Æsopian Fables
Phaedrus
Children
0:37 h
Level 4
Aesop was a Greek fabulist and storyteller credited with a number of fables now collectively known as Aesop's Fables. Although his existence remains unclear and no writings by him survive, numerous tales credited to him were gathered across the centuries and in many languages in a storytelling tradition that continues to this day. Many of the tales associated with him are characterized by anthropomorphic animal characters. Æsopian Fables, The Authors of Which Are Not Known, is a collection of stories, translated Into English Prose with Notes, by Henry Thomas Riley, B.A.

Æsopian Fables

The Authors of Which Are Not Known

by
Phaedrus

Translated Into English Prose with Notes, by Henry Thomas Riley, B.A.


Fable I.
The Sick Kite

A Kite having been sick for many months, and seeing now there was no longer any hope of his recovery, asked his Mother to go round the sacred places, and make the most earnest vows for his recovery. “I will do so, my Son,” said she, “but I am greatly afraid I shall obtain no help; but you, who have polluted every temple and every altar with your ravages, sparing no sacrificial food, what is it you would now have me ask?”


Fable II.
The Hares Tired of Life

He who cannot endure his own misfortune, let him look at others, and learn patience.

On one occasion, the Hares being scared in the woods by a great noise, cried out, that, on account of their continued alarms, they would end their lives. So they repaired to a certain pond, into which, in their despondency, they were going to throw themselves. Alarmed at their approach, some Frogs fled distractedly into the green sedge. “Oh!” says one of the hares, “there are others too whom fear of misfortune torments. Endure existence as others do.”


Fable III.
Jupiter and the Fox

No fortune conceals baseness of nature.

Jupiter having changed a Fox into a human shape, while she was sitting as a Mistress on a royal throne, she saw a beetle creeping out of a corner, and sprang nimbly towards the well-known prey. The Gods of heaven smiled; the Great Father was ashamed, and expelled the Concubine, repudiated and disgraced, addressing her in these words: “Live on in the manner that you deserve, you, who cannot make a worthy use of my kindness.”


Fable IV.
The Lion and the Mouse

This Fable teaches that no one should hurt those of more humble condition.

While a Lion was asleep in a wood, where some Field-Mice were sporting about, one of them by chance leaped upon the Lion as he lay. The Lion awoke and seized the wretched creature with a sudden spring. The captive implored pardon and suppliantly confessed his crime, a sin of imprudence. The Monarch, not deeming it a glorious thing to exact vengeance for this, pardoned him and let him go. A few days after, the Lion, while roaming by night, fell into a trap. When he perceived that he was caught in the snare, he began to roar with his loudest voice. At this tremendous noise the Mouse instantly ran to his assistance, and exclaimed: “You have no need to fear; I will make an adequate return for your great kindness.” Immediately he began to survey all the knots and the fastenings of the knots; and gnawing the strings after he had examined them, loosened the snare. Thus did the Mouse restore the captured Lion to the woods.