Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Aesop's Fables by Aesop

Aesop's Fables came free on my Kobo with 100 Classics and since each one is short and sweet, I read most of it while traveling at the beginning of 2013. It's a hard book to review in retrospect, but I do have some notes on ones I liked or found particularly memorable.

I recorded these as being "memorable":
The Father and his Sons
The Cock and the Jewel
The Woolf and the Crane: In serving the wicked, expect no reward, and be thankful if you escape injury for your pains.
The Traveler and His Dog: The loiterer often blames delay on his more active friend.
The Dog and the Shadow
The Bear and the Fox
The Tortoise and the Eagle: If men had all they wished, they would be often ruined.
The Bear and the Two Travelers: Misfortune tests the sincerity of friends.
The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Harm seek, harm find.
The Man and His Two Sweethearts: Those who seek to please everybody please nobody.
The Shepherd's Boy and the Wolf: There is no believing a liar, even when he speaks the truth.

However, there are definitely some whose messages don't quite stand the test of time. For example, "The Ass and the Lapdog" in which the ass laments, "I have brought it all on myself! Why could I not have been contented to labor with my companions, and not wish to be idle all day like that useless little Lapdog."

"The Aethiop" is just one of them that has become offensive, ending with the message "What's bred in the bone will stick to the flesh."

There are also some that are very similar, for example "The Wolf and the Lamb" and "The Cat and the Cock" both revolve around animals looking for excuses to eat their dinner– but not needing them.

However despite some obvious misses, overall it was fun to read Aesop's Fables. There are so many in here, and while many are ones I have heard repeated in various ways, there are also plenty that are new and fun to discover. I had a vague plan in 2013 to read more classics, and while that failed miserably, at least I started the year off right. I have no such plan in 2014, so that seems even less promising, but perhaps the year will surprise me.

Let me know if you have read this book, or have another, easy-to-read classic you recommend I add to my list.

Translator: George Fyler Townsend
The Project Gutenberg EBook of Aesop's Fables, by Aesop

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