More information about this site and its Fables
Our online collection of Aesop's Fables
includes a total of 638 Fables, indexed in table format, with morals listed. There are many more on the way.
Most were translated into English by Rev. George Fyler Townsend (1814-1900), the rest by Ambrose Bierce
(1842-1914). The image on the right is a rendition of Aesop by Diego VELAZQUEZ: Aesop (c. 1639-40).
Recently added were 97 fables of which 65 were totally new and unique to this site. There are now 358 unique fables, 393 in all, in the first 4 sections, of which 32 have a duplicate name but a similar story and 3 have similar names and similar stories. Most recently I have added 245 fables from Ambrose Bierce's collection of Fantastic Fables.
The data was compiled from about 15 lists of over 100 fables each from many sources. Some lists were exactly the same, some may have just one nugget of a new fable in the middle or may have less spelling errors - maybe there was a moral or two extra in a list. There are no exact duplicate fables. Some may have the same title but the wording is different. This is because of the very history of the fables - having been reinterpreted many times by many people over the past 2,500 years.
I cross-referenced the fables with a book I have and added about 50 morals to the index table. Matching and adding morals was not easy since the titles don’t always match and are often quite different for similar fable content.
In a nutshell, the reason for the differences is because Aesop himself never wrote any of them down and when he died, about 2,500 years ago, the only remnant of them was what anyone remembered! It was not ‘til several generations later that they were actually put into script and that was a “recalled” interpretation. One can only imagine how many were lost.
Since that time, they have been re-interpreted and embellished over and over again. In the late 1600's, French poet Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695) wrote his rhymed version of them (over a 26 year period! ), adding many of his own fables. The wonderful illustrations come from his version of Aesop's fables and were created by the renouned French artist Gustave`a Doré (1832-1883) - image on the left. The images are in the fables with next to the name.
It has been said that Aesop only created but a few of the Fables, but he is still regarded as the greatest story teller of all time, and thus fables are most always attributed to him. Read the "Life of Aesop" or the "Preface" in "Section 1" for more information on Aesop, the fables and their history.
About the characters - "The Fox should be always cunning, the Hare timid, the Lion bold, the Wolf cruel, the Bull strong, the Horse proud, and the Ass patient"
As there are those that may be offended by some of the fables because they are not exactly politically correct for this day and age, I must add the following caveat: I take no responsibility for the content in these fables. They are exactly as transcribed by the "translators" for the truest historical value. I am merely providing access to them for, hopefully, the betterment of the world.
My daughter Heather (9) and I are in the process of Real Audio encoding these fables for your listening pleasure. We have done eight so far, adding more as we can. They are encoded to work with a version 4 or newer Real Player. If you have any errors when you try to play them, you need to get a newer version of the player (it's free, just click on the Real Audio icon above). I decided to go with the newer version because the quality of the sound is vastly improved and the size of the data is half what a version 2 encoding would be. If you have any problems getting the audio to play, then click Here for troubleshooting.
Update - There are now 9 more Real Audio encodings for a total of 17. These take Heather about an hour each to get them right, and about 15 minutes each for me to encode and add them to the rest. Therefore, I only do them in batches.
Update - Now have 242 fables from Jean De La Fontaine of the late 1600's. However, they are all in French! Only one is up on the site until I get more translated. I have “translated” some but the verb/subject grammatical structure obviously is not proper. An example can be seen Here. I am looking for someone willing to “translate” the fables for this site, or someone who knows where I may obtain English versions. Also, any other fables that anyone knows of would be appreciated. I hear that there are some 2,000 fables from India, of about the same time period, called "Panchatantra - an ancient Indian literary work, Vishnusharma", or any of the 8000 sanskrits translated.
The site changes daily with new additions.
Last Updated Saturday, 07-Oct-2006 11:14:53 PDT