I am taking part in this year's Blogging from A to Z Challenge. This is my submission for T ...
I believe I first came across the fable of the Hare and the Tortoise via Walt Disney. Even as a child, I always thought it was a total nonsense to believe the lesson we should learn from it was that "slow and steady wins the race" or "more haste, less speed". There certainly was a lesson for learning, but it wasn't a matter of steadiness winning over speed, but of over-confidence being defeated by doggedness.
Aesop, a slave in ancient Greece, collected these tales or short stories, dubbed fables as they were intended to teach a particular moral or lesson to children. Certainly, only a young child could be expected to accept the rather naive lesson accredited to the Tortoise and the Hare above.
Nevertheless, the lessons from a number of these fables are now in common useage today: "familiarity breeds contempt" from the Fox and the Lion; "never trust a flatterer" from the Fox and the Crow. But some of the fables seemed designed to teach one's grandmother to suck eggs, such as: The Bald Man and the Fly (don't try to hit the fly when it lands on your head, or it will hurt you). Others, like the Cock and the Jewel, whilst disguised as a life lesson, seem rather preachy - telling the cock to "be content with his life" when the cock was simply saying that he'd rather find corn than a jewel, so that he was able to feed his family.
A fable which was new to me and made me chuckle is that of the Ass's Brains. The Lion and the Fox go hunting. At the Fox's suggestion, the Lion suggests to the Ass that they meet up to form an alliance. Naturally, the Ass is delighted; even more naturally, the Lion kills the Ass. Tired out by his exertions, the Lion tells the Fox to watch over the Ass while he naps, but not to touch. Unsurprisingly, the Fox sups on the Ass's brain whilst the Lion sleeps. When the Lion awakes, he finds the Ass to be without brains. The Fox, wit to the fore reposts: "if he'd had brains, he'd never have fallen into your trap!"
Except for the youngest of children, I imagine most of the fables to be a tad disappointing. Perhaps we need a more modern day equivalent? The Ass's Brains would certainly make that cut!
Do you have a favourite fable? Am I being a tad hard on Aesop's original fables, or do you agree that we need a more current equvalent?
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