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eBook Media Viewer Series #24
Title: Aesop's Fables
Details: Fully Illustrated
Aesop's Fables or Aesopica refers to a collection of fables credited to a slave and story-teller who lived in Ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BC. Aesop's Fables have become a blanket term for collections of brief fables, especially beast fables involving anthropomorphic animals. His fables are some of the most well known in the world. The fables remain a popular choice for moral education of children today. Many stories included in Aesop's Fables, such as The Fox and the Grapes (from which the idiom "sour grapes" was derived), The Tortoise and the Hare, The North Wind and the Sun, The Boy Who Cried Wolf and The Ant and the Grasshopper are well-known throughout the world.
Apollonius of Tyana, a 1st century AD philosopher, is recorded as having said about Aesop:
... like those who dine well off the plainest dishes, he made use of humble incidents to teach great truths, and after serving up a story he adds to it the advice to do a thing or not to do it. Then, too, he was really more attached to truth than the poets are; for the latter do violence to their own stories in order to make them probable; but he by announcing a story which everyone knows not to be true, told the truth by the very fact that he did not claim to be relating real events.
And there is another charm about him, namely, that he puts animals in a pleasing light and makes them interesting to mankind. For after being brought up from childhood with these stories, and after being as it were nursed by them from babyhood, we acquire certain opinions of the several animals and think of some of them as royal animals, of others as silly, of others as witty, and others as innocent. (Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana, Book V:14)
Aristotle was a keen systematic collector of riddles, folklore, and proverbs; he had a special interest in the riddles of the Delphic Oracle and studied the fables of Aesop.