Derek Sivers

Aesop’s Fables - translated by George Fyler Townsend

Aesop’s Fables - translated by George Fyler Townsend

ISBN: 9354845371
Date read: 2021-10-25
How strongly I recommend it: 2/10
(See my list of 200+ books, for more.)

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

Interesting to browse and learn from, but tedious to read. Every story is only a few sentences and almost always in the same format. Someone does something unwise. Someone else chides them and points out their mistake. I had to stop after 150 or so. But I didn’t realize that many I know - like the boy who cried wolf, and “look before you leap” - came from Aesop.

my notes

A wolf who had a bone stuck in his throat hired a crane, for a large sum, to put her head into his mouth and draw out the bone.
When the Crane had extracted the bone and demanded the promised payment, the Wolf, grinning and grinding his teeth, exclaimed: “Why, you have surely already had a sufficient recompense, in having been permitted to draw out your head in safety from the mouth and jaws of a wolf.”
In serving the wicked, expect no reward, and be thankful if you escape injury for your pains.

A man and a Lion passed a statue carved in stone, which represented “a Lion strangled by a Man.”
The traveler pointed to it and said: “See there! How strong we are, and how we prevail over even the king of beasts.”
The Lion replied: “This statue was made by one of you men. If we Lions knew how to erect statues, you would see the Man placed under the paw of the Lion.”
One story is good, till another is told.

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.”

Lion, “but why do you stand outside? Pray enter within to talk with me.”
“No, thank you,” said the Fox. “I notice that there are many prints of feet entering your cave, but I see no trace of any returning.”
He is wise who is warned by the misfortunes of others.

A Wolf resolved to disguise his appearance in order to secure food more easily.
Encased in the skin of a sheep, he pastured with the flock, deceiving the shepherd by his costume.
In the evening he was shut up by the shepherd in the fold; the gate was closed, and the entrance made thoroughly secure.
But the shepherd, returning to the fold during the night to obtain meat for the next day, mistakenly caught up the Wolf instead of a sheep, and killed him instantly.

A shepherd-boy, who watched a flock of sheep near a village, brought out the villagers three or four times by crying out, “Wolf! Wolf!”
When his neighbors came to help him, he laughed at them for their pains.
The Wolf, however, did truly come at last.
The Shepherd-boy, now really alarmed, shouted in an agony of terror: “Pray, do come and help me; the Wolf is killing the sheep;” but no one paid any heed to his cries, nor rendered any assistance.
The Wolf, having no cause of fear, at his leisure lacerated or destroyed the whole flock.
There is no believing a liar, even when he speaks the truth.

A father, being on the point of death, wished to be sure that his sons would give the same attention to his farm as he himself had given it.
He called them to his bedside and said, “My sons, there is a great treasure hid in one of my vineyards.”
The sons, after his death, took their spades and mattocks and carefully dug over every portion of their land.
They found no treasure, but the vines repaid their labor by an extraordinary and superabundant crop.