Fables

are short tales that usually feature animals (real or mythical) given human-like qualities to deliver a specific moral or lesson. Many fables originated from an oral tradition and exist in every culture, but the most famous ‘writer’ of these fables is Aesop, a Greek slave believed to have lived around 560 BC. Of course, many disagree whether or not he actually wrote all, or even some of the fables we identify as ‘Aesop’s Fables’ today.

Not to be confused with parables – those are the instructive tales featuring human characters we associate with the Bible and other religious texts. One of the most famous fables of the West, and often attributed to Aesop, is the story of ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’. If you don’t remember the plot, the speedy hare and the slow tortoise take part in a race. The hare, sure of his victory, decides to take a nap under a shady tree. The hare oversleeps, the tortoise wins, and we are reminded that ‘slow and steady wins the race’.

You don’t have to look far for modern-day fables: from George Orwell’s Animal Farm to many of Theodor ‘Dr. Seuss’ Geisel’s children’s books. For example, Dr. Seuss’ story, The Lorax, teaches us that natural resources are precious and finite. At one point, the Lorax even says, ‘I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues’, which is also the function of a fable.

 

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