Aesop's Fables

Which Aesop's fable has the moral, "Don't play tricks on your neighbors unless you can stand the same treatment yourself?"

And the answer: The Fox and the Stork.

The fox and stork during meal time

In the story, a fox invites his friend the stork to eat with him. He provides soup in a shallow bowl, which the fox can easily eat, but the stork cannot drink it with its beak. In return, the stork then invites the fox to a meal, which is served in a narrow-necked vase. It's easy for the stork to access, but impossible for the fox.

Aesop's fables are ancient stories of trial and defeat, always offering some form of moral at their close. Oftentimes, animals or other personified characters serve as the metaphorical stand-ins for real, applicable moral quandaries.

However, the image of Aesop as we know today is a picture disparate from the image of him in his lifetime. As a Phrygian slave said to have lived between 620 and 564 BCE, there is very little reputable information available to historians to determine the truth about the stories attributed to his name. Today, disputes over whether or not Aesop wrote the fables, and even as to whether or not he lived at all, continue to rage. Scattered details of Aesop's life can be found in ancient sources, including Aristotle, Herodotus, and Plutarch.

Aesop's fables originally belonged to the oral tradition, and weren't transcribed until some three centuries after his death. By that time, a variety of other stories, jokes and proverbs were being ascribed to him, although some of that material was from sources earlier than him or came from beyond the Greek cultural sphere. Historians continue to add work to the so-called "Aesop corpus," even including more recent work and known authors. In many ways, Aesop has come to be recognized more as a figurehead for the fabulist tradition than a real individual.

Check out this site to learn more about this enigmatic fabulist, and watch the video below to hear the full story of The Fox and the Stork.

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