AESOP'S FABLES - online children's book

300 favourite fables with illustrations by Arthur Rackham

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like Aesop, or loved like Uncle Remus. It is odd to note that both the great slaves told their best stories about beasts and birds.
But whatever be fairly due to Aesop, the human tradition called Fables is not due to him. This had gone on long before any sarcastic freedman from Phrygia had or had not been flung off a precipice ; this has remained long after. It is to our advantage, indeed, to realise the distinction ; because it makes Aesop more obviously effective than any other fabulist. Grimms Tales, glorious as they are, were ' collected by two German students. And if we find it hard to be certain of a German student, at least we know more about him than we know about a Phrygian slave. The truth is, of course, that JEsop's Fables arc not JEsop's fables, any more than Grimms Fairy Tales were ever Grimms fairy tales. But the fable and the fairy tale are things utterly distinct. There are many elements of difference ; but the plainest is plain enough. There can be no good fable with human beings in it. There can be no good fairy tale without them.
/Esop, or Babrius (or whatever his name Was), understood that, for a fable, all the persons must be impersonal. They must be like abstractions in algebra, or like pieces in chess. The lion must always be stronger than the wolf, just as four