Thursday, 5 March 2015

'The Porcupine and the Snakes'

'The Porcupine and the Snakes', an illustration by John Vernon Lord 
in Aesop's Fables, Jonathan Cape, 1989, page 584.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

'The Crab and her Daughter'

'The Crab and her Daughter', an illustration by John Vernon Lord 
in Aesop's Fables, Jonathan Cape, 1989, page 50.

The text:

The Crab and her Daughter
Two Crabs, the mother and daughter, having been left by the receding tide, were creeping again towards the water, when the former observing the awkward gait of her daughter, got into a great passion, and desired her to move straight forward, in a more becoming and sprightly manner, and not crawl sideling along in a way so contrary to all the rest of the world. Indeed mother, says the young Crab, I walk as properly as I can, and to the best of my knowledge; but if you would have me to go otherwise, I beg you would be so good as to practise it first, and shew me by your own example how you would have me to conduct myself.

Moral: Look at the example you set yourself before finding fault in others.

Text: Thomas Bewick (p1, 1818)
Selected Parallels: Babrius 109. Avianus 3. Caxton, Avianus 3. La Fontaine 12/10. L’Estrange 221. Chambry 151. Perry 322. TMI J1063.1 and U121.1.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

'The Fox and the Stork'

'The Fox and the Stork', an illustration by John Vernon Lord 
in Aesop's Fables, Jonathan Cape, 1989, page 132.

The text:

The Fox and the Stork Who Invited Each Other For Dinner
THE FOX, though in general more inclined to roguery than wit, had once a strong inclination to lay the wag with his neighbour the Stork. He accordingly invited her to dinner in great form; but when it came upon the table, the Stork found it consisted entirely of different soups, served up in broad shallow dishes, so that he could only dip in the end of her bill, but could not possibly satisfy her hunger, The Fox lapped it up very readily, and every now and then, addressing himself to his guest, desired to know how she liked her entertainment; hoped everything was seasoned to her mind; and protested he was very sorry to see her eat so sparingly. The Stork, perceiving she was played upon, took no notice of it, but pretended to like each dish extremely; and at parting pressed the Fox so earnestly to return her visit that he could not in civility refuse. The day arrived, and he repaired to his appointment; but to his great mortification, when dinner appeared, he found it composed of minced meat, served up in long narrow-necked glasses; so that he was only tantalised with the sight of what it was impossible for him to taste. The Stork thrust in her long bill, and helped herself very plentifully; then turning to Reynard, who was eagerly licking the outside of a jar where some sauce had been spilled: I am very glad, said she, smiling, that you seem to have so good an appetite; I hope you will make as hearty a dinner at my table, as I did the other day at yours. Reynard hung down his head, and looked very much displeased. - Nay, nay, said the Stork, do not pretend to be out of humour about the matter; they that cannot take a jest, should never make one.

Moral: Before we tease someone else we should always be prepared to take a joke against ourselves.

Text: Robert Dodsley (1/7, 1761 [1824])

Selected Parallels: Phaedrus 1/26. Plutarch Quaestiones Convivales 1/5. Caxton Romulus 2/13. La Fontaine 1/18. L’Estrange 1/31. Perry 426. Daly 426. TMI J1565.1.

Monday, 2 March 2015

'The Goat and the Goatherd'

'The Goat and the Goatherd', an illustration by John Vernon Lord 
in Aesop's Fables; 1989, page 128.

The Text:

The Goatherd who threw a Stone at the She-Goat
A BOY, whose business it was to look after some Goats, as night began to fall, gathered them together to lead them home. One of the number, a She-Goat, alone refused to obey his call, and stood on a ledge of a rock, nibbling the herbage that grew there. The boy lost all patience, and taking up a great stone, threw it at the Goat with all his force The stone struck one of the horns of the Goat, and broke it off at the middle. The Boy, terrified at what he had done and fearing his master’s anger, threw himself upon his knees before the Goat, and begged her to say nothing about the mishap, alleging that it was far from his intention to throw the stone so well. “Tush!” replied the Goat. “Let my tongue be ever so silent, my horn is sure to tell the tale.”

Moral:  It is difficult to conceal the truth when it is already staring you in the face.

Text: Joseph Benjamin Rundell (p91, 1869).

Selected Parallels: Babrius 3. Chambry 15. Perry 280. TMI J1082.1.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

'The Woman and Her Hen'

'The Woman and Her Hen', an illustration by John Vernon Lord 
in Aesop's Fables; 1989, page 124.

The Text:

The Woman and Her Hen
A WOMAN possessed a Hen that gave her an egg every day.  She often thought with herself how she might obtain two eggs daily instead of one, and at last, to gain her purpose, determined to give the Hen a double allowance of barley.  From that day the Hen became fat and sleek, and never once laid another egg.

Moral: Those who are too greedy often overreach themselves and lose what they already have.

Text: George Fyler Townsend (p125, 1868).
Selected parallels: L’Estrange 1/87. Chambry 90. Perry 58. TMI J1901.1. 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Thirsty Pigeon and the Picture

'The Thirsty Pigeon', an illustration by John Vernon Lord 
in Aesop's Fables; 1989, page 122.

The Text:

The Thirsty Pigeon and the Picture
A PIGEON severely pressed by thirst, seeing a glass of water painted upon a sign, supposed it to be real; so dashing down at it with all her might, she struck against the board, and breaking her wing, fell helpless to the ground, where she was quickly captured by one of the passers-by.

Moral:  Rushing into things without due thought and consideration can lead into disaster.

Text: Thomas James (133, 1848).
Selected parallels: Chambry 301. Perry 201. TMI J1792.1.

Monday, 23 February 2015

'The Mole and Her Mother'

'The Mole and Her Mother', an illustration by John Vernon Lord 
in Aesop's Fables; 1989, page 118.

The Text:

The Mole and Her Mother
The young Mole snuffed up her nose, and told her Dam she smelt an odd kind of smell. Bye and bye, O strange! says she, what a noise there is in my ears as if ten thousand hammers were going. A little after, she was at it again: look, look, what is that I see yonder? it is just like the flame of a fiery furnace. The Dam replied, pray child hold your idle tongue; and if you would have us allow you any sense at all, do not affect to shew more than nature has given you.

Moral: The imperfections of boasters would not be half so much taken notice of if their own vanity did not draw attention to them.

Text: Thomas Bewick (p27, 1818).

Selected Parallels: L’Estrange 1/136. Chambry 326. Perry 214. TMI J958.

A strange telling of the fable.