bundle of sticks. When they had done so, he placed the bundle into the hands of each of them in succession, and ordered them to break it in pieces. They each tried with all their strength, and were not able to do it. He next unclosed the faggot, and took the sticks, separately, one by one, and again put them into their hands, on which they broke them easily. He then addressed them in these words: “My sons, if you are of one mind, and unite to assist each other, you will be as this faggot, uninjured by all attempts of your enemies; but if you are divided among yourselves, you will be broken as easily as these sticks.”
Disunited families are easily injured by others.
The Owl and the Grasshopper – Aesop’s Fables
An Owl who was sitting in a hollow tree, dozing away a summer’s afternoon, was very much disturbed by a rogue of a Grasshopper singing in the grass beneath. So far from keeping quiet, or moving away at the request of the Owl, the Grasshopper sang all the more, and called her an old blinker, that only came out at night when all honest people had gone to bed. The Owl waited in silence for a time, and then artfully addressed the Grasshopper as follows: “Well, my dear, if one cannot be allowed to sleep, it is something to be kept awake by such a pleasant voice. And now I think of it, I have a bottle of delicious nectar. If you will come up, you shall have a drop.” The silly Grasshopper, came hopping up to the Owl, who at once caught and killed him, and finished her nap in comfort.
Flattery is not a proof of admiration.
The Fox and the Grapes – Aesop’s Fables
Revile not things beyond your reach.
The Ass carrying the Image – Aesop’s Fables
They are not wise who take to themselves the credit due to others.
The Ass and the Lap-Dog – Aesop’s Fables
The Tortoise and the Eagle – Aesop’s Fables
If men had all they wished, they would be often ruined.
The Porcupine and the Snakes – Aesop’s Fables
A Porcupine, wanting to shelter himself, desired a nest of Snakes to give him admittance into their cave. They were prevailed upon, and let him in accordingly; but were so annoyed with his sharp prickly quills that they soon repented of their easy compliance, and entreated the Porcupine to withdraw, and leave them their hole to themselves. “No,” says he, “let them quit the place that don’t like it; for my part, I am well enough satisfied as I am.”
Hospitality is a virtue, but should be wisely exercised; we may by thoughtlessness entertain foes instead of friends.
The Fox who had Lost his Tail – Aesop’s Fables
Advice prompted by selfishness should not be heeded.
The Old Lion – Aesop’s Fables
A Lion, worn out with years, lay on the ground at the point of death. A Boar rushed upon him, and avenged with a stroke of his tusks a long remembered injury. Shortly afterwards the Bull with his horns gored him as if he were an enemy. When the Ass saw that the huge beast could be assailed with impunity, he let drive at his forehead with his heels.
The Ass and the Wolf – Aesop’s Fables
Every one to his trade.
The Horse and the Groom – Aesop’s Fables
If you wish to do a service, do it right.
The Ass and his Shadow – Aesop’s Fables
In quarreling about the shadow we often lose the substance.
The Horse and the Loaded Ass – Aesop’s Fables
Laziness often prepares a burden for its own back.
The Mules and the Robbers – Aesop’s Fables
Two Mules laden with packs were trudging along. One carried panniers filled with money, the other sacks of grain. The Mule carrying the treasure walked with head erect, and tossed up and down the bells fastened to his neck. His companion followed with quiet and easy step. All on a sudden Robbers rushed from their hiding-places upon them, and in the scuffle with their owners wounded the Mule carrying the treasure, which they greedily seized upon, while they took no notice of the grain. The Mule which had been wounded bewailed his misfortunes. The other replied: “I am glad that I was thought so little of, for I have lost nothing, nor am I hurt with any wound.”
The conspicuous run the greatest risk.
The Lion and the Three Bulls – Aesop’s Fables
In union is strength.
The Dog and the Shadow – Aesop’s Fables
It is not wise to be too greedy.
The Ants and the Grasshopper – Aesop’s Fables
The Ants were employing a fine winter’s day in drying grain collected in the summer time. A Grasshopper, perishing with famine, passed by and earnestly begged for a little food. The Ants inquired of him: “Why did you not treasure up food during the summer?” He replied: “I had not leisure; I passed the days in singing.” They then said: “If you were foolish enough to sing all the summer, you must dance supperless to bed in the winter.”
Idleness brings want.
The Thirsty Pigeon – Aesop’s Fables
A Pigeon, oppressed by excessive thirst, saw a goblet of water painted on a sign-board. Not supposing it to be only a picture, she flew toward it with a loud whirr, and unwittingly dashed against the sign-board and jarred herself terribly. Having broken her wings by the blow, she fell to the ground, and was caught by one of the bystanders.
Zeal should not outrun discretion.
The Flies and the Honey – Aesop’s Fables
A Jar of Honey having been upset in a housekeeper’s room, a number of flies were attracted by its sweetness, and placing their feet in it, ate it greedily. Their feet, however, became so smeared with the honey that they could not use their wings, nor release themselves, and were suffocated. Just as they were expiring, they exclaimed, “O foolish creatures that we are! For the sake of a little pleasure we have destroyed ourselves.”
The Great and the Little Fishes – Aesop’s Fables
A Fisherman was drawing up a net which he had cast into the sea, full of all sorts of fish. The Little Fish escaped through the meshes of the net, and got back into the deep, but the Great Fish were all caught and hauled into the ship.
Our insignificance is often the cause of our safety.
The Wolves and the Sheep – Aesop’s Fables
“Why should there always be this implacable warfare between us?” said the Wolves to the Sheep. “Those evil-disposed Dogs have much to answer for. They always bark whenever we approach you, and attack us before we have done any harm. If you would only dismiss them from your heels, there might soon be treaties of peace between us.” The sheep, poor silly creatures! were easily beguiled, and dismissed the Dogs. The Wolves destroyed the unguarded flock at their pleasure.
Change not friends for foes.
The Fox and the Stork – Aesop’s Fables
Those who practice cunning must expect to suffer by it.
The Bat and the Weasels – Aesop’s Fables
A Bat, falling upon the ground, was caught by a Weasel, of whom he earnestly besought his life. The Weasel refused, saying that he was by nature the enemy of all birds. The Bat assured him that he was not a bird, but a mouse, and thus saved his life. Shortly afterward the Bat again fell on the ground, and was caught by another Weasel, whom he likewise entreated not to eat him. The Weasel said that he had a special hostility to mice. The Bat assured him that he was not a mouse, but a bat; and thus a second time escaped.
The Hare and the Tortoise – Aesop’s Fables
A Hare one day ridiculed the short feet and slow pace of the Tortoise. The latter, laughing, said: “Though you be swift as the wind, I will beat you in a race.” The Hare, deeming her assertion to be simply impossible, assented to the proposal; and they agreed that the Fox should choose the course, and fix the goal. On the day appointed for the race they started together. The Tortoise never for a moment stopped, but went on with a slow but steady pace straight to the end of the course. The Hare, trusting to his native swiftness, cared little about the race, and lying down by the wayside, fell fast asleep. At last waking up, and moving as fast as he could, he saw the Tortoise had reached the goal, and was comfortably dozing after her fatigue.
Perseverance is surer than swiftness.
Jupiter and the Monkey – Aesop’s Fables
Jupiter issued a proclamation to all the beasts of the forest, and promised a royal reward to the one whose offspring should be deemed the handsomest. The Monkey came with the rest, and presented, with all a mother’s tenderness, a flat-nosed, hairless, ill-featured young Monkey as a candidate for the promised reward. A general laugh saluted her on the presentation of her son. She resolutely said: “I know not whether Jupiter will allot the prize to my son; but this I do know, that he is the dearest, handsomest, and most beautiful of all who are here.”
A mother’s love blinds her to many imperfections.
The Lion in Love – Aesop’s Fables
The Miser – Aesop’s Fables
The Wolf and the Goat – Aesop’s Fables
Invitations prompted by selfishness are not to be accepted.
The Bald Knight – Aesop’s Fables
Those who cannot take care of their own, should not be entrusted with the care of another’s property.
The Fox and the Wood-Cutter – Aesop’s Fables
The Kid and the Wolf – Aesop’s Fables
A Kid, mounted on a high rock, bestowed all manner of abuse upon a Wolf on the ground below. The Wolf, looking up, replied: “Do not think, vain creature, that you annoy me. I regard this ill language as coming not from you, but from the place on which you stand.”
The Lion, the Bear, and the Fox – Aesop’s Fables
It sometimes happens that one man has all the toil, and another all the profit.
The Stag in the Ox-Stall – Aesop’s Fables
What is safety for one is not always safety for another.
The Eagle and the Jackdaw – Aesop’s Fables
We should not permit our ambition to lead us beyond the limits of our power.
The Three Tradesmen – Aesop’s Fables
A great city was besieged, and its inhabitants were called together to consider the best means of protecting it from the enemy. A Bricklayer present earnestly recommended bricks, as affording the best materials for an effectual resistance. A Carpenter, with equal energy, proposed timber, as providing a preferable method of defense. Upon which a Currier stood up, and said: “Sirs, I differ from you altogether; there is no material for resistance equal to a covering of hides; and nothing so good as leather.”
Every man for his trade.
The Dancing Monkeys – Aesop’s Fables
A Prince had some Monkeys trained to dance. Being naturally great mimics of men’s actions, they showed themselves most apt pupils; and when arrayed in their rich clothes and masks, they danced as well as any of the courtiers. The spectacle was often repeated with great applause, till on one occasion a courtier, bent on mischief, took from his pocket a handful of nuts, and threw them upon the stage. The Monkeys, at the sight of the nuts, forgot their dancing, and became (as indeed they were) Monkeys instead of actors, and pulling off their masks and tearing their robes, they fought with one another for the nuts. The dancing spectacle thus came to an end, amidst the laughter and ridicule of the audience.
They who assume a character will betray themselves by their actions.
The Ass and the Grasshopper – Aesop’s Fables
An Ass, having heard some Grasshoppers chirping, was highly enchanted; and desiring to possess the same charms of melody, demanded what sort of food they lived on, to give them such beautiful voices. They replied: “The dew.” The Ass resolved that he would live only upon dew, and in a short time died of hunger.
Where one may live, another may starve.
The Ass in the Lion’s Skin – Aesop’s Fables
No disguise will hide one’s true character.
The Boy Bathing – Aesop’s Fables
Counsel, without help, is useless.
The Cock and the Fox – Aesop’s Fables
The Fox, passing early one summer’s morning near a farm-yard, was caught in a springe, which the farmer had planted there for that end. The Cock, at a distance, saw what happened, and, hardly yet daring to trust himself too near so dangerous a foe, approached him cautiously, and peeped at him. Reynard addressed himself to him, with all the designing artifice imaginable. “Dear cousin,” says he, “you see what an unfortunate accident has befallen me here, and all upon your account: for, as I was creeping through yonder hedge, in my way homeward, I heard you crow, and was resolved to ask you how you did before I went any farther; but I met with this disaster; and therefore now I must ask you for a knife to cut this string; or, at least, to conceal my misfortune till I have gnawed it asunder.” The Cock, seeing how the case stood, made no reply, but posted away as fast as he could, and told the farmer, who came and killed the Fox.
To aid the vicious is to become a partner in their guilt.
The Viper and the File – Aesop’s Fables
The covetous are poor givers.
The Oxen and the Axle-Trees – Aesop’s Fables
A heavy wagon was being dragged along a country lane by a team of oxen. The axle-trees groaned and creaked terribly, when the oxen, turning round, thus addressed the wheels: “Hallo there! why do you make so much noise? We bear all the labor, and we, not you, ought to cry out.”
Those who suffer most cry out the least.
The Bear and the Bee-Hives – Aesop’s Fables
A Bear that had found his way into a garden where Bees were kept began to turn over the hives and devour the honey. The Bees settled in swarms about his head, and stung his eyes and nose so much, that, maddened with pain, he tore the skin from his head with his own claws.
The Thrush and the Swallow – Aesop’s Fables
A young Thrush, who lived in an orchard once became acquainted with a Swallow. A friendship sprang up between them; and the Swallow, after skimming the orchard and the neighboring meadow, would every now and then come and visit the Thrush. The Thrush, hopping from branch to branch, would welcome him with his most cheerful note. “O mother!” said he to his parent one day, “never had creature such a friend as I have in this same Swallow.”—”Nor ever any mother,” replied the parent-bird, “such a silly son as I have in this same Thrush. Long before the approach of winter, your friend will have left you; and while you sit shivering on a leafless bough he will be sporting under sunny skies hundreds of miles away.”
The Sensible Ass – Aesop’s Fables
The Lion and the Ass – Aesop’s Fables
The Fox and the Ape – Aesop’s Fables
The Lion and the Wolf – Aesop’s Fables
A Wolf, roaming by the mountain’s side, saw his own shadow, as the sun was setting, become greatly extended and magnified, and he said to himself: “Why should I, being of such an immense size, and extending nearly an acre in length, be afraid of the Lion? Ought I not to be acknowledged as King of all the collected beasts?” While he was indulging in these proud thoughts, a Lion fell upon him, and killed him. He exclaimed with a too-late repentance, “Wretched me! this over-estimation of myself is the cause of my destruction.”
It is not wise, to hold too exalted an opinion of one’s self.
The Miller, his Son and their Ass – Aesop’s Fables
The Travelers and the Plane-Tree – Aesop’s Fables
Two Travelers, worn out by the heat of the summer’s sun, laid themselves down at noon under the wide-spreading branches of a Plane-tree. As they rested under its shade, one of the Travelers said to the other: “What a singularly useless tree is the Plane. It bears no fruit, and is not of the least service to man.” The Plane-tree interrupting him said: “You ungrateful fellows! Do you, while receiving benefits from me, and resting under my shade, dare to describe me as useless, and unprofitable?”
Some men despise their best blessings because they come without cost.
The Tortoise and the Two Ducks – Aesop’s Fables
Those who are not able to roam should stay at home.
The Countryman and the Snake – Aesop’s Fables
A Villager found a Snake under a hedge, almost dead with cold. He could not help having a compassion for the poor creature, so he brought it home, and laid it upon the hearth near the fire; but it had not lain there long, before (being revived with the heat) it began to erect itself, and fly at his wife and children. The Countryman, hearing an outcry, and perceiving what the matter was, caught up a mattock, and soon dispatched him, upbraiding him at the same time in these words: “Is this, vile wretch, the reward you make to him that saved your life?”
Kindness to the ungrateful and the vicious is thrown away.
The Madman who Sold Wisdom – Aesop’s Fables
A Madman once set himself up in the market place, and with loud cries announced that he would sell Wisdom. The people at once crowded about him, and some gave him gold for his wares, but they each got only a blow on the ear and a bunch of thread, and were well laughed at by their companions. One of them, however, took it more seriously than the others, and asked a wise sage what it meant. “It means,” said the sage, “that if one would not be hurt by a Madman, he must put a bunch of thread over his ears.” So the Madman was really selling Wisdom.
The Leopard and the Fox – Aesop’s Fables
A Leopard, being no longer able, by reason of old age, to pursue his prey, feigned illness, and gave out that he would confer great favors upon any animal that would cure him. A cunning Fox heard of the proclamation, and lost no time in visiting the Leopard, first making himself look as much like a physician as he could. On seeing him, the Leopard declared that such a distinguished looking animal could not fail to cure him. This so flattered the Fox that he came near, and at once fell a victim to his vanity, being unable to flee because of the disguise, which fettered his limbs.
Flattery is a dangerous weapon in the hands of an enemy.
The Hare afraid of his Ears – Aesop’s Fables
The Lion, being badly hurt by the horns of a goat, swore in a great rage that every animal with horns should be banished from his kingdom. A silly Hare, seeing the shadow of his ears, was in great fear lest they should be taken for horns, and scampered away.
The Peacock and the Crane – Aesop’s Fables
Fine feathers don’t make fine birds.
The Mouse and the Weasel – Aesop’s Fables
The Fox and the Tiger – Aesop’s Fables
There is always some vulnerable point in the strongest armor.
The Fox and the Turkeys – Aesop’s Fables
By too much attention to danger, we may fall victims to it.
The Eagle, the Cat, and the Wild Sow – Aesop’s Fables
Those who stir up enmities are not to be trusted.
The Peacock and the Magpie – Aesop’s Fables
The Two Goats – Aesop’s Fables
The Dove and the Ant – Aesop’s Fables
The grateful heart will always find opportunities to show its gratitude.
The Eagle and the Beetle – Aesop’s Fables
The weak often revenge themselves on those who use them ill, even though they be the more powerful.
The Mule – Aesop’s Fables
The Cat, the Weasel and the Rabbit – Aesop’s Fables
The strong are apt to settle all questions by the rule of might.
The Rat and the Frog – Aesop’s Fables
Inconsiderate and ill-matched alliances generally end in ruin; and the man who compasses the destruction of his neighbor, is often caught in his own snare.
The Widow and the Sheep – Aesop’s Fables
There was a certain Widow who had an only Sheep, and, wishing to make the most of his wool, she sheared him so closely that she cut his skin as well as his fleece. The Sheep, smarting under this treatment, cried out: “Why do you torture me thus? What will my blood add to the weight of the wool? If you want my flesh, Dame, send for the Butcher, who will put me out of my misery at once; but if you want my fleece, send for the Shearer, who will clip my wool without drawing my blood.”
Economy may be carried too far.
The Man Bitten by a Dog – Aesop’s Fables
A Man who had been bitten by a Dog was going about asking who could cure him. One that met him said: “Sir, if you would be cured, take a bit of bread and dip it in the blood of the wound, and give it to the dog that bit you.” The Man smiled, and said: “If I were to follow your advice, I should be bitten by all the dogs in the city.”
He who proclaims himself ready to buy up his enemies will never want a supply of them.
The Horse and the Wolf – Aesop’s Fables
The Goatherd and the Goats – Aesop’s Fables
It was a stormy day, and the snow was falling fast, when a Goatherd drove his Goats, all white with snow, into a desert cave for shelter. There he found that a herd of Wild Goats, more numerous and larger than his own, had already taken possession. So, thinking to secure them all, he left his own Goats to take care of themselves, and threw the branches which he had brought for them to the Wild Goats to browse on. But when the weather cleared up, he found his own Goats had perished from hunger, while the Wild Goats were off and away to the hills and woods. So the Goatherd returned a laughing-stock to his neighbors, having failed to gain the Wild Goats, and having lost his own.
They who neglect their old friends for the sake of new ones, are rightly served if they lose both.
The Goose with the Golden Eggs – Aesop’s Fables
Much wants more, and loses all.
The Old Woman and the Wine-Jar – Aesop’s Fables
The memory of a good deed lives.
The Ass Carrying Salt – Aesop’s Fables
The same measures will not suit all circumstances.
The Gnat and the Bull – Aesop’s Fables
A Gnat that had been buzzing about the head of a Bull, at length settling himself down upon his horn, begged his pardon for incommoding him; “but if,” says he, “my weight at all inconveniences you, pray say so, and I will be off in a moment.” “Oh, never trouble your head about that,” says the Bull, “for ’tis all one to me whether you go or stay; and, to say the truth, I did not know you were there.”
The smaller the Mind the greater the Conceit.
The Lion and the Gnat – Aesop’s Fables
The Lion, the Ass and the Fox Hunting – Aesop’s Fables
The Lion, the Ass and the Fox formed a party to go out hunting. They took a large booty, and when the sport was ended, bethought themselves of having a hearty meal. The Lion bade the Ass allot the spoil. So, dividing it into three equal parts, the Ass begged his friends to make their choice; at which the Lion, in great indignation, fell upon the Ass and tore him to pieces. He then bade the Fox make a division; who, gathering the whole into one great heap, reserved but the smallest mite for himself. “Ah! friend,” says the Lion, “who taught you to make so equitable a division?” “I wanted no other lesson,” replied the Fox, “than the Ass’s fate.”
Better be wise by the misfortunes of others than by your own.
The Dog Whose Ears were Cropped – Aesop’s Fables
The Wind and the Sun – Aesop’s Fables
Thus the Sun was declared the conqueror; and it has ever been deemed that persuasion is better than force; and that the sunshine of a kind and gentle manner will sooner lay open a poor man’s heart than all the threatenings and force of blustering authority.
The Wild Boar and the Fox – Aesop’s Fables
A Wild Boar was whetting his tusks against a tree, when a Fox coming by, asked why he did so; “for,” said he, “I see no reason for it; there is neither hunter nor hound in sight, nor any other danger that I can see, at hand.” “True,” replied the Boar; “but when that danger does arise, I shall have something else to do than to sharpen my weapons.”
It is too late to whet the sword when the trumpet sounds to draw it.
The Hunter and the Wolf – Aesop’s Fables
The greedy man and the miser cannot enjoy their gains.
The Astronomer – Aesop’s Fables
An Astronomer used to walk out every night to gaze upon the stars. It happened one night that, with his whole thoughts rapt up in the skies, he fell into a well. One who heard his cries ran up to him, and said: “While you are trying to pry into the mysteries of heaven, you overlook the common objects under your feet.”
We should never look so high as to miss seeing the things that are around us.
The Bulls and the Frogs – Aesop’s Fables
The poor and weak are often made to suffer for the follies of the great.
The Thief and His Mother – Aesop’s Fables
Nip evil in the bud.
The Man and His Two Wives – Aesop’s Fables
In days when a man was allowed more wives than one, a middle-aged bachelor, who could be called neither young nor old, and whose hair was only just beginning to turn gray, must needs fall in love with two women at once, and marry them both. The one was young and blooming, and wished her husband to appear as youthful as herself; the other was somewhat more advanced in age, and was as anxious that her husband should appear a suitable match for her. So, while the young one seized every opportunity of pulling out the good man’s gray hairs, the old one was as industrious in plucking out every black hair she could find, till he found that, between the one and the other, he had not a hair left.
He that submits his principles to the influence and caprices of opposite parties will end in having no principles at all.
The Heifer, the Goat, the Sheep and the Lion – Aesop’s Fables
He who will steal a part will steal the whole.
The Camel and the Travelers – Aesop’s Fables
Distance exaggerates dangers.
The Swan and the Goose – Aesop’s Fables
Sweet words may deliver us from peril, when harsh words would fail.
The Dolphins and the Sprat – Aesop’s Fables
The Dolphins and the Whales were at war with one another, and the Sprat stepped in and endeavored to separate them. But one of the Dolphins cried out: “We would rather perish in the contest, than be reconciled by you.”
The Shepherd and the Sea – Aesop’s Fables
The Bees, the Drones, and the Wasp – Aesop’s Fables
Some Bees had built their comb in the hollow trunk of an oak. The Drones asserted that it was their doing, and belonged to them. The cause was brought into court before Judge Wasp. Knowing something of the parties, he thus addressed them: “The plaintiffs and defendants are so much alike in shape and color as to render the ownership a doubtful matter. Let each party take a hive to itself, and build up a new comb, that from the shape of the cells and the taste of the honey, the lawful proprietors of the property in dispute may appear.” The Bees readily assented to the Wasp’s plan. The Drones declined it. Whereupon the Wasp gave judgment: “It is clear now who made the comb, and who cannot make it; the Court adjudges the honey to the Bees.”
Professions are best tested by deeds.
The Wolf, the Goat and the Kid – Aesop’s Fables
Two sureties are better than one.
The Fox and the Hedgehog – Aesop’s Fables
When we throw off rulers or dependents, who have already made the most of us, we do but, for the most part, lay ourselves open to others, who will make us bleed yet more freely.
The Brazier and His Dog – Aesop’s Fables
A Brazier had a little Dog, which was a great favorite with his master, and his constant companion. While he hammered away at his metals the Dog slept; but when, on the other hand, he went to dinner, and began to eat, the Dog woke up, and wagged his tail, as if he would ask for a share of his meal. His master one day, pretending to be angry, and shaking his stick at him, said: “You wretched little sluggard! what shall I do to you? While I am hammering on the anvil, you sleep on the mat, and when I begin to eat after my toil, you wake up and wag your tail for food. Do you not know that labor is the source of every blessing, and that none but those who work are entitled to eat?”
The Wild Ass and the Lion – Aesop’s Fables
A Wild Ass and a Lion entered into an alliance that they might capture the beasts of the forest with the greater ease. The Lion agreed to assist the Wild Ass with strength, while the Wild Ass gave the Lion the benefit of his greater speed. When they had taken as many beasts as their necessities required, the Lion undertook to distribute the prey, and for this purpose divided it into three shares. “I will take the first share,” he said, “because I am king; and the second share, as a partner with you in the chase; and the third share (believe me) will be a source of great evil to you, unless you willingly resign it to me, and set off as fast as you can.”
Might makes right.
The Father and His Two Daughters – Aesop’s Fables
A man had two daughters, the one married to a gardener, and the other to a tile-maker. After a time he went to the daughter who had married the gardener, and inquired how she was, and how all things went with her. She said: “All things are prospering with me, and I have only one wish, that there may be a heavy fall of rain, in order that the plants may be well watered.” Not long after he went to the daughter who had married the tile-maker, and likewise inquired of her how she fared; she replied: “I want for nothing, and have only one wish, that the dry weather may continue, and the sun shine hot and bright, so that the bricks might be dried.” He said to her: “If your sister wishes for rain, and you for dry weather, with which of the two am I to join my wishes?”
The Fir Tree and the Bramble – Aesop’s Fables
A Fir Tree said boastingly to the Bramble: “You are useful for nothing at all, while I am everywhere used for roofs and houses.” The Bramble made answer: “You poor creature, if you would only call to mind the axes and saws which are about to hew you down, you would have reason to wish that you had grown up a Bramble, not a Fir Tree.”
Better poverty without care, than riches with.
The Fox and the Monkey – Aesop’s Fables
A Monkey once danced in an assembly of the Beasts, and so pleased them all by his performance that they elected him their king. A Fox envying him the honor, discovered a piece of meat lying in a trap, and leading the Monkey to the place where it was, said “that she had found a store, but had not used it, but had kept it for him as treasure trove of his kingdom, and counseled him to lay hold of it.” The Monkey approached carelessly, and was caught in the trap; and on his accusing the Fox of purposely leading him into the snare, she replied: “O Monkey, and are you, with such a mind as yours, going to be king over the Beasts?”
The Farmer and His Sons – Aesop’s Fables
A Farmer being on the point of death, wished to insure from his sons the same attention to his farm as he had himself given it. He called them to his bedside, and said: “My sons, there is a great treasure hid in one of my vineyards.” The sons, after his death, took their spades and mattocks, and carefully dug over every portion of their land. They found no treasure, but the vines repaid their labor by an extraordinary and superabundant crop.
The Cat and the Birds – Aesop’s Fables
A Cat, hearing that the Birds in a certain aviary were ailing, dressed himself up as a physician, and, taking with him his cane and the instruments becoming his profession, went to the aviary, knocked at the door, and inquired of the inmates how they all did, saying that if they were ill, he would be happy to prescribe for them and cure them. They replied: “We are all very well, and shall continue so, if you will only be good enough to go away, and leave us as we are.”
The Stag, the Wolf and the Sheep – Aesop’s Fables
A Stag asked a Sheep to lend him a measure of wheat, and said that the Wolf would be his surety. The Sheep, fearing some fraud was intended, excused herself, saying: “The Wolf is accustomed to seize what he wants, and to run off, and you, too, can quickly out-strip me in your rapid flight. How then shall I be able to find you when the day of payment comes?”
Two blacks do not make one white.
The Raven and the Swan – Aesop’s Fables
A Raven saw a Swan, and desired to secure for himself a like beauty of plumage. Supposing that his splendid white color arose from his washing in the water in which he swam, the Raven left the altars in the neighborhood of which he picked up his living, and took up his abode in the lakes and pools. But cleansing his feathers as often as he would, he could not change their color, while through want of food he perished.
Change of habit cannot alter nature.
The Lioness – Aesop’s Fables
A controversy prevailed among the beasts of the field, as to which of the animals deserved the most credit for producing the greatest number of whelps at a birth. They rushed clamorously into the presence of the Lioness, and demanded of her the settlement of the dispute. “And you,” they said, “how many sons have you at a birth?” The Lioness laughed at them, and said: “Why! I have only one; but that one is altogether a thorough-bred Lion.”
The value is in the worth, not in the number.