Aesop’s Fables Home Page
Throughout history fables have been a popular method of giving instruction. Fables contain a short narrative that seeks to illustrate a hidden message. Generally, fables use animals or objects as part of the narrative yet the message is designed to apply to humans. By doing this, the fabulist is not perceived as the teacher and this reduces any bias the listeners might have against the person. The most famous fabulist would be Aesop who most date around 620 B.C. Many fables are attributed to Aesop, but it’s unclear how many he actually wrote; indeed, his historical existence as a person is under question. I’ve collected many of them here for your enjoyment. A number of translations were found and the fables collected. Several different translations and interpretations of the same fable may be found on many of the pages here; including, now and again, a simplified version I wrote.
The collection here is being added to as new sources are uncovered. But, if you are in a hurry and want to see what is likely one of the better print books containing modern translations of some 600 original Greek and Latin versions, then see the book Aesop’s Fables by Laura Gibbs, translator.
In addition to the text versions of the fables, materials from several visual versions have been incorporated into the presentation here. As one example, some of the more classic fables were, in 1887, put into verse and printed along with dramatic illustrations. Those versions are presented as “Crane Poetry Visual” summaries with the image shown at the right. Both the visual and poetic text are included on the fable pages. The specific book these came from is: The Baby’s Own Aesop by Walter Crane and engraved and printed in colors by Edmund Evans; it was published by George Routledge & Sons in London and New York, 1887. You can see a copy of the book at the Library of Congress.
- General Introduction
- Townsend Introduction
- Townsend Preface
- L’Estrange Introduction
- G.K. Chesterton Introduction
- JBR Collection Preface
How to Navigate the Fables
If you know the name of the fable you can use the search box to look for it; partial names work as well in the search. Remember that the animals in the fables may have names that may not be familiar to you. An example would be “daw” which is a European crow.
The second method would be to use the tag cloud. Each fable has been tagged with the animals in it so the tag listings show fables with the tagged animal in them.
In addition, each fable has its moral in the listing so you can search by the moral as well.
The following small icons are used throughout to represent various translations/collections…
Townsand version (search for all Townsand).
L’Estrange version (search for all L’Estrange).
Eliot/Jacobs version (search for all Eliot/Jacobs).
Jones version (search for all Jones).
Crane Poetry Visual version (search for all Crane Poetry Visual).
JBR Collection [an 1874 collection edited by J.B.R.] (search for all JBR).