2a. AESOP’S MYTHS (2007-2008)
AESOP: OUR BELOVED STORY TELLER
Aesop was born in Phrygia in Minor Asia. He lived in Greece but he also travelled to the East and to Egypt. He studied people’s customs and civilizations.
His family and he were slaves. He was sold to three masters. One of them was a philosopher and set him free because Aesop explained an omen.
I t is said that he was a very ugly man. He was very clever and had creative imagination. His travels made him wiser and he advised people to live happily and in harmony. He wrote myths to advise people. Animals, plants and people were the heroes of his myths. His stories taught people.
In one of his travels to Delphi, he was accused of theft by the holymen of the oracle. He was sentenced to death. However, the holymen were punished by the Gods for their decision.
Aesop’s myths are still alive today. They are taught to young pupils and have been translated into many languages.
THE LION AND THE DONKEY
Once upon a time, an old lion lived in the forest. It was so old that it could not hunt his food. One day, while it was laying under a tree, he saw a donkey coming towards him. Then, he had an idea. He told the donkey:
- – My dear donkey. Your voice is the loudest I have ever heard. Could you please help me?
- – What can I do for you my lord? asked the donkey.
- – I would like you to bray loudly when you see an animal so that they will come to me and I will eat them.
- – All right! said the donkey.
From that day on, he started braying whenever he saw an animal. The animals approached the lion and he ate them. The donkey was very proud because he could help the lion!
One day however, a leopard who was passing by, approached the donkey and ate him. The donkey had the same end with all the other animals of the forest.
THE DOG AND THE WOLF
Once upon a time, a wolf lived in a forest. He was free but he could hardly find any food.
One day, he went to the meadow to find a small animal to eat when he saw a dog running in the yard of a house. The dog told him that his boss gave him a lot of food. The wolf asked the dog if he could also have some food and the dog replied that his boss would be very happy to have two guards. After a while, the wolf noticed that there was a chain around the dog’s neck. The dog told him that most of the time his boss kept him tied.
After that, the wolf left because he preferred to be free and hungry than having food and being tied to a chain.
THE COWARD HARE
One evening, while the lion, the king of the forest, was walking on a path, he was hit by a bull’s horns by accident.
The lion got so angry that the next morning ordered all animals that had horns to leave the forest. A coward hare heard the news and while he was drinking water in the river he saw his big ears’ reflection in the waters of the river and thought that they were horns. He got so scared that he decided to leave the forest. When a mouse saw the hare leaving, he tried to persuade him not to do it.
However, the coward hare started running and left far away from the quiet forest. In his new home, there were a lot of foxes and one evening, one of them ate him.
It all happened because the hare was too coward.
THE BIRD AND THE WORM
Once upon as time, a small bird went hunting in the forest. Suddenly, it saw a small worm that was eating some leaves. The bird approached the worm to eat it and the worm begged the bird not to do it. It asked the bird to let it live and enjoy the sun and the air but in vain. The bird ate the worm.
Some days later, the bird was caught in a hunter’s net. The bird begged the hunter not to eat it but he said that although it was very small, it was very tasty.
So, the bird had the same fate with the worm! The bird ate the worm and the hunter ate the bird!
THE TURTLE AND THE FROG
Once upon a time, there was a young turtle. One day she told her mother:
- – Mum, we, the turtles, are very unfortunate animals.
- – Why do you say that my daughter? her mother asked her.
- – Because we always carry our heavy shell, crawl on the ground and can’t run or jump.
Then the young turtle complained that she had never jumped like her friend the frog.
- – Don’t worry my daughter, her mother said. One day, you will remember my words.
One afternoon, the turtle went to play with her friend, the frog. As soon as the frog saw her, he started jumping joyfully. Suddenly, a loud noise was heard. It was a horse galloping towards them. The horse’s foot stepped on the turtle. However, her shell was not crashed because it was hard. The horse’s other foot stepped on the frog and killed him.
The turtle was scared, ran to her mother and told her what had happened. Then, her mother told her:
- – My dear daughter, do you remember my words? You should never complain again about being born a turtle.
THE FOX AND THE SKYLARK
Once upon a time, there was a cunning fox that was very hungry. One day, she saw a skylark in the bushes and she wanted to eat him. When the skylark saw the fox, he flew very high.
The fox tried to cheat the bird to come closer to her by telling him that she had heard a sparrow singing better than him. Then, she asked him to get down from the tree to talk to him. The skylark told the fox that she could climb up the tree if she wanted to talk to him.
As the fox could not do it, she had to go away hungry and humiliated by the skylark who was flying above her singing happily.
THE POOR MAN’S DONKEY
Once upon a time, a horse was pulling a rich man’s cart full of gold. A donkey was riding next to him carrying a cart full of wood.
Then, the horse told the donkey that he thought he was very unhappy living in the poor man’s house. The donkey answered that he was very happy because he worked hard and could have as much straw as he wished. However, the horse insisted that the donkey was not happy.
Some time later, some robbers came, hit the horse and took all the gold. The horse was very sad and the donkey could not stop laughing at him.
So, the horse stood desperate in the middle of the street while the donkey rode happily back home.
THE WOLF AND THE GOAT
Once upon a time, a goat got away from her flock and hid in some bushes. Suddenly, a wolf came out of the bushes. The goat got scared. She thought the wolf would eat her. However, the wolf asked the goat for help.
He told her that some villagers were chasing him and if she helped him, he would give her a big present. The goat told the villagers that the wolf was on the slope opposite and they went away.
Then, the goat asked the wolf for her present. The wolf told her: «Don’t be silly! I have given you the most valuable present. Your life!».
The wolf thanked the goat for her help and left.
THE TURTLE THAT WANTED TO FLY
Once upon a time, a turtle lived in the yard of a house in a village. Her dream was to fly high. She was jealous of the ducks that could fly and see the world from high above.
One day, the ducks heard her talking about her wish and told her that she could fly with them if she wished. The ducks held a long stick with their mouths and the turtle got it from the middle.
They all flew very high. At last, the turtle could fly! She was so happy that she forgot she could not fly by herself. She left the stick, fell on the ground and got killed.
The story teaches us that we must be happy with what we are and never be jealous of other people.
THE WOLF’S MISFORTUNE
Once upon a time, the lion, the king of the animals, got sick and asked all animals to bring him some medicine to get well. Then, the wolf told the lion that only the fox knew which was the right medicine for his sickness but she did not run to help him.
The lion got angry and ordered the other animals to arrest the fox and cut her tongue. The wolf was very happy because he hated the fox. A little bird heard the lion talking to the animals and told everything about it to the fox. The fox collected some herbs and took them to the lion. She apologised for being late as she was busy collecting the herbs. Then, she told the lion that he should boil the herbs and a wolf’s tongue and drink the medicine.
The lion ordered the animals to cut the wolf’s tongue and boil it with the herbs. In this way, the cunning fox punished the wolf.
THE CUNNING DONKEY
Once upon a time, a farmer had a donkey that pulled his cart. Every day, the donkey had to go from one town to the other. Between the two towns there was a river and the bridge that connected them was far away. So, the donkey had to ride a long way every day.
One day, while his boss was sleeping in the cart, the donkey decided to cross the river. That day, he was carrying salt in the cart. The salt was dissolved in the water of the river and the cart became lighter and easier to be pulled.
The next day, the donkey crossed the river again. This time, he was carrying sponges. The sponges soaked in the water and became so heavy that the donkey could not pull the cart anymore. Then, the farmer woke up, bit the donkey and pulled the cart out of the river.
From that day on the donkey patiently pulled the cart through the bridge to the town.
THE MONKEY THAT BECAME A KING
Once upon a time, the old lion, the king of the jungle, died. So, all the animals gathered to decide who the new king would be.
A lot of animals wanted to become the new king. The tiger, because she was strong and clever, the elephant, because he was the biggest animal in the world, the rhino, because although he was strong, he could move very fast, the giraffe, because she was the kindest animal in the jungle, the gorilla, because it had the loudest voice.
Then, the cunning fox suggested that the animal on whose head the crown fit best, should become the king of the jungle. So, the monkey was elected to become the king of the jungle. However, the fox tricked the monkey by telling him that there was a treasure in a hole in the ground. So, the monkey fell in the trap.
When the rest of the animals saw their king in the hole, they started laughing at him. Finally, they decided to live happily all together without a king.
THE ARROGANT ROOSTER
Once upon a time, a rooster lived in the yard of a house. He always boasted about himself. He used to say that he had the loudest voice and he could beat any other rooster in the world.
One day, some children were playing in the yard with a small cart. The rooster saw the cart and thought that if he jumped in it, he could travel all over the world and all the hens and the roosters would admire his beauty.
Then, two tomcats offered to pull the cart and he accepted. He jumped in it and shouted to the tomcats to run faster and faster. However, just around the corner, the tomcats stopped running , jumped on the rooster and ate him.
The rooster was very arrogant and silly to believe the tomcats!
THE CRICKET AND THE ANT
It was summer and the lazy cricket was singing while the ant was carrying food into its nest for the winter.
The cricket told the ant that it didn’t need to do that. When the winter came, the ant had a lot of food at home while the cricket was hungry and cold in the snow. The ant took the cricket into his house, gave it food and took care of it.
The cricket promised the ant that it would collect food next summer but in vain.
THE SHEPHERD BOY AND THE WOLF
Once, there was a shepherd boy who had to look after his sheep. One day, he felt bored and decided to play a trick on the villagers. He shouted, «Help! Wolf! Wolf!» The villagers heard his cries and rushed out of the village to help the shepherd boy. When they reached him, they asked, «Where is the wolf?» The shepherd boy laughed loudly, «Ha, Ha, Ha! I fooled all of you. I was only playing a trick on you.»
The shepherd boy played this trick several times. Then, some time later, a wolf went into the field. The wolf attacked one sheep, and then another and another. The shepherd boy ran towards the village shouting, «Help! Help! Wolf! Help! Somebody!»
The villagers heard his cries but they laughed because they thought it was another trick. The boy ran to the nearest villager and said, «A wolf is attacking the sheep. I lied before, but this time it is true!»
Finally, the villagers went to look. It was true. They could see the wolf running away and many dead sheep lying on the grass.
THE HARE AND THE TURTLE
Once upon a time, the hare, that was proud to be the fastest animal in the forest, raced with the turtle. The race started and the poor turtle walked very slowly while the hare ran fast. On his way, the hare saw a field with carrots. He stopped and ate so many that he fell asleep for hours. Meanwhile, the turtle kept on walking slowly and arrived at the finish line first. The turtle won the race.
We must never boast about our abilities but we must always try to achieve the best.