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Tales with tails

References 002

Below list is just one of many different collections of fables traditionally ascribed to Aesopos. This list is not exhaustive and at the same time includes fables that have been wrongly attributed to this Greek or Phrygian author (real or not), With 284 examples it may give you a decent overview of the Aesopica, the result of a process that continued long after the alleged author's death and way up to the late Middle Ages. At this stage the seventy second fable in this list has been highlighted to serve as anchor point of another article (The god in the manger). The first historical collector of Aesop's fables, apart from the legendary Aesop himself, is mentioned by other authors. This Demetrios of Phalerum purportedly collected earlier authors' fables in a series of ten books; but no copies of his work survive. The next author of whom we do still have a few (imperfect) manuscripts is Gaius Julius Phaedrus, who published his versified Latin collection anywhere between 43 and 80 AD. Going into the opposite chronological direction, some fables were individually attested to much earlier, going back to the third millennium BC, appearing in Sumer and Egypt.

The dog in the manger

A Dog was lying in a Manger on the hay which had been put there for the cattle, and when they came and tried to eat, he growled and snapped at them and wouldn't let them get at their food. "What a selfish beast," said one of them to his companions; "he can't eat himself and yet he won't let those eat who can."


The above list is based on the collection translated and published by V.S. Vernon Jones in 1912 as "Aesop's fables - A new translation"; which is free and online available (alongside other collections and books) on the website of Project Gutenberg since February 27, 2004 [ ]

If you're new to the Aesopica but would like to study it more, we can refer the Wikipedia page on the Perry Index of Aesop's fables, which not only contains 300 more fables but can serve as a good portal to access reviews on individual fables.

A few other links to start out with or by mere example:

Wikipedia, " Aesop's fables",

Wikipedia, "Pheadrus (fabulist)",

Wikipedia, "The Fox and the Grapes",

Kent West, "Aesop's fables in the bible", 25 September 2008, Westing Peacefully blog,

Other sources and views will be included in the article "The god in the manger".

Darryl P.A, Patricia Forrester, 14 June 2022

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