World of Tales
Stories for children, folktales, fairy tales and fables from around the world

About Aesop


Little is known about the life of Aesop. According to historical facts he was a slave, who lived in the sixth century BC in ancient Greece. Some legends suggest Aesop was an ugly hunchbacked slave, although his real appearance is a mystery. One thing is known for sure - Aesop was a very smart, resourceful and inventive man. And thanks to these qualities he was able to acquire his freedom.

One of the most famous legends tells that during a feast, the lord of Aesop too boldly stated that he would drink the sea. If he couldn't he would lose all his wealth. The next morning, realizing his claim was impossible to complete, he called Aesop. The slave quickly realized the trouble his master was in and promised that he would help save his dignity and honor. Both men went to the seashore to face a noisy crowd, gathered to see how the stupid man would "drink the sea". Aesop explained to the people that his master could "drink" the sea, but for the rules to be met all the water from the rivers and lakes, flowing into the sea, should be removed. Needless to say, nobody was able to separate the sea, and the master saved his wealth and honor. As a reward Aesop received his freedom.

In every story, whose character is Aesop, he was always smarter than his master, and wiser than the wisest. That is why the Delphic priests of the temple of the Greek god Apollo did not forgive the wisdom of the slave. Legend has it Aesop was thrown into the sea from a cliff, accused in stealing a golden cup from a temple. The immoral actions of the priests was punished by Apollo, who sends plague to sicken his unworthy servants in his Delphic shrine.

We can only speculate whether this is the truth about the death of Aesop. We do know, however, that his name is associated with the emergence of fables as a genre in Greek literature. Aesop takes themes and ideas from the folklore heritage to create his works. Aesop's fables were not written in his lifetime, but passed on from mouth to mouth. Over time, other fables were credited to Aesop. Finally, a collection of 352 interesting and original works, simply called called "Aesop's fables", were created.

Book Spotlight
Ukrainian folktales
Cossack Fairy Tales and Folk Tales