Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Part 3 - Less Popular Aesop Fables

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Dr Abe V Rotor

A rare Aesop’s fable
Its characters are not animals or inanimate objects this time, and the seriousness of the lesson cannot be taken too lightly. What with a dying father giving advice final advice his sons! And this is the story of A father and his sons. 

A very honest man happened to have a contentious brood of children. He called for a rod, and bade them try one after another. With all their force, if they could break it. They tried, and could not. Well, says he, unbind it now, and take every twig of it apart, and see what you can do that way. They did do, and with great ease, by one and one, they snapped it all to pieces. This says he, is the true emblem of your condition: keep together. And you are safe; divide, and you are undone.

Interpretation (Goldsmith): The breach of unity puts the world into a state of war, and turns every man’s hand against his brother; but so long as that hand holds, it is the strength of all the several parts of it gathered into one, and is not easily subdued.

From this fable was derived the importance of unity that spurred men to victory, the French Revolution perhaps the most famous with the battle cry: Igalite', Fraternite', Liberte'. Note the sequence of the cry. Only when we have realized equality can we gain friendship, and with friendship and unity we gain freedom - liberty. In modern parlance we have these sayings: In union there is strength. Divide and conquer. Sama-sama sa kaunlaran. The fable brings to mind the walis tingting principle and the underlying principle of a cooperative.

A list of Aesop Fables

Here is a list of Aesop Fables which may not be as popular to us as compared with those in the first list. It is true that many fables have remained obscure and forgotten in some shelves, relinquished aside in favor of modern day fables and animations. Ironically many stories about animals are not fables at all. Even legends have a place of their own, and a lot of them do not fall into the category of fables. The Minotaur for example will remain firmly within the sphere of mythology, more so with the mystical beasts legends and myths like Medusa and the Dragon.

A boar and a fox – A discreet man should have a reserve of everything that is necessary beforehand.

The fox and the crow – There is hardly any man living that may not be wrought upon more or less by flattery.

An ass, an ape and a mole; The hares and the frogs – These two fables tell us that we
cannot contend with the Orders and Decrees of Providence.

The ant and the fly – An honest mediocrity is the happiest state a man can wish for.

The horse and an ass – This fable shows the folly and the fate of pride and arrogance.

An husbandman and stork – Our fortune and reputation require us to keep good company.

A father and his sons – The breach of unity puts the world in a state of war.

The sick father and his children – Good counsel is the best legacy a father can leave
to a child.
A peacock and a crane – There cannot be a greater sign of a weak mind than a person’s valuing himself on a gaudy outside.

The stag looking into the water – We should examine things deliberately,
and candidly consider their real usefulness before we place our esteem on them.

The gnat and a bee – Industry ought to be inculcated in the minds of children.

A swallow and a stork – A wise man will not undertake anything without means answerable to the end.
The Satyr and the traveler – There is no use conversing with any man that carries two faces under one hood.

The eagle, the cat and the sow – There can be no peace in any state or family where whisperers and tale bearers are encouraged.

The two frogs – We ought never to change our situation in life, without duly considering the consequences of such a change.

The discontented ass – Here is a beautiful verse written about this fable

Who lacks the pleasures of a tranquil mind,
Will something wrong in every station find;
His mind unsteady, and on changes bent,
Is always shifting, yet it is ne’er content.

And here is a shade of mythology in Aesop in these two fables:

. Hercules and the carter
. Prayers and wishes amount to nothing: We must put forth our own honest endeavors to obtain success and the assistance of heaven; and

Mercury and the woodman – Honesty is the best policy.


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