1. The Wolf and the Lamb
Once upon a time a Wolf was lapping at a spring on a hillside when, looking up, what should he see but a Lamb just beginning to drink a little lower down.
"There's my supper, " thought he, "if only I can find some excuse to seize it."
Then he called out to the Lamb, "How dare you muddle the water from which I am drinking."
"Nay, master, nay," said Lamb; "if the water is muddy up there, I cannot be the cause of it, for it runs down from you to me."
"Well, then," said the Wolf, "why did you call me bad names this time last year?"
"That cannot be," said the Lamb; "I am only six months old."
"I don't care," snarled the Wolf, "if it was not you it was your father"; and with that he rushed upon the poor little Lamb.
Moral- Any excuse will serve a tyrant.
2. The Dog and the shadow
It happened that a Dog had got a piece of meat and was carrying it home in his mouth to eat it in peace. Now on his way home he had to cross a plank lying across a running brook.
As he crossed, he looked down and saw his own shadow reflected in the water beneath. Thinking it was another dog with another piece of meat, he made up his mind to have that also. So he made a snap at the shadow in the water, but as he opened this month the piece of meat fell out, dropped in to the water, and was never seen again.
Moral of the story: Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.
Labels: Aesop's Fables story series for kids.
3. The Lion's share
The Lion once went hunting with the fox, the Jackal, and the Wolf. They hunted and they hunted till at last they surprised a Stag, and soon took its life. Then came the question how the spoil should be divided.
"Quarter me this Stag," roared the Lion; So the other animals skinned it and cut into four parts. Then the Lion took his stand in front of the carcass and pronounced judgement: "The first quarter is for me in my capacity as King of Beasts; the second is mine as arbiter; another share comes to me for my part in the chase; and as for the fourth quarter, well, as for that, I should like to see which of you will dare to lay a paw upon it."
"Humph," grumbled the Fox as he walked away with his tail between his legs; but he spoke in a low growl. "You may share the labours of the great, but you will not share the spoil."
Labels: Aesop's fables, story series for online reading.
4. The Cock and the Pearl
A Cock was once strutting up and down the farmyard among the Hens when suddenly he espied something shinning amid the straw.
"Ho! ho!" quoth he, "that's for me," and soon rooted it out from beneath the straw. What did it turn out to be but a Pearl that by some chance had been lost in the yard? 'You may be a treasure,' quoth Master Cock,' to men that prize you, but for me I would rather have a single barley-corn than a peck of Pearls.'
Moral: Precious things are for those that can prize them.
Labels: Aesop's fables series for free digital reading.
5. The Aesop for children
The Wolf and the Crane
A Wolf had been gorging on an animal he had killed, when suddenly a small bone in the meat stuck in his throat and he could not swallow it. He soon felt terrible pain in his throat, and ran up and down groaning and groaning and seeking for something to relieve the pain. He tried to induce every one he met to remove the bone.
"I would give anything." said he, " if you would take it out." At last the Crane agreed to try, and told the Wolf to lie on his side and open his jaws as wide as he could. Then the Crane put its long neck down the Wolf's throat, and with its beak loosened the bone, till at last it got it out.
"Will you kindly give me the reward you promised?" said the Crane. The Wolf grinned and showed his teeth and said: "Be content. You have put your head inside a Wolf's mouth and taken it out again in safety; that ought to be reward enough for you."
Moral: Gratitude and greed go not together.
6. The Man and the Serpent
A countryman's son by accident trod upon a Serpent's tail, which turned and bit him so that he died. The father in rage got his axe and pursued the Serpent, cut off part of its tail. So the Serpent in revenge began stinging several of the Farmer's cattle and caused him severe loss. Well, the Farmer thought it best to make it up with the Serpent, and brought food and honey to the month of its lair, and said to it: "Let's forget and forgive. Perhaps you were right to punish my son, and take vengeance on my cattle, but surely I was right in trying to revenge him. Now that we are both satisfied why can't we be friends again?
"No, no" said the Serpent, "take away your gifts. You can never forget the death of your son, nor I the loss of my tail."
Moral: Injuries may be forgiven, but not forgotten.
7. Androcles and the Lion
A slave named Androcles once escaped from his master and fled to the forest. As he was wandering about there he came upon a Lion lying down moaning and groaning. At first he turned to flee, but finding that the Lion did not pursue him, he turned back and went up to him. As he came near, the Lion put out his paw, which was all swollen and bleeding, and Androcles found that a huge thorn had got into it and was causing all the pain.
He pulled out the thorn and bound up the paw of the Lion who was soon able to rise and lick the hand of Androcles like a Dog. Then the Lion took Androcles to his cave, and every day used to bring him meat from which to live. But shortly afterwards both Androcles and the Lion were captured, and the slave was sentenced to be thrown to the Lion, after that latter had been kept without food for several days.
The Emperor and all his Court came to see the spectacle, and Androcles was led out into the middle of the arena. Soon the Lion was let loose from his den, and rushed bounding and roaring towards the victim. But as soon as he came near Androcles he recognised his friend, and fawned upon him, and licked his hands like a friendly Dog. The Emperor, surprised at this, summoned Androcles to him, who told him the whole story. Where upon the slave was pardoned and freed, and the Lion let loose to his native forest.
Moral: Gratitude is the sign of native souls.
8. The Countryman and the Snake
A Countryman returning home one winter's day, found a Snake by the hedge side, half dead with a cold. Taking compassion on the creature, he laid it in his bosom, and brought it home to his fireside to revive it. No sooner had the warmth restored it then began to attack children of the cottage. Upon this Countryman, whose compassion had saved its life, took up a mattock and laid the Snake dead at his feet.
Moral of the story: Those who return evil for good may expect their neighbour's pity to the worn out at last.
9. The creaking Wheels
As some Oxen were dragging. Wagon along a heavy road, the Wheels set up a tremendous creaking.
"Brute!" cried the driver to the wagon; "why do you groan, when they who are drawing all the weight are silent?"
Moral of this story: Those who cry loudest are not always the most hurt.
10. The Fox and the Grapes
A Fox, just at the time of the vintage, stole into a vineyard where the ripe, sunny Grapes were trellised up on high in the most tempting show. He made many a spring and a jump after the luscious prize, but failing in all his attempts he muttered as he retreated, "Well, what does it matter! The Grapes are sour!"
11. The Kid and the Wolf
A Kid being mounted on the roof of a lofty house and seeing a Wolf pass below began to reveal him. The Wolf merely stopped to reply, "Coward! it is not you who reveals me, but the place on which you are standing."
Labels: Animal stories of Aesop's fables.
12. The Dog, The Cock, and the Fox
A Dog and a Cock having struck up an acquaintance went out on their travels together. Nightfall found them in a forest; so the Cock, flying up on a tree, perched among the branches, while the Dog dozed below at the foot. As the night passed away and day dawned, the Cock, according to his custom, set up a shrill crowing.
A Fox hearing him, and thinking to make a meal of him, came and stood under the tree, and thus addressed him: "Thou art a good little bird, and most useful to thy fellow creatures. Come down, then, we may sing one matins and rejoice together."
The Cock replied, "Go, my good friend, to the foot of the tree and call the sacristan to toll the bell." But as the Fox went to call him, the Dog jumped out a moment, and seized the Fox and made an end of him.
Moral: They who lay traps for others are often caught by their own bait.
13. The Fox and the Lion
A Fox who had never seen a Lion, when by chance he met him for the first time was so terrified that he almost died of fright. When he met him the second time he was still afraid, but managed to disguise his fear. When he saw him the third time, he was so much emboldened that he went up to him and asked him how he did.
Moral: Familiarity breeds contempt.
14. The Two Wallets
Every man carries Two Wallets-one before and one behind, and both are full of faults. But the one before is full of his neighbour's faults; the one behind of his own. Thus it happens that men are blind to their own faults, but never lose sight of their neighbour's.
15. The Horse and the Groom
A Groom who used to steal and sell a Horse's corn, was yet very busy in grooming and wisping him all the day long.
"If you really wish me," said the Horse, "to look well, give me less of your currying and more of your corn."
16. The Mountain in labour
n days of yore a mighty rumbling was heard in a Mountain. It was said to be in labour, and multitudes flocked together, from far and near, to see what it would produce. After long expectations and many wise conjectures from the by-standers -out popped a Mouse!
Moral: This story applies to those whose magnificent promises end in a paltry performance.
17. The Bear and the Fox
A Bear used to boast of his excessive love for Man, saying that he never worried or mauled him when dead. The Fox observed, with a smile, "I should have thought more of your profession if you never ate him alive."
Moral for kids- Better save a man from dying than save him when dead.
Labels: Fables of Aesop.
18. The Mouse and the Frog
A Mouse on an evil day made acquaintance with a Frog, and they set off on their travels together. The Frog, on pretence of great affection, and of keeping his companion out of harm's way, tied the Mouse's fore-foot to his own hind-leg, and thus proceeded for some distance by land. Presently they came to some water, and the Frog, bidding the Mouse with good courage, began to swim across. They had scarcely, however, arrived midway when the Frog took a sudden plunge to the bottom, dragging the unfortunate Mouse after him. But the struggling and floundering of the Mouse made so great commotion in the water that is attracted the attention of a Kite, who, pouncing down, and bearing off the Mouse, carried away the Frog at the same time in his train.
Moral for children: Inconsiderate and ill-matched alliances generally end in ruin; and the man who compasses the destruction of his neighbour is often caught in his own snare.
Label: Stories for kids by Aesop.
19. The fisherman piping
A Man who cared more for his notes than his nets, seeing some fish in the sea began playing on his pipe, thinking that they would jump out on shore. But finding himself disappointed he took a casting-net and enclosing a great multitude of fish drew them to land.
When he saw the fish dancing and flapping about he smiled and said, "Since you would not dance when I piped, I will have none of your dancing now."
Moral of this story: It is a great art to do the right thing at the right season.
20. The Frog and the Ox
An Ox, grazing in a swampy meadow, chanced to set his foot among a parcel of young Frogs, and crushed nearly the whole brood to death. One that escaped ran off to his mother with the dreadful news; "And, O mother!," said he, "It was a beast-such a big, four-footed beast!- that did it."
"Big?" quoth the old Frog, "how big? was it as big"- and she puffed herself out to a great degree-"as big as this?"
"Oh!" said the little one, "a great deal bigger than that."
"Well, was it so big?" and she swelled herself out yet more.
"Indeed, mother, but it was; and if you were to burst yourself you would never reach half its size."
Provoked at such a disparagement of her powers, the old Frog made one more trial, and burst herself indeed.
Moral: So men are ruined by attempting a greatness to which they have no claim.