Aesop's Fables Little Sugar Coated Pills Of Wisdom
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Aesop\'s Fables Little Sugar Coated Pills Of Wisdom

Do you know the story of the hare and the tortoise? The story where the tortoise wins the race and the hare that was too confident about his running loses.

How did you react to his sneering of the plodding tortoise? I felt he was heading for a fall!

The message from that tale is ‘slow and steady wins the race.’ It can also mean keep your eye on your goal and don’t let anything distract you. It is a lesson to remember when you are racing to do something and you keep on making mistakes or missing out on putting something in order and so on.

The Hare and Tortoise is one of the collections of fables believed to be written by a slave and storyteller who lived in Ancient Greece.

These stories are known as Aesop’s fables or Aesopica after the name of the storyteller. It is believed he lived around 620 to 560 BCE.

‘Aesop the fable writer’ was mentioned by the Greek historian Herodotus and Plato said that Socrates spent his time turning the tales into verses when in jail. Obviously the stories were well known at the time.

One of the beliefs is Aesop was crippled, suffered a speech impediment and was a slave to a family called Iadmon.

His simple stories became part of the oral tradition. They have been retold for 2500 years.

The fables were written down in the third century AD and many versions are available and because they are in the public domain, any one can retell them. There is no copyright.

Today it is believed that Aesop did not write all the fables attributed to him. It is possible that many were simply given his name because no other literary source was found.

The reasons for this perspective are twofold.

1. The morals in a number of fables are contradictory

2. Accounts of Aesop’s life contradict one another.

It doesn't really matter if we are uncertain about the origin of stories we call Aesop’s fables today. What matters is the power of the story.

Humans love stories. In the earliest stories animals featured prominently. They were given human characteristics and they delivered a simple message.

Stories that have animals and birds as characters are known as fables and can be found in all cultures.

Popular Aesop’s fables for kids are:

  1. The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse. The Moral: It is better to live a poor life with no worries than to live a rich and worried one.
  • The Lion and the Mouse. The Moral: One good turn deserves another
  • The Fox and the Crow: The Moral: Never trust a flatterer
  • The Hare and the Tortoise: The Moral: Slow and steady wins the race
  • The Fox and the Stork: The Moral: Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
  • The Donkey in Lion’s Skin: Appearance may deceive but words will reveal who you are
  • The wolf and the Ass: The Moral: Beware of unexpected favours

Why should children read fables, fairy tales and legends?

  1. The stories show how fear and uncertainty can be faced and overcome by the example the characters show.
  2. They present the ever present battle humans have between good and evil
  3. They deal with important human emotions such as love, joy, revenge and anger
  4. They teach moral lessons that children must know so they can steer a clear path through life
  5. They are entertaining, exciting and memorable
  6. They show what it means to be resilient and overcome adversity. Something most of us will be faced with in life.
  7. They stimulate the imagination and take the child into the realm of fantasy.
  8. They explain the human condition.

Children learn through stories and responding to the way the characters deal with situations. This is stored in the unconscious and ready for them to use to deal with the situations life throws at them.

Without stories, a child’s world is mundane.

Street Talk

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