“Look before you leap.”
“Do not believe everything you hear.”
“A kindness is never wasted.”
“Heaven helps those who help themselves.”
“You are judged by the company you keep.”
Sound familiar? Sage advice given to you at one time or another likely by your parents or other loved ones, right? I know I can hear my mom’s voice right now offering up these words of wisdom when I was a kid. Well, as much as I know we’d like to give our folks the credit, these lessons can be traced back to Aesop, a Greek slave and storyteller thought to have lived between 620 and 560 B.C. His “Aesop’s Fables,” an ancient collection of 147 stories designed to teach moral lessons, are some of the world’s best known and have been translated into multiple languages and become popular in hundreds of cultures.
The Library of Congress has released “Words to the Wise: The Aesop’s Fables e-Book,” an interactive version of the classic Aesop tales, featuring the colorful illustrations of artist Milo Winter. The free e-book is available on the Library’s read.gov website and as a free app for the iPhone, iPad and Android platforms.
The interactive e-book is adapted from the 1919 book “The Aesop for Children: With Pictures by Milo Winter,” published by Rand, McNally & Co. Winter’s pictures have been transformed for this e-book, and now readers can interact with the charming illustrations to see and hear them move: a choosy heron eyes the fish swimming at his feet, a sly fox swishes his tail, a mouse chews a rope and frees a lion in straits.
The fables remain a popular choice for moral education of children today. Younger scholars will be able to trace the origin of aphorisms such as “sour grapes” and “a bird in the hand.”
What fables do you remember as a child?