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!!