24 February 2009

Aesop's (Dumbest) Fables

When it comes to The Ant and the Grashopper, the Tortoise and the Hare, or The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Aesop the Fabler provided us with memorable characters, timeless themes, and important morals to use and remember. But a glance at Aesop's full ouvre, thanks to Aesopfables.com, reveals that there were times when Aesop was just phoning it in. Here are some fables that never made it to the classroom.

The Monkey and the Camel

Something tells me that Aesop penned this particular fable in a blaze of anger after seeing a competitor selling their own fables for half price at the local market. Note that the animals do not ridicule or merely shun the camel's attempts at attention, but set upon him with clubs. That Aesop was no stranger to violence. As depicted in our next fable.

The Farmer and the Cranes

A far cry from "The Farmer and the Dell", the delightful song about. . .lonely cheese. . .The Farmer and the Cranes is an abject endorsement of beating the everloving crap out of your enemies (read: competitors in the fable market) when talking ain't getting the job done. Incidentally, "If words suffice not, blows must follow" was one of Johnnie Cochran's rejected entreaties on the way to the famous fit/acquit line.

The Ass and His Driver

I picture Aesop bitter, sweaty, and minus one hardworking ass when he penned this gem. Exactly who is this moral intended for? Owners of willful beasts? The willful beasts themselves (as sort of a live your dreams and be free anthem)? What are we to take from it in these modern times? If I'm not mistaken, I think the lesson is: if you keep having to fight your dog (or toddler) from running into the busy street, you're fighting a losing battle. Or maybe this is just another knock on that damned marketplace fable writer.

The Kid and the Wolf

I don't even understand this one, but that is the laziest, most self-evident moral I've ever read. I'm pretty sure Aesop was well into the drink by this point in his career.

The Little Boy and Fortune

Every one is more or less master of his own fate? Anytime you, as a writer of fables (yes, I'm speaking to you, majority of my readership), have to append the phrase "more or less" into the moral of your story, it's time to rethink publication. Yeah. . .definitely into the drink by this time.


Jen said...

I loved your take on these lesser known fables. Stumbled!

Anonymous said...

two things:
EEE-sop....not ACE-op. : )


next time the kids ain't listenin'...i'm bustin' beatin's. : )

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