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Aesop’s Fables - Success and EthicsAesop’s Fables - Success and Ethics


Aesop’s Fables (Sixth century BC)

Children’s stories written in the sixth century BC by Aesop (pictured right) in ancient Greece.



Fun factsAesop’s Fables - Success and Ethics

Moral tales which have influenced millions including the Greek philosopher, Aristotle (pictured right).



Aesop’s 20 stories for success and ethics


The title of each story is followed by its lesson for us today:

 Aesop’s Fables - Success and Ethics

1. The Dog and its Reflection (be content with what you’ve got)

A dog lost a piece of meat when it opened its mouth drooling over the meat’s reflection in a stream (pictured right).



2. The Stag and the Lion (value everything you’ve got)

A stag admired his antlers but despised his puny legs.

When he was chased by a lion, he realized how important his legs were.

But he was killed after his antlers got caught in some branches.Aesop’s Fables - Success and Ethics


3. The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg (don’t be greedy) - pictured right

A man and his wife killed the goose that daily laid a golden egg to see if there were any more inside.


4. A Lesson in Strength (united we stand, divided we fall)

The farmer showed the children that sticks are much stronger bound together than individually.


5. The Spendthrift and the Swallow (think before you act)

A man sold his last coat, when he saw a swallow, because he thought that summer had come.

The weather turned cold, and he was freezing!

 Aesop’s Fables - Success and Ethics

6. The Frog and the Rat (evil things happen to evil people)- pictured right

The frog killed the rat by tying it to its leg and jumping into the water.

A bird of prey saw the rat and ate it along with the frog.


7. The Lion and the Elephant (count your blessings)

The lion was afraid of cockerels but didn’t feel so bad after finding out the elephant was terrified by a gnat.


8. The Proud Fir Tree (looks aren’t everything)

The beautiful fir tree was proud because church roofs and ships were made from it.

But the ugly thorn bush was happier, because it didn’t have axes or saws cutting into it.

 Aesop’s Fables - Success and Ethics

9. The Boy Bathing (in times of crisis, give assistance, not advice)

A passer-by told off a drowning boy for swimming in the river (pictured right).

“Please help me first and tell me off afterwards”, he said.


10. The North Wind and the Sun (persuasion is better than force)

The North wind and the sun had a competition to see which of them could get a man to strip off his clothes.

The wind failed to force him to do it because it made him feel colder.

The sun gradually increased its heat, persuading the man to get rid of his coat, then his jacket and finally the rest of his clothes to have a swim.

 Aesop’s Fables - Success and Ethics

11. The Hidden Treasure (hard work brings unexpected rewards)

A dying father told his sons there was treasure hidden in his vineyard.

They dug and dug but couldn’t find anything.

But all their digging gave them a bumper harvest of grapes.


12. The Shipwreck (help yourself)

Shipwrecked in a storm, a man prayed to the goddess, Athena, to save him.

The other passengers told him, “Swim, don’t leave it to the goddess!”

 Aesop’s Fables - Success and Ethics

13. The Tortoise and the Hare (determination beats over-confidence)

The hare and the tortoise had a race (pictured right).

The hare was so confident, he didn’t start at the agreed time and had a nap instead.

He was still asleep when the slow (but determined) tortoise crossed the finish line.


14. The Oak and the Reed (be flexible)

In a storm, the reed bent with the wind but the oak tree blew over despite its strength.

 Aesop’s Fables - Success and Ethics


15. The Boy Who Cried Wolf (liars aren’t believed) - pictured right

A shepherd boy kept lying about a wolf coming and, when one finally arrived, nobody believed him.



16. The Fox and the Grapes (it’s easy to despise the unobtainable)

After continually failing to take a bunch of grapes, the fox gave up and said:

“I am sure they are sour” (resulting in the expression, sour grapes).


 17. The Ant and the Grasshopper (hard work and forward planning pays)

The ant stored up food for winter during the summer and survived.

But the lazy grasshopper didn’t and died.

Aesop’s Fables - Success and Ethics


18. The Dog in the Manger (don’t be selfish)

The dog lay in the manger and stopped the oxen eating its hay (pictured right).



 19. The Wolf and the Lamb (don’t be a tyrant)

The wolf kills the lamb after wrongly accusing it of various misdemeanours.

 19. The Lion and the Mouse (the weak can help the strong)


20. The Lion and the Mouse (the weak can help the strong)

The mouse saved the lion which earlier had laughed at the idea that the mouse could ever help him.


Two literature websites to recommend 

1. sparknotes.com

2. litcharts.com


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