Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Fox and the Grapes---an Aesop Fable

One hot summer's day a Fox was strolling through an orchard when he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine.
"Just the thing to quench my thirst," thought the fox.
Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success.
Again and again he tried to reach the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up.
Finally, the fox walked away with his nose in the air, saying: "I am sure they are sour."

Moral: It is easy to despise what you cannot get.

Picture from The Baby's Own Aesop (verse fables by W.J. Linton), 1887. Illustrations by Walter Crane

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Lion Beaten by Man....a fable by Jean de la Fontaine

A picture once was shown,
In which one man, alone,
Upon the ground had thrown
A lion fully grown.

Much gloried at the sight the rabble.
A lion thus rebuked their babble:—

That you have got the victory there,
There is no contradiction.
But, gentles, possibly you are
The dupes of easy fiction:
Had we the art of making pictures,
Perhaps our champion had beat yours!"

Until the lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter.
An African Proverb

Friday, October 24, 2008

Little Fables

Not only a fabulous fable but excellent shadow puppetry!
Actually it's animation that looks like shadow puppetry but it's great no matter what it is.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Two Hungry Cats.......a fable

Two hungry cats, having stolen some cheese, could not agree how to divide it.
So they called in a monkey to decide the case.

"Let me see" says the monkey with an arch look, "this slice weighs more than the other."
With that, he bit off a large piece, in order, as he said, to make them balance.
The other scale was now too heavy.
This gave the upright judge a fine pretense to take a second mouthful.

"Hold! Hold!" cried the two cats, "give each of us his share of the rest and we will be content."

"If you are content," says the monkey, "justice is not. The law my friends, must have its course."
So he nibbled first one piece, and then the other.

The poor cats, seeing their cheese in a fair way to be eaten up, most humbly begged the judge to give himself no further trouble.

"Not so fast, I beseech you, my friends",says the judge. "We owe justice to ourselves as well as to you. What is left is due to me in right of my office."
So saying, he crammed the whole into his mouth, and very gravely dismissed the court.

Moral: This fable teaches us that it is better to bear a slight wrong, rather than to resort to the law for trifles.
(Taken from McGuffey’s Third Reader, c 1836)

Hmmmmm.....what do you think?
Is that really the moral of this story???

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg...an Aesop Fable

Here's a two in one blog.
The story is written out for you to read and...
Read to you!

The Sun and the Wind....a fable by Aesop

This is a very cute and creative version of the story of the Sun and the Wind.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Fox and the Cat - An Aesop's Fable

A Fox was boasting to a Cat of its clever devices for escaping its enemies.

"I have a whole bag of tricks," he said, "which contains a hundred ways of escaping my enemies."

"I have only one," said the Cat, "but I can generally manage with that."

Just at that moment they heard the cry of a pack of hounds coming towards them, and the Cat immediately scampered up a tree and hid herself in the branches.

"This is my plan," said the Cat. "What are you going to do?"

The Fox thought first of one way, then of another, and while he was debating the hounds came nearer and nearer, and at last the Fox in his confusion was caught up by the hounds and soon killed by the huntsmen.

The Cat, who had been looking on, said:
"Better one safe way than a hundred on which you cannot decide."

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Two Bags or The Alms Bag

Every person, according to an ancient legend, is born into the world with two bags suspended from their neck.

One bag hangs down our back and one bag hangs in the front.

The bag in front is full of our neighbors' faults.

The bag hanging down our back is a large bag filled with our own faults.

That is why people are quick to see the faults of others, and yet are often blind to their own failings.

*Alms Bag or Besace - A Beggars Bag. A cylindrical bag with an opening
in centre, forming two pouches. It was usually carried over
a shoulder.

**(the purse shown at the top of the blog is known as a miser's, or beggar's, bag and came into fashion at the end of the 18th century; it was used by men and women until the early part of the 20th century to hold money. The two silver rings, or sliders, cover the center opening and can be moved to hold the coins in the bag.)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Aesop's The Bear and the Two Travelers

TWO MEN were hiking in Denali together, when a Bear suddenly appeared on their path.

One of them climbed up quickly into a tree and managed to hide himself in the branches.
The other, not being as quick as his companion, realized that he was going to be attacked by the bear.
He quickly fell flat on the ground.
The Bear came up and felt him with his snout, and smelt him all over.
The man held his breath and remained as still as death.
The Bear soon left him, for it is said he will not touch a dead body.
When the bear was long gone, his friend climbed down from the tree.
Jokingly, he asked his friend what it was the Bear had whispered in his ear.

"He gave me this advice," his friend replied. "Never travel with a friend who deserts you at the approach of danger."

Moral: Misfortune tests the sincerity of friends.

retold by LLL,Storysinger

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Bear and the Two Companions by Jean de la Fontaine

As I think I said in a previous post, Jean de la Fontaine rewrote some of Aesop's fables.
This particular story is much longer than the orignal Aesop's fable which I will post in a day or so.


Two fellows, needing funds, and bold,
A bearskin to a furrier sold,
Of which the bear was living still,
But which they presently would kill--
At least they said they would.

And, if their word was good,
It was a king of bears--an Ursa Major--
The biggest bear beneath the sun.
Its skin, the chaps would wager,
Was cheap at double cost;
'Twould make one laugh at frost--
And make two robes as well as one.

Old Dindenaut,[25] in sheep who dealt,
Less prized his sheep, than they their pelt--
(In their account 'twas theirs,
But in his own, the bears.)
By bargain struck upon the skin,
Two days at most must bring it in.

Forth went the two. More easy found than got,
The bear came growling at them on the trot.
Behold our dealers both confounded,
As if by thunderbolt astounded!
Their bargain vanish'd suddenly in air;
For who could plead his interest with a bear?

One of the friends sprung up a tree;
The other, cold as ice could be,
Fell on his face, feign'd death,
And closely held his breath,--
He having somewhere heard it said
The bear ne'er preys upon the dead.

Sir Bear, sad blockhead, was deceived--
The prostrate man a corpse believed;
But, half suspecting some deceit,
He feels and snuffs from head to feet,
And in the nostrils blows.
The body's surely dead, he thinks.
'I'll leave it,' says he, 'for it stinks;'
And off into the woods he goes.

The other dealer, from his tree
Descending cautiously, to see
His comrade lying in the dirt,
Consoling, says, 'It is a wonder
That, by the monster forced asunder,
We're, after all, more scared than hurt.
But,' addeth he, 'what of the creature's skin?
He held his muzzle very near;
What did he whisper in your ear?'

'He gave this caution,--"Never dare
Again to sell the skin of bear
Its owner has not ceased to wear."'

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Blogs for Peace

So yesterday, June 4th, was the official Blog for Peace day and me being somewhat date challenged forgot.
But I figure better a day late than not at all.
The first place I saw this idea was at Mimi's Blogblast for Peace website.
If you want to know more about this movement please visit that site.

I love telling stories that advocate peace.
Stories that make people think.
There are two wonderful storytelling resources that advocate peace.
Both of them are on my book shelf.
The first is Peace Tales by Margaret Read MacDonald and the second is Spinning Tales Weaving Hope with many editors (for more info on these books please check the bookshelf to your right).
Here are a few of my favorite peace tales.
(For thoughts on Peace, check out my Mother Theresa Blog .)

Not Our Problem
The King sat with his Adviser eating honey on puffed rice.
As they ate they leaned from the palace window and watched the street below.
They talked of this and that.
The King, not paying attention to what he was doing, Let a drop of honey fall onto the windowsill.
"Oh sire, let me wipe that up," offered the Adviser.
"Never mind," said the King.
"It is not our problem.
The servants will clean it later."

As the two continued to dine on their honey and puffed rice,
The drop of honey slowly began to drip down the windowsill.
At last it fell with a plop onto the street below.
Soon a fly had landed on the drop of honey and begun
His own meal.
Immediately a gecko sprang from under the palace and with a flip
Of its long tongue swallowed the fly.
But a cat had seen the gecko and pounced.
Then a dog sprang forward and attacked the cat!

"Sire, there seems to be a cat and dog fight in the street.
Should we call someone to stop it?"
"Never mind," said the King.
"It's not our problem."
So the two continued to munch their honey and puffed rice.

Meanwhile the cat's owner had arrived and was beating the dog.
The dog's owner ran up and began to beat the cat.
Soon the two were beating each other.

"Sire, there are two persons fighting in the street now.
Shouldn't we send someone to break this up?"
The King lazily looked from the window.
"Never mind.
It's not our problem."

The friends of the cat's owner gathered and began to cheer him on.
The friends of the dog's owner began to cheer her on as well.
Soon both groups entered the fight and attacked each other.

"Sire, a number of people are fighting in the street now.
Perhaps we should call someone to break this up."
The King was too lazy even to look.
You can guess what he said.
"Never mind.
It's not our problem."

Now soldiers arrived on the scene.
At first they tried to break up the fighting.
But when they heard the cause of the fight
Some sided with the cat's owner.
Others sided with the dog's owner.
Soon the soldiers too had joined the fight.

With the soldiers involved, the fight erupted into civil war.
Houses were burned down.
People were harmed.
And the palace itself was set afire and burned to the ground.
The King and his Adviser stood surveying the ruins.
"Perhaps," said the King,
"I was wrong?
Perhaps the drop of honey WAS our problem."

A tale from Burma and Thailand retold by Margaret Read MacDonald in Peace Tales

How many situations have we said are not our problem??
Eventually anything can be your problem if it is allowed to get out of hand.

Advice from a Three Year Old
There was once a famous artist who decided that he wanted to study the works of Buddha and attain enlightenment. He thought that the best way to do this was to seek the most famous and wisest teacher and ask him, "What was the most important thing that Buddha taught?"

The artist traveled to the other side of the world to find the teacher he sought. When at last he found the teacher, he asked him, "What was the most important thing that Buddha taught?"

"Do not harm anyone and only do good," was the teacher's immediate response.

"What?" shouted the indignant artist. "You are the most famous of teachers! You are supposed to be wise beyond your years! And this is all you can tell me? A three year old could have told me the same thing!"

The teacher, who had sat quietly through the entire speech, looked at the artist and said, "A three year old could have said the same thing but it is a very difficult thing to practice, even for one as old as myself."
(A Zen tale retold by LLL, Storyteller)

The Animals Reform Meetin'

Long time gone, there was a big gatherin' of animals and fowls and birds that got together to talk about everybody behaving better.
Instead of talkin' about how to improve things, everyone started talkin' about how other folks were doin' bad things.

Brer Hyena complained that Brer Buzzard was always gettin' to eat first.
Then Brer Wildcat complained that the mice and rats were right troublesome.
Though everyone knew how much he liked to eat mice and rats.
Then Brer Tiger up and started moanin' about how troublesome rabbits were.

Now right then, Old Brer 'Coon just couldn't stand all the fussin' and he called the meetin' to order.
"Friends" he said, " we all have got to do a lot better or we're goin' to end up bein' in a really bad way. What do y'all think about us tryin' to reform ourselves?"

Brer Tiger jumped right up and hollered "I'm all for reform."
"I seen Brer 'Coon stealin' corn almost every night and it has to stop!"

Well then, Sis Cow chimed in with, " I'm for reform too. I want y'all to know that Brer Tiger has got the blood of my young'uns in his mouth, and it's got to stop!"
Brer Elephant stepped in to say his bit, "Look who's talkin'! Sis Cow is eatin' up all the grass and leavin' none for us Elephants."
Brer Wolf shouted, "Men are goin' around usin' knives and guns! It just ain't safe no more to go after'em."

Now at that point, Old Brer 'Coon tried to call the meetin' to order again."Look y'all, we gotta start gettin' less complaints and get more reform! Now who's got somethin' positive to suggest?"

Well, Brer Deer jumped on up and said that all the animals had to stop eatin' meat.
Brer Wolf said "No that don't make no sense, what we need is for all the animals to stop eatin' grass."
Sis Chicken started cacklin' and said" No, no, no! Y'all have all missed the point. What we need is to kill all the snakes."
To which Brer Fox shouted, "Hey, I rent my cave to the snakes! What we have to do is kill all the worms."
Now y'all know the birds didn't like that! They figured they would starve if all the worms were killed.

And so the arguin' continued.
Every animal tryin' to keep what was good for him and get rid of what his neighbor wanted.

At long last, Old Brer 'Coon stood up and said "That's enough! What we need to know is if any of you folks are willin' to agree to give up somethin' you like for yourself. If ya are then say so, now."

He waited. But nobody said a word. They just sat there so quiet that ya could have heard a tater growin'.
"This is sure 'nough a sad and sinful world we are livin' in," said Brer 'Coon. "Everybody is just findin' fault with everybody else. I say, it's time to quit this meetin' and go back to your own homes."
Old Brer 'Coon shook his head and said, "You can begin charity next door. But if you want to reform, it's got to begin at home."

And that's all I have to say about that!!

An AfricanAmerican/Southern Tale retold by LLL,Storyteller

Holding Up the Sky
One day an elephant saw a hummingbird lying flat on its back on the ground.
The bird's tiny feet were raised up into the air.

"What on earth are you doing, Hummingbird?" asked the elephant.

The hummingbird replied, "I have heard that the sky might fall today. If that should happen,
I am ready to do my bit in holding it up."

The elephant laughed and mocked the tiny bird.

"Do you think those little feet could hold up the sky?"

"Not alone," admitted the hummingbird.
"But each must do what he can. And this is what I can do."

From Three Minute Tales by Margaret Read MacDonald pg 145

Love, Laughter, Peace and Blessings to you!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Fir Tree and the Bramble

A very short Aesop's Fable
(told by Squirrel who knows all about trees)

gif animation

The Tongue and the Teeth - A Fable by Leonardo DaVinci

Once upon a time there was a boy who had a bad habit of talking more than was necessary.

"What a tongue!" sighed the teeth one day. "t is never still, never quiet!"

"What are you grumbling about?" replied the tongue arrogantly. "You teeth are only slaves, and your job is merely to chew whatever I decide. We have nothing in common, and I shall not allow you to meddle in my affairs."

So the boy went on chattering, very impertinently sometimes, and his tongue was happy, learning new words every day.

But one day, when the boy did some damage, and then allowed his tongue to tell a big lie, the teeth obeyed the heart, sprang together and bit the tongue.

From that day onward the tongue became timid and prudent, and thought twice before speaking.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What is a Fable?

Hmmm...this should probably have been my first post.

What is a fable?

Once I asked myself the question, I realized I did not know what exactly made a story a fable as opposed to a folktale or fairytale. I decided that I should put up at least a short blog on what makes a fable a fable. So, I went to my favorite source, that I tend to take with a grain of salt but it's still good, wikipedia. I do check other sources but Wiki is so much fun! Wiki says.....

A fable is a brief, succinct story, in prose or verse, that features animals, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature which are anthropomorphized (given human qualities), and that illustrates a moral lesson (a "moral"), which may at the end be expressed explicitly in a pithy maxim.

A fable differs from a parable in that the latter excludes animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature as actors that assume speech and other powers of humankind.

I've checked and that's a pretty much agreed upon definition of a fable. Like most definitions there are exceptions. There are some fables that feature humans as well as or instead of animals, inanimate objects, etc. but your more traditional fable sticks to the definition above.

The most famous/best known fabulist is Aesop. Although a great deal is not really known or agreed upon about Aesop, most references agree that he was at one point a slave in Greece somewhere around the mid 6th century BCE.
Some of the fables that are called Aesop's fables were not written by him but the label "Aesop's fables" has also become a blanket term for collections of brief fables, usually involving personified animals.
A few of the best know Aesop's fables are The Fox and the Grapes, The Tortoise and the Hare, The North Wind and the Sun, The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, The Crow and the Pitcher and The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
Enough about Aesop.

There are also other fairly well known fabulist, many barely known fabulist and even a few modern ones.

Vishnu Sarma (ca. 200 BCE), author of the Panchatantra.
Bidpai (ca. 200 BCE), author of Hindu and Buddhist animal fables.
Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, 1452 – 1519)wrote quite a few fables (did you know that? I didn't).
Jean de La Fontaine (French, 1621 – 95)who wrote fairytales and fables and adapted some of Aesop's fables.
Ivan Krylov (Russian, 1769 – 1844).
Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910).
George Ade (1866 – 1944)he wrote a book entitled "Fables in Slang", very interesting look it up.
Franz Kafka (1883 – 1924).
James Thurber (1894 – 1961), yep him too, he wrote a book entitled "Fables For Our Time".
George Orwell (1903 – 50)...remember "Animal Farm" ?....a big fable.
Dr. Seuss (1904 – 91)yes, him too...think Yertle the Turtle and the Lorax both with lessons.
Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904 – 91).
Italo Calvino (1923 – 85)
Arnold Lobel (1933 – 87), author of Fables which won a Caldecott Medal in 1981.

There are other fabulist, this is just a quick list of those I thought people would recognize. Some of the fables are not fables in the strictest sense of the word, mostly because they feature people, but otherwise they follow the accepted definition for a fable.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Fox Who Had Lost His Tail

An Aesop Fable retold by LaurenLanita

Once a fox, who had been running in the forest, became caught in a trap.
With a great deal of pulling and tugging and pain, the fox finally escaped. Unfortunately, in order to escape the trap, the fox lost his tail.

Without his tail, the fox did not feel like himself.
All the other foxes still had their big bushy tails and
he felt ashamed that he was different.
The fox decided to hide from everyone.
While he was hiding, he thought and thought.
Finally he decided that if he could convince the other foxes that being
tailless was much more attractive,they would be like him and he would not feel so ashamed.

The fox quickly gathered together a large group of foxes.
He told them that they too should cut off their tails.
He went on to praise the joys of being tailless.
How much faster he could run and how he never got caught in traps.
Of course, none of this was true but he didn't care.

The fox went on like this for several minutes.
Finally, one of the older foxes interrupted him saying, "If you had
not lost your tail, would you still give us this advice?"

The fox, having no answer to this question, quickly ran home.

Moral: Misery loves company.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Modern Fable - The IRS Genie

We generally think of fables as being very old but there are many modern fabulists.
Some examples of modern fabulists would be
James Thurber (1894 – 1961),
George Orwell (1903 – 50,
Dr. Seuss (1904 – 91),
Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904 – 91),
Italo Calvino (1923 – 85) and
Arnold Lobel (1933 – 87).

This fable was written by an unknown author but I think it's a marvelous fable (a fable being defined as a brief story that imparts a moral lesson) and it's funny!

Happy Tax Time!

The IRS Genie

A man has spent many days crossing the desert without water.
His camel dies of thirst.
He's crawling through the sands,
certain that he has breathed his last,
when all of a sudden he sees an object sticking out of the sand several yards ahead of him.
He crawls to the object, pulls it out of the sand, and discovers what looks to be an old brief case.
He opens it and out pops a genie.... But this is no ordinary genie.
He is wearing an IRS ID badge and dull grey suit.
There's a calculator in his pocket.
He has a pencil tucked behind one ear.

"Well, kid," says the genie. "You know how it works. You have three wishes."

"I'm not falling for this." says the man. "I'm not going to trust an IRS agent."

"What do you have to lose? You've got no transportation, and it looks like you're a goner anyway!"

The man thinks about this for a minute, and decides that the genie is right.

"OK, I wish I were in a lush oasis with plentiful food and drink."


The man finds himself in the most beautiful oasis he has ever seen, and he is surrounded with jugs of wine and platers of delicacies.

"OK, kid, what's your second wish."

"My second wish is that I were rich beyond my wildest dreams."


The man finds himself surrounded by treasure chests filled with rare gold coins and precious gems.

"OK, kid, you have just one more wish. Better make it a good one!"

After thinking for a few minutes, the man says: "I wish that no matter where I go beautiful women will want and need me."


He is turned into a tampon.


If the IRS offers you anything,
there's going to be a string attached.

Author Unknown

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Man Who Had Two Wives - A Tale from Aesop

A middle-aged man had two wives (you can see the trouble coming, can't you).

His first wife was quite a bit older than him.
His second wife was younger than him by at least 10 years.

Each was jealous of the other and chose to see her husband as closer to her own age.
Now the man's hair was turning gray (can't imagine why), which the young wife did not like, as it made him look too old for her husband.
So every night she used to comb his hair and pull out the white ones.

But the elder wife saw her husband growing gray with great pleasure, for she did not like to be mistaken for his mother.
So every morning she used to arrange his hair and pull out as many of the black ones as she could.

Soon the man soon found himself entirely bald.

Moral: Yield to all and you will soon have nothing to yield

A tale from Aesop retold by LaurenLanita,Storysinger/Storyteller

How it all started or Why in the world would anyone use such an awkward word as Confabulator?

I love words!!
This is a good thing since I love to talk and I tell stories...
(nooooo, not lies**much**storytelling stories).

Anyway, I love them so much that I enjoy reading dictionaries (can we say Geek) and my friends tell me about interesting words they find, hear, see.
A friend of mine sent me a word one day and I immediately fell in LOVE with it.

Don't you love it!!! It just rolls off the tongue.
How could I have lived all of these years without this word???

confabulate \kun-FAB-yuh-layt\ verb

1 : to talk informally : chat
2 : to hold a discussion : confer
3 : to fill in gaps in memory by fabrication

Did you know?
"Confabulate" is a fabulous word for making fantastic fabrications. Given the similarities in spelling and sound, you might guess that "confabulate" and "fabulous" come from the same root, and they do — the Latin “fabula,” which means "conversation, story." Another “fabula” descendant that continues to tell tales in English is "fable." All three words have long histories in English: “fable” first appeared in writing in the 14th century, and “fabulous” followed in the 15th. “Confabulate” is a relative newcomer, appearing at the beginning of the 1600s.

So, my favorite meaning is #3: to fill in gaps in memory by fabrication.
WOW!! I think that means we are all confabulators(?)

So, there you are.....this is how I ended up using the word CONFABULATE for my blog title and for a new business card.
Yep...I am officially the Confabulator of Fabulous Fables!!