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  Aesop Fables Quotes

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The miser a miser sold all that he had and bought a lump of gold, which he buried in a hole in the ground by the side of an old wall and went to look at daily. One of his workmen observed his frequent visits to the spot and decided to watch his movements. He soon discovered the secret of the hidden treasure, and digging down, came to the lump of gold, and stole it. The miser, on his next visit, found the hole empty and began to tear his hair and to make loud lamentations. A neighbor, seeing him overcome with grief and learning the cause, said, pray do not grieve so; but go and take a stone, and place it in the hole, and fancy that the gold is still lying there. It will do you quite the same service; for when the gold was there, you had it not, as you did not make the slightest use of it. (quote by - aesop)

The swallow, the serpent, and the court of justice a swallow, returning from abroad and especially fond of dwelling with men, built herself a nest in the wall of a court of justice and there hatched seven young birds. A serpent gliding past the nest from its hole in the wall ate up the young unfledged nestlings. The swallow, finding her nest empty, lamented greatly and exclaimed: woe to me a stranger! That in this place where all others' rights are protected, i alone should suffer wrong. (quote by - aesop)

The fisherman and his nets a fisherman, engaged in his calling, made a very successful cast and captured a great haul of fish. He managed by a skillful handling of his net to retain all the large fish and to draw them to the shore; but he could not prevent the smaller fish from falling back through the meshes of the net into the sea. (quote by - aesop)

The kingdom of the lion the beasts of the field and forest had a lion as their king. He was neither wrathful, cruel, nor tyrannical, but just and gentle as a king could be. During his reign he made a royal proclamation for a general assembly of all the birds and beasts, and drew up conditions for a universal league, in which the wolf and the lamb, the panther and the kid, the tiger and the stag, the dog and the hare, should live together in perfect peace and amity. The hare said, oh, how i have longed to see this day, in which the weak shall take their place with impunity by the side of the strong. And after the hare said this, he ran for his life. (quote by - aesop)

The kid and the wolf a kid standing on the roof of a house, out of harm's way, saw a wolf passing by and immediately began to taunt and revile him. The wolf, looking up, said, sirrah! I hear thee: yet it is not thou who mockest me, but the roof on which thou art standing. Time and place often give the advantage to the weak over the strong. (quote by - aesop)

The old woman and the wine-jar an old woman found an empty jar which had lately been full of prime old wine and which still retained the fragrant smell of its former contents. She greedily placed it several times to her nose, and drawing it backwards and forwards said, o most delicious! How nice must the wine itself have been, when it leaves behind in the very vessel which contained it so sweet a perfume! The memory of a good deed lives. (quote by - aesop)

The vain jackdaw jupiter determined, it is said, to create a sovereign over the birds, and made proclamation that on a certain day they should all present themselves before him, when he would himself choose the most beautiful among them to be king. The jackdaw, knowing his own ugliness, searched through the woods and fields, and collected the feathers which had fallen from the wings of his companions, and stuck them in all parts of his body, hoping thereby to make himself the most beautiful of all. When the appointed day arrived, and the birds had assembled before jupiter, the jackdaw also made his appearance in his many feathered finery. But when jupiter proposed to make him king because of the beauty of his plumage, the birds indignantly protested, and each plucked from him his own feathers, leaving the jackdaw nothing but a jackdaw. (quote by - aesop)

The fawn and his mother a young fawn once said to his mother, you are larger than a dog, and swifter, and more used to running, and you have your horns as a defense; why, then, o mother! Do the hounds frighten you so? She smiled, and said: i know full well, my son, that all you say is true. I have the advantages you mention, but when i hear even the bark of a single dog i feel ready to faint, and fly away as fast as i can. No arguments will give courage to the coward. (quote by - aesop)

The father and his two daughters a man had two daughters, the one married to a gardener, and the other to a tile-maker. After a time he went to the daughter who had married the gardener, and inquired how she was and how all things went with her. She said, all things are prospering with me, and i have only one wish, that there may be a heavy fall of rain, in order that the plants may be well watered. Not long after, he went to the daughter who had married the tilemaker, and likewise inquired of her how she fared; she replied, i want for nothing, and have only one wish, that the dry weather may continue, and the sun shine hot and bright, so that the bricks might be dried. He said to her, if your sister wishes for rain, and you for dry weather, with which of the two am i to join my wishes?'. (quote by - aesop)

The man and his two sweethearts a middle aged man, whose hair had begun to turn gray, courted two women at the same time. One of them was young, and the other well advanced in years. The elder woman, ashamed to be courted by a man younger than herself, made a point, whenever her admirer visited her, to pull out some portion of his black hairs. The younger, on the contrary, not wishing to become the wife of an old man, was equally zealous in removing every gray hair she could find. Thus it came to pass that between them both he very soon found that he had not a hair left on his head. Those who seek to please everybody please nobody. (quote by - aesop)

The oxen and the axle-trees a heavy wagon was being dragged along a country lane by a team of oxen. The axle-trees groaned and creaked terribly; whereupon the oxen, turning round, thus addressed the wheels: hullo there! Why do you make so much noise? We bear all the labor, and we, not you, ought to cry out. Those who suffer most cry out the least. (quote by - aesop)

The heifer and the ox a heifer saw an ox hard at work harnessed to a plow, and tormented him with reflections on his unhappy fate in being compelled to labor. Shortly afterwards, at the harvest festival, the owner released the ox from his yoke, but bound the heifer with cords and led him away to the altar to be slain in honor of the occasion. The ox saw what was being done, and said with a smile to the heifer: for this you were allowed to live in idleness, because you were presently to be sacrificed. (quote by - aesop)

The dog and the shadow a dog, crossing a bridge over a stream with a piece of flesh in his mouth, saw his own shadow in the water and took it for that of another dog, with a piece of meat double his own in size. He immediately let go of his own, and fiercely attacked the other dog to get his larger piece from him. He thus lost both: that which he grasped at in the water, because it was a shadow; and his own, because the stream swept it away. (quote by - aesop)

The sick stag a sick stag lay down in a quiet corner of its pasture-ground. His companions came in great numbers to inquire after his health, and each one helped himself to a share of the food which had been placed for his use; so that he died, not from his sickness, but from the failure of the means of living. Evil companions bring more hurt than profit. (quote by - aesop)

The fox who had lost his tail a fox caught in a trap escaped, but in so doing lost his tail. Thereafter, feeling his life a burden from the shame and ridicule to which he was exposed, he schemed to convince all the other foxes that being tailless was much more attractive, thus making up for his own deprivation. He assembled a good many foxes and publicly advised them to cut off their tails, saying that they would not only look much better without them, but that they would get rid of the weight of the brush, which was a very great inconvenience. One of them interrupting him said, if you had not yourself lost your tail, my friend, you would not thus counsel us. (quote by - aesop)

The wolves and the sheep why should there always be this fear and slaughter between us? Said the wolves to the sheep. Those evil-disposed dogs have much to answer for. They always bark whenever we approach you and attack us before we have done any harm. If you would only dismiss them from your heels, there might soon be treaties of peace and reconciliation between us. The sheep, poor silly creatures, were easily beguiled and dismissed the dogs, whereupon the wolves destroyed the unguarded flock at their own pleasure. (quote by - aesop)

The farmer and the stork a farmer placed nets on his newly-sown plowlands and caught a number of cranes, which came to pick up his seed. With them he trapped a stork that had fractured his leg in the net and was earnestly beseeching the farmer to spare his life. Pray save me, master, he said, and let me go free this once. My broken limb should excite your pity. Besides, i am no crane, i am a stork, a bird of excellent character; and see how i love and slave for my father and mother. Look too, at my feathers-- they are not the least like those of a crane. The farmer laughed aloud and said, it may be all as you say, i only know this: i have taken you with these robbers, the cranes, and you must die in their company. Birds of a feather flock together. (quote by - aesop)

The swallow and the crow the swallow and the crow had a contention about their plumage. The crow put an end to the dispute by saying, your feathers are all very well in the spring, but mine protect me against the winter. Fair weather friends are not worth much. (quote by - aesop)

The wolf and the sheep a wolf, sorely wounded and bitten by dogs, lay sick and maimed in his lair. Being in want of food, he called to a sheep who was passing, and asked him to fetch some water from a stream flowing close beside him. For, he said, if you will bring me drink, i will find means to provide myself with meat. Yes, said the sheep, if i should bring you the draught, you would doubtless make me provide the meat also. Hypocritical speeches are easily seen through. (quote by - aesop)

The lion, the mouse, and the fox a lion, fatigued by the heat of a summer's day, fell fast asleep in his den. A mouse ran over his mane and ears and woke him from his slumbers. He rose up and shook himself in great wrath, and searched every corner of his den to find the mouse. A fox seeing him said: a fine lion you are, to be frightened of a mouse. 'Tis not the mouse i fear, said the lion; i resent his familiarity and ill-breeding. Little liberties are great offenses. (quote by - aesop)

The herdsman and the lost bull a herdsman tending his flock in a forest lost a bull-calf from the fold. After a long and fruitless search, he made a vow that, if he could only discover the thief who had stolen the calf, he would offer a lamb in sacrifice to hermes, pan, and the guardian deities of the forest. Not long afterwards, as he ascended a small hillock, he saw at its foot a lion feeding on the calf. Terrified at the sight, he lifted his eyes and his hands to heaven, and said: just now i vowed to offer a lamb to the guardian deities of the forest if i could only find out who had robbed me; but now that i have discovered the thief, i would willingly add a full-grown bull to the calf i have lost, if i may only secure my own escape from him in safety. (quote by - aesop)

The vine and the goat a vine was luxuriant in the time of vintage with leaves and grapes. A goat, passing by, nibbled its young tendrils and its leaves. The vine addressed him and said: why do you thus injure me without a cause, and crop my leaves? Is there no young grass left? But i shall not have to wait long for my just revenge; for if you now should crop my leaves, and cut me down to my root, i shall provide the wine to pour over you when you are led as a victim to the sacrifice. (quote by - aesop)

The hawk, the kite, and the pigeons the pigeons, terrified by the appearance of a kite, called upon the hawk to defend them. He at once consented. When they had admitted him into the cote, they found that he made more havoc and slew a larger number of them in one day than the kite could pounce upon in a whole year. Avoid a remedy that is worse than the disease. (quote by - aesop)

The boy and the filberts a boy put his hand into a pitcher full of filberts. He grasped as many as he could possibly hold, but when he tried to pull out his hand, he was prevented from doing so by the neck of the pitcher. Unwilling to lose his filberts, and yet unable to withdraw his hand, he burst into tears and bitterly lamented his disappointment. A bystander said to him, be satisfied with half the quantity, and you will readily draw out your hand. Do not attempt too much at once. (quote by - aesop)

The wolf and the lamb wolf, meeting with a lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea to justify to the lamb the wolf's right to eat him. He thus addressed him: "sirrah, last year you grossly insulted me." "indeed," bleated the lamb in a mournful tone of voice, "i was not then born." then said the wolf, "you feed in my pasture." "no, good sir," replied the lamb, "i have not yet tasted grass." again said the wolf, "you drink of my well." "no," exclaimed the lamb, "i never yet drank water, for as yet my mother's milk is both food and drink to me." upon which the wolf seized him and ate him up, saying, "well! I won't remain supperless, even though you refute every one of my imputations." the tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny. (quote by - aesop)


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