Aesop’s Fables. Translation by Laura Gibbs
Aesop’s Fables translated by Laura Gibbs contains 600 fables, aetiologies, paradoxes, insults, and jokes. First published in English by Caxton in 1484, Aesop is known even today and his fables are even more well known. This translation is the first to represent all the main fable collections in ancient Latin and Greek.
It’s quite interesting to see what was wisdom 3,000 years ago and how much the world has changed, as in our moral values. At least from this point of view the book worths reading.
I picked three of them for this review. Enjoy.
Fable 187. The Lion and the Man Disputing.
A man and a lion were arguing about who was best, with each one seeking evidence in support of his claim. They came to a tombstone on which a man was shown in the act of strangling a lion, and the man offered this picture as evidence. The lion then replied, ‘It was a man who painted this; if a lion had painted it, you would instead see a lion strangling a man. But let’s look at some real evidence instead.’ The lion then brought the man to the amphitheatre and showed him, so he could see with his own eyes, just how a lion strangles a man. The lion then concluded, ‘A pretty picture is not proof: facts are the only real evidence!’
When the evidence is fairly weighted, a colourful painted lie is quickly refuted by the facts.
Fable 225. The bulls and the wagon.
Four strong bulls were straining with their shoulders to pull a wagon into town, while the wagon kept on creaking. The driver was filled with rage and leaned down next to the wagon, speaking in a voice loud enough to be heard, ‘You vile creature, why are you raising such a ruckus? Those who are carrying you on their shoulders aren’t making a sound!’
Bad people are in the habit of weeping and wailing when others are working, just as if they were also exerting themselves.
Fable 380. The dog and the Blacksmiths.
There was a dog living in the house of some blacksmiths. When the blacksmiths were working, the dog would go to sleep, but when they sat down to a meal he would wake up and approach his masters in a friendly fashion. The blacksmiths said to the dog, ‘How is that you sleep undisturbed when our heaviest hammers are clanging away, but you are immediately awakened by the slightest sound of our teeth chewing?’
This fable shows that even inattentive people quickly notice anything that they think will benefit them, while they are completely unaware of things which are not their immediate concern.
On the back cover there is another fable I liked, so here is a “bonus” fable (without the number as I did not make a note of it):
The story goes that a sow who had delivered a whole litter of piglets loudly accosted a lioness. ‘How many children do you breed?’ asked the sow. ‘I breed only one’, said the lioness, ‘but he is very well bred!’
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My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Oxford University Press
Year it was published: 2002
About the author: Aesop, c. 620–564 BCE, was an Ancient Greek fabulist or story teller credited with a number of fables now collectively known as Aesop’s Fables. Although his existence remains uncertain 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 are characterized by animals and inanimate objects that speak, solve problems, and generally have human characteristics.
Laura Gibbs has an MPhil from Oxford in European Literature and a PhD from Berkley in Comparative Literature.
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