In the year 1610, Nevelet, a Swiss scholar, created a collection of Aesop's fables. This version has been the standard form of Aesop's collection since. For more than three centuries since the book was compiled, it and its translations have become so popular that no book other than the Bible has had a wider circulation.
"Nevelet's collection has been translated into every civilized tongue, and has been read, and will be read, for generations by Jew, heathen, Mohammedan, Buddhist, and Christian. They are at the present time so thoroughly engrafted into our literature as to become a part of our daily speech.
So we will continue to love our wise old Aesop, and give him full credit for all his fables. It
makes small difference with us, that scholars of today are searching through many musty
books, and informing us that even if Aesop did tell these stories, they are not all his own, for they belong to the folklore of every country.
Thousands of years ago, they say, the books of the Chinese contained similar tales; the
bricks of Babylon are marked with them; papyrus scrolls of Egypt, written six hundred years before Aesop was born, reveal his story of the "Lion and the Mouse." The Hindu and Buddhistic literatures preserve other foibles and frolics of our animal friends.
To all this we only reply that, while there may be such tales in other lands, they are not our Aesop. He it is who tells them as we want to hear them told--simply, directly, and sagely, with charm and freshness that brings them down to us through the centuries, not growing musty with age, but constantly taking on the vigor of youth."*
*From The Fables of Aesop
Based on the Texts of L'Estrange and Croxall
Part of the World's Popular Classics
Books, Inc. Publishers
New York and Boston, year unknown
Introduction written by unknown
Illustration from Wickapedia
The Lion and the Mouse
A Lion, tired with the chase, lay sleeping at full length under a shady tree. Some mice scrambling over him while he slept, awoke him. Laying his paw upon one of them, he was about to crush him, when the mouse implored his mercy.
"Spare me, O King!" said he, "and maybe the day will come when I can be of service to you."
The Lion, tickled with the idea of the mouse helping him, lifted his paw and let the little creature go.
Some time after, the lion was caught in a net laid by some hunters, and, unable to free himself, made the forest resoud with his roars. The mouse, whose life had been spared, came and with his sharp little teeth gnawed the roped asunder, and set the lion free.
The least may help the greatest.
Part 1: The Fables of Aesop
Part 2: Aesop for Thursday, January 17
Part 3: Aesop for Friday, January 18
Part 4: Aesop for Monday, January 21
Part 5:Â Aesop for Tuesday, January 22
Part 6: Aesop for Wednesday, January 23
Part 7:Â Aesop for Thursday, January 24