Why Aesop fables stories are so famous?

Aesop fables stories and characters teach us values and morals

During my childhood days, I loved to visit my grandparent’s house in holiday breaks because my grandparents used to tell me tales and stories by the fire on a cold night or on the terrace with a sky full of stars. Most of the stories were fable stories that had an animal character such as dog, rabbit, tortoise, donkey, lion, monkey, and many more. One of the most famous stories I can recall is ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ with the lesson of “Never Give Up”. I always used to wonder why my grandmother includes these animal characters in fables but in real life, I can’t see them talking or performing activities like humans.

Let’s dig into it and find out why animal characters are selected in fable stories. Before we start our quest, let’s understand what fable stories are.

A fable is a type of story which teaches a lesson or suggests a moral from it. The characters of a fable can include animals, plants, fabulous creatures that can think and talk.

Let’s read one of the most famous fable “The Fox & the Grapes”


A Fox one day spied a beautiful bunch of ripe grapes hanging from a vine trained along the branches of a tree. The grapes seemed ready to burst with juice, and Fox’s mouth watered as he gazed longingly at them.

The bunch hung from a high branch, and the Fox had to jump for it. The first time he jumped he missed it by a long way. So he walked off a short distance and took a running leap at it, only to fall short once more. Again and again, he tried, but in vain.

Now he sat down and looked at the grapes in disgust.

“What a fool I am,” he said. “Here I am wearing myself out to get a bunch of sour grapes that are not worth gaping for.”

And off he walked very, very scornfully.

Moral: There are many who pretend to despise and belittle that which is beyond their reach.

Now we know what a fable is but we still don’t know who created them and why. Around 2500 years ago, a storyteller called Aesop lived in ancient Greece. He was originally brought from Ethiopia to Greece as a slave. As he was a slave, he could not speak his thoughts openly. To express his feelings and thoughts, he started writing and telling fables in which animals think, speak, and act like humans. Through the voice of animals, he intended to teach moral lessons to the human audience. These stories have animal characters that represent human society. One of the reasons why he uses animal characters because a king might get offended if he is mentioned in some demeaning way but if an animal is used such as a lion, everyone knows it’s the king and no one can take any action against the storyteller. In today’s life also, many cartoonists use fictional characters to represent some situations or persons.

Originally, fable stories were created for adults to teach them moral lessons but after sixteenth-century Dutch scholar, Desiderius Erasmus suggested that children should read these fables to learn valuable lessons. After that plenty of colorful illustrations were created for children. There are several reasons why one should read fables for kids.

  • Fables are a great way to introduce different cultures and beliefs to kids.
  • Kids love animals. Therefore kids can learn values and morals easily through fables because they contain animal characters.
  • Fables are generally short and easy to read.
  • Fable Books generally have colorful, amusing, and action-packed illustrations that can help kids to grow their imagination.

Real-life animals cannot think, speak, and act like humans but the animal characters present in Aesop fables have an important role to teach us valuable lessons.


Professor Atom

View posts by Professor Atom
Professor Atom is a science enthusiast and alumni of IIT Bombay. According to him, every question can be solved with curiosity and mind mapping. ( Curiosity = Asking Questions = Learning )

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