Aesop's Fables
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"Aesop's Fables" Summary

By Aesop

classics | 66 pages | Published in 2018

Revive your childhood wonder and fascination with the most exquisitely illustrated edition of Aesop’s Fables to hit the market in years—featuring breathtaking original artwork by #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Charles Santore! The most well known and well loved of Aesop’s Fables have been brought to life with NYT #1 bestselling illustrator Charles Santore’s beloved and breathtaking artwork. These classic and captivating tales help to illustrate basic moral issues through the amazing artwork and simple stories we all know and love.

Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A collection of short animal tales that teach moral lessons.


"Aesop's Fables" is a timeless collection of short stories that have entertained and enlightened readers for centuries. Written by Aesop, a Greek storyteller believed to have lived around 600 BCE, these fables are a treasure trove of moral lessons wrapped in engaging narratives. With colorful characters, vivid settings, and relatable situations, these fables continue to captivate readers of all ages and cultures.

Brief Synopsis

"Aesop's Fables" is a compilation of over 300 short stories, each with its own moral lesson. The fables are usually brief and feature anthropomorphic animals or inanimate objects that speak and behave like humans. They are set in various natural and man-made landscapes, representing different social, moral, and political contexts.

Main Events

The collection covers a wide range of themes and topics, including greed, loyalty, dishonesty, friendship, and wisdom. Here are a few examples of some of the most famous fables from the collection:

  1. "The Tortoise and the Hare": In this fable, the overly confident hare challenges the slow and steady tortoise to a race. The hare, full of arrogance, takes an early lead but becomes complacent. Meanwhile, the tortoise keeps a steady pace and wins the race in the end, proving that consistency and perseverance are valuable traits.
  2. "The Boy Who Cried Wolf": This cautionary tale tells the story of a young shepherd boy who repeatedly tricks the villagers into thinking a wolf is attacking his flock. Eventually, when a real wolf appears, nobody believes him, and his sheep are devoured. The moral of the story is that dishonesty and false alarms can lead to dire consequences.
  3. "The Ant and the Grasshopper": In this fable, a hardworking ant spends the summer collecting food for the winter, while a lazy grasshopper spends his time singing and enjoying himself. When winter arrives and food becomes scarce, the grasshopper realizes his mistake and approaches the ant for help. The ant teaches him the value of preparation and hard work.
  4. "The Lion and the Mouse": This fable tells the story of a mighty lion caught in a hunter's net. A small mouse, whom the lion had previously spared, comes to his aid and gnaws through the ropes, setting the lion free. The moral of the story is that even the smallest acts of kindness can have great rewards.

Main Characters

The characters in "Aesop's Fables" are primarily anthropomorphic animals and inanimate objects that take on human characteristics. While the cast of characters is vast, here are a few notable figures:

  1. The Tortoise: A humble and persistent creature who demonstrates the importance of patience and determination.
  2. The Hare: A speedy and confident character who learns the hard way that arrogance can lead to defeat.
  3. The Boy: A mischievous shepherd boy who faces the consequences of lying and the loss of trust from others.
  4. The Wolf: A feared predator who becomes the victim of his own reputation in the eyes of the villagers.
  5. The Ant: A hardworking insect who symbolizes the value of preparation and responsibility.
  6. The Grasshopper: A carefree creature who must face the consequences of his laziness and lack of foresight.
  7. The Lion: A mighty king of the animal kingdom who learns the importance of kindness and gratitude from a seemingly insignificant creature.
  8. The Mouse: A small and seemingly powerless character who displays courage and compassion.

Themes and Insights

"Aesop's Fables" is rich with themes and insights that continue to resonate with readers today. Some of the prominent themes include:

  1. Morality and Ethics: The fables explore various moral dilemmas and offer guidance on how to navigate ethical challenges.
  2. Consequences of Actions: The stories consistently show that our actions have consequences, whether positive or negative.
  3. Wisdom and Foolishness: The fables often emphasize the value of wisdom and the consequences of foolishness.
  4. Power of Kindness: Many stories highlight the transformative power of kind acts, no matter how small.
  5. Importance of Hard Work: The fables stress the significance of diligence and effort in achieving success.

Reader's Takeaway

"Aesop's Fables" is a captivating and insightful collection that offers valuable moral lessons in an entertaining package. Readers of all ages can enjoy these short stories and find wisdom that can be applied to their own lives. The fables provide an opportunity for self-reflection and foster empathy towards others. Whether read as bedtime stories for children or pondered upon by adults, "Aesop's Fables" reminds us of the universal truths that govern our actions and relationships.


"Aesop's Fables" has stood the test of time and continues to be celebrated for its moral teachings and engaging narratives. From the industrious ant to the proud lion, each character and their story leaves a lasting impression on readers. Through these fables, Aesop reminds us of the timeless values that shape our personal and societal ethics. "Aesop's Fables" is a must-read for anyone seeking timeless wisdom in a succinct and enjoyable format.

Aesop's Fables FAQ

  1. What is Aesop's Fables about?

    Aesop's Fables is a collection of short stories, often involving animals, that teach valuable moral lessons. Each fable typically features anthropomorphic animals that act as characters and convey a moral message through their actions and interactions.

  2. Who is the author of Aesop's Fables?

    While the exact authorship of Aesop's Fables is uncertain, these stories are attributed to Aesop, a Greek storyteller who lived in the 6th century BCE. It is believed that Aesop orally transmitted these fables, and they were later compiled and written down by various authors.

  3. How many fables are included in Aesop's Fables?

    There are over 700 fables included in Aesop's Fables, though the specific number can vary depending on the edition or translation. Some commonly known fables from this collection include 'The Tortoise and the Hare,' 'The Lion and the Mouse,' and 'The Ant and the Grasshopper.'

  4. What are the moral lessons conveyed in Aesop's Fables?

    The moral lessons in Aesop's Fables cover a wide range of themes, including the importance of hard work, honesty, perseverance, wisdom, and caution. These fables often depict the consequences of certain behaviors or choices and encourage readers to make virtuous decisions.

  5. Are Aesop's Fables suitable for children?

    Yes, Aesop's Fables are widely regarded as suitable for children. The stories are often engaging, easy to understand, and teach important moral values. They can help children develop critical thinking skills, empathy, and an understanding of various ethical dilemmas.

  6. Can Aesop's Fables be enjoyed by adults as well?

    Absolutely! Although Aesop's Fables are commonly associated with children's literature, the stories carry timeless wisdom and can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. The moral lessons presented can still be relevant and meaningful to adults, sparking reflection and contemplation.

  7. Are there different versions or translations of Aesop's Fables?

    Yes, Aesop's Fables have been translated into numerous languages over the centuries, and there are several different versions available. Some editions may include additional fables that are not found in others, and translations may vary in their interpretation or wording of the original stories.

  8. Can Aesop's Fables be used for educational purposes?

    Definitely! Aesop's Fables have long been used as teaching tools in classrooms and educational settings. They can be used to explore moral values, enhance reading comprehension, encourage critical thinking, and stimulate discussions about ethics and human behavior.

  9. Are there illustrations in Aesop's Fables?

    Yes, many editions of Aesop's Fables feature illustrations. These illustrations often depict scenes from the fables, showcasing the anthropomorphic animal characters and their actions. The illustrations help bring the stories to life and enhance the overall reading experience.

  10. Is it necessary to read Aesop's Fables in a specific order?

    No, it is not necessary to read Aesop's Fables in a specific order. Each fable is standalone and can be enjoyed independently. However, some editions may arrange the fables thematically or include introductory notes, providing readers with additional context or insights.